Association football, also commonly called simply football or soccer, is an international team sport played between two teams of eleven players each. It’s played on an oval field approximately 100 x 60m, with half of the pitch being used for play and the other half used for training. The game is considered to be the most popular sport in the world, with an estimated total audience of over 210 million people. It’s also the most popular non-contact sport in the world, with players frequently using their feet to propel the ball forward. It’s also the most watched sport in the world.
So why does the game have such popularity in America? One major reason is that it can be adapted to any number of American sporting codes, including American football and lacrosse. However, despite the many forms it can take it’s primarily European origins and the rules that governed the game made it a uniquely American sport, one that America was naturally suited to. For instance, it was impossible for a coach to enforce rules restricting the width of a ball unless the players actually agreed to it. Another unique aspect of the game is that the players only wore tennis shoes when playing, making football a far easier proposition for players.
Due to the growth of soccer in the Americas, especially in Europe, football in America has grown significantly in the last few decades, particularly since the turn of the millennium. Many of the reasons for this growth can be traced to the growth of soccer in Europe, where the game became a successful direct result of the infrastructure built by soccer clubs and the introduction of professional rules and standards. However, while soccer has become the leading sport in Europe and has consistently demonstrated strong interest in American football, the game in America has only had limited exposure to professional football.
This lack of exposure has caused gaps in the coverage of American football soccer. Major League Soccer (MLS) is the premier North American sport and is widely followed by fans from the United States, Canada, England and other English-speaking countries. Unfortunately, due to a lack of coverage on US soil for soccer the league only has an interest in promoting English-speaking players and coaches. As a result, most Americans are unaware of the current crop of US soccer players waiting to debut in the MLS. In this way, they may be inadvertently bypassing a potentially great player because of a lack of exposure.
Another major difference between American football and rugby is the level of skill and attention paid to fitness. Both leagues have a well-developed fitness culture which has developed players accustomed to training and playing for long periods of time. The NFL relies on a strength and conditioning program which stresses players train and compete on a regular basis to remain in peak physical condition for each game. Rugby, on the other hand, has not traditionally had the same level of commitment to fitness.
There is little reason why American football and rugby players should be left behind in the next generation of great athletes. Each sport features a diverse and talented array of athletes. Football relies on its fast pace and heavy hitting game plan, while rugby is more skillful when it comes to kicking the ball. The two games offer a unique combination of entertaining styles that could only be gained through proper exposure. By securing a subscription to both of these sports you can help ensure that your child develops a solid athletic foundation from a young age.