Some believe that soccer is so boring because there can often be very little action and excitement.
Known more commonly in most of the world as football, soccer has an impressive four billion fans globally.
With this extensive following, soccer is the most popular sport on the planet.
Nevertheless, soccer can be a bore for a number of reasons.
Even the most avid soccer fans would probably agree that there are some dull moments in every game.
We’ve come up with 10 reasons the world’s favorite sport is so boring.
Why Is Soccer So Boring?
1. Soccer Is (Generally) A Low-Scoring Game
Unlike basketball and American football, a typical game of soccer rarely results in either team scoring much.
Common scores in a soccer match often total a mere two or three goals between both teams’ offenses.
In fact, it’s quite common for soccer games to end in a stalemate.
Scoring can be a major challenge in the game of soccer, with a significant number of exhibition matches and friendlies concluding in a tie.
Can you imagine no winner emerging on either side after 90
minutes of hard play?
Sure, you get the occasional shootout, but that’s far from the norm.
To add insult to injury, many of these games end without a single team scoring the entire match.
What do you do in such cases?
When do you celebrate?
Yes, soccer is far from the high-scoring games so many of us love.
Offenses can pass dozens of times before even crossing midfield, only to turn the ball over in a split second.
Teams will fight the entire game to get an average of fewer than 10 shots on goal.
Soccer is frequently so offensively languid that, if a player even gets near the opponent’s net, the fans will be on their feet screaming wildly.
The mere thought of an opportunity to take a shot on the net excites the eager fans.
We know we wouldn’t want to sit through a 90-minute match without a single goal.
Don’t you think soccer would be a much more exciting competition if the offense scored a bit more?
2. Soccer Is Often A Defensive Struggle
We know that defense wins championships.
We’ve heard it all a thousand times before, and it’s a mantra that everyone seems to accept as fact.
Do you know what defense doesn’t do?
It doesn’t entertain the fans very much.
Paul Bryant and Pat Summitt, two well-known college sports coaches in American football and basketball, often said this.
They’ve been quoted as saying “Defense wins championships; offense sells tickets.”
This is true.
Virtually no one wants to pay to see a game where the offense struggles too much.
We all have a deep appreciation for a solid defensive effort.
There’s always going to be a place for great defenders.
Defense can even be exciting at times, with goalkeepers making heroic saves or defensemen sprinting back to intercept a pass out of mid-air.
However, let’s be candid here.
Most of the time, defense is just about good positioning, diligence, patience, and making the smart, safe play.
3. Soccer Is Very Inefficient
Few sports consist of regular scoring throughout the game.
Usually, though, there are opportunities to score.
In soccer, on the other hand, there really aren’t many opportunities to score.
Take hockey, for instance.
Another low-scoring sport, the average number of shots per NHL game is around 63.
For soccer, that number goes way down.
The typical soccer match brings a mere 15–20 shots.
Even with an extra 30 minutes of gameplay compared to hockey, soccer players can’t seem to put the ball in the net.
What exactly are they doing the rest of the time?
They’re doing a whole lot of running, a good bit of passing to no one in particular, and plenty of waiting.
The culmination of soccer—the rare goal—is generally only made possible with the perfect storm of events.
The entire offensive game and strategy rest on putting everyone in position to make this happen.
On the defensive end, the strategy is predicated on preventing the other team from achieving this.
It’s wildly inefficient for both teams to play this way, but it’s also the only way to win.
Consequently, soccer is a tremendously inefficient sport, which makes it boring to both watch and play.
It’s very hard to execute planned plays in soccer like those so common in football and basketball.
Therefore, the players just end up running around and chasing the ball, trying to make something happen.
As you can judge by the scoreboard at the end of the game, most players’ efforts are fruitless.
Unfortunately, the inherent inefficiencies of the game of soccer contribute to making it very boring.
Too much time is wasted trying to make something happen, and the ratio of time to excitement is disappointing.
