OPINION: Why soccer is the sport of the world

Soccer balls sit on the sideline before the K-State soccer game against University of Northern Iowa on Sept. 16, 2016, at the K-State Soccer Stadium. (Archive Photo by Nathan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

For reasons I can’t understand, a lot of people sleep on soccer. People favor other sports: basketball, football, baseball and others.

Some people say it’s boring because goals aren’t scored every couple minutes. Some people say it’s confusing because the progression of the game isn’t easily tracked.

The rest of the world doesn’t seem to agree.

In 2007, it was estimated that 265 million people are actively involved in soccer, and billions of people watch the FIFA World Cup every four years. The Encyclopedia Britannica considers it to be “likely the most popular sporting event in the world.”

As the globe’s eyes are trained upon Russia for the 21st World Cup, it has become clear that soccer is the sport of the world. Let’s take a look at why soccer got to be as wildly popular across the globe as it is:

1. It’s simple

Really, the objective of soccer is insanely easy to understand: get the ball in the goal. The rules are pretty clear as well, except for maybe offsides. Personally, it took me about two whole years as a soccer player to come to completely understand what constitutes an offsides call.

Besides that, the biggest rule outlaws the use of hands, except for goalkeepers. There’s a reason why many other countries call it football.

2. It requires very little equipment

To make a game of soccer possible, all that is really necessary is a ball. Goals aren’t really needed, and in a street or pickup game, players don’t even need to wear shoes or shin guards. In developing countries, children play barefoot in the streets, kicking around soccer balls made of scraps of cloth, plastic bags and trash.

3. It’s accessible

In combination with being simple and light on the equipment, soccer can be played anytime and anywhere. Space is not a limiting factor. Also, anyone can play (even if they’re not good).

4. It’s complex

Yes, I know that sounds contradictory to the first reason, but there are many layers and facets to soccer. It’s not all about scoring goals. Soccer is also about the speed of play, the possession and turnovers, the movement, the technique and footskills, the strategy. If you keep an eye on the pitch instead of the scoreboard, there’s never a dull moment in soccer.

Rachel Hogan is the news and features editor for the Collegian and a junior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

Hey, hi, hello! I’m Rachel Hogan, the copy chief for The Collegian. I’m a senior in journalism from Olathe, Kansas. When I’m not at work in the newsroom, I like to spend my time cuddling with my dog, working as a barista and laughing with my friends.