Game over: soccer on top

Tyler Rubenstein, Staff Writer

Click. Power on. Channel 206-ESPN. Audio fills the room. “Geno Smith, looking for a receiver,, rollllllls out left….” or “Rebound Lebron, layup for the and one….” or “Julio Rodriguez lines one deeeeeep center field, going, going, gone!” But what about what you rarely hear? “Loderio on his right, Lodeiro on his left, Lodeiro goes for goal… LODEIROOOO!”

Soccer is not one of the top three most popular sports in America. Football, basketball, and baseball obtain higher viewership and receive more coverage by major sports networks. This is not what the popularity of the sports should be, as soccer is a much better sport than any of the other three.

What makes soccer the best sport? A lot of things. For example, it’s a sport that forces teams to use teamwork and tactics to achieve the goal of winning. Although the other sports use teamwork, soccer does this in a fluid and ingenious way. There is only one scheduled time in a game where a team and a coach can convene to discuss tactics: halftime. 

That is the only moment in a soccer game in which there are commercials, compared to the average of 162 of 180 minutes in a football broadcast that is spent showing commercials (FiveThirtyEight). Baseball has 18 moments during the half-innings to strategize as a team, along with the seemingly infinite amount of time between pitches. Each basketball team gets seven timeouts a game along with the 4 quarters.

A common counter-argument to this position: why watch 90+ minutes of a soccer game when a common outcome is 0-0? Mariners fans, a very recent and high-stakes playoff game went six hours at 0-0.

Football inherently cheats, as teams score in increments of seven and three. If a touchdown was one point instead of six, the average score of a football game would be 3-3, which happens to be the exact score of the recent 2022 MLS Cup (Washington Post). 

Basketball’s court size is around 19 times smaller than that of a soccer field, making it much easier to score. This limits the possibilities of the game-only so much can happen in a little area. Additionally, there are less players on the court, again reducing the possibilities of what can happen.

Ultimately, the reason soccer is the best sport in America is because it requires a higher mental capacity for players who cannot be bailed out with excessive stops in play.

Soccer, the true superior sport in America, needs recognition. It is getting nowhere near the support it deserves.


“NFL Scoring is Down. Is it Time to Start Betting the UNder?” by Neil Greenberg I The Washington Post

“How Much Football is Even in a Football Broadcast” by Kirk Goldsberry and Katherine Rowe I FiveThirtyEight