10 Reasons Why Soccer is the World’s Favorite Sport

10 Reasons Why Soccer is the World’s Favorite Sport

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It is pretty widely accepted (outside of the U.S. at least) that soccer is the world’s favorite sport. Millions head to stadiums across the globe to take in the match of the week, while millions more flip on their TVs or head to the pub to cheer on their favorite teams. And let’s not forget the thousands of kids, teens, and adults who take to the pitch themselves to run around for a game or two. But in case you needed more convincing, here are 10 reasons why soccer in undoubtedly the best game in the world.

Not everybody gets an invite to the Olympics, believe you me

It’s in the Olympics
And has been since 1900 (women’s soccer was added in 1996 – late, but still a step in the right direction!) Other sports such as American football or cricket, have yet to make an appearance, and even some that are are laughed off as a joke of a competition (I’m looking at you, Team USA for basketball). Being featured in the Olympics is just one way you know you’ve made it, so congrats, soccer.

If they can do it, so can you!

Everyone can play
Not necessarily well, but the concept is pretty easy. Kick the ball into the goal, and try to keep the other team from doing the same. The rules aren’t much more complicated than that (we’re going to leave out yellow/red cards, off sides, and corner kicks for now). Anyway, you can head to your local field and join in a game or start up one with friends, but it’s usually pretty easy to find some willing teammates.

Mia Hamm Slammers.org
Mia Hamm, The Great One

Women get in on the action
Women’s soccer has been growing rapidly, especially in recent years, and is arguably the most prominent professional sport for women. There are associations and leagues all over the world, and as mentioned before, it’s had a spot in the Olympics for nearly 20 years now. Though their paychecks still don’t match those of their male counterparts, soccer superstars such as Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach are still household names.

Seriously, that's all you need! Airfields-Freeman.com
Seriously, that’s all you need!

It’s inexpensive
All you really need is a ball and some open space – everyone knows that a sweatshirt or a spare shoe makes excellent goal posts, and once the ball rolls into the street, it’s out of bounds. While nice cleats and shin guards help, they’re by no means necessary. Unlike other sports where you might need a swimming pool, basketball hoop or a Formula 1 car, soccer is truly accessible to anyone with the drive to play.

The rivalries are totally the best part Blogs.WSJ.com
The rivalries are totally the best part

It’s a way for countries to battle without blood
Or without too much blood, at least. Soccer is one of the best international competitions around, and gives countries the chance to show their national pride when they match up with their neighbors. At the same time, it gives people from different backgrounds and cultures a shared common ground, making us remember that we’re not as different as we seem. But really, everyone just likes the chance to rag on their rivals as they turn out for big games.

I take that back, the fans are totally the best part
I take that back, the fans are totally the best part

The culture
You can bet soccer is a hell of a lot more fun to watch than golf. Whether it’s heading to the pub before, during, and after a game to watch with friends (and downing a few in solidarity with your team), painting your face/entire body, or learning the songs and chants to yell at the top of your lungs, the best thing about being a soccer fan is the rejection of dignity and embracing of the crazy. Plenty of people have their own pre-game rituals or superstitions, and you can bet that you’ll always find a big group around any corner ready to watch the next match.

You can bet it's not nearly as easy as they make it look The-Soccer-Essentials.com
You can bet it’s not nearly as easy as they make it look

The skill of the greats
Watching a pro play soccer is a great experience. The game itself is truly beautiful – the passing, the fancy footwork, the trick goal shots…not to mention watching people run around the pitch for hours without so much as a water break. As mentioned before, anyone can play, but it takes serious commitment and practice to play well. Lucky shots are rare, and every goal has to be kicked with the utmost precision at exactly the right angle to get it past the keeper for a score.

Most countries would do a LOT to get the chance to hold this baby TrophiesTrophy.com
Most countries would do a LOT to get the chance to hold this baby

The FIFA World Cup
Outside of the Olympics, there is no legitimate world championship for any other sport besides the FIFA World Cup for soccer. Billions of people tune in to watch, and cities compete for years for the honor of hosting the next tournament. It pulls in some of the largest audiences in sporting history, and with good reason. The underdogs winning against the greats and the nail-biting sudden-death moments make the long four-year wait totally worth it. Plus, every now and then we’re treated to a magical surprise, like Zinedine Zidane’s head butt in 2006.

It just gets better and better BubbleWS.com
It just gets better and better

The FIFA video game
Speaking of FIFA, the video game is perhaps the most addicting game out there, after Mario Kart, of course. Getting to play as the greats, gamers get to know the ins and outs of the game, even if their corner kick-header combo came from pressing a button instead of actually getting out on the field. The graphics are great (and getting better with every new version that’s released), and you have the capacity to play with friends all over the world – provided you buy the right equipment.

It's not even fair ThingamajigBlog.Blogspot.com
It’s not even fair

David Beckham
Seriously, just look at him.