Most people are aware that soccer is the most popular sport in the world. However, it still can shock many to see just how many people play this game across the globe. From the top leagues to recreational players, it seems like everyone has kicked around a soccer ball at some point in their life.
How Many Soccer Players are There in the World? The estimated total of soccer players in the world is 275 million. These are numbers based on who is currently viewing themselves as somewhat active in the sport. The number of players who have played at some point in their life would shoot up dramatically.
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How Many Countries Participate in FIFA
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, also known as FIFA, oversees worldwide soccer. There are 211 current members, and all of them have the opportunity to play for a spot in the World Cup.
Of course, there are a lot of differences between the top countries in the world, and those who are still trying to get their soccer to the next level. Some countries have the resources to pour into being juggernauts every single year. Others are still developing as a country and trying to compete at a more local level.
Even at 211 countries, soccer is played at some level in virtually every country in the world. Players of all ages and skill levels can play in leagues to get different types of competition. Go to any random country in the world, and it won’t take long to find youngsters playing the sport and having fun doing it.
Countries With The Most Professional Soccer Players
With 275 million active soccer players, there are 128,983 players that do it professionally. This means that 0.00047% of all soccer players in the world are professionals.
Here are the 5 countries with the most pro players:
- Mexico – 9,753
- Brazil – 9,177
- England – 5,935
- Argentina – 3,920
- Turkey – 3,693
Why Are There So Many Soccer Players?
The biggest reason why there are so many soccer players scattered around the world comes down to the fact that there are so many different ways to have access to the game.
All it takes is a small investment into the sport by buying a ball and finding some open field to practice. From there, it’s all about crafting skills and learning how to play as a teammate.
Soccer also doesn’t necessarily discriminate against shorter athletes. In a lot of sports, athletes can’t vary as much in size and still have success. Many think it’s actually an advantage to be closer to the ground and a little bit shorter. The truth is, a team of short players not even reaching 6’ tall can win on the biggest stage.
The sport has such an extensive history these days that most kids grow up learning about the sport at some point. They are constantly exposed to it on television or in local leagues, so it makes sense to go out there and play. Being inspired by others is one of the best ways to get involved in any type of sport.
Whether it’s people watching the sport or playing the sport, there’s something to be said for a match that takes a relatively short amount of time. In just two hours of action, an entire match takes place.
Compare that to some of the other popular sports out there, and it’s the most time-efficient option out there. Couple that with very few stoppages in the action, and it is a sport people lock into the entire time.
Finally, high-end athletes will gravitate towards sports that pay the most amount of money to play professionally. With leagues all around the world paying players millions and millions of dollars, why wouldn’t they try to reach the highest level?
Not only is there money, but there is a chance to be an international hero for many. Players excelling at the club or national level have a chance to cement themselves as one of the most popular athletes/entertainers in the world. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are international celebrities at this point in their careers. They have as much name recognition as just about anyone in the world.
You can read more about why soccer is so popular worldwide in this post.
What are the Most Popular Soccer Events During the Year?
Every four years, the biggest soccer event in the world happens with the World Cup. It’s the most popular sporting event of any kind, and the best countries from around the world compete against each other for the title.
Every year, the Champions League final at the club level is viewed as the most popular sporting event in soccer. This is the battle between the two best teams in Europe. More often than not, these teams consist of many of the best players in the world. Teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Paris St. Germain, and Bayern Munich are all in the mix.
On a week-to-week basis, the soccer schedule fills up with matches between club teams in many different countries. There are also international friendlies that go on throughout the year, as well as matches for certain tournament qualifications.
What’s The Future Look Like For Soccer?
As big as soccer is right now, many people believe that it’s only going to get bigger in the next few years. That’s because some of the biggest countries in the world are starting to find out just how popular soccer is.
The United States and China are relative newcomers to the sport (Here’s why soccer isn’t popular in the United States). If more athletes start to play, there’s a chance of the numbers jumping up even more in the next few years. It also makes it more competitive at the international level if two of the most populous countries in the world are competing.
The amount of players in soccer is already staggering. Chances are, the number can jump by as much as 100 million in a relatively short amount of time. That could widen the gap between sports like basketball, cricket, American football, and more.
Soccer is here to stay, and fans of the sport don’t seem to be losing any interest whatsoever. If so many people are interested in the sport itself, the next generation is bound to play the game for years and years to come. The game seems simple and takes very little to get started, but it’s catching the attention of so many worldwide.