XI reasons why Football is the most popular sport in the world:
I am a self-declared Football fanatic and may not be as objective, however few, can deny that Football is simply the greatest sport in the world. Let me explain why?
First, as a matter of fact the game is played by hundreds of millions people around the world. Second, it’s a game that breaks down social boundaries like nothing else in the world can and connects people of opposite cultures.
But there are 11 more compelling reasons (everything in soccer is 11):
All you need to play a game of football is a ball and a pair of shoes. You can put a net together. You can practice dribbling yourself, or find a friend to kick the ball around with you. Joining a league only requires a pair of cleats and shin pads. It’s so accessible to everybody.
Like in any sport, injuries in soccer happen, and they can be severe. However, studies have found that soccer players are less prone to injury when compared to other sports. In 2009, according to John Hopkins Medicine, about 88,000 children aged 5-14 were treated for soccer related injuries in the US. Nearly 110,000 were treated for baseball related injuries, 170,000 for basketball injuries, and an astounding 215,000 for American football related injuries. Compared to other sports, soccer fares much better, making it a safer option for kids that want to play a sport.
Easy to learn:
The rules of the game with the possible exception of the nuances of the “off-side rule”, are very simple and easy to explain and master: Don’t touch the ball with your hands and try to get it into the other net. Don’t foul anyone without touching the ball first. Throw the ball back in when it goes out. Once you’ve explained the offside concept, the yellow and red cards, free kicks and corners, you have yourself a game.
Skill & Technique:
To play soccer, skill on the ball and great technique, are essential. For some people, mastering the art of controlling the ball with your feet and making it move how you want it to move is extremely difficult. It requires a light yet confident touch of the ball, and assertiveness when passing in tight quarters. Soccer, when approaching the net, becomes a game of inches, and that’s when the real talent emerges. Watching great players with this set of skills and techniques is amazing to watch and admire. Good anticipation, vision, quick decision making, strategic thinking, collaboration and team work are all essential attributes of good players.
Normalcy of physique:
Many sports nowadays have become so advanced and competitive, that you need to have a certain physique to allow you to excel. In basketball, men and women with a height advantage have a major advantage over people that are less tall. Soccer is different. Agility, speed and footwork are worth more than physique. Soccer players are the most fit of athletes they need to be in the best shape of their lives, but the size of their body is much less a factor than in other sports. A lower centre of gravity is a great advantage for soccer players. All you need to do is look at some of the greats, including Lionel Messi, who is 5-foot-7, to realize that even smaller players have a chance of being great.
Soccer is the only sport where the clock will run no matter what the issue. A foul is settled by letting the other team have the ball, and letting play continue. There are no commercial breaks other than for the 15-minute halftime, and whatever time was wasted during the game is added on at the end of every half. Soccer’s fluidity and lack of stoppages give them an important edge compared to other sports especially when considering TV viewing.
For fans this is the most favorite thing. Most seasons in Europe go from August to May, with games running about once a week, with Champions League games and other Cup games to be played in between. If that doesn’t do it, then there are years when fans can watch their best players play internationally in major tournaments such as the Word Cup and the Euro Cup. Other international competitions run year round such as the African Cup of Nations and the Copa America, as well as the CONCACAF Champions League, Major League Soccer (MLS) that runs through the summer, and also qualifications games for all the major international tournaments.
No other sport compares to soccer on the international scene. Because soccer is a sport that has an international fan base, tournaments like the FIFA World Cup, the Euro Cup, and many, many more are made possible year after year. These tournaments mean a lot to soccer fans in the countries that are being represented. So much so, that during international tournaments, countries’ flags can be seen everywhere, representing people’s passion and love of the game. The FIFA Word Cup is the biggest of such events, and the biggest sporting event in the entire world. Brazil in 2014 generated over a billion viewers worldwide, and over 5.1 million people visited Brazil during that time. Other than FIFA, every other continent has some form of international competition.
What is necessary to play soccer? You need two players (although you can still do many things by yourself as well), two nets, made up of anything from stones to schoolbags to shoes if you’re really desperate, and a ball. Equipment is kept to bare minimum as well, as opposed to sports like hockey or football, where good equipment can cost thousands of dollars. Soccer is played on the poorest streets of third world countries as much as it’s played in rich countries. It gives the poor hope and something that will connect them to one another, and teaches them the value of the beautiful game. A nice example of soccer’s power to ease poverty is in India, where a league gathering slum dwellers and homeless people called Slum Soccer was created.
Are you a 60-year old man or a five-year old girl? No matter, what these two opposite age groups have in common is that they can both still play soccer. It’s so simple and easy to play that pretty much anyone can do it and enjoy themselves. There are organized leagues for every age group, parks with nets all over the world, and willing people that love the game. No other sport in the world comes close to soccer’s popularity internationally and that is because anybody can play the game.
It’s a Beautiful Game:
In soccer, passion is everywhere. It engulfs you and surrounds you. It’s seen at the park next door, when someone scores the winning goal, it’s seen in leagues everywhere, and it’s seen at the biggest stage as well. Soccer burns a fiery heart in people’s souls that they can’t get enough of. There’s no sport quite like it. A passionate commentator explains the passion of soccer, alludes to the roar of the crowd and the noise of the people. What a skillful player can do with the ball is unthinkable, impossible, making it all the more beautiful. A succession of passes leading to an easy goal is beautiful; everything about the game is simply beautiful. You feel the passion in your veins when you play and watch the game, when you watch Camp Nou bowing to Messi after scoring a spectacular goal, or when the Bernabeu salutes Ronaldo after yet another hat-trick. In soccer, passion is synonymous with the game.