Soccer or Fútbol


The Fútbol vs soccer debate goes on. The United States is the only place in the world where ‘football’ means something else. Instead, for the rest of the world, “football” refers to what we in the United States call Soccer.

And while the USA still struggles to accept Fútbol as passionately as the rest of the world, the FIFA World Cup came to an end. We watched 32 teams play 64 games. Argentina beat France to become a three-time champion. This was the first World Cup held in the Arab world and Muslim world, the first time that it’s not played during the summer, the first time beer was not sold in stadiums. All in all, it was a World Cup with much controversy.

TV ratings were broken as Argentina and France squared off and the two fútbol superpowers played the final game, confirming that it is THE most popular sport in the world. When comparing TV viewership we are talking about billions against millions.

The US team qualified to go to Qatar and played a decent first round, but were eliminated in the second phase. If the team could have done better, it would have helped to bring more people into the game. The fact that the USA has never won may explain why the sport still struggles to gain traction here in the states. For America, soccer is probably more a kids sports activity, and despite the growth of the professional soccer league, the sport itself and the FIFA World Cup remains a foreign passion Americans don’t fully grasp. It’s like “if I’m not the champion, I’m not watching it.”

Ted Lasso – the famous television comedy-drama series about an American college football coach hired to coach an English soccer team has done more to bring Fútbol into America’s POP culture than the World Cup. Despite his lack of experience, he finds a way to be accepted and to succeed as well. As one of the characters of the show says, “Fútbol is Life”.

The debate will continue as to which sport gets to own the Football or Fútbol name. Super Bowls will be played every year and FIFA World Cups every four. The United States gets to host the next World Cup, sharing hosting responsibilities with Canada and México.

Rather than giving a cold shoulder to Fútbol, let’s embrace this global passion and be ready to host, like the US knows how to do it. Let’s organize the best World Cup and let’s win it.