This is, I would guess, the fiftieth time this question has been asked in GQ. At least.
The answer is the same as it’s always been;
Soccer is very popular in the USA. Has been for decades. As a PARTICIPATION sport, it is more popular than football or hockey and basically on par with baseball and hoops. Your false assumption that it is unpopular is based on the fact that it is less popular as a PROFESSIONAL SPECTATOR sport, which is true but not the whole story.
The reason soccer is less important as a pro spectator sport in the USA is precisely the same reason the hockey is more popular in Sweden than it is in Japan, or that baseball is more popular in JApan than in India, or that cricket is more popular in India than in Canada; because the sports that were popularized first take up the popular imagination. In the USA, major league baseball as it exists today started in the 1870s; the NFL dates to 1920 and was a popular college sport in the 19th century. These sports were long established as major industries and marketing giants long before soccer showed up on this continent.
A counterquestion would be why baseball isn’t popular in Europe. It’s popular in the USA, Japan, Korea, China, Canada, Australia, and throughout Latin America, so why not Europe? Because the sporting scene there was full.
- Soccer being unpopular has nothing to do with the score. Nothing. Hockey is a low-scoring game but Canadians love it anyway and Americans are fond of it too. Basketball has much higher scores than football but basketball isn’t more popular. There’s a pro lacrosse league where the scores are regularly like 12-9, and hardly anyone cares they exist.
As to what constitutes “something happening” I would point out that there is almost no action at all in a professional football game; a match takes over 3 hours to play but includes very little actual playing, usually less than 9-10 minutes of action.