4. Soccer Is Slow
The game of soccer is sometimes slow.
Most of the game is spent passing the ball to each other, waiting for an opportunity to attack.
At the professional level, those opportunities are few and far between.
Usually, it’s because a player makes a mistake or a misjudgment.
Rarer still, a player will juke another player and leave him in the dust.
When that does happen, it’s all over the highlight reels, social media, and the Internet in general.
If you can catch the highlights, why bother spending hours watching the rest of the game?
Despite the fact that most soccer players are actually extremely quick, the game itself is usually slow.
It’s obvious the ball travels much faster than a person, so most of the game is comprised of passing—meaningless passing, to be specific.
Players try to tire their opponents out by passing constantly and making the defense chase them around the field.
How boring is that?
The majority of the game really is just a series of passes back and forth.
When you take a closer look, the game of soccer is more like a child’s game of keep away.
The offense wants to keep the ball so that, when an opportunity arises, it can act quickly and attempt a shot on goal.
The defense wants to keep the ball away from the offense, denying them this opportunity to take a shot.
The coaches, of course, understand this all too well and strategize in this same way.
Worst of all, when a team is winning, they attempt to run out the clock.
Rather than going on the offensive and attempting to score, defenses will simply waste time passing between themselves.
Sometimes, winning the game and entertaining the fans are two objectives that are at odds with one another.
In addition, the game can also slow itself down if the players are trying to conserve energy.
Substitutions are limited, and players have to keep something in the tank for the rest of the game.
Watching players pass the ball around just to wind down the clock or catch their breath is just plain boring.
5. The Players Run Too Much
In soccer, the field is large and the game is lengthy, with very limited rest periods.
With a mere two periods consisting of 45 minutes each, soccer is an extremely rigorous sport.
Soccer players are some of the best athletes in the world, bar none.
It’s said that soccer players average seven miles of running per game.
We may as well be watching a half-marathon because that’s too much running.
There’s a reason that marathon running isn’t exactly a popular spectator sport.
Most people find running thoroughly boring, and since soccer is mostly running, what conclusion would you come to?
Why do the players run so much?
They’re busy chasing the other team, who’s busy passing it around trying to play keep away.
Most of the players on the field aren’t doing anything when they’re running, either.
They’re just chasing someone else, but they don’t have the ball.
Up and down the field they go, ever-ready for the slightest hope of an offensive push and the rare chance to take a shot.
On the defensive end, the players are running just as much, following the path of the opponent’s offensive players.
At the end of the day, the main action in the game of soccer is running.
There’s only one ball for 22 players on the field, and plenty of space to avoid people.
That’s just what they do.
Everyone’s running around trying to be somewhere else.
The players get tired, and then they resort to passing laterally, or worse, back toward their own goal.
A soccer field is larger than an American football field, and both sports have 11 players on each team.
However, American football games are 60 minutes in length, with four quarters and frequent substitutions and breaks.
Soccer has fewer substitutions, fewer breaks, a longer game, and a larger field than American football.
The poor soccer players have to run around the whole game, which can be quite boring for fans.
6. Most Games Aren’t Very Entertaining
When most people think of soccer, they immediately think of the best soccer clubs in the world.
These are the household teams that even the most casual soccer fans have heard of.
Unfortunately, these teams are the exception and not the norm.
When you speak of these franchises, you’re referencing the stuff of legends in the soccer world.
These are the teams with the most talented players, the deepest pockets, and some of the most colorful histories in the game.
Soccer is also often appreciated on the world stage during the World Cup or UEFA European Championship.
In these tournaments, we’re watching the best players from the most competitive nations in the world.
Representing their home countries, these players give it their all in a battle for victory and the accompanying respect and pride that go with it.
These aren’t your ordinary soccer games, however.
When you buy tickets to a game or turn on your TV, these probably aren’t the games you’ll see.
