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Why Soccer Remains a Global Phenomenon

Known as the most popular sport in the world, the origins of modern soccer in America is up for debate. One theory points to the arrival in the United States through Ellis Island in the 1860s. Another suggests an entry in America through the English, German, Irish, Italian and Scottish immigrants who brought the game with them. Then, there are links to ancient Greece, Rome, China and Egypt as the start of the sport.

Wherever soccer did come from, this sport for everyone – male and female, young and older alike — continues to thrive for its simplicity in game, international appeal, loyalty from the fans, convenience of play, and – most importantly, its competitive spirit. The element of competition in soccer attracts people to both play and to watch, to immerse themselves in the experience, and, at this turbulent time in the world, in particular, to participate in sports betting. Many of the biggest bookmakers postponed or totally canceled their recent online betting odds because of the Coronavirus spreading worldwide. Soccer has always been known as a sport worth betting on and now that option is gone too.

Unlike other sports (including football, baseball and basketball), soccer has leagues all over the world, which only accelerates interest in both the sport and the online betting participation. The first official associated soccer game between two nations, in fact, was England versus Scotland in 1872, and the worldwide appeal of soccer continues to accelerate.

Soccer, according to published surveys, is played by an estimated 265 million players across the nation. Percent-wise, that represents about four percent of the Earth’s population. Comparably, that is more than any other sport.

While other sports are available at only certain times of the year, soccer is also basically enjoyed throughout the year. Across all countries, there is rarely a time when soccer is not in play.

Overall, there are 21 soccer leagues across the world. The top five soccer leagues top five soccer leagues are considered the English Premier League (England), Serie A (Italy), La Liga (Spain), Bundesliga (Germany), and Major League Soccer (MLS – America).

Top Soccer Players

Naturally, when you think of the best in soccer historically the name Pelé immediately comes to mind. The three-time World Cup winner scored 727 goals during his stellar 21-year career (including 77 for Brazil in 92 appearances). In 1999, Pelé was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), and he was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century award.

In 2016, biographical theatrical “Pele: Birth of a Legend” was released, with actor Kevin de Paula in the lead role.

Then there is Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi, who has also been voted the greatest footballer of all time. Other names of note include Christiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Sergio Aguero, Manuel Neuer, Gareth Bale, Andres Iniesta, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Arjen Robben. Then, of course, there is David Beckham.

The Impact of the Coronavirus

Considered a multi-billion-dollar market, soccer, like any live sporting event, is temporarily out of commission due to the coronavirus. Major league soccer is suspending its season for at least 30 days because of the pandemic. The National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, meanwhile, have suspended their seasons, while the start of Major League Baseball is on hold. And the biggest question in sports is whether the International Olympic Committee will postpone or cancel the Summer Olympic Games, scheduled for July in Tokyo.

Of course, we all have to think optimistically for the future. And when soccer does return (and do any other live sport), the thrill of the game, the camaraderie of the participants, and the thrill of the game will be back where it belongs…on top!