With soccer growing in popularity and recently being declared the second most popular sport between 12-24 year olds (according to the ESPN Sports Poll, run by social scientist Rich Luker), the sport is growing. Whether you enjoy soccer as an intense, fast-paced, exciting game requiring a lot of skill; or as boring, slow endeavor with too few goals and little action, there is no denying that the world’s most played sport will soon become America’s as well.
Many MCPS students I talked to enjoy playing soccer and the sport itself in general. However, less (little more than half) said that they enjoyed watching soccer.
Freshman Jared Kaplan was firm in his love of the game, saying, “Playing soccer is great, and watching the best in the world battle it out on TV is even better.”
Freshman Kevin Ebert responded, “I love playing soccer with my friends, but watching it on TV is really boring. I hate the way almost no one scores and most of the game is just passing the ball around with no shots!”
One of the biggest complaints among students was that the sport had too few goals, with an average of about three goals per game in the major soccer leagues in a span of 90 minutes. On the other hand, some replied that the rarity of goals and scoring makes each goal more special, leading to more excitement.
In last year’s Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association’s (MPSSAA) soccer playoffs Magruder High School won the region’s title, beating out Walter Johnson High School in the final. Magruder lost to the eventual winners Severna Park High School of Anne Arundel County in overtime by a score of 1-0. However, James Hubert Blake High School progressed to the finals, the furthest a Montgomery County school would go, but eventually lost to Severna Park.
While the youth in the Montgomery County area mostly take pleasure in playing and watching soccer, our local professional soccer team, DC United of Major League Soccer (MLS) continues to struggle. The club had an average attendance of 11,642 last season, (which was 17th out of the 19 teams in the MLS in terms of attendance) and well below their stadium’s (RFK) capacity of 45,596.
Soccer is gaining traction in the US, and Montgomery County is no different. However, the American league still needs to do more to get more people in seats to watch our domestic league.
Article by Max Cohen, Staff Writer for the MoCo Student