Americans do play soccer, but if you ask an average US citizen about their favorite sport, only 7% will name the European version of football. There is Major League Soccer in America, and (according to about 268,000 viewers are involved in one match on average. If we compare this result with the NFL views that gather 14,000,000 people’s audience all over the United States, it will become evident that soccer is not popular in America. Besides, there are fewer soccer viewers today than ever before, so what are the reasons why the United States is so different from the rest of the world and does not show interest in the officially most popular sports game?

The difference between football and soccer

Before we start the explanation, we think it is reasonable to determine what we mean by ‘football’ and “soccer.” When we say “football,” we mean American football, which is more like Rugby, as nobody typically applies the term “football” related to FIFA World Cup and similar events. Thus, we will refer to the European version of football using the word “soccer.”

Busy schedule

Basically, Americans play and watch soccer, and young people have started finding it as attractive as American football, baseball, and basketball. However, one of the reasons they are not into a soccer obsession like the rest of the world is simply a vast number of the other sporting events that happen all year round. Besides many national elite sports events that fill the schedule — NBA, NFL, NBL — there is also a range of college sports contests, including the extremely popular March Madness finals. These truly American sports games became a part of a traditional pastime, and soccer had no chance to fit the sports calendar.

Historical factors

Another version is connected with the history of sports culture in the United States. If we reflect on the past and study what the sports industry was like a hundred years ago. American football only began to develop, while baseball was already a favorite sport of the working-class people and gathered a considerable fan base. Soccer was primarily spread in South America and Europe, and when it appeared in the United States, most Americans were into other sports activities.
At the end of the 19th century, sports games developed in a particular way in the US. Society determined baseball as a national sport and a favorite game of folks; American football was considered a prestigious college student game. Thus, there was simply no space left for soccer.
When all the other team sports gathered stadiums with thousands of viewers and reached the level of excessive profits, soccer did not even deserve its national league in the USA. The first one was established only in 1968 and was called the North American Soccer League. Although soccer was already the most popular sport globally, the league did not last long and stopped the operations in 1984. Even the visits of the world soccer stars like Pele, Johan Cruyff, George Best, and others did not melt American hearts of stone, and they remained almost indifferent to people familiar to half of the world population.

Low scoring games are not impressive

One of the reasons why soccer is not popular in the United States is American’s national passion for unforgettable picturesque sporting events. Suppose you visit an American football, basketball, baseball game. You find yourself in the middle of a festival, where you watch a splendid show before the match starts, followed by a game with high scores and dynamics. It is typical for soccer to end with a draw or a score like 0:1, and no massive performances are organized before and after a match, so there is a perception that Americans can not be impressed by such a sport.
However, if we deepen into history again, we’ll see that baseball’s classical games are based on the pitchers’ contest that usually results in a 1:0 score. Also, a 0-0 draw was a typical American college football result till the end of the 20th century that did not hurt the rating of football, and some of the games of this kind are still considered as the best in history.

America is not on the top of the soccer

Being the best and the strongest nation and proving it regularly is very important for Americans. This speculation is confirmed by the US’s actions in economics, politics, technologies, and other areas, including the athletic field. However, the soccer team of the United States did not manage to become as successful as European leagues, so Americans simply lose interest in a deal where they can not praise their National team and prefer not to lose time on such games.
Thus, if American soccer fans decide to watch a game, they will most likely opt for European soccer, not the MLS games. The action will obviously take place in a different time zone, so it will be pretty challenging for an average American to follow the European championships and tournaments.

Soccer is not promoted in the US

The popularity of any sport in any country immensely depends on promotional deals. Advertising makes a significant impact on sports culture, but while a Super Bowl and other essential events in football and baseball are a part of marketing campaigns, soccer players, teams, and soccer overall are not promoted by the media that much. It is also a consequence of soccer not being widespread, but the endorsement deals might probably help soccer become more recognizable among other American sports.
Besides, advertising companies in the US need to have a good reason for investing in the ads during a sports event. Most of the national sports — gridiron football, basketball, and baseball are more profitable in terms of advertisements because the games are long. There is plenty of space where it is possible to embed marketing videos. For instance, football allows showing advertisement during the timeouts, halftime breaks, two-minute warnings, after punt and kickoff return stoppages, score stoppages, coach challenges, and some more. You must admit that it sounds more attractive for an advertising company than the only halftime break in soccer.

Faking injuries

American football is a rough game and can be called brutal in some sense. Many people love watching football because they become excited by the aggressive gaming process and get more involved in all things happening on the field. Soccer does not imply pushing the opponents or using any other combat techniques against each other. It is not only dull and unaccustomed for American viewers but also involves using some strategies that Americans consider as disgraceful and not manly.
We mean simulating the injuries as a part of tactics to make a referee make a favorable decision for a team. Even though it is a typical strategy among soccer players, and soccer fans accept it, Americans usually brim with disdain and disappointment when they notice a player flopping.

Lack of dynamics

Another reason that is usually named to explain soccer is not popular in the United States is that Americans love games that include many intervals. It means that it is more acceptable for an American sports spectator when a game stops several times and a new game with a novel strategy starts after a break. A soccer match’s flowing course may seem quite dull for people who are used to the other sport’s principles. However, Americans and the whole world invented basketball and recognize the American NBA as the best basketball league. Meanwhile, basketball is also a flowing game, and the events are developing at the same pace as in soccer, but Americans are perfectly okay with it.

The feeling of pride and sovereignty

Most of the versions we gave before are, of course, stipulations. This version is also one of them, but it seems the closest to the truth. After Northern America stopped being a colony of Britain and became the sovereign United States, they strived to underline their independence in every way. No wonder they refused to support the soccer obsession and love the number one game of England and created their own version.

Final words

So, what’s with the American people? What is the real reason why they have not accepted soccer while most other countries become mad during FIFA World Cup, Premier League events and find a soccer game the most spectacular and beautiful match? Most likely, the truth is hidden in the principles that America’s Founding Fathers imported to the New World. It was supposed to be the antithesis to the Old World, and such convictions remained almost unchanged nowadays. The US wanted to be a new country and an absolutely different civilization model. No wonder they do not desire to support a spectator sport that has nothing to do with their home country and their national pride.


Why isn’t soccer popular in the US?
There are several reasons why the most globally popular sport is not quite accepted by Americans and we have named them and explained what is the key thing preventing soccer from becoming the next America’s national sport.

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