Worldwide Domination

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Three billion fans. That’s three billion people who paint their faces on game day. That’s three billion people who watch the games from their sofas. That’s three billion fanatics who cheer until hoarse. That’s half of the population who consider them to be soccer fans.

There are reasons soccer has three billion fans. The earliest forms of the “beautiful game” started in ancient China, Europe, and the Americas. It was a way to get prepared for war or honor deities. In Europe people viewed it as a test of courage and strength, and in China it showed grace and skill. Even though soccer is no longer played with human heads as at its origins, it is still a display of bravery, elegance, and finesse. It is these qualities and more that have almost half the world hooked.

Soccer is the most popular and universal sport. One website noted, “…Whether based on most fans or most participants or whatever the definition of popular, World Football / Soccer is top of the list” (www.topendsports.com). This shows it doesn’t matter how popularity is determined or perceived;

soccer is always at the top, with other sports left in the dust. While some might think sports like basketball or American football are dominant they are not even listed by www.mostpopularsports.net in the top five sports worldwide. They are beat out not only by soccer, but also cricket, field-hockey, tennis, and volleyball. Basketball and American football are still in their infancy compared with soccer getting its start thousands of years ago.

Soccer is the number one sport because of its simplicity and ability to be played anywhere with almost anything. A ball can be socks, a tin can, or knotted plastic bags. Goals can be anything that can serve as a marker. It can be played on a street, in a field, or any large, empty space. This is why soccer is superior to a sport like American football, which is impossible to play without a proper ball and field. As virtual magazine author Dan Zilberman wrote:
In the [m]ajor countries, especially the less developed, you can see kids from [a] very young age play with the ball trying to score goals. You can see the passion in their eyes, and the longing to the ball. You will not see them on the street playing volleyball or [t]ennis. Then they grow up and share the passion with their families and children (www.ezinearticles.com).

Another reason soccer is widespread is that anyone can play it, unlike basketball, which is dominated by big, tall players. In soccer, height and size have a minimal effect on a player’s overall success. Soccer can be played with anywhere from two to twenty-plus players, making it easy for spontaneous matches to be started, stopped, and continued at a later date with different players.

Soccer’s rules are simple. As soccer player and manager Phil Woosnam once stated, “The rules of soccer are very simple, basically it is this: if it moves, kick it. If it doesn't move, kick it until it does.” Although a bit of an overstatement, the message is clear: soccer is simple. Anyone wishing to play can do so governed by a few parameters: don’t use your hands, don’t shove or trip, and get the ball between the goal markers. This is a reason why soccer reigns over a sport like golf where the rules are complicated and not easily understood.

To find out for myself how much people know about soccer and to assess soccer’s effect on a local scale, I administered a quiz with some questions regarding general information about soccer. I tested twenty-four teenagers, including some soccer players and some non-soccer players. I found that, on average, people who play soccer and people who don’t get about the same number correct. This suggests soccer is universal and even reaches to non-soccer players.

Soccer’s simplicity makes it the worldwide sport. Games that require complicated rules, expensive equipment, and specific fields stand no chance against the “beautiful game”. Because of the simple joy and happiness that comes from soccer, the number of followers and the number of players will continue to increase. Those three billion devotees will continue to cheer and pass down the love of soccer to their children.





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