Fútbol or Football? MLS vs. NFL

Margaret Baumgartner, Sports Editor

Fútbol? Football? What’s the difference? Soccer, or fútbol, is a game that anybody around the world can play, regardless of class or background. The only thing needed is a ball to kick around.
In order to play football one needs equipment and protective gear to play safely. To get that gear one needs money. You may be asking, what is the main reason football is favored over soccer in America? It’s because Football is an elitist sport, popular in an elitist society.
“Soccer is cheap and football is expensive. For soccer, you can play with anything, you don’t need equipment,” girls soccer coach Kelsey Foote said. “You can just say that two trees are the goal and you have to kick it in between them. Soccer you can do anywhere, no matter what type of money you have. For football you have pads, you have helmets, you have cleats and need so many more things.”
Not only do you need more money in order to play football but it is a fast, high intensity, high scoring game that draws attention easily. Soccer is slower, more methodical, and has little to no scoring. It is a sport that needs more appreciation.
“Football costs a lot more than soccer does to play, so less people play it globally,” football coach Steve Valach said. “Football is uniquely American and draws the public’s attention. It’s something fun to watch whereas soccer is slower pace.”
The Seattle Sounders won the equivalent of the Superbowl in soccer: The Major League Soccer Cup on November 10. Yet their victory goes unappreciated even when compared to the Seahawks losing the Superbowl. This was because the Seahawks played a regular season game against the 49ers the day after the cup, and won unexpectedly. Football is more ingrained into our society so we tend to favor it more.
“Soccer is a sport that a lot of people don’t understand. It’s the little things that if you don’t play soccer you just can’t appreciate or understand,” Foote said. “People don’t understand why it would be interesting to watch a soccer game that ends in a 0-0 tie whereas football is a lot more intense. There can be picks or hard tackles that draw attention. It’s hard to appreciate soccer if you haven’t played it.”
Notably, both football and soccer have 11 players on the field at all times. The “12th” man that we admire so much for our beloved Seahawks can, by definition, be applied to all football teams, as well as soccer and any other sport that has 11 players.
These are just some of the reasons some believe soccer to be unappreciated when compared to the high popularity of football.
“Soccer, since I was a kid, has skyrocketed in popularity in America. It’s clearly catching on and becoming bigger but isn’t nearly as big as Football yet,” Valach said.
“Soccer is international and is very interconnected. It’s important to have a friendly way to compete against other nations and soccer does that for America, Football does not,” senior soccer player Matthew Rubenstein said. ”It needs to be more appreciated.”
Soccer may not be the most popular sport in America –they are ranked the 4th most popular after football, baseball, and basketball consecutively–but some believe they are making headway to become more appreciated and popular.