by Rena Ketelsen–Stadiums with roaring crowds, mostly dressed in two different colors, are not uncommon in most countries. In the US, sports like American football, basketball, or baseball frequently attract such crowds.
In many other countries, however, there is one sport that can have thousands or even millions of people forget everything for two hours and gather in front of a TV or in a stadium. Of course, that sport is soccer.
At a time like this, when one of the largest sports events in the world is taking place, this contrast seems to be more obvious than usual. While millions of people follow and talk about the World Cup in Qatar, there doesn’t seem to be much of a buzz about it in the US.
Jolina Stübner, a sophomore from Germany, and Mikhil Raja, a freshman from Zimbabwe, both follow the World Cup fairly closely and watch the games. Cristal Delatorre, a former student who is Mexican, also follows it. All three agree Americans care about the World Cup, but not as much as fans from other countries.
Some of their reasons for that are other sports and events Americans watch. Whereas events like the World Series of the Superbowl are the talk of the town in the US, the Champions League, Concacaf, and especially the World Cup are what people in many other countries care about.
Stübner explained, “I wouldn’t say, Americans treat the World Cup differently necessarily [than fans from other countries]. They just care less since other sports are usually more important here.”
Delatorre added, “I do believe that the World Cup is not taken as seriously as other countries when compared to the US because there are other American pastimes like the Super Bowl or the World Series, to name a few.”
Stübner pointed out she is under the impression American soccer fans don’t know as much about the sport as other fans. However, Raja stated that he thinks Americans respect the event despite all of that.
Jil Hellerforth, a junior from Germany, noted that Americans who do not play soccer have a different understanding of the sport and events related to it. “When they [Americans] see the fans celebrating, they are surprised by the energy and everything surrounding it.”
They all stated they know Americans who watch the World Cup. Some of them do so because they have friends who watch it. Others do so because they play soccer themselves.
Despite that, it’s nowhere near the number of people who watch it in other countries, according to Stübner. “It’s not even close to how it is in Germany where literally everyone watches, no matter whether they’re into soccer or not.”
This devotion to soccer is one that seems to be more common with other sports in the US. Fans dressed in Patriots jerseys or wearing Yankee caps still appear to be more common in this country than people wearing US soccer jerseys.
That is something that may change with the next World Cup in four years, however, which is set to take place in North America. Perhaps, then, stadiums will be painted in red, white, and blue with roaring American crowds who are backing their national team.