Written by Frank Li
The FIFA World Cup 2014 is over. Congratulations to Germany for winning the Cup!
This World Cup brought much excitement to the U.S. Two examples:
Therefore, it’s time for me to chip in, with two topics:
The World Cup 2014, some observations and opinions.
Why isn’t soccer more popular in the U.S.?
Let me elaborate on each.
1. The World Cup 2014
Here are my three main observations followed by my opinions:
China did not even make it, which was a total embarrassment for China, the most populous nation in the world! Message: Bigger is not always better!
No team from Asia made it into the top 16. Asians are just not very good at soccer: too slow, too soft, and too bad! Message: people are not born equal in all respects, and race matters!
The U.S. team also performed poorly. Any reasonable person who watched the last U.S. game (against Belgium) must have reached the same conclusion. Message: The U.S. is not good at everything it tries!
2. Why isn’t soccer more popular in the U.S.?
Soccer is by far the most popular sport in the world. But it’s not even in the top three in the U.S. – why not? Blame American football, basketball, and even ice hockey! All three of them fit into America’s “culture” a lot better than soccer, especially in terms of instant and constant gratification.
American football fits the bill because of its resemblance to some brutal ancient sports like those performed by gladiators. Brutality draws the attention of many people, as proven by most sports!
Basketball is high scoring when compared with soccer, which is a game of futility (with the last Germany vs. Brazil game being an exception). Besides, anybody who watched the San Antonio Spurs against Miami Heat in the last NBA championship series should appreciate the beauty of real basketball: it’s the balance between individual talent and team work that really matters!
Ice hockey is a real sport! For more, read: Ice Hockey: Get Rid of the Goalie!
To me, there are three prerequisites for a popular international sport like soccer to become very popular in a country like the U.S. (or China):
The country must be reasonably good at it.
It must not have a lot of competition from other sports, national or international.
It must fit into the “culture”.
Unfortunately, none of the three prerequisites can be found in the U.S. (or China). Specifically,
The U.S. is not very good at soccer, despite its size and overall athletic abilities.
Soccer has too much competition from other sports like American football, basketball, and even ice hockey.
Soccer does not fit into America’s culture. For example, Americans adore stars (e.g. LeBron James, who is the team, from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers), on top of instant and constant gratification. Worse yet, many Americans spend their time watching baseball, which is slow, but still has more occasional excitement than soccer! As a result, Americans have little room left for other sports like soccer.
What about China? There is absolutely no excuse for China not to be atop in Asia! Beyond that, let’s face the truth: Asians are hopeless in soccer as they are in track and field! Why is that? Asians simply do not have the athletic abilities like the white or black! For more, read: Olympics and Economies.
Soccer is a great sport, especially for kids. It will undoubtedly become bigger in the U.S. in the coming years, at least partially due to our increasingly large Latino population. But it will never be as big as American football, basketball, or even ice hockey!