So, what’s all the hype about?
By Mo Hussain, Sports Reporter
Soccer is a game that does so much with so little.
In last week’s issue, we covered which sports are the most popular around the world. At the top of that list was soccer, which has an estimated four billion fans. However, for many of us living in North America, soccer doesn’t necessarily resonate as much as other sports do for a variety of different reasons (stay tuned for next week’s issue to find out why).
For those that aren’t big fans of the sport, just understand this: soccer is a game that does so much with so little. It does this for not only the people playing the sport, but even for people that are just watching it as well. If someone is looking to play the sport, the only equipment needed is a ball and a net (or even just objects that emulate a ball and a net). No need for a large hoop, a court, golf course, or a large field to play for fun.
This low barrier to entry opens the floodgates for people across the world to play the game, sometimes regardless of the resources available to them. In this list of some of the top ten players in the world, there are nine countries represented including Argentina, Portugal, Senegal, Belgium, Netherlands, etc. This shows how soccer’s low barrier of entry attracts people from across a variety of countries to the sport.
For individuals looking to just watch the action, the game has a very simple and convenient time structure that is followed around the world. Every professional soccer matchup almost always has a regulation period of 90 minutes with two 45 minute halves. This is much easier and convenient to keep up with than some other sports that have different time structures across different professional leagues.
The fundamental concept of soccer is also easy to keep up with. The objective of the game is to get the ball in the net using only your feet. There aren’t many moments where there is a complicated hybrid use of both your hands and feet (unless you’re a goalie) and having to deduce what the objective of the game is shouldn’t be reasonably hard.
When watching soccer, it doesn’t take long to put one and two together. Whereas in other sports like football and baseball, it can arguably be much harder to grasp the objective of the game and the roles that certain players must play relative to soccer.
There’s obviously a lot more to cover in terms of how its popularity grew over the last century or so, but in my opinion the key takeaway for why soccer is as big as it is, is in its simplicity. As for how long soccer will remain the world’s most popular sport is to be determined, but for whatever sport that looks to compete with it, good luck!