Bundesliga return perhaps marks new turn in American soccer viewership

German Bundesliga star youngster Timo Werner powers ahead with the ball at his feet in a Bundesliga match predating the COVID-19 pandemic – via Wikimedia Commons

In early April, as the world scrambled to handle the seemingly unstoppable COVID-19 pandemic, players in the German professional soccer league, Bundesliga, came back to their home turf to resume practice looking forward to a now confirmed return on Saturday, May 16.

     While matches that usually record the highest attendance of fans globally, according to The New York Times, will be played in empty arenas, the resumption of play is a big step forward. This is especially true considering the cancellation of France’s Ligue 1, with many other major European leagues likely to follow suit.

Nonetheless, any return date for the league in the near future could turn what seems to be fanless games into globally observed spectacles, with sports fans worldwide yearning for any kind of live-action athleticism to watch.

     However, the league’s return is uncertain as its projected start date of May 9 was pushed back a week by German authorities. Nonetheless, any return date for the league in the near future could turn what seems to be fanless games into globally observed spectacles, with sports fans worldwide yearning for any kind of live-action athleticism to watch.

     The resumption of the Bundesliga could revolutionize the American opinion of the sport, not only in showing that soccer is an internationally