Soccer isn’t as easy as it looks


by Nicole Dillenburg

Soccer is considered one of the most popular sports worldwide, yet in America, people would rather watch paint dry than watch a game.

Needless to say, it’s necessary for me to explain why soccer will not burn your eyes if you watch it.

Soccer is a physically and mentally demanding game that requires players to make their own decisions while in the flow of the game. Unlike many other sports, timeouts can’t be taken to regroup and adjust what is working and what is not working. The game requires a player to make split-second decisions without having the freedom to ask a coach what to do in a specific situation.

The most common complaint is usually some rephrasing of “soccer is boring.” Many think that soccer consists of a bunch of “grass fairies” that run around chasing the ball. If you have an attention span of longer than 20 minutes, you may find yourself being able to actually enjoy a game, or at least half of it.

It’s simple: people like to watch people score. This is why soccer sticks out from other sports. It’s not as easy as holding an odd shaped ball and running it down the field.

It requires more talent than dribbling a large orange circle down the court.

Instead, soccer players sacrifice getting a concussion every time they head the ball, losing toenails from getting stepped on by cleats, bruises all the way up their shins from people hacking at them and getting hair pulled or punched by crazy players.

What seems like pointless passing, chasing and kicking makes the small number of goals that are scored in a soccer game that much more enjoyable. To slow this down for you football fans: scoring a goal is almost comparable to Marvin McNutt catching the game-winning pass from Ricky Stanzi. Think about how much effort, planning and luck went into that pass, and maybe you’ll gain a little more appreciation for the skill involved in a soccer goal.

Not understanding the game can also make it boring to watch. Soccer is the most popular sport worldwide because it has been played for as long as Americans have been playing football. This is why we are still premature babies when it comes to understanding and having appreciation of the game. The knowledge gap between those who play and those who do not seems to mesh together during major events.

The bandwagon has no room for those who only jump on during the World Cup and Olympics. It’s great that soccer is gaining fans, but it’s gaining them for the wrong reasons. Suddenly, everyone becomes a professional soccer player, referee or coach and needs to share insights through social media. I’m starting to think that this past women’s world cup sparked interest in the United States only because of the “good looking” players.

Hope Solo. Alex Morgan. David Beckham. Cristiano Ronaldo. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear these names? Probably not soccer, but maybe “hot” soccer players. Don’t get me wrong; every sport has their iconic “hotties,” but liking one of them doesn’t mean you’re suddenly a huge fan.

Soccer is a beautiful game when it is understood and liked for all the right reasons. Just like other sports, certain skill sets and talents are required to be successful; soccer sets itself apart because the skills needed are hard to come by. Try juggling a ball with your feet 10 times in a row and see how easy it is.

I’m not saying that soccer is better than other sports, but at least give it a chance.