Why is Soccer Not Popular in the US?

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Soccer is not so popular in the US because people do not understand soccer culture, and this is the big thing! They did not grow up on it, like in other parts of the world, so it is hard for them to understand what the fuss is about!  

Compared to more exciting sports like basketball or baseball, a US spectator may view soccer as too tactical or boring.

So, the big reason for the lack of popularity is tradition. Soccer has just not been around long enough in the US. However, there are more reasons behind soccer not getting enough popularity in the US. Let’s have a look at them.

Why Is Soccer Not Popular In The USA?

Let’s pause for a brief history lesson. 150 years ago, every country played football, but each country added a little twist to the game, whatever they liked.

In time, everybody still called their game football, but the games looked nothing alike. In short, soccer is not popular in the USA because of tradition, the same reason football is not popular elsewhere. Ok. I get it, but there’s more to it. Isn’t there?

It seems like the entire world likes soccer and calls it their favorite game.  But it’s not really so. There are other countries besides the US where this is not true at all.

For instance, take a look at Australia, India, Canada, and Japan. None of them think their favorite sport is soccer.

So, let’s take a look at several reasons why soccer is not so popular in the USA.

1. Not Part of the Culture

Soccer just never was such a big part of the US culture. Not until recently, anyway. Soccer was just this strange and interesting thing from Europe. But even there, some people preferred rugby.

History can shed light on many things, and it turns out that back a mere 150 years ago, soccer or football made no difference. The American football and the association football rules were almost the same.

And the college background of the games was the same, too, with it being a rich kids’ sport at first. As the game developed, more people played it, rules or not. After all, if all you need is a ball and a couple of friends to throw or kick it around.

2. Americans Didn’t Used to Be #1 in Soccer

The US is the most successful team in FIFA Women’s World Cup history. But looking at a wider picture, it’s fair to admit, especially on the club level, that other places have it better.

Take a look at the UK, Italy, and Spain. They have some of the richest clubs in the world. No one at their level cannot even compare to the US. In fact, some of them, even move to the US only as a way to postpone their retirement from the game.

Since players retire in their 30s, we’re talking about like a gathering for a gymnastics class for them. Basically, they don’t have to score all the time, but just show up.

3. Lack of Scoring

Here’s a cool fact. Americans don’t like a game that doesn’t have a clear conclusion. It has to do with marketing. How do you sell a game (soccer) where it’s entirely possible that nothing will happen?

In soccer, however, a nil-nil is a completely normal event, but there’s more. Sometimes, teams and fans do actually, willingly, honestly want the game to end on a nil-nil.

For example, you want that when your team is really weak, and the other is FC Barcelona. So, if you end in nil-nil, it would be like a victory for your team!

It’s also difficult to score in soccer. The only way to score is to make the ball go into the goal, right? Can it be easy when the other team is downright bent on not letting that happen? And isn’t that what American football is all about anyway? 

Well, it’s somewhat difficult when you can’t touch your opponent, as in soccer. That sure makes for a different game. 

This soccer rule doesn’t apply all the time,  but it generally does. So you can see how soccer and football really are different from this point of view. This brings us to a much stranger part of the popular game, namely faking.

4. Excessive Faking of Injuries

It’s about cheating. Since you can’t touch other players when they have the ball, doing so is a big offense. It can even result in a ban. So someone who has the ball and wants to cheat can fake an injury just to make sure the referee notices and bans the other player. 

Here is how faking happens. You touch a player, and it’s tears, screams, woes of sorrow like the world hasn’t heard since last Thursday. Everything stops the game, the drinks, the snacks, and all eyes look at the ref.

The ref says, “Just get up!” And a miracle happens – the player rises again, renewed. But it’s not such a big miracle if you look at the rules and see that even touching a goalie with a finger is literally an offense in some situations.

It really is, as much as standing in the path of movement of another player or taking your shirt off. That’s really something, for sure.

“How odd can that game be?” some might ask. Quite odd, especially when a player can break a leg, and the ref wouldn’t believe anything happened.

So cheating is cheating, successful cheating notwithstanding. In any case, you can at least talk about it more than about a nil-nil-ending game.

5. Matches Ending in a Tie

Other than short-lasting tournaments like the World Cup, ties are allowed in soccer. It happens weekly throughout the big soccer-playing world. Games can end one-on-one, but it’s the nil-nil that really saps your morale.

There you are on a stadium stand, rain all around, a cold bottle of mineral water in your hands, but why? And most of the time, there is no answer since not all teams are Arsenals, AC Milan, or Real Madrid.

People just go there to spend some time, really. But standing under the rain for an hour and a half, facing another nil-nil, it’s not good. So, some people might get a bit pent-up and excited.

6. Riots, Hooliganism, & More

Unfortunately, aggression associated with soccer is widespread. Many fans take soccer very seriously since there isn’t much else happening in their life.

I go out with my friends for a game, and nothing happens. I might get upset, so I might act out a bit.  It’s not right, even though soccer is just the cause but not the reason for this poor behavior. Somewhere deep inside, fans must know it and wonder what else they can do. 

But before we admit it, aggression associated with soccer fans is likely to remain common. It can take all sorts of forms and variations of bad behavior; all are there.

It would be a lie to say it has anything to do with people supporting different teams.  All is not lost, though, as some people are trying to address the multitude of social issues that are regularly brought to the surface by soccer. Hopefully, it will help in the long run.


Football, in some form, is played throughout the world, but these forms are different everywhere. Today, it’s a huge business, be it football called soccer, gridiron, or the can-kicking kind.  

There are some reasons worth mentioning why soccer is not too popular in the US. First, it’s just a matter of tradition, probably the biggest reason.

Next, it has to do with less-than-stellar performance in the past. But, come to think of it, it probably should be counted as part of the tradition.

Last, the rules make the games, and there is one big difference between football and soccer. It’s the no-touching clauses of soccer. 

Compared to football, soccer players like to fake injuries at the smallest opportunity. Come to think of it, shouldn’t it be counted as a kind of tradition, too?

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