What about American culture makes us dislike soccer?

What is it about the American culture, that makes us not appreciate soccer (football, or futbol)? Are there any particular reasons behind are lack of enthusiasm?

A couple of my Wags.
1.) Sometimes it seems that we don’t like it, because the rest of the world does.
2.) Its Pretty slowpaced at times. Alot of back and forth.
3.) No hands! If it doesn’t have some sort of hand-eye coordination (video games, baseball etc…) we don’t want it. (this maybe reaching, but I needed three. right? :slight_smile: )

1.) It’s relatively new to the American sports scene (but it’s growing).
2.) It’s a low scoring game so the draw is the actual play.
3.) The number one reason is the lack of time-outs for beer or the ever present need to filter same.

If baseball was not so strong here, I think soccer would do better. There seems to be room for one detailed, intricate, pastoral game in this country, and baseball is it. Thank heavens! :slight_smile:

My biggest problem with soccer is the constant need to flop and writhe on the ground in mock pain every time a guy gets touched. It’s embarrassing and stupid, makes a game that’s already on the low end of the macho-meter totally repellent. I don’t suppose that this is the source of the problem, since we’ve hated soccer long before the mass TV coverage and possibly before the whiny flopping trend, but I can tell you it’s going to keep this guy from ever giving a crap about it.

I’ve always thought it was the whole “no hands” stuff. Face it, what distinguishes us from the rest of the animal kingdom is thumbs and hands. So let’s design a sport where we can’t use them? Toss in the fact that in every other American sport, kicking a loose ball is a foul at the very least, and I can see why soccer hasn’t caught on.

Plus grown men in shorts look silly.

Lack of scoring. I just heard about a zero-zero tie in some big game. What a waste of time! Give me a soccer game where the final score is 18 to 15 or even 32 to 25. Back and forth score after score almost like basketball. Then I’ll watch. Widen the net. I think that is all it would take.

Hockey has the same problem.

A guy I knew in college put forth the theory that the reason soccer will never be popular in America is that you can’t keep stastistics on it.

More specifically, it’s difficult to keep statistics on individual performance. It seems that a very important aspect of following baseball, basketball or football is following the statistics of individual players and arguing about who is the best, and how each player contributes to the overall success or failure of the team.

Soccer games are much more fluid, and soccer does not admit to the kind of detailed statistics that the big three do.

I think he’s right.

My theory is that, with us being a TV nation, the soccer field is just too big so we can’t get that “up close” view like with the more popular sports. It seems like whenever I see soccer on TV, it’s like watching a bunch of ants run around - the field is just huge, the people so small.

Chuck Klosterman has a whole chapter in Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs dedicated to condeming soccer and explaining why it will never become popular in America. He contends that among other things, it is a sport for outcasts that nurses an outcast mentality (in that kids who “don’t fit in” play soccer,) that you can stand around and do nothing and still be on a soccer team, and that it is “hell for gamblers” (so many matches end 2-1 or 1-0.)

I think all these are valid points but I think the big factor to consider is that soccer is just too European for America. A simplistic statement, but there’s no other way to put it. Baseball and football began as uniquely American sports (football still is, and despire baseball’s populatity in Japan and Latin America, it’s still thought of as an American game.) Basketball, while invented in Canada, is also considered an American game. These games are thought of as part of the soul of our nation, and soccer simply does not fit in.

Do Americans hate soccer? I mean, huge numbers of children in this country play soccer and have done for 20 years or more. I played soccer, my brothers played soccer, every kid on my street plays soccer, every family I know spends every single Saturday down at the soccer field for months at a time.

Maybe we all have traumatic memories of boring, hot Saturdays with no bathrooms, spent waiting for our siblings to finish their dang soccer games. (I know I do–I have 3 brothers.) Maybe we just consider it a kids’ game; not many adults play it. And we don’t care much about other countries playing soccer. But I don’t think it’s true to say we all hate it; zillions of Americans play soccer, for crying out loud.

Maybe it’s because you suck at it.


And maybe allow more than one ball, and for the players to carry weapons.

Too many other sports. Professional baseball, football, basketball and hockey as well as college football seem to be the biggest. Tennis and golf also get fairly good crowds. What for do we need another sport when we also have so many sitting in the wings. Each with a massive wad of cash and long term TV contracts keeping things the way they are.

Argent Towers, actually I see reading Wikipedia that it was invented in the US but by a Canadian. Someone needs to make a Duck-on-a-Rock page for that site.

The first point doesn’t explain the status quo. The second is plain incorrect. The third is wrong, too, because betting on football here is big business.

This is just unfamiliarity. I don’t have any problem following football (or rugby or cricket) on TV, but with American Football, ice hockey or basketball I find it impossible to keep track of what’s happening.

This indicates the fundamental cultural difference in the approach to sports - we need to ask why Americans have a far greater preference for high-scoring and short-burst-action sports. (Change football to what you describe and it would simply be a different sport entirely, with unrecognisable pacing, and obliterating just about every skill necessary of a footballer)

This doesn’t answer the question, of why things are the way they are.

(bolding mine)

Actually, I think that is the problem. Soccer has just barely been established in this country for one generation. I played in the first soccer game I ever saw…and I was in college at the time. Give it another 40 years, and soccer will be a much bigger deal here. It just needs time to grow a fanbase.

Well that isn’t the point of this thread. Where’s the enthusiasm for soccer in the US? It’s already being consumed on other sports that are huge businesses that can easily take up an hour long sports news broadcast on their own. Where can you fit it?

Your question however would be a very complex one to answer, far beyond me. In fact I’d say it’s a book worthy question.

*This guy has a lot to say.

I blame Soccer Moms with their SUVs and their pretentious attitudes!! :smiley:

I heard a recent interview with someone (an Englishman) who was asked why he thought this was the case. His response was that the most popular sports in America have a strong managerial/coaching aspect. ‘Our’ sports have breaks, more substitutions or adjustments, and the coach is a big presence during the game. Soccer doesn’t have that - the sport is played by the team, and while coaching is certainly important, it doesn’t direct the flow of the game directly.
The interview was too brief to go into why he thought it was the case, but it at least points up something in common with popular American sports that soccer lacks.

The game most similar to soccer that is very popular (though not nationally so) is Hockey[sup]*[/sup]. Comparatively, it is a faster moving between offense & defense, more definitive in outcome, and involves more coach interaction. Nonetheless, it is still joked about as being only worth it for the fighting. More seriously, penalty situations involve a shift in the way the team has to play (requiring adjustments). It would be an interesting twist if, say, a yellow card meant playing a man down for 10 minutes.

[sup]*[/sup]To those outside North America - this is ice hockey.

I played both hockey and rugby in my younger days. Because of this I never had much patience for sports in which play constantly stops. I can’t stand to watch football, it bores me to tears. But I don’t think most Americans share this outlook.