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Hoff
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(Originally posted on: 07-01-08 07:57:36 AM)
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This reply was last edited on 07-01-08 08:05:38 AM by Hoff.
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Reply 1 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-01-08 08:05:06 AM)
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I just read this article on slate magazine by Dave Eggers who tries to explain why Soccer is not and never will be popular in the US.
http://www.slate.com/id/2142554/

Decent article, Eggers cites 3 reasons why it hasn't caught on. One, which didn't seem part of his main thesis was that soccer used to be percieved as the sport of the communists. So that might explain a little bit about why it didn't catch on in the past, but why now?
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Our continued indifference to the sport worshiped around the world can be easily explained in two parts. First, as a nation of loony but determined inventors, we prefer things we thought of ourselves. The most popular sports in America are those we conceived and developed on our own: football, baseball, basketball. If we can claim at least part of the credit for something, as with tennis or the radio, we are willing to be passively interested. But we did not invent soccer, and so we are suspicious of it.

The second and greatest, by far, obstacle to the popularity of the World Cup, and of professional soccer in general, is the element of flopping. Americans may generally be arrogant, but there is one stance I ů stand behind, and that is the intense loathing of penalty-fakers. There are few examples of American sports where flopping is part of the game, much less accepted as such. Things are too complicated and dangerous in football to do much faking. Baseball? It's not possible, reallyŚyou can't fake getting hit by a baseball, and it's impossible to fake catching one. The only one of the big three sports that has a flop factor is basketball, where players can and do occasionally exaggerate a foul against them, but get this: The biggest flopper in the NBA is not an American at all. He's Argentinian! (Manu Ginobili, a phony to end all phonies, but otherwise a very good player.)

TL;DR

1.) Americans didn't have a hand in inventing the sport so therefore we don't like it as much as sports that we did.

2.) The whole issue about diving and how it is much less prevalent in American sports such as Baseball, Football and Basketball. And really the only sport that its really even possible to fake a dive is basketball.


What do you think about his theory or what do you think the reasons are? Isn't reason #2 kinda saying that since it is popular in europe that europeans like the diving aspect or don't find it as terrible a thing as americans do? Is that true?

From an American viewpoint I think its a combination of what Eggers said. Soccer probably didn't catch on right away because it wasn't an American thing to begin with. Then American sports would become immensely popular making there even less room for soccer. So with so many options to watch, not many people turned to soccer where there is such an obvious flaw (especially now with replay) of diving.

Thats my explanation, but it doesn't really explain why it caught on in Europe but not in the US. Also, what is the state of soccer in Canada, more popular than in the US or about the same?
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Reply 2 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-01-08 08:52:05 AM)
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What do you think about his theory or what do you think the reasons are? Isn't reason #2 kinda saying that since it is popular in europe that europeans like the diving aspect or don't find it as terrible a thing as americans do? Is that true?

We don't like it, but we're used to it.

And when a team you supports player dives and gets a freekick, you don't really mind.

You accept it, kinda like commercials during TV shows, it's annoying and sucks but what can you do.
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This reply was last edited on 07-01-08 09:03:26 AM by drahnier.
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Reply 3 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-01-08 09:32:47 AM)
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And soccer never became big in America because for whatever reason, back in the 1800s, Americans eventually chose the rugby form of football over the soccer-form after the two rule-types split and went their separate ways. (As you may know, rugby and soccer were originally one chaotic sport)

Which they then, like you said in typical American fashion, customized and made into american football.

And in modern days, unlike places like Asia, the American sports market is already filled with ultra-commercialized sports so there's no reason for Americans to start following soccer.
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Reply 4 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-01-08 02:52:43 PM)
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back in the 1800s, Americans eventually chose the rugby form of football over the soccer-form after the two rule-types split and went their separate ways. (As you may know, rugby and soccer were originally one chaotic sport)

I've read up on this (admittedly, on wikipedia), its some pretty interesting stuff. Its so strange how these sports which dominate our cultures all around the world started so recently, and not long ago were such a mess.

