Football, 1; Soccer, 4


Photo via

Photo via










I’m going to argue here that we replace football with soccer as the number one field sport in the U.S. Before I give you my irrefutable and carefully researched reasons, let me share my credentials.

I am a hardcore Yankees fan…at least post-season, or if C.C. is pitching.

I watch some basketball but I miss the old days–before foul calls punctuated every five minutes of play.

I love watching top level women’s sports–largely because it feels more authentic and less driven by commercial activity.

I never watch golf…even back when Tiger was playing at the top of his game.

I follow both winter and summer Olympics.

I have personally completed five marathons…walking.


Football (soccer) in Malawi. Photo: Francesco Veronesi via Creative Commons, some rights reserved.

Okay, now my soccer vs. football, pros/cons.

* Football is much more physically dangerous than soccer. Score one point for soccer.

* The U.S. is basically the only country that plays football, making it very 20th vs. 21st century–it’s a global economy and a global sports world nowadays. Score one point for soccer.

* Soccer requires greater athleticism and less equipment/gear–go anywhere in the world with a soccer ball and it’s “game on!” within minutes. Score one point for soccer.

* Aside from the “off sides” call, the rules of soccer are much less complicated. Score one point for soccer.

* Football has tailgate parties. Score one for football.

Like the title of this post says, football, 1; soccer, 4. Now go tune in a World Cup game.

First official US soccer team, 1916. Photo via Wikipedia.

First official US soccer team formation, 1916. Photo via Wikipedia.


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5 Comments on “Football, 1; Soccer, 4”

  1. Hank says:

    Soccer is 90 minutes of almost continuous action with a break at the half. Football is 30 seconds of action after which everyone stands around for a while deciding what to do next and TV goes to commercial. Score a whole bunch for soccer. (also soccer uses an actual “ball” – what is that thing football uses?)

  2. Monique says:

    I agree with Hank. The constant 30 second break encourages another sip of the whatever-“heavy” beer someone is drinking. Watching more soccer can be the cure to the United States epidemic of beer bellies! Ellen, you’re a genius.

  3. Eileen says:

    Soccer players are far healthier and sexier than the American football players. Score another 1 for Soccer!!!

  4. Jon Sklaroff says:

    As a loyal employee here at NCPR and ever so faithful to Ms. Rocco, I have to be the voice of dissent.

    1. In terms of economics (a very general / rough estimate look at it as well), on a per-capita basis, the US has a population of 310-ish million people and the NFL is a $10 billion a year industry. As far as I recently heard, FIFA has about $1 billion in the bank, granted that doesn’t include all big time soccer (futbol) leagues like The Premier League, La Liga, etc … but back to the per-capita argument – if 4.5% (ish) of the world’s population has 1 league that does ten times the revenue of FIFA … win for the 4.5%

    2. Saying soccer is “90 minutes of continuous action” is a stretch. Yes, the ball is moving around, and I know, the players run something like 7 miles in one game (insane!) but when they are not in the middle of the fray, they are often running around the field not doing much. I know, they are positioning themselves, etc … but from a spectator stance, they ain’t doing much.

    While conversely, in every single play of a football game, every player MUST do their job, MUST play a key role in success of a play. It doesn’t matter how far a Quarterback can throw or how fast a running back is, if a lineman misses a block, the play is dead in the water. It is the most involved team game in all of sports.

    3. Football does have many rules, but really there isn’t much variety in types of penalties called each game. Once you watch a game or two, you can pick up on rules and strategy very easy (if you are actually trying to).

    That all being said, after watching some games this World Cup with some very enthusiastic Futbol fans, I can see the enjoyment and excitement when it does happen (last 5 minutes of the game, or when the ball is just outside the goalie box). But, FOOTBALL is king.

  5. Pete Klein says:

    I have always liked football at all levels and have also liked soccer at all levels. I did watch all of the games played in Brazil by the American team and did watch some of the other games, and enjoyed those as well.
    I think there is room for both American football and soccer.
    As to your pluses and minuses score for football and soccer, Ellen, I totally disagree with the plus vote for football tailgate parties. I think they are stupid. I have never viewed any sport as a great excuse for drinking beer or doing some grilling. In fact, I don’t like grilling. I don’t know when or why grilling became popular. I don’t recall it ever being done when I was a kid. You ate in the house or you packed a lunch to go on a picnic.
    Beer? Does real beer even exist nowadays? Beer has become like potato chips – hundreds of varieties that don’t taste much like beer.

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