Last night I stayed up to watch the European League "Football" Championship game which is essentially the Superbowl of European soccer. I was happy to watch it and enjoyed the game but was reminded why "football" will never be popular in America.
1. Football is already the most popular sport. Just the fact that we call football, "soccer" and we call American Football, "football" shows that Americans are unwilling to accept the alternative. For the sake of this post I will now call soccer, soccer so that we are not confused.
2. Soccer players are whimps. Granted they are in better shape than the rest of the people on earth and their talents are absolutely amazing. But, if they get bumped, they fall to the ground, cover their face, and wince in hopes of getting a foul called. Americans want to see real violence and hits that are hard enough to actually knock a person out. You can compare the "hard" fouls of the NBA vs the "soft" fouls of International Basketball. Last night there were a few fouls that drew blood and one fight so that is a positive for soccer.
3. There is not enough scoring in soccer. It may not be right, but Americans would rather see a 10-9 soccer game than a 1-0 match. Of course the fact that last night's game was decided after 6 penalty kicks was exciting.. it just took 120 minutes of game time to get there. Some may argue that Baseball is also boring but I will offer the international alternative of "Cricket" as the counter-argument to that. They have matches that last 3-4 days and the fans eagerly await the outcome which would never be acceptable in the USA.
4. Mullets are still acceptable in soccer. Nothing to say here.
5. The fans are willing to sing, fight, and stand for the entire game. This is actually a criticism of Americans. We don't have enough fun watching our sports games (except for college sports in which the crowds are greatly aided through the work of "mixer-man". Soccer fans sing for the entire game, they fight fans of the opposite team, and they stand in the rain and snow without a break (of course they too are influenced by "mixer-man"). Some exceptions exist such as Red Sox -Yankees games, Game 7 of NBA finals, and during the commercials of the NFL Superbowl.
I am glad that MLS is surviving in the USA and that many children play the sport but please do not think we will ever embrace this sport like the rest of the world. When the World Cup comes around in 2010 I plan on staying awake along with Scott C to watch the games but it will never capture my heart.