Myth #1: Soccer is Cool

Posted by Andrew Groves | Posted in | Posted on Saturday, June 19, 2010

This summer, I'm starting a new series of posts on this blog called MythBustin'. Named after one of my favorite television shows (MythBusters), this series will examine what I consider to be some of the most persistent myths of our lifetime.

On the television show, myths are tested and then given one of the following labels: (a) CONFIRMED, (b) PLAUSIBLE, or (c) BUSTED. In the same way, I will examine these urban legends and, after much thoughtful consideration, I will label them appropriately.

Now, for our very first myth. Myth #1: Soccer is cool.

Beginning Thoughts
Ah, soccer. Or should I say... football? Or is it... futbol? Well, let's not worry about semantics just yet. For now, let's just call it soccer. We are in America after all!

I felt it was appropriate to begin my MythBustin' series with this subject as the FIFA World Cup is now in full swing. Thousands, nay, millions of people have been glued to their television sets, watching this international spectacle unfold (in high definition, I might add).

But many believe soccer to be a "mind-numbing bore and that any reasonable person would rather be playing it than watching it." (Dan Rydell, Sports Night)

So is this myth true? Is soccer cool? Let's take a look at the evidence.

Evidence in Favor
The only evidence I can find that soccer is even remotely cool is the fact that everyone likes it. Well, ok, not everyone, but a vast majority of the international community eats, sleeps, and breathes soccer. They start riots when their favorite team loses and when their favorite team... wins. Hmm... I've never understood that part.

Anyway, the point is this: Because lots of people like it, it must be cool. But can that argument hold water?

Not really... and here's why. First of all, the "if everyone else was jumping off a cliff" argument comes to mind. Obviously I'm being a little bit facetious here, but you get the point. Second, let's take a look at the top four highest grossing movies worldwide of 2007. This should give us a peek at the types of movies that lots of people like. They are, in this order: (1) Spider-Man 3, (2) Shrek the Third, (3) Transformers, and (4) Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

Oh dear.

This goes to show us that just because lots of people like something doesn't make it cool.

Well, we have to throw that out as insufficient evidence. And, since that was the only evidence we had in favor of this myth, let's move on to the evidence AGAINST this myth.

Evidence Against
Since I don't have sufficient space on my blog to outline all of the evidence against soccer's supposed coolness, I will simply list these two pieces of evidence.

(1) The score: It was hard to hunt up reliable data, but according to, the average number of goals for a winning team in a Major League Soccer game in 2009 was 1.69, and the average number of goals for a losing team was 0.67. Dan Rydell of Sports Night sums up his feelings this way:

(2) The lack of drama: In America, we like situational sports drama. For example...
  • bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, and the team's best hitter squares off against the pitcher in a last ditch effort to win the game
  • 3.6 seconds left in an NCAA basketball game, and one team, down by three points, throws the ball in to their best outside shooter to send them into overtime
  • down by four points with only 18 seconds to go, one football team sends their wide receivers streaking down the field as the quarterback throws a Hail Mary
In soccer, the only drama occurs when someone gets close enough to the goal to take a shot. But even then, their chances of making that shot are slim to none (remember the first piece of evidence?). Also, in soccer there are no timeouts, no stopping of the game clock, and no instant replay.

So, it's kind of like watching grass grow except... less exciting. Plus, the Simpsons seem to agree with me too!

Well, the evidence is overwhelming. This myth is...

Note: The purpose of this post is to do one thing: entertain. Don't twist yourself all up in a knot over my dislike of soccer. Think of me as Stephen Colbert... only not as funny.