Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why Soccer won’t make it in the U.S.

I’m a retired “C” License Soccer Coach but I suspect that Soccer will never make it as a big spectator sport in the U.S.

It’s an excellent aerobic exercise sport and every youngster should play the game. There are recreational youth leagues just about everywhere and certainly younger kids, both boys and girls, should play the sport. I strongly recommend it over football for younger children.

But that’s not the same thing as an adult spectator sport. It has no freaking hope here. There just isn’t enough scoring and explosiveness.

Consider the first round of the World Cup. There were 16 games played and a grand total of 23 goals scored. That’s 1.4 goals PER GAME. Not per team, but per game. That’s one scoring event every 64 minutes of play, and that doesn’t include extra time where at least one goal by New Zealand was scored to squeak out a draw with Slovakia.

Of the 32 teams that played, 13 were shut-out and 15 scored one goal. The four games in which one team scored more than one goal were South Korea over Greece 2-0, Germany over Australia 4-0, The Netherlands over Denmark 2-0 and Brazil over North Korea 2-1.

The Brazil-North Korea game was an old fashioned “offensive shoot-out” with goals scored at the blazing rate of one every 30 minutes. *YAWN*.

I’ve often wondered what soccer would be like without the offside rule. That would sure open things up but it might get a goalie or two pinioned on the net.

I went to a World Cup game at Giants Stadium between Ireland and Norway in 1994, and it was a lot of fun, but it ended 0-0, the only 0-0 tie in the whole tournament. Not having any goals scored took a lot out of the game.

So I don’t see soccer ever being a big adult spectator sport here. It doesn’t have the tradition of baseball, the explosiveness of football or the acrobatics and high scoring of basketball.

The fact that the U.S. teams generally have no hope of winning probably doesn’t help any either. I’ll probably watch some of the semi-final and final games but I’ll also probably nap while doing so.

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