California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Americans should embrace more fútbol

    The name of the game is fútbol. No, not football, actual fútbol or soccer as they say in the Americas. It has been the No. 1 watched sport for many years everywhere.

    In the United States, soccer is only the fifth most watched sport behind American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey according to the website Sporteology. However, the number of viewers in the United States has been increasing each year.

    Fortunately, the number is only going to continue to increase as well as the excitement of the game.

    According to the website Umbell, the 2015 Women’s World Cup had a 45 percent increase compared to the 2011 World Cup as well as more than $40 million in revenue compared to the $6 million in 2011.

    On the website Wallethub which has the official numbers of the 2014 World Cup, the second highest amount of tickets purchased belonged to the United States with 155,000 tickets, losing to Brazil or who was the host country of the 2014 World Cup.

    The World Cup is not the extent to which Americans have begun to embrace soccer, the movement has moved into the youth as well.

    In 2014 an ESPN poll was conducted to see what sport was played most in the United States and fútbol ranked second after American football, ages ranging from 12-17. The survey also reported that Major League Soccer was just as popular as Major League Baseball.

    With that being said the number of people that are participating in playing fútbol has increased as well.

    According to the U.S. Youth Soccer organization, the amount of people participating in soccer has increased 30 times in 40 years ago. In 1974 there were 103,432 children registered to play soccer in the United States, then 1.6 million children registered to play in 1990. This number is now more than three million as of 2014.

    The amount is also beginning to surpass tackle football and now has one million participants more than baseball.

    Aspen Smith, a member of the California Lutheran University Soccer Team, has noticed the change in competition as well.

    “Competition wise, America has grown tremendously. Players are now becoming homegrown and help the national team tremendously. There are also better athletes that are starting to play which only helps,” Smith said.

    A majority of the hype is not coming from Major League Soccer in the United States but overseas in the European leagues instead. Last year’s Champions League, which is a tournament of the top teams in different European leagues, final between Barcelona and Juventus had 2.2 million viewers.

    The average amount of viewers for the Barclays Premier League, which is the top league in England, was 425,000 viewers. To top it off, there was a match between Manchester United and Real Madrid at the University of Michigan Stadium that had an attendance of 109,318 fans, which is the largest attendance ever for a live soccer match in the United States.

    Even though there is more interacting with the European Leagues because of their level of performance, Major League Soccer is still on the rise, especially as the 2018 World Cup comes closer.

    One reason that there is more hype in Major League Soccer is because of the “superstars” that are coming overseas to play for the teams in the United States. With more and more professionals coming to the United States to play, it only increases the amount of viewers because of the level at which these certain players perform.

    Players such as Thierry Henry, David Villa and Kaká who have played at the next level only help players in the United States get better. With their experience the level of play can only get more competitive.

    Even though the popularity of fútbol in the United States has increased immensely, that still does not mean that it is at the same level as it is everywhere else in the world. In order for that to happen, the mentality of fútbol in America will have to change as well as the training.

    “For Europe, soccer is like a religion. They do not have any other major sports leagues so all of their best athletes go to soccer, while the best athletes in America can choose from a variety of sports. In America people view soccer players as people who just flop but if they actually played they would know what’s going on,” Smith said.

    Regardless of what level the United States is at when it comes to fútbol, it is undeniable that it has grown and progressed over the years and there is only more to come.

    Alec Sprague
    Staff Writer
    Published April 20th, 2016