When it comes to popular sports the world over, there are many different contenders.
There’s football, running, basketball, swimming, baseball—but in a league of its own stands soccer, which is so popular that it has different names in the many different countries that play to it.
People who don’t watch soccer may wonder: why is soccer so popular?
After all, it’s one of the simpler games, and (at least in the U.S.) the industry around it isn’t as built up as, say, the football industry. However, soccer is here to stay—and anyone who’s watched more than a game or two can sing its praises at length.
In this article, we’ll provide 10 reasons that you can’t argue against. Read on for an indisputable treatise on why people are so passionate about soccer and why it is the most popular sport in the entire world.
These are 10 reasons why soccer is the world’s most popular sport.
For a game that is played on the world’s stage, soccer is amazingly accessible for amateurs.
Soccer can be played on any flat surface, whether indoors or outdoors. It doesn’t need any kind of special arena or equipment: any opening or even just coats laid on the ground can mark each team’s goal.
The soccer ball, in high-stakes professional leagues, is a regulated one—but for anyone playing in the backyard, literally any pumped-up ball will do. Because the game is so flexible, anyone can play it—and this means that when they watch soccer, they feel more invested because they know what’s going on.
2. It’s Inexpensive.
There are two different ways that soccer is an inexpensive sport: it’s a low-cost game, and tickets to see professional teams play aren’t that expensive.
Whether you want to get into the game yourself or watch others play, your investment will be small. All you need is a ball and an area to kick it around in.
If you want to go and watch other people play, tickets for soccer games typically run at a much lower cost than—for example—football games. Perhaps it’s the shorter time that does it! However, sometimes even the concessions can be cheaper than their equivalents in other arenas.
3. The history of soccer is fascinating.
Did you know that soccer is one of the world’s oldest sports that still has a following in modernity?
According to folklore coming out of the United Kingdom, games that looked very similar to soccer were being played as early as three millennia ago.
Of course, the game has changed a lot since then; soccer as we know it didn’t officially form until the nineteenth century. However, the legendary beginnings of soccer are still living in the current game. There are even generations of people who have been following their same teams as if they were family!
4. It has the most passionate fans.
There’s something about soccer that causes its fans to go wild.
Whether it’s due to the long history and familial (as well as geographical) connections which most people have with it or the fact that most people have played some version of soccer at some point in their lives—soccer fans tolerate no opposition and take their team’s status completely to heart.
It’s not always a positive thing, as people have gotten violent over their love for soccer. This is definitely not an action to emulate, but it shows just how far people will go to show their love for their team. Almost no other sport showcases fans who are willing to show just how much they adore their team of choice!
To get a better idea, check the following YouTube clip from one of the most passionate soccer fans: the Argentinians!
5. Soccer is played the world over.
This is one of the defining reasons for soccer’s popularity.
In America, we might be puzzled about soccer’s rise: after all, we have football, and many would say that’s a much bigger sport.
However, outside of the United States, soccer is rampant. It’s played in almost every major country, with the World Cup being almost like the Olympics in that it represents countries from every region in the world competing for it.
6. Soccer is a relatively short game.
In today’s day and age of shortening attention spans, soccer represents an investment of time that allows the typical fan to pay attention and be invested for the entire time. This is opposed to games like football and baseball, which can last for hours with little action.
In soccer, the 90-minute clock starts at the beginning and does not stop for (almost) any reason until the game is over. This provides an insane incentive for constant stalling and fighting for every inch of the field.
With a soccer game, it’s possible to sit and watch and feel unable to take your eyes off the field or screen—and be able to keep that up for the full 90 minutes.
7. It’s player-focused.
As opposed to other sports that are more focused on the ball, the arena, and the fans, soccer remains a sport that is focused on the player.
Each individual contributes to their team in a unique and impressive way, and a kick or play completed by one individual can win the game.
This makes it possible for any individual player to have their moment in the limelight, which is exciting for fans of professional games and cathartic for amateurs playing in their backyard. The sense of adrenaline that this gives both watchers and players keeps them coming back to the game for more!
8. Soccer can be played safely.
We’ve all seen the horrifying headlines about sports players cut down in their prime by unfortunate ball game incidents. These can be truly tragic—and sometimes, due to the nature of the games being played, unavoidable.
Unfortunately, the sheer fact of the matter is that some games (such as football) carry with them inherent dangers.
Soccer, as long as it is played according to the rules, and by people who know best how to play, can be quite safe, which reduces the number of tragedies by a considerable amount.
Of course, this does not mean that soccer is a completely safe sport; you should still practice precautions if you’re practicing to be a soccer player.
9. Everyone can play soccer.
Of course, amateurs can always play anything they want; but even at the pro levels, soccer is a game that invites all to join. There is no minimum height, for example, or any maximum weight. In the case of the U.S., women’s soccer is often as well-populated, attended, and celebrated as the men’s!
10. Soccer is fun for everyone to watch.
If you’ve ever been to a soccer game, you know this to be true. Unlike just about any other sporting experience, soccer games include fans who don’t sit down and are singing the entire game! Being at a soccer game is a truly immersive experience.
While soccer might not have the riveting halftime shows that games like football are known for, it makes up for it in non-stop action. Everyone who visits a soccer game is almost guaranteed to be treated to a game that they can’t take their eyes off of. And if there are some boring parts, the constantly engaged fans will certainly make up for it.
With all of the reasons that soccer is incredibly popular, it’s no wonder that soccer has the most passionate fans the world around! Its extreme accessibility, low cost, and the amount of fun you can have playing and watching it make it an experience worth having no matter who you are.