In Part 1 of the Manifesto an argument was made for the proliferation of soccer in a historical context. The processes of traditional American sports were well suited to the industrial age while soccer seems to be more in line with the present state of business and society. So I am making my argument for soccer to be the national sport of the USA. In this second part, the physical aspects of the argument will be explored.
While we are dealing with a virus that has risen to the level of a pandemic, the health and wellness of the USA has been on a downward trajectory for a while. The number of people who are considered obese or morbidly obese is staggering. Partially this is due to our diet but also a sedentary lifestyle that dominates our adult lives. From the sports side of the equation, the traditional American sports of football and baseball are geared toward the short term acquisition of “bulk” with long term consequences. Linemen make up almost half of the players on a football field at any given time. Their weight is often an asset. While baseball is less prone toward mass without reason, the sport is not based on heavy caloric burns. It is a pass time. Large portions of the sport mirror the sedentary lifestyle that will be coming later in life. Both of these sports are usually left behind after high school. Or a watered down version is implemented with lots of post game brews for good measure.
Soccer on the other hand requires a more diversified athletic ability that lends itself toward generalized and possible lifelong fitness. It promotes cardio-vascular fitness, flexibility, strength and heart rate variability. In addition to these positive attributes, soccer can be played until the later stages of life. The game may be a bit slower but it remains largely the same. Like any sport or activity, it is not a panacea. Injuries happen and overuse can be an issue. Generally speaking though, the positives tend to outweigh the negatives.
So much like the argument in my initial post, soccer needs to be embraced. I know that it is already on a variety of levels. However, it has not become a truly “American” sport just yet. Perhaps it will take another decade but the argument is there. America needs soccer much more than it realizes!