If You Aren't Watching Soccer's World Cup, You Should Be...
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
There is a certain segment of the American population who will never understand or have any interest in watching soccer. They have no idea what they're missing.
The usual responses are: "There's not enough scoring", "There's no action", "It's too slow" among others...
If you are one of those people and say "I tried to watch and was bored", you are missing out on one of the most interesting, strategic and occasionally amazing games in all the world.
This year, Soccer's World Cup is being played in Russia. Without getting into the politics and other things that go along with a World Cup---especially in a corrupt place like Russia, the games are still drawing American viewers and those viewers are getting a treat.
The World Cup is Soccer's Super Bowl, the biggest of all events only it is a tournament that lasts for a couple of weeks because 30-National Teams are involved. It features some incredible athletes who do some incredible things in a game that is truly the most popular sport on the planet (that includes the NFL)
The TV ratings for the event aren't good. Almost 50% less Americans are watching the event on Fox Sports and Telemundo than watched in 2014 (last time).
Is there a reason for this?
Probably, the U.S. National Team didn't qualify. They were beaten in the qualifying rounds by a Panamanian team that completely tanked in their match with England, losing 6-1. Not having team U.S.A to root for likely has lessened the Nationalistic viewership of a game considered by many "Not ours".
Which for reasons I don't totally understand is kind of a contradiction for many. Youth soccer is growing exponentially at all levels in almost every U.S city as parents let their kids play and learn the game.
Major League Soccer is thriving and arguably---outside maybe the NBA, the fastest growing of all American Professional Sports.
You want to see Major League Soccer support. Watch any game featuring Atlanta United at their home stadium in Atlanta.
The United have drawn and could draw 70,000-plus to their home games. Arguably better attendance than most NFL teams.
My point here is simple and I won't draw it out. If you've just poo-pooed the idea of watching soccer, then I'm guessing you don't watch baseball either.
The games, despite being on completely different fields and played at a different pace have a lot of similarities. The strategy, placement of players are often the most important parts of the game.
And in some ways, the game of soccer is similar to hockey or basketball, games predicated on movement and passing.
All of which are reasons you should at least give Soccer a chance. If the game ends as a 0-0 or 1-1 tie, so what.
Watch how each team tries to position themselves or set up opportunities. Watch the incredible athleticism and stamina required to run up and down the pitch for 90 minutes. With little to no break. You try doing that...
I fully realize there will be a handful of you who will say "It's too damn slow" or "How can they end up with ties" or "There's no scoring". And I ask you this---is there much difference between a 0-0 baseball game and a 0-0 soccer match? Both require some crazy skill and athleticism. Both build some serious tension. Both are full of drama and intrigue.
Come on now, tell me the difference?
Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
Yeah, thought so.