Why soccer is so popular in Europe



Soccer, just like any sport, derives its popularity from a cultural perspective. By this I mean a people’s extent of exposure to the sport throughout their own lives is a greater influence in its popularity than just the random observations they make on the playing rules or the call of the referees.

The importance of soccer in Europe as well as throughout the world is primarily thanks to the imperialist activity of England in the mid-late 19th century. Born into the public school system of England, the sport became widespread in Europe when the schoolboys from those very institutions worked as merchants and sailor. Because they visited and eventually settled in trade centers all over the globe, the schoolboys-turned sailors-and-merchants also brought with them their favorite pastimes and the educational systems they were instructed in.


The greater amount of leisure time that the European working classes enjoyed in the speedily broadening territories of cities was responsible for the burgeoning popularity of the sport during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was pretty easy to adopt by the working class because of the sport’s ready accessibility and low playing costs due to the need for very little equipment, along with the simple game rules.

Soccer has not readily caught on in popularity in a select number of countries because those countries had been opposed to or did not readily embrace English (especially) and other foreign cultures and influence. You might call the opposition to adopting the sport due to the imperialistic or oppressive image of England to the nations that fought against it. These nations include the USA, Australia, Ireland, South Africa, the entire southern Asia region, and the Caribbean.

The sporting culture of America finds its roots in institutions of higher education as well. During the late 1800’s, that culture may have held a resemblance to the English originator but there was a noticeable schism in terms of the rules of soccer before they got formally set. The public schools of England in the 19th century may have established their influence in the games of American soccer, rugby and football but the strong resistance against American aristocracy and its universities brought forth the veering away of American football from other forms of the sport. Soccer only re-emerged on the American sports scene due to world economic globalization as well as the heavy cosmopolitanism that went with communication networks, and most notably, because of the exodus of Latin American immigrants into US shores.

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