These competitions, where the top ranking teams face off and put it all on the line, are quite rare.
You’re much more likely to see a sleepy, low-stakes game between two teams you’ve probably never heard of.
If you’re lucky, maybe one athlete makes a brilliant play that brings the crowd to its feet.
If you’re really lucky, you might watch one of the elite players toy around with a below-average team.
Many of the soccer games you’ll see won’t include the superstars you know.
Everyone knows Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Lionel Messi, and Robert Lewandowski.
What about all the other players?
Well, those are the ones you’ve never heard of, and those are the ones that you’ll most likely be watching play.
7. It’s Not Physical Enough
Hockey is another low-scoring game, but it’s rare for fans to get bored during a game of hockey.
The simple reason for this is that hockey is extremely physical.
There can certainly be contact in a soccer game, but players are often ejected for being too physical.
Most of the time, a soccer game consists of little to no contact.
In the U.S. in particular, where American football reigns supreme, contact is king.
People love the physicality, the hits, the tension, and the passion.
In hockey games, most arenas will erupt with ear-splitting delight if two players decide to throw down their sticks and square up for a good, old-fashioned fight.
You don’t have that in soccer.
If a player gets too rough, you can expect a yellow or red card to emerge from the pocket of the referee.
Fighting is quite rare in soccer and is always severely punished.
Many soccer fans relished Zinedine Zidane’s show of aggression at the 2006 World Cup Final.
Of course, Zidane was given a red card, fined, and suspended from play for his actions.
The safety of the players is important, but the fans simply love high-contact sports.
In this regard, the game of soccer often doesn’t cut it.
We’re not taking anything away from the incredible talent and athleticism of these players.
We just sometimes wish they would spice things up and play a little more physically.
8. The Rules Are Too Restrictive
Imagine if there were no offsides in soccer.
Players would be more aggressive, offenses would be given more opportunities, and goalies would be pressured more frequently.
All of this translates to more offensive energy and scoring, which would make soccer a more exciting sport.
Why can’t we go straight to a shootout in an exhibition game?
Wouldn’t that be fun and exciting?
Why are physical plays and handballs in the box punished so severely?
Yes, there are a great many rules in soccer, and they are often the reason it can be so boring.
With all of these rules, players have to be very careful not to squander an opportunity on offense.
On defense, players must use caution, lest they be carded for fouling their opponent.
These rules can be extremely restrictive, and they often dictate the behavior of the players on the field.
There are also only three substitutions permitted per game, and you can only sub during a stoppage of play.
The manifold rules in soccer just serve to make it a more difficult, lower-scoring game.
All the stringent rules make soccer boring, and loosening them up would lead to a faster-paced, more exciting competition.
9. The Games Are Too Long
The length of a standard soccer game is longer than that of most sports, which automatically makes it more boring.
As humans, we get bored pretty easily, and asking for our attention for an extended period of time is no small feat.
The 90 minutes of gameplay force players to move slower and give them too much time to waste.
In sports with shorter games, players must be aggressive to avoid ending in a tie.
They aren’t conserving energy, and they attack on offense with vigor and zeal.
Soccer players can’t be expected to maintain this level of energy and excitement for 90 minutes.
The length of play is simply too long, particularly for those who get bored easily.
The fact that the game is only split into two 45-minute halves means that you don’t even get a break.
Having to pay attention to anything for 45 minutes consecutively is boring, especially when there is so little going on during most of the game.
10. Too Many Players Are Flopping Or Injury Faking
Flopping or faking an injury to earn a penalty is a common complaint in a number of sports.
Even soccer fans themselves take issue with players faking injuries.
The refs can’t see everything and aren’t perfect at their jobs, but that doesn’t mean that players should be faking injuries just to get the call.
We won’t argue about how tough soccer players are, but injury faking is a known issue in the sport.
These poor displays of drama can stop the game for several minutes, and they are boring and embarrassing to watch.