Soccer has long been the most popular sport on the planet, but more than ever before, it is now truly the world’s greatest game.
Two of the many reasons why soccer has dominated other sports?
The game itself
At the basic level, soccer is a very simple game; eleven men, trying to kick the ball into the other team’s goal. An alien could come down from Mars and watch a soccer game and figure out quickly what is going on. I don’t think the simplicity alone explains soccer’s popularity. Consider the contrast with ice hockey. Hockey, after all, it has all the natural benefits of soccer, being just as simple and with similar amazing skills on display, but with the added benefits of greater speed, more goals, and checking. So why hasn’t hockey become the global phenomenon that soccer is? I think a large part of it is the strategy element. Soccer is also, I think, considerably more unpredictable than most sports.
This is the biggest difference between soccer and other sports; the sheer passion and involvement of the people in the stands. In truth, what happens in the stands is often just as much of a spectacle as what happens on the field. Soccer is the one game, I think, where the fans can really influence what happens on the field. Not in a negative way, like in football when you shout and scream when the opposition is on third down. (not disrespecting this pursuit in any way – it makes perfect sense in the context of the game – but wouldn’t it feel better, emotionally, to shout and scream when YOUR team is on offense?). But in a positive way. Driving your team on to greater heights, while intimidating the opposition, making them doubt their abilities. That comes, I think, from the natural fluidity of the action; Soccer is such a game of RHYTHM and CONFIDENCE.