Soccer is by far the most popular game in the world. The 2014 World Cup drew 3.2 billion viewers, many of whom had to power their 40-year-old television sets with stationary bicycles linked to hand-cranked generators. Just about every country in the world fields a national soccer team, and the outcome of matches have been the occasion of murders, arrests and even a war between El Salvador and the Honduras in 1969.
All this enthusiasm masks an uncomfortable truth: soccer sucks. Here are three reasons why:
1. It’s Boring
This is most Americans’ objection to soccer, which they absolutely refuse to dignify by calling it by its real name “football.” Between 1930 and 2014, the average World Cup game saw 2.74 points scored. That’s almost 3 points per game . American football has Kurdish refugee placekickers who’ve scored higher than that in a single quarter. Wilt Chamberlain has scored double that in five seconds of gameplay.
2. The Rules Turn Athletes into Babies
Boring is one thing, but the conduct of soccer players on the field reminds most Americans of the whiny, sniveling office tattletale who’s always complaining to the supervisor about people’s jokes. Unlike hockey where serious misconduct gets solved with a fistfight, soccer has a penalty system that encourages players to ham up every little tap until grown men whose shoulders accidentally brush in passing can be seen writhing around in the grass and clutching their disabled limbs as if they’ve been shot with musket balls.
3. Americans Are Bad at It
This is the clincher. Americans are good at most things. Baseball, football (the real kind) and basketball are all American inventions, and the country has produced a lot of world class shooters, chess players, luge teams, etc. When it comes to soccer, though, citizens of the World’s Best Country routinely watch in horror as people from Guatemala and Liechtenstein blow their teams out with record-setting 4-2 victories, often because a power forward with 11 consonants in his name convincingly faked a hip injury in overtime.