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