Here's a picture of the Mexican National team practicing on my old college field in Chicago last summer. I love Moody's field. It's carved in to the middle of down town Chicago. See the "El" moving along the track? The field was essentially donated by Karsten Solheim, the founder of PING golf equipment. 1991 was the first season Moody played on it, my junior year. Yours truly scored the lone goal in Moody's first win on the new field- one of my greatest soccer memories ever. I'm convinced soccer is the greatest sport in the world.
Despite it's relative lack of popularity in the U.S. (too many "immediate gratification" sports to compete with) , low estimates of people who play amateur soccer is 300 million in 200 different countries. tThat's referring to people signed up to play soccer. There has to be millions more who play in the streets and open fields of all these countries as well. When I was in Mexico and Bulgaria I had the opportunity to play soccer games with players who were skilled enough to be Division I players in the U.S. but had never been on an organized team in their country! Soccer truly is the international past time.
Sports writer Jim Smoot well notes-
Soccer is a game of skill and control. In a match between evenly skilled teams, low scores are not uncommon. These low scores leave many Americans with the impression that the game is boring and uneventful. In a society that revels in action, many people look at scoring a goal as the only exciting thing during a soccer match. For those who follow and understand the game, nothing could be further from the truth. As people become more accustomed to the game, they become more aware of the skills and strategies required to play well. They come to appreciate the ability of the players to run while dribbling, change directions on a dime, and make a brilliant pass to an open teammate. They also come to admire the defensive abilities of a player to step into the passing lane to intercept a pass, or the keeper's ability to make a diving save.