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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

America needs to learn that soccer is a real sport

Hundreds of students flock to Kilroy’s on Kirkwood for the famous Kilroy’s shirts every Thursday. Each week brings a new theme ranging from television shows to NBA teams. Students go crazy for them.

Kilroy’s will generally release a hint for what will be on the shirt through its Twitter account. This past Thursday, KOK tweeted “Tshirt hint of the day – PSG.”

For those unaware, PSG, short for Paris Saint-Germain, is a popular soccer team from the French ?Ligue 1.

The majority of responses were positive and people seemed genuinely excited about the soccer shirts. A few responses were along the lines of “Who cares about soccer? This is ?America.”

The funny thing is, America cares about soccer. More than 26.5 million Americans tuned in to the World Cup Final this summer for a game that didn’t even feature the United States.

For the United States versus Portugal World Cup game, 24.7 million American viewers tuned in.

For comparison, game seven of this year’s World Series drew 23.5 million viewers. So the final decisive game of what is supposed to be “America’s pastime” drew one million fewer followers than a World Cup group stage game.

I didn’t grow up as a soccer fan. In fact, my father never allowed me to play it as a child because he didn’t feel it was a true sport.

Then I started watching soccer casually as a junior in high school. I was hooked. Soccer is truly a spectator’s sport. It consists of two halves with no timeouts. There are no commercial breaks. Instead, you have constant action.

Compare this to an average NFL game, and the difference is staggering. In an average NFL game there are 63 minutes of commercials and only 11 minutes of actual game time, according to a SportsGrid report from January. Games on average last a little more than three hours. Three hours for 11 minutes of actual action.

Another thing that made the negative responses particularly upsetti ng is that Bloomington is a ? soccer town. In case you were unaware, the IU men’s soccer team has eight national championships . And the team is in serious ?contention to win a ninth.

The soccer program is arguably the most decorated IU program to date. At a time when the majority of the sports programs are in turmoil or floundering, the soccer team is quietly going about its business.

So the next time someone tries to tell you that soccer isn’t popular in America, just know that it actually is.

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