Every time you watch a soccer match, you would have wondered: What makes this game so popular? Known as football across the world except in the U.S., the last World Cup held in Russia in 2018 was viewed by more than 4 billion people.
In case you don’t know, the world population is around 8 billion people – meaning more than half of the world’s population watched the event. While there are a lot of factors for the popularity of the sport, perhaps the most important one is soccer’s decentralization. As it is played globally instead of in a single region. Other factors include simplicity, lower costs to organize, etc.
Generally, sports awaken passion in people. However, a few things make soccer different from other sports, such as basketball, baseball, or American football.
The Football Association
Soccer, one of the oldest sports still played today, is thought to have had its origin in China some 2,000 years ago. Nevertheless, Greece, Rome, and Central America, also claim to have started the sport. It was England that transitioned soccer into football, the game we know today.
The English were the first to create uniform rules for the sport, including forbidding touching the ball with hands and tripping opponents. However, the game has changed a lot since then. In 1857, the first-ever soccer club was founded in England—Sheffield F.C., The first official associated game between England and Scotland, was played on November 30, 1872. In 1930 that the first-ever World Cup was played in Uruguay.
One reason soccer and the World Cup are popular is because of the soccer culture and tradition they were able to develop over time. People feel pride in their country when watching their local clubs play. This is another significant advantage that soccer has in comparison to other sports. In the U.S., basketball, baseball, and their respective associations manage American football.
On the other hand, soccer has significant leagues on almost all continents. While the biggest leagues are located in Europe, other continents like Asia, South America, and Central America have leagues that fans support with just as much, if not more, enthusiasm as in Europe.
Soccer Goes International
As soccer developed, even more rules were implemented, and historical landmarks were set. FIFA is a non-profit organization that acts as an international governing body of association football, futsal, and beach soccer. In fact, it is the highest governing body of association football.
Founded in 1904, FIFA became a member of the International Football Association Board of Great Britain in 1913. The red and yellow cards were introduced in 1970 during the World Cup finals. Additional changes that were established recently include tackles from behind becoming, red-card penalties in 1998, and goalkeepers being banned from handling deliberate back passed in 1992.
Currently, 32 national teams participate in the final tournament over the course of a month in host nations to take home the title. Brazil is the only team to have appeared in all 21 tournaments, with Germany having qualified in 19, Italy in 18, Argentina in 17, and Mexico in 16.
Communities Around Soccer
Soccer is perhaps the only sport in the world with the greatest fans. Most fans live soccer as their creed. Once they choose a team, soccer fans remain loyal to it for the rest of their lives.
One of the reasons for soccer’s massive popularity is its tradition and community. In most countries, fans don’t get to choose the team to support. Instead, their parents would have already gotten them a team jersey when they were born. So, they grow up supporting the team and the players that their parents already support.
What’s more, soccer fans are also more likely to buy products from the brands their favorite soccer players promote. This also helps the famous soccer players land more sponsorships and brand deals. Furthermore, merchandise items like sports sunglasses are made available for fans of famous soccer players.
The World Live the Sport of Soccer
It is incredible to see how people live soccer as if it was a religion. It is the only sport globally that can gather together people from across cities and countries for a single game.
The great popularity of soccer globally is because it delivers a positive experience and brings people of world cultures together. Therefore, this simple game possesses a widespread influence which is why FIFA tournaments are the most highly-anticipated league in the world.