Although it hasn’t made significant inroads in the USA – it is getting more popular here though – soccer is the world’s most popular sport. If you don’t know much about soccer, or you don’t see what all the fuss is about, you may be wondering exactly why it’s so well-loved across the globe and why you should bother giving it a try…
When it comes to playing, rather than watching soccer, it’s fair to say that it’s a pretty cheap hobby. All you really need is a soccer ball and a few friends and you can have a lot of fun kicking it about for a while. If you want to play for a local team, you’ll probably want to pick up a set of soccer boots too, but other than that you don’t need much unlike other sports where you need bats, protective equipment, etc., which means it’s one of the most accessible sports on the planet.
You can play it anywhere
Soccer is also a game that can be played anywhere. Sure, it’s better to play it on a dedicated soccer pitch with proper goals and markings, but you can play it anywhere that there is enough space to run around and kick a ball, which means that kids can play it in yards and adults can easily play it in local parks. This accessibility naturally means that more people give it a go and many of them end up falling in love with the beautiful game, which really helps to maintain its popularity.
If you’ve only ever watched the world cup or the big league games, you could be forgiven for thinking that soccer is an elitist thing, but you’d be wrong. There are soccer leagues catering to everyone from amateurs who play at the weekends to women, disabled individuals, and even walking football for older, less fit people who nevertheless want to get out on the pitch. No matter who you are and what you’re capable of, you can get involved in soccer, and that’s an amazing thing.
It’s Focused on the players
Unlike a lot of US sports like football, soccer is much more focuses on the individual players and their abilities. Whereas the coaches play a dominant role in American football, in soccer, although teams have managers who discuss tactics and guide their players to succeed on the pitch, this is kept strictly behind closed doors, which means players are able to stand out and do more for themselves.
Players like Achraf Hakimi, who you can read about at soccity.net are able to show and develop their skills while still remaining an important part of a team and this is something that a lot of people really love about soccer.
Another thing that makes soccer so popular is the fact that it’s far more fast-paced than many other sports like golf and American football. Soccer is a game of two halves. Each half is 45 minutes long, with a 15-minute break in between. So, barring extra time, penalty shoot-outs, and things like that, the whole game can be done and dusted within less than two hours, which makes it very convenient to watch. More importantly, it means that the game isn’t being constantly stopped in the middle of the action. Once the players are on the pitch, they are there to play and that is all they do until the whistle is blown – there’s no huddles or talking tactics, just pure sports to sit and enjoy.
It’s easy to follow
The great thing about soccer is that the rules are really pretty simple – the often misunderstood offside rule aside – which means anyone can just turn up to a game and instantly understand what is going on. Pretty much everyone knows that the aim of every soccer team is to score goals and that each goal represents 1 point to the team, whereas a person who has never been into football of the American variety, before may not know that a touchdown is 6 points or someone who’s never watched basketball may not know why some baskets are worth 2 points but others 3. Its very simplicity has to be one of the biggest reasons why it is so popular in most places on the planet.
It has a rich history
Soccer is one of the oldest sports that are still regularly played today. Fifa says that ball games that had at least some resemblance to football have been around since at least 200 B.C in the British Isles. Of course, the game has evolved a lot since then and many people think that it has now been perfected.
The skill is amazing
If you’ve ever seen a professional soccer player doing keepy-ups or expertly dribbling the ball with total control, you’ll know that football can be a very skilled game and the individuals who play at the highest levels have a lot of talent. It can be a joy to watch them do what they do well.
The atmosphere is awesome
One thing that really does set soccer apart from other sports is the unique atmosphere of the games. From often inventive and frequently cutting football chants to the roar of the crowds when their team scores and the almost patriotic flag-waving to the bonding with complete strangers that share only one thing in common – the love of a team – you can be sure to have a unique and exciting time in the soccer stands.
Soccer fans are so passionate about their teams that they cry when they lose and celebrate long into the night when they win. Their teams are like extended members of their family and they feel every joy and pain in a very personal way. As such, it’s easy to feel a part of something bigger than yourself when you start supporting a soccer team. Once it’s in your heart, you’re a soccer fan forever.
Time to try soccer for yourself?