Throughout the FA community, it is common to see students wearing soccer jerseys from teams representing almost every country. Soccer is arguably the most popular sport in the world, based on the fact that it is heavily played in almost every country. Although the sport is reaching the height of its popularity in America, this shift has only occurred recently. Fifteen years ago, soccer was much less prevalent in the United States for a variety of reasons: the sport was rarely broadcasted on American television, the sport was played much less by youth than it is currently, and most importantly, people would have to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in order to see a quality soccer match. You may be thinking: I always see soccer on TV, or I know so many kids that play soccer. The question is, how did America go from having little knowledge about the most played sport in the world merely fifteen years ago, to having soccer be one of the most popular sports amongst youth? The crazy yet simple answer is…. FIFA. Even though this may sound silly, the increased production of gaming consoles and soccer video games has worked in tandem with spreading knowledge of the sport across the Atlantic Ocean to America. Seeing as FIFA is currently the number one played sports video game in the world, it is unsurprising how soccer knowledge in the United States increased from zero to one hundred in a matter of two decades.
FIFA allows the gamer to learn about an array different players, all of the different teams, and the various tactics that occur on a real life soccer field. It may just be a video game, but with realistic data and statistics, FIFA teaches the player more about the sport than you might think. In addition to expanding the knowledge of soccer, FIFA has even begun to unite the global community through the love of the game.
As you might recall, recently a group of high schoolers from Málaga, Spain visited our campus to immerse themselves in American life and culture. In my Spanish class, we were put into groups to meet the students and practice our Spanish. Not only were they impressed with my class’ Spanish speaking abilities, but they were even more enthusiastic about being able to speak about “fùtbol” with them. After speaking with one of the exchange students for a couple of minutes, our conversation completely diverged to speaking about the soccer game last weekend and comparing our favorite players.
Without FIFA, soccer would not be broadcasted in the United States the way it is, and soccer would not be played to the extent that it is played in 2016. Luckily for America, FIFA has given us an entry point into the beautiful game that is soccer.