By Luke Mich
Soccer is known as not just “the beautiful game,” but also for being the most popular sport in the world. While soccer in the U.S. doesn’t generate as much interest as it does in Europe, there is still a significant interest from Americans toward overseas professional leagues such as the English Premier League and Germany’s Bundesliga. Some SVC students, for example, have been following European football.
Sammy Cancilla, a junior accounting major, has given his attention to a pair of leagues.
“This is my second season following European football. I pay close attention to the English Premier League, but I also casually follow the German Bundesliga,” Cancilla said.
He added that while he is not a fan of one specific team, he enjoys watching the English team Chelsea FC the most because of the Hershey, Pa. native Christian Pulisic, who regularly starts for the team.
Andrew Kunz, a sophomore midfielder and forward for the Bearcats soccer team, said he has followed European football regularly for a longer of period of time, and he follows a number of leagues, including one in Spain.
“I’ve followed European football for 3 years. I pay attention to the La Liga and the Premier League mostly but also the Bundesliga,” Kunz, a business major, said.
Like Cancilla, Kunz also follows a number of specific teams.
“I like Chelsea because of [Christian] Pulisic, but I also follow Manchester United in the Premier League because of their history with [Wayne] Rooney and [Cristiano] Ronaldo. I also follow Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga because they are fun to watch and have good North American talent,” Kunz explained.
Both Cancilla and Kunz believe Americans give more focus to European leagues than their own Major League Soccer (MLS) because of the superior amount of talent and skill overseas.
“In my opinion, the Premier League games are way more advanced with the skill of the players and the tactics. The Premier League features world class players in their prime like Mo Salah, whereas the MLS features some world class players that are past their prime like Nani,” Cancilla stated.
“The difference is the skill level of the players and the style of play as well as superior coaching in Europe. I follow European football because of better play and [they are] more entertaining,” Kunz added.
American soccer has gained traction in terms of fan interest, yet it still is less popular than professional leagues outside the country, especially the Premier League and the Mexican league Liga MX. However, Cancilla thinks the MLS could just be as popular as these leagues, and equivalent in talent too.
“The European clubs have the better players, coaches, and competition, so it’s just more interesting to watch,” Cancilla said. “The recent trend in America is that soccer is getting more popular, so I could believe that one day the MLS could equal the European league if soccer becomes popular enough with the youth.”