Sam’s article “Soccer: A sport that doesn’t interest me” motivated me to write something about why soccer is the most popular sport in the World.
Usually, I’d talk about how challenging it is to win a World Cup (Only 7 countries have won it in 90 years) or how many wars have been temporarily stopped thanks to soccer or talk about all the friendly matches played to promote peace such as the game between FC Barcelona vs Peace Team (Team made up of players from Israel and Palestine) or amazing moments like the one in WC2006 where Mexico’s goalie father had just passed away and before the Mexico-Iran game Iran’s goalie gave Mexico’s goalie a flower bucket and a hug (Min. 2:55)
Instead, I’m just gonna explain soccer as if I was writing a “Soccer for dummies” book.
Soccer is very similar to basketball, the main differences (beside the obvious) is that in basketball you can dribble past more than 2 people (Easier to do with your hands than your feet) and there’s no goalie in front of rim ready to stop the ball. That’s why the best ways to play soccer are (1) Run extremely fast to leave people behind or (2) Play like the Globetrotters and make the defense chase behind the ball.
Soccer is a team sport just like basketball, if you are fast or tall (heading the ball) gives you an advantage. There’s a lot of physical contact (like most sports played by men) and the rules are set-up to encourage a physical-fun game without having people getting killed. (That’s why in B-ball you can’t push somebody when he’s in the air).
In soccer you have 11 players, the field is very big so they try to play positions.
The goalie is the only player that can grab the ball with his hands, he’s the main reason why it’s so difficult to score a goal. But he can only grab the ball inside the goalie box.
In front of the goalie is the line of defenders (Usually 3-4 players) their main goal is to kick the ball out of … what you call in football “The red zone”.
In the middle of the field are the midfielders, they are the quarterbacks of soccer, their job is to break the “destruction defensive line” created by the other team’s defense by passing the ball around and hopefully give a nice pass to a wide open forward to score a goal.
The wide-receivers of soccer are the forwards, their job is very similar to a wide-receiver because of the off-side rule (A forward can’t just stand behind the rivals defense waiting for a pass, he has to be “on this side” until the ball is passed) because of this rule, many plays look just like a QB passing the ball to the WR who sprinted passed the cornerback or safety… BUT the forward still had to put the ball in the goal and has the goalie ready to stop the ball.
Sometimes a player will get fouled about 20-30 yards from the goal and the team gets a free-kick. That’s when you realize that there’s a similarity between soccer and golf. When a player gets a free kick, he has to kick the ball over 4-7 rivals standing about 12ft in front of him, get the ball pass the goalie and put it in the goal. Some free-kicks can be just as exciting as watching a golfer getting a hole-in-one.
The best free kicker in the World is Juninho Pernambucano, a Brazilian that plays in the French league.
Everybody loves the And1 basketball videos because of all the tricks and skills they display. In soccer there’s also many people that can do a lot of tricks with a soccer ball in a game. The best dribbler in World right now is Cristiano Ronaldo (Portuguese – Plays in England in Manchester United)
Hopefully this will help you understand a little better why soccer is the most popular sport in the World.
To finish, I’ll leave you with one of the funniest soccer commercials I’ve seen.