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You accept it, kinda like commercials during TV shows, it's annoying and sucks but what can you do.

Funny you should use this example. My father swears the reason soccer isn't popular and will never be popular in America is because of the lack of commercial time. Baseball, Football, and Basketball all have pleanty of time for commercial breaks. Hockey has constructed "TV Time Outs." No professional outdoor soccer league would allow that (and if they did, they probably wouldn't be taken seriously). Since the sport has no room for commercials, other than at halftime, advertisers can't make as much money (or atleast not in the same way) off of the sport.

I think this definitely plays a role in Soccer's unpopularity (meaning companies don't want soccer to become popular because they can't make as much money off of it and therefor take measures to prevent it from becoming more popularity).

However my father and others put more weight on this theory then I think is plausible. Not only do they think this is true, but they also think that if the big guns wanted to make soccer popular, they could. Maybe I'm naive, but I don't believe thats true.

I don't think this factor will be as strong in the immediate future with all the new forms of media, internet broadcasts for example could surround the game with advertisements.

What I think is the biggest factor, is that, in my experience at least, American kids (boys) are taught from a very early age that soccer is gay, stupid, or for girls. I remember purposely not telling people I liked soccer when I was little because I knew other kids would make fun of it/me and I didn't want to bother. Probably the reason I continued liking soccer up to now is because I was continually exposed to it, as it was enjoyed by my family and some of my best friends, with whom I could enjoy the sport with.

For kids with fathers and brothers and schoolmates who all hold the opinion that soccer is for girls, theres probably no hope.
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Reply 5 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-01-08 02:57:26 PM)
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That's why the smaller soccer leagues, like the Swedish one, puts 500 different commercial logos on the jerseys and shorts.

They even have logos on the ass.
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Reply 6 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-01-08 03:30:09 PM)
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Basketball was invented by a Canadian.
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Reply 7 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-02-08 02:27:37 AM)
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With an increasing Latino population, globalization and the US team doing decently enough, I suppose soccer will keep growing. I don't think it'll become the biggest sport in the US anytime soon, but I imagine it'll be fairly popular and not gay.
đonne onwŠcne­ eft wineleas guma, gesih­ him biforan fealwe wegas, ba■ian brimfuglas, brŠdan fe■ra, hreosan hrim ond snaw hagle gemenged. Ůonne beo­ ■y hefigran heortan benne, sare Šfter swŠsne. Sorg bi­ geniwad ■onne maga gemynd mod geondhweorfe­, grete­ gliwstafum, georne geondsceawa­ secga geseldan; swimma­ oft on weg. Fleotendra fer­ no ■Šr fela bringe­ cu­ra cwidegiedda.
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Reply 8 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-02-08 06:26:10 AM)
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Well.. MLS has only been around since 1993. It's the premier soccer league in the US. I don't think most people would expect a league around for only 15 years to be totally popular. It was based on the NFL and started by a long-time NFL owner (the late Lamar Hunt, of the KC Chiefs). Give it a little time. It's been getting ever-more popular the last few years. It's actually on ESPN sometimes now.

Another reason that could be possible.. a lot of kids don't play competitive soccer as they get older. Many American high schools, especially the ones that aren't wealthy or huge, don't have soccer teams. It's like my college with ice hockey.. we have a team, but we have to play teams all over the place. That leads to a lot of travel expenses to get to places farther away. These seem like common-sense reasons to me that I came up with off the top of my head.

