At Least We Have FIFA

When Americans talk about their favorite sports, you hear: football, basketball, baseball, even golf.  Not too much attention on what the majority of the world has dubbed the most popular sport, soccer.  The lack of attention that the sport gets in this country is just sad.  Everywhere you go you see somebody laced out in their team’s gear.  A football jersey, with a baseball hat, and some Jordan brand basketball shoes are not uncommon attire for the typical sports fan.  Honestly, I don’t even remember the last time I saw a soccer jersey for sale at the mall.

The EA Sports franchise has always been the leader in the video game world.  The FIFA franchise started in 1993, and has been booming ever since.  In the last few years alone, the game has evolved to feature teams from all over the world, and players that have become icons for the sport.  The game has become so popular in the U.S. that is almost on the same level in sales as the famed Madden football games.

The funny thing is, I don’t even play soccer.  Not on a team, or as a hobby, but I have become a huge fan of the sport based purely on my experiences playing FIFA.  The level of competition, the different players, countries, stadiums, all aspects of the game seem to bring everyone together.  Unlike the typical video game where you pop it into the console and get lost in your own mindset, FIFA seems to provide this feeling of being surreal, and being a part of something that is more than just a disc you bought for 50 bucks at Wal-Mart.  Without the gameplay experiences that FIFA provides to kids all over the country, soccer might be non existent other than the local school’s team.  The MLS seems to never be on tv, and is maybe mentioned once a month on SportsCenter.

“The video game became a gateway to the real thing. Scarborough opted to become a Chelsea fan. ‘I quickly found myself scouring the internet to follow soccer … in the time I used to dedicate to NBA basketball,” he said. His voyage of discovery was not a solo mission. “Our entire campus quickly became littered with guys pairing the traditional Southern garb of camouflage hunting pants with a red-and-black-striped AC Milan Jersey.’ ” This from a University of Alabama student after he and his fellow classmates began playing the game.

Playing the game is nothing short of pure excitement.  I immediately sought out creating my own custom player, and used all the different sponsors such as Adidas and Nike to hook my player up with all the nicest and most popular gear, added him to my favorite team Real Madrid, and hit the play game option and was off and running, no pun intended.  The atmosphere makes things seem like you are actually sitting in the stands watching this game unfold, the fans cheering the actual cheers based on their respective teams.  The amazing arenas and pitches all perfect down to the last seat leave the first time player in awe.  Along with the jaw dropping atmosphere, the actual game is an adrenaline rush.  The ball bounces, and glides across the field from player to player, as you control the direction of each pass, or the strength behind each attempt at the goal.  I find myself wanting to hook up the PS3 right now and start playing.

I asked my suitemate, who is from Sweden, how popular the game is over in Europe.  He reacted as if I was a complete idiot for asking, and said it’s not just a game, but a way of life.  Millions of people flock to the stores, seeking that new game, or that new jersey, and prepare for their adventure onto the pitch.  All I’m simply  saying is that if we didn’t have the oppurtunity to play FIFA, how popular would the sport of soccer really be in this country.  No matter the amount of soccer players and fans out there, it just doesn’t get the exposure that it deserves.  FIFA is the outlet that broadcast the sport to the world, and brings the world’s most popular sport to our attention and makes people want more and more.

 

 

 

-article about how the FIFA game is helping to evolve soccer http://soccernet.espn.go.com/blog/_/name/relegationzone/id/291?cc=5901

  6 comments for “At Least We Have FIFA

  1. January 31, 2013 at 12:34 am

    The idea that soccer on the whole deserves more attention in the U.S. is one which is shared by the vast majority of its fans. However, within the past two decades the attention the sport has received in the U.S. has increased at a surprising rate. Currently soccer tops the chart with the number of youth participants, and we have the highest number of players overall for any country in the world. This numbers to be 18 million total. The chances of a student playing Division I soccer in this country with a scholarship is astronomically high, 1 in 90! Compare that to the number of people who go pro in football, 1 in 6,000. In addition, the U.S. is attempting to found another pro women’s league due to the recent success of the WNT. While soccer doesn’t get the media coverage that other sports do its popularity amongst the people of this country is astronomically high compared to several years ago.

  2. January 31, 2013 at 12:38 am
  3. Kieran Shaw
    January 31, 2013 at 12:43 am

    Much like you, I developed a love for soccer through the FIFA series, really grabbing hold of me with it’s 2010 installment. However, I must agree with njenning. Soccer may not have the coverage of popular American sports like football or basketball, but it’s steadily gaining popularity, and has been since the 1994 Wold Cup held in the U.S.

    • jleake33
      January 31, 2013 at 10:26 am

      I completely agree that it has seen a rise in popularity over the past few years, particularly with the women’s national team doing so well, and the majority of people who are playing all over. I guess I’m just a selfish fan who wishes it was shown more on tv.

  4. sprobst
    January 31, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Another reason for the popularity of the FIFA franchise is that each game is better than the last unlike other sports games, the worst of which is Madden. Madden gameplay looks as if it has never changed, there are offense linemen run by the person that they should block, defense backs that do not attack the ball and instead wait for it to be caught before they move, and the worst one of all is that the ball will go through a players hand or the ball awhile still in the air will stop for no reason at all. FIFA is a completely different story, each year the problems that were in the last games get addressed. The one that I had with FIFA 12 was defense spacing, and offense runs, both problems have been addressed in FIFA 13. So when I go to buy the new FIFA each year (which I’ve done since FIFA 07), I know it will be a new game; whereas with Madden and other sports games you buy just to get the new players.

  5. emartine
    February 14, 2013 at 1:03 am

    I agree with sprobst on that FIFA games tend to improve themselves year after year. When I usually start a new FIFA, I have trouble beating opponents who I could usually defeat 4-0 in previous FIFAs, and the main cause for this is usually because of new mechanics that are introduced in the newest FIFAs.

    This year for FIFA 13, I had problems with first-touch because it changed from the previous FIFA’s use of “sticky-ball”, in which the ball would literally stick to a player’s foot. The creators of FIFA instead implemented a more realistic “touch” for FIFA 13, which made it harder to control fast passes and crosses and thus made it harder to score.

    Even though I overcame the initial challenge of the more realistic touch, I still find some difficulties one or two times in my matches. My only gripe about the new first-touch mechanic is that pro-players don’t really have that bad of a touch especially the likes of Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney(except for Chicharito). But that might be fixed in FIFA 14 with even more realistic additions.

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