Unpopular Opinion: Soccer is boring to watch

April 4, 2024 — by George Hu
Graphic by George Hu
This is what I look like when I attempt to watch a soccer game.
Soccer’s slow paced style and low-scoring games make me feel a lack of excitement towards the sport.

Soccer is by far the most popular sport in the world, having approximately 3.5 billion fans, which is 2.7 billion more than basketball and 3 billion more than baseball, two of America’s most popular sports.

Although those 3.5 billion fans around the globe relish watching soccer, I find it to be an extremely boring sport, considering the fact that I struggle to get through the first 10 minutes of soccer games without falling asleep.

Firstly, soccer is an extremely low scoring sport. Over the last five seasons of Major League Soccer (MLS), an average of 2.88 goals have been scored per game, roughly equating to 31 minutes of gametime spent making each goal. In comparison, during the National Basketball Association’s 2022-2023 season, NBA teams scored an average of 114.7 points per game, which equates to 0.42 minutes of gametime per point. For me, it’s frustrating to watch my favorite teams go scoreless for minutes on end, especially when they are making little progress toward the goal. 

Additionally, little action happens for a majority of the game, such as when players simply pass the ball back and forth. Teams make minimal progress, if at all, to scoring a goal.

During the 2024 MLS season, on average, MLS teams attempted 22 goals per game while having 49 possessions (periods of time during a game when a team has control of the ball) per game. This indicates it is common for a possession to not include a goal attempt, and that possessions on average last for almost two minutes, proving the fact that there are periods when teams make little progress to scoring attempts.

To fix soccer’s slow pace, soccer should add a shot clock like the NBA, making the game more fast paced, increasing possessions and leading to more scoring attempts. 

I’m not taking anything away from the incredible athletes that the sport of soccer has to offer. They work diligently on their craft and deserve a tremendous amount of respect for doing so. But the problem is simple — the game of soccer is just too slow and too low-scoring for me and many others to enjoy.

Tags: boring, soccer
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