I propose this question because just this past month, my favorite soccer team, Chelsea FC, went back and forth over Twitter with the Minnesota Vikings, challenging each other to do certain tricks in each sport, leading up to Chelsea’s game against AC Milan in the Vikings’ new stadium.
For football, Chelsea players had to catch a ball one-handed.
For soccer, Vikings Kicker Blair Walsh had to juggle a ball.
It’s cool to see teams from different countries who play different sports interact with each other. One of the cool things social media allows us to do. But now for my opinion…
Soccer players are better at football than football players are at soccer. I don’t think it’s even close. Here are a few of my arguments, and counter-arguments in red.
Before we get into hand-eye/foot-eye coordination, let’s keep it basic. The average soccer player runs anywhere between 7-9.5 miles in a game. This is all in a 90 minute game. Football players on the other hand… Wide Receivers and Corner Backs run about 1.25 miles, and that’s only in 11 minutes of action, even though the games are 60 minutes long.
Football players get breaks unlike soccer players. If you’re a Wide Receiver, you get to sit on the bench and recover for a whole drive. On top of that you’ve got stoppages of plays in between downs to gather yourself, breaks at each quarter, and a longer break at half time. Granted you go 110% for the time you are on the field, but so are soccer players.
Soccer players have to constantly be moving. If you’re a defender and your team is in the attacking third, you don’t get to sit on a bench and recover. You’re either supporting the attack, providing an outlet pass, or staying with the opponent’s forward in case of a clearance or counter attack. The only break you really get is at half time, which is like 15 minutes. The ball goes out of bounds here and there, but you’re still adjusting and need to constantly be aware of your surroundings.
Flopping is a part of soccer. I’m not proud of it, most soccer purists aren’t either, but that doesn’t mean we’re all soft. Flopping is a strategy. If you’re outnumbered and have no outlet, the best way to maintain possession is to draw a foul. If you make contact with a player and sell it the right way, you’ve got a good chance at getting a foul call. When you can tell it’s an obvious flop, that doesn’t mean the player is very soft, it means they’re just a bad actor. If it happens multiple times, well then that’s a player I don’t like.
3. Hand-Eye/Foot-Eye Coordination
Training your hands to catch a ball is WAY harder than training your feet to take good touches on a ball. I’ll use myself as an example.
I have played soccer from the moment I could start walking until this day and my touch still is awful. Better than the average soccer player, but not very good.
I’ve never played organized football, unless MizzouRec flag football counts… But still, when I play pickup football, if you throw a ball at me and it’s within my reach, (not to brag but) I’ll say eight times out of ten I’m hauling in the pass. Granted I’ve never put on pads and tried catching a ball, which I’m sure is much tougher, so let’s say six out of ten.
Play a chip-through ball that forces a player to pick their leg up to eye level to control the pass and I’d say 50% of the time I’ll bring down that pass. Can’t imagine seeing a football player in that situation.
Soccer players would all play skill positions if they were to play football. Football players… Well it’s a mixed bag, and plays strongly into the argument that soccer players would make better football players than football players playing soccer.
Take anyone on a soccer field and they could play a QB(doubtful but…),WR, RB, TE(maybe), CB, or Safety. But when you take football players, you forget about the guys on the line. Put them anywhere on a soccer field and they’re either a traffic cone on defense or a forward that’s slow as molasses.
Only issue might be height. But there are some pretty successful short guys in the NFL.
5. Game Knowledge
Don’t tell me there’s a lot more to know in football than there is in soccer. I’ll give you memorizing plays, but reading situations or formations is done in soccer also. You need to know a lot in both sports so I don’t think the argument is valid.
I think soccer players are overall the most in-shape athletes, making them the most versatile as well.
Don’t agree with me? Let’s hear your argument. I’m always open for discussion.
P.S. As much as I hate the Vikings, their new stadium is sick.
P.S.S. Soccer players are still pussies. Ha! Beat you to it.