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What American Sports Fans Can Learn From the Soccer (Football) Fandom Worldwide

Ryan Beltran

Posted on October 12, 2020 03:43

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Soccer (football) is the world's most popular sport ranging from Europe to South America. Soccer fans worldwide play a little part in showcasing why soccer is loved worldwide.

Soccer (football) is statistically the world's most popular sport, with an estimated 3.5 billion fans worldwide stretching from South America, Europe and Asia. Ironically, here in the United States, soccer is far from popular with it being overshadowed by basketball, American football, baseball and hockey with soccer being at the bottom of the headlines in sports media.

Outside, when the men's and women's national teams compete in their respective World Cups, soccer is usually seen as a "boring" sport to watch. While it is obviously understandable why soccer isn't as big in America and most likely will never be with the other competition in the country, there is still something about soccer culture that interests me that I personally feel like is lacking in our own American sports traditions.

Compared to the rest of the world many people from the United States would probably not expect just how immense popularity soccer or "football" has in these countries. It's not just how popular the sport is in these soccer bled countries, but how ingrained it is in the local communities, where soccer is almost so much deeper into their own lives than just a good daily source of leisure.

If you visit countries like Argentina, Italy, England and Brazil, soccer is almost like a religion there where they heavily worship their national teams, local teams and even players. If you watch videos on YouTube, there are so many examples of fans creating an amazing atmosphere before, during and after the games. Fans would do crazy acts like starting flares in the stands, causing mayhem at bars, or just packing the streets just drunkenly causing fun-hearted commotions.

As much as I love the ambiance of an exhilarating NBA playoff game or a nerve-inducing game seven World Series game with a packed out crowd, I've always felt the viewing experience of sports in America to be too commercialized. For instance, when I've watched the FIFA World Cup throughout the years, the whole experience from the quality back and forth games played to the synergetic emotions from fans really help convince viewers why the World Cup is arguably the biggest, and best, tournament in the world. Before the matches begin, when the national anthems of the two teams competing are played, the echoes from the thousands of the fans singing their country's national anthem sometimes feels like war chants before a big battle during the medieval times that just gets you pumped and hyped up even as a fan with no country affiliation.

Every culture is different. I'm not saying that American fans don't have the same fanaticism as fans of soccer around the world because the atmosphere at the biggest games in all sports is amazing. Still, these spirited engagements watching soccer perfectly depicts why I believe the soccer fandom has this certain passion that just can't be matched compared to here in America.

Ryan Beltran

Posted on October 12, 2020 03:43

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Source: FOX Sports

Alexi Lalas reflects on how American fans have supported soccer during the FIFA World Cup.

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