And of course MLS will have trouble wrestling away TV time slots from the more steady-income-based NFL, MLB, and NBA. Even the NHL is still a darkhorse when it comes to national TV times, and it's a little more well-established. In America, MLB is in the summer, that leads into the NFL in the early fall, and the NBA takes over late fall into the beginning of summer. You'll often hear Americans say, "It's football season," or "baseball season."
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Reply 9 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-02-08 06:33:47 AM)
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Well, the MLS is young alright, but there were other professional leagues before, like the NASL, where the likes of PelÚ and Cruyff played. As far as I know, the MLS was a revival attempt in the wake of the USA'94 World Championship.
đonne onwŠcne­ eft wineleas guma, gesih­ him biforan fealwe wegas, ba■ian brimfuglas, brŠdan fe■ra, hreosan hrim ond snaw hagle gemenged. Ůonne beo­ ■y hefigran heortan benne, sare Šfter swŠsne. Sorg bi­ geniwad ■onne maga gemynd mod geondhweorfe­, grete­ gliwstafum, georne geondsceawa­ secga geseldan; swimma­ oft on weg. Fleotendra fer­ no ■Šr fela bringe­ cu­ra cwidegiedda.
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Reply 10 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-02-08 08:13:34 AM)
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They're still different leagues. Sixty years of consistent marketing and establishing yourself still means more than 6 different leagues playing 10 years each. Longer you're around, more sponsors, more big money, more contracts, etc.
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Reply 11 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-02-08 01:40:38 PM)
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MLS is probably more financially sound than the NASL, which just bought in huge aging stars and eventually collapsed.

MLS is growing slower and trying to be more stable.
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Reply 12 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-02-08 02:25:21 PM)
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Hopefully it'll work. It was started by people around during the AFL/NFL merger, so they're familiar with growing a league.
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Reply 13 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-02-08 03:20:13 PM)
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It was announced that theres going to be an MLS team coming to philadelphia, the stadium location was announced (its not actually in philadelphia, and its closer to where I live then the existing Philadelphia sports complex where all our other major teams play), and I think they will be playing by 2010. So i'm pretty excited about that, and I know a lot of people who are. But still when its mentioned around people who I don't know are friendly soccer people, I still hear those soccer-hating reactions, saying "who cares, soccers gay." It will struggle, but maybe the presence of local athletes in town will have an impact on the children, and perhaps the next generation wont fear the game so much.
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Reply 14 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-02-08 03:24:45 PM)
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Quoted from IF0:
They're still different leagues. Sixty years of consistent marketing and establishing yourself still means more than 6 different leagues playing 10 years each. Longer you're around, more sponsors, more big money, more contracts, etc.

Well, yeah, but what I meant is the sport was established there before the MLS. Of course it helps if the league is successful, but the NASL should have done (and probably did) a lot of the preliminary work to get soccer rooted in the US.
đonne onwŠcne­ eft wineleas guma, gesih­ him biforan fealwe wegas, ba■ian brimfuglas, brŠdan fe■ra, hreosan hrim ond snaw hagle gemenged. Ůonne beo­ ■y hefigran heortan benne, sare Šfter swŠsne. Sorg bi­ geniwad ■onne maga gemynd mod geondhweorfe­, grete­ gliwstafum, georne geondsceawa­ secga geseldan; swimma­ oft on weg. Fleotendra fer­ no ■Šr fela bringe­ cu­ra cwidegiedda.
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Reply 15 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-02-08 04:53:38 PM)
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Not if people don't see it. Maybe the sport itself as a sport, not not as an ENTERTAINMENT sport. Aka, it just isn't on TV. In today's world, if you want a sport to go national, it has to be televised. A young league (even one as popular as the MLS is becoming) still isn't televised nearly often enough to expose anyone to it effectively.
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Reply 16 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-02-08 06:51:29 PM)
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For the record, i've never even heard of the NASL until this thread. Though I hadn't heard of the MLS till last world cup, but to be fair i've heard pleanty about it since.
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Reply 17 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-02-08 08:48:11 PM)
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I can't believe this hasn't been mentioned at all.


IT'S SO FUCKING BORING.

