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Why Is Soccer Not Popular In The US?

Why Is Soccer Not Popular In The US?

The origin of soccer can be traced back to the 2nd century in China. In the ancient Chinese military, soldiers used it as part of their drills during training.

It was then referred to as the “Tsu’Chu”. Then, players were regularly seen kicking balls made of pig’s bladders, well-stocked with bird’s feathers.

This practice gradually spread to other parts of the world. Modern soccer started in England in 1863 a decade later, the first FA World Cup tournament was organized and that was where the structuring of modern soccer began.

Since its inception, soccer has thrived and gained prominence in the eyes of many. In our contemporary world today, there’s hardly a country where soccer isn’t popular, except for a few.

It might interest you to know that the United States is one of the few countries where soccer isn’t popular. You might be wondering why the most dominant sport in the world is less famous in one of the world’s most prominent countries.

You need not enquire any longer because, in this article, we have identified and explained most of the factors that seem to be the reason for the lack of admiration of soccer in the United States.

Why is soccer not popular in the US?

There is no doubt that soccer has grown in fame since its inception and has even become the national sport of most countries in the world. Soccer has garnered over three billion fans across the world.

Soccer was introduced to the United States in the 18th century, owing to the high influx of migrants from other parts of the world for commercial purposes.

In the early 1920s, soccer had gained some level of recognition more than it had in the past century. For some reasons, it still had low fame and was less patronized by the citizens of the country.

We have compiled a well-researched list for you below to show some of the obvious reasons why soccer is not popular in the United States.

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Few goals count in soccer


Soccer is typically known as a sport where opponent teams are always ready to score goals. But then, most attacks orchestrated by rival teams in soccer rarely lead to goals because the defensive half of rivals are always well-fortified with the best set of defenders.

Most soccer fans hate it when their favorite players get hold of the ball and dash for a goal only to get caught in their tracks by opponent defenders.

The number of goals usually recorded in soccer is so small that an average of 2 to 3 goals are usually obtainable in modern soccer matches. Most sports loved by Americans usually record a lot of goals or points at the end of each match.

For instance, in baseball, an average score of about 8 to 9 goals is usually recorded. How about basketball?

It normally ends with a score of 90 and above while American football, on the other hand, records an average of 25 points per match.

These points are far beyond what is obtainable on soccer fields where scores are usually scanty after playing for a whopping 90 minutes. This doesn’t seem to go well with the average US citizen.

Here is a fun fact that you probably did not know. FIFA had to work with manufacturers to redesign the soccer ball to make it lighter when the USA hosted the World Cup in 1994.

The aim was to make it easier for players to score goals. This was a desperate attempt to make Americans love the sport so that FIFA will not lose revenue from empty stadiums.

Draw or tie result in soccer

Most sports are competitive, and this accounts for the fact that a winner should always emerge as well as a loser at the end of a match. However, this isn’t the case with soccer, as there’s room for a tie.

A soccer match might take place for the entire 90 minutes with the competing teams putting in all their effort and tactics and still ending with a tie. Sometimes, when an extra 30 minutes is added, a result of a tie is still possible.

The case is far different from most popular sports in the US where a winner must always emerge as well as a loser. At the end of every match, there just has to be a winner in baseball, basketball, and American football.

Most Americans wouldn’t want to put in their precious time into watching or even participating in a sport that will likely end in a draw. It is particularly frustrating for them because soccer stretches for over 90 minutes.

Some Americans usually perceive a tie as a colossal failure or feel like both teams are unprofessional while others normally see it as a waste of precious time.

World power

There’s this overbearing character in most Americans that pushes them into seeking to have dominion and control over everything. Americans naturally don’t like playing catchup on anything on the global scale.

Americans have made it to several Olympic outings where they returned with more gold medals than other countries. The only Olympic gold medal that they continue to struggle with is in soccer where they almost always perform below average.

Olympic gold medals

The best performance by the U.S. in the history of the World Cup was third place. This was the first World Cup tournament ever held. Then, teams didn’t even have to struggle to qualify. They were simply invited to the tournament.

