It's not necessary for it to become more popular than American football. I noted that last year, US Hockey surpassed the basketball as the third most popular sport, yet hockey struggles to win the same kind of television contracts that the NBA gets. Those same surveys shows US soccer to be more popular than professional tennis, golf, wrestling and motor sports, all of which get more coverage.
It is conventional media wisdom that soccer will never be popular, and, as usual, that wisdom is wrong.
I have to profoundly disagree about the relative "fun" of watching global football vs US football, David B., although I'm doing this from a point of view that watching any pro sports is a crashing bore.
Soccer is constant action, just as ice hockey is. And it's low scoring, also much like hockey. This compares with the customary trio that US fans find most appealing: US football, basketball, and baseball, where the majority of time, NOTHING is happening on the field or court.
Imagine any game that can last more than 3 hours, with barely one hour's worth of play. And worse, the closer you get to that most-anticipated end of this torture, the more frequent are the interruptions!
As I said, it's a matter of taste.
Oh, I have a suggestion about the low scores. Take a lesson from US football. Give every goal 6 points instead of one! Problem solved!
I disagree. Even if or when the U.S. fields a team that is good enough to make it all the way, Americans for the most part still will not pay attention to soccer, even during the World Cup. I'm not sure it's really a cultural difference as much as it is simply history. We didn't adopt soccer ("football" to the rest of the world) long ago as a top professional sport and instead came up with American football. It's what we are accustomed to, it's the brand of "football" that attracts our best athletes, pays the top salaries & gets the most media attention & TV ad revenue.
Against that backdrop, it's difficult to imagine soccer ever becoming anywhere near as popular in the U.S. as American football.
Yo, Gadgety. Of course I saw the Netherlands-Spain score. Six goals in one match. Zowie. But one high-scoring match does not mitigate the trend of soccer scornig to shrivel a little bit year-by-year as cowardly coaches stack up their defenses and frustrate the other team's gifted attackers.
Let's look back. In 1982, in the only double-figure scoring game in World Cup history, Hungary buried El Salvador, 10-1. That match, by itself, improved the overall goals-per-game average in the 1982 Cup from 2.64 to 2.81. But (like Netherlands 5, Spain 1) it was the exception that proves the rule. Since then, the goals-per game average has steadily diminished, to 2.71 in '94, to 2.50 in '02, and in the last two tournaments, 2.28 and 2.30. In sum, we've averaged the equivalent of a 1-1 tie in 128 games played in the last two World Cups.
I notice that no one has challenged my hypothesis that the absence of scoring frustrates soccer fans to the point of violence. Nor has anyone challenged the notion that more GO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-OALS! would make soccer more FU-U-U-U-U-U-UN.
One of my points is that the crooked fuddy-duddies of FIFA are ruining a "beautiful" game. Who stands with the fuddy-duddies, and who wants to set the players free?
Tangey. Your comment disparaging my soccer knowledge over the issue of "extra time" vs. "overtime," is a matter of tomayto/tomahto niggling, the sort of petty swipe that identifies you as not a sports fan but as a sort of soccer nationalist pitting the ony spirt you really know against all the sports you've ignored all your life. Please note that I understad soccer, or, if you prefer, "futbol," well enough to know where its flaws lie, how it is corrupt, what rules changes would improve the sport and WHY it's so incredibly dull to watch UNLESS you've been watching it all your ife because TV in Europe, South America and much of Asia only broadcasts one sport -- soccer! In America, we have a variety of sports on television, including soccer, and we usually choose something — anything — else. Benjamin
@David Benjamin: Stand outside any bar near any university campus in America for a while, especially near closing time, and I defy you to reiterate your preposterous assertion that Americans are no good at hurling!
Max the Magnificent. Very few of us are still alve who remember 43-man squamish. Bless you. In high school, a few friends and I did everything we could to play 43-man-squamish, but we needed 86 players to even THINK about getting up a game. A brifge too far...