Soccer is the most popular sport in the entire world but in the United States its popularity isn’t really at the level it should be. Soccer is estimated to have around 3.5 billion fans of the sport worldwide. That means incredibly, almost half of the world call themselves soccer fans. Still, in the United States soccer isn’t even the dominant sport played around the country.
In 2017, it was reported that soccer was the third most watched sport in the United States. Unfortunately, soccer tends to take a backseat to other sports such as basketball and football in the United States. The U.S. is the leading country in both football and basketball by far–second place when it comes to baseball national rankings. But when it comes to soccer, we are pretty far behind. According to FIFA, the Mens United States soccer team is ranked 22nd in the world. In contrast, the Women’s U.S soccer team is ranked first in the world. This can be attributed to the lack of attention female sports receive in other countries, not so much the fact that ours is very developed. All of this information can be attributed to one simple reasoning as to why men’s soccer is not flourishing here as well as it does in other countries. This is because the cost to play in the US is way too high.
According to USA Today High School Sports, soccer membership dues are from about $2,500 to $5,000. Adding on registration fees, traveling costs, and different programs, this cost could sky rocket up to $10,000 or more. This is way too expensive for a simple sport which requires a ball, cleats, and shin guards.
A great professional soccer player named Zlatan Ibrahimovic made some comments on the sport in America. Zlatan stated, “First they (the US) think about money, then about quality and results… it has to be said that the sport is expensive, very expensive.” Zlatan comes from Europe where the sport is nowhere near as expensive as it is here. He believes that the price tag on the sport is a main reason it isn’t flourishing here in the US. We, in simple terms, have a pay to play system in the US. If you can’t afford to be on a team, then you simply do not play. Soccer should not just be for the privileged. We should fix this by making it more affordable, and maybe it might flourish as well as football, baseball, and basketball.