That is, in my opinion. The games are often really really low-scoring, where 2-0 is a huge crushing defeat. I suppose that when on the highest professional level, defense is much easier than offense. Americans seem to like action and scoring. This is why the NFL is constantly changing the rules. I think it was said somewhere that the NFL brass want to average at least 28 points a game. Back in the day, defensive pass interference was very loose. Not the case anymore.

Anyway, I kind of got off on a tangent there. Most of soccer is just some dribbling, passing, dribbling, passing, etc etc. I guess you could break most sports down like that (basketball is dribble, pass, pass, shoot, etc), but at least there are lots of shots and scores that are exciting. There just aren't that many scoring opportunities in soccer. Hockey might sometimes be low-scoring, but there are usually always plenty of shots on goal, and 3 on 1 situations where you get nervous/excited. I don't think it's that common in soccer.
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Reply 18 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-03-08 06:06:08 AM)
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So basically you're saying that Americans are vulgar and simple folk who can only appreciate the actual scoring in sports, and the more subtle attraction of the actual gameplay is lost on them?

Interesting.
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Reply 19 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-03-08 07:33:42 AM)
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Don't listen to Wheezy.
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Reply 20 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-03-08 11:24:16 AM)
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The thing with basketball is that I think there is too much scoring. Unless its the end of the game each point standing by itself is utterly meaningless. The little excitement that is finally generated in basketball by the end of the game is swept away in the flood of timeouts that occur in the final minutes. Basketball is a perfect example of what too much scoring can do to a game.

Football has far less scoring but the game scores can still be high due to being able to score 3 or 6 points in a single play. Also football is a game of extremes. Your team is either on defense or offense. So as a fan you are either cheering for good defense or good offense.

With soccer, the players are in a constant state of transition from offense to defense and defense to offense. I think for a lot of americans who don't like soccer this is where the problem lies. There is too much inbetween action and most of them don't know the game well enough to appreciate what goes on in that part of the game.

So to drah, I think its more of a case of americans not knowing much about the actual play of the game, not understanding the intricacies of it well enough to appreciate it, because the majority of americans weren't brought up watching soccer or playing it at any sort of competative level after they were 10 years old. I don't think its that we are "vulgar and simple folk" who only appreciate scoring. Its more of a general ignorance about the game of soccer itself.
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Reply 21 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-03-08 01:57:07 PM)
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Well, many Americans do seem to have conceptual problems with draws.
đonne onwŠcne­ eft wineleas guma, gesih­ him biforan fealwe wegas, ba■ian brimfuglas, brŠdan fe■ra, hreosan hrim ond snaw hagle gemenged. Ůonne beo­ ■y hefigran heortan benne, sare Šfter swŠsne. Sorg bi­ geniwad ■onne maga gemynd mod geondhweorfe­, grete­ gliwstafum, georne geondsceawa­ secga geseldan; swimma­ oft on weg. Fleotendra fer­ no ■Šr fela bringe­ cu­ra cwidegiedda.
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Reply 22 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-06-08 12:49:13 PM)
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If Americans like high scoring they should like MLS, because those teams are unorganized and can't defend for shit and the games are like 4-2.
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Reply 23 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-06-08 02:04:04 PM)
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I don't think its fair to say Americans can't understand soccer because they're somehow not sophisticated enough.

Its simply that the majority of them simply don't understand (not can't).

If kids grow up with it, they'll understand it and like it.

Its not that Americans can't take a game that doesn't have constant point tallying, or non-stop action, baseball is proof. Around the world people are confounded as to why anyone would like such a seemingly boring sport. But when you get into it, you begin to understand the complexities and it becomes really fun.

We, generally, don't grow up with soccer, and don't know understand the gameplay. Then, when its turned on, it looks boring.
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Reply 24 of 44 (Originally posted on: 07-07-08 05:41:47 PM)
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So basically you're saying that Americans are vulgar and simple folk who can only appreciate the actual scoring in sports, and the more subtle attraction of the actual gameplay is lost on them?


No, it's more that soccer is so fucking boring, as I've said already.
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