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Why do Americans find soccer boring?

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While I was in Shanghai, China, I played soccer with some of my friends there. All of a sudden, one of them bragged about his soccer skills. In fact, he claimed that he has the same skillset with “David Beckham”. A little bit puzzled, I asked who that person is. He simply answered me with this line: “Spoken like a true American!”

I just found out who Beckham is – a British superstar soccer player who is coming to the US to play soccer. He said it is impossible for any sports fan to not know Beckham, but I do not know him well. Beckham is on a mission to popularize professional soccer in the USA. It is true that soccer is not very popular in the country in comparison to NFL, MLB, and the NBA.

Nevertheless, soccer has a common feature with other major sporting events in the country – the difficulty of scoring. If you watch game live or on TV, you will most likely hear and see end game interviews and post-game interviews involving the offensive player/team – you see the QBS being interviewed after an NFL game or the top scorer in the NBA or the baseball player with the most home runs or high batting average. It is rare to see defensive player being interviewed these days. We Americans have a knack for scoring.

If you are watching TVs, you probably saw one of the commercials from ESPN in which they want you to believe that they are soccer fans. The argument is that all the things we love about basketball, football, and baseball – such as teamwork, intensity, strategy – are also present in soccer. Indeed, they are all present, but the problem in marketing soccer in the U.S. is that those defining features are only secondary for the fans desiring to see someone cross the goal line, or hit clutch shots over and over again, or to rally from a six-run deficit in the ninth inning.

This is the same dilemma existing with hockey in the U.S. The majority of sports fans here in America feel disappointed in watching players go up and down the field to play time after time and not see any score. The up and down movement of the competing teams and still unable to score is too boring for many American sports fans. The game ending with a draw and not scoring as well is deemed boring.

What can the soccer people do to make us like the sport more? Can they make the goals larger? They can consider removing the off-sides penalty. I honestly do not know any possible solution, but whatever it is, they have to address the difficulty of scoring.