What can we do to change the popularity of soccer in America?

(Photo via https://www.pxfuel.com/en/search?q=soccer under the Creative Commons License)

(Photo via https://www.pxfuel.com/en/search?q=soccer under the Creative Commons License)

Hadi Syed and Angel Batista

There are many WMS student athletes. Football players, basketball players, volleyball players, and soccer players. With a variety of different sports, there are many that are focused on less than others, for example soccer. Soccer is one of America’s many sports and is also one that is focused on the least. With a small percentage of Americans being interested in the champions league we could only get a handful of opinions on how the final will turn out.

All the students, either soccer players or interested in the champions league, that we interviewed are, 8th grade students, Daryl Sanchez, Joshua Ojeda, Jullianne Mcsorly, Manraj Panag, Aiden Rose, Ciara Murphy, Matteo Correa and Genesis Cruz.  

Interviewees believe that soccer isn’t as popular in America as it is in other countries because of the variety of sports and because of where soccer originated.

 For example, as stated by Joshua Ojeda, “The variety of sports affects the popularity of soccer because the more sports there are the harder it is to only worry about one.” 

Also, as stated by Daryl Sanchez, “The culture of any sport can affect the different people who are interested in it. For example, American football is the most popular sport in America.”

Champions League Finals

The final is coming up on June 10th, which if won can change the history of their respective teams. For example, the favored team, Manchester City which has never won the champions league before. Even though they have been one of the best teams over the decade, they have no luck when it comes to winning the champions league. However, this year they have a new striker on their team which might be the best youngster playing the game right now. Manchester City is considered the best team in the premier league and in most of Europe. Everybody we had interviewed was in favor of Manchester City over Inter Milan.

For example, as stated by Manraj Panag, “I think Man City is going to win the finals because they have better players and team play.” 

Soccer at WMS?

Most of the students that we interviewed loved the idea of WMS having their own soccer teams like the other middle schools in the district. 

However a different opinion, from Ciara Murphy, “It would be a waste of time because there are so many better teams out there that people might rather join”. 

Student favored players:

Since there are not a lot of well known world class players, three players that were named the most in the interviews, were Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar jr. which are some of the best players of all time in their own respective strengths. Neymar is considered one of the best players at dribbling and controlling the ball, while Cristiano Ronaldo is considered the best player at headers, free kicks, and shooting and Messi is one of the best at passing, scoring and dribbling.

The two players that are considered the greatest of all time are Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo. However, it can be difficult to calculate which one is better overall because Ronaldo has played 150 more games than Messi so you can not determine which one is better with statistics. But most people, including the people that we interviewed believe that Messi is a better player because Ronaldo can just shoot,  but Messi is good at everything an attacker needs in a game. 

As stated by Manraj Panag, “I think Messi is a better player in skill because he was born with good soccer genetics, but Ronaldo had to really work his way to the top.” 

Changing of Culture in Soccer:

Vinicius Jr, also known as Vini Jr,  is a 22 year Brazilian soccer player who plays for Real Madrid. During the La Liga match against Valencia, Vini Jr was being harassed by Spanish fans and being called slurs throughout the whole match. After getting harassed all game, enraged Vini Jr decided he wanted to change leagues to escape some of the racism. 

All of the interviewees understand that there is a big problem with the La Liga community and that it is difficult to keep them all in check but, they all had different ideas on how to solve these problems and prevent anything like it from happening in the future. For example, as stated by Daryl Sanchez, “I think the only way to keep everybody in check is to just start kicking out anyone who is caught harassing or verbally abusing anybody.” 

Most of the interviewees agreed with Vini and how he initially reacted to the verbal abuse throughout the game. Like as stated by Joshua Ojeda, “I wholeheartedly agree with what he did and I would’ve probably done the same thing.” 

However a separate statement from Marwan Mohamed, “I agree with what he did, however it probably would’ve been more professional if he tried to stay calm and collected.”

If nothing changes in La Liga, you can presume that the future of soccer will be gloomy with even worse fans and pressure from the crowds onto the players. Soccer will probably become less popular and come to its eventual fall with worse fans and worse playing. This is why we need to make a change. If we want to keep soccer we need to be hyping up the players instead of harassing them all game.