Since then, the United States has always struggled to qualify for World Cup tournaments. When they eventually do, they always get knocked out by other major soccer bigwigs.

Truly, the American domineering spirit wouldn’t let it be found in an environment where it is belittled or humiliated. This has also accounted for one of the reasons why soccer isn’t popular in the U.S.

The weight and height of soccer players

Americans seem to prefer bulky athletes. For example, the skinniest player in American football may just be as big as the biggest player in soccer.

Since soccer involves lots of sprinting, a lot of soccer players prefer to remain skinny to optimize their speed, jumping ability, dribbling, and other skills. It is easier to move your body when it is skinny than when it is bulky.

There are many other reasons why soccer players are skinny and we have highlighted them here. Since the physique of most soccer players are not appealing to most Americans, they simply prefer not to watch.

Soccer player and football player

We cannot deny the fact that there are those that watch soccer not because they love the sport but just to admire the players.

Soccer isn’t marketable in the US

There is this constant struggle for wealth in the U.S., and as such, most organizations, governments, and individuals always engage in and invest in activities that are likely to fetch income. Most brands only want to sponsor sports that have high returns in monetary value.

Soccer is loved by a few people in the United States which is the major reason why it has a low participation rate. Brands and businesses always find it difficult to invest in or sponsor soccer because it is likely to yield little or nothing.

More so, television and radio stations would want to broadcast sports matches that have lots of engagements and are profitable.

Money and brand

For example, American football has plenty of timeouts, such as couch changes, halftime, stoppages, quarters, and many others. Adverts can easily be aired in between these timeouts.

This is not so with soccer, which has just one halftime with only a handful of people patronizing it in the United States. It is not lucrative for investments, sponsorships, and even advertisements.

Injuries associated with soccer games

Soccer players get injuries from time to time due to the aggressive nature of the sport. However, a soccer player that gets injured when a team is on an attack, especially when it is goal-bound, is momentarily ignored until the end of the attack.

Man is injured in soccer

It’s interesting to know that these injuries can be easily faked during a match. This tactic, when well practiced, can force the referee to decide in favor of a player or his team.

A player can use this to delay a match when he or she is on the winning side or even seek a penalty. Penalties are often awarded in soccer for faked injuries.

The fact that grown-up players fake injuries by screaming and rolling on the floor while waving their hands or certain parts of their body that weren’t touched or bruised does not sit well with most Americans.

Americans don’t find it normal that an injured player can be left unattended to in soccer for some time even though their case might be critical. Ignoring injured players while a match is ongoing can result in avoidable complications.

Lack of the use of hands in soccer

Man using hand to catch the ball

The three most popular sports in America are baseball, American football, and basketball. All of these sports allow the use of hands during a match as an accepted rule.

It hardly goes well with Americans when a sport prohibits most of the players from using their hands during a game. This is one of the reasons why Americans don’t fancy soccer as only the goalkeeper is allowed to use hands in a restricted area on the pitch during a game.

Soccer is not the U.S. national sport

Some countries of the world not only love and play soccer, they also have soccer as their national sport. The government of these countries has special preferences for soccer as seen in the funding and other forms of support it receives from the government.

However, this is a different case with America where their national sports are traditionally baseball, American football, and basketball. These sports garner massive followership in America.

The U.S. government has given immense priority to these sports, funding and promoting them over the rest. That is why it is not surprising to find the United States president among the fans in a Super Bowl.

This action of the U.S. government alone has drawn individuals as well as organizations to engage in the three major sports in the U.S. while neglecting soccer.


Baseball, basketball, and American football are sports that have grown in fame over soccer in the U.S. Through funding, sponsorship, and advertisements, these sports have constantly been favored over soccer since they yield huge returns.

However, even with the low popularity of soccer and low participation in its activities, there are still a few people in the U.S. who love the game and enjoy watching it.

They can give their all to ensure that soccer continues to thrive, with hopes that someday, it will not only be the national sport of the U.S. but will also be admired by many stakeholders.