4. Like the Olympics, you get profiles of foreign countries. Teams from all continents are represented so you benefit from a tour of the world.
5. You know when the game will end. Unlike a baseball game that can go into extra innings, soccer is timed: 45 minutes per half. Unlike basketball or American football, there are no time outs. Rather, the refs at their discretion add anywhere between one to five minutes to the clock. If a game starts at 6 p.m. you can be sure it will be over by 8 p.m.
6. The rest of the world calls it football or futbol. We use “football” to describe our uniquely American game that obsesses universities and colleges. There is an easy way around the ambiguity. Our game is pronounced fo͝otˌbôl. What we call soccer is pronounced fooooot ball.
7. My teenagers and their friends are into it: Usually dad isn’t welcomed to their gatherings, but in this case I’m allowed as long as I sit at the back of the room and stay quiet.
Like fine whiskey, soccer is an acquired taste. This is at least the seventh time in my lifetime when soccer or futbol has been on the verge of becoming a mainstream sport of the United States. Over 8 million watched the recent U.S.-Ghana game and 39 percent of all households say they will watch at least one game.
We’ll see, but until after July 13 I’m not available during match times.
Cecil Bohanon, Ph.D., an adjunct scholar with the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, is a professor of economics at Ball State University.