The US women’s team just completed their first undefeated World Cup group stage. The men just beat Guyana. The Premier League has been over for just over a month, and yet it feels like there’s more soccer on now than there was a month ago.
In addition to the World Cup, there’s the Gold Cup. And in South America, there’s the Copa America. That’s three major tournaments going on all at the same time. There’s also MLS for those who are so inclined, and in mid-July, the International Champions Cup, for what it’s worth, launches its latest campaign.
So, my question is simple: How much soccer is too much?
I love soccer. I’ve loved soccer for 35 years now. It’s a great sport. But I also believe that everything needs to pause every now and again. Scarcity creates value - not just monetarily, but if there’s no games featuring my favorite sport, it makes me desire that sport that much more.
The other major American sports leagues all have an offseason, of varying lengths - and unless you’re deeply obsessed with baseball, you’re not seeking out Arizona Fall League action on a daily basis to fulfill your craving. You’re probably not watching a lot of European basketball leagues obsessively either, and let’s face it nobody else plays NFL football.
Soccer is the only sport where the desire to consume it becomes an itch one seemingly cannot scratch. A lot of soccer fans follow several teams, multiple leagues, and probably at least one national team. And that’s not a bad thing! It’s just a different model than a lot of Americans are used to, sports-wise.
It’s my personal opinion that there’s too much soccer right now. I mean, by “right now” I mean not just at this moment in time with three major tournaments at once, but in the overall world where you can seemingly watch soccer from somewhere every single day of the year, without fail. That’s a lot. I’m fairly selective - I closely follow a team in MLS and I closely follow Arsenal, I know the broadest possible arcs of the most major stories from other leagues at a very, very rudimentary level, and I am a fairly casual-to-indifferent consumer of national team soccer, without a particular favorite team. Beyond that, nothing.
A lot of that is my aforementioned belief in scarcity, but it’s also a function of time. I have a life - it’s not a super busy life, but it’s a life with other pursuits, and I simply do not have the time to keep up, in any meaningful way, with any more teams - in any sport - than I do right now.
What about you? Do you think there’s too much soccer right now, or are you a person who can and will happily consume as much as is produced? If you’re the latter, how many teams do you follow closely - by which I mean regularly watch games, know a lot of the roster ins and outs, etc.?
Also: happy longest day of the year! Any fun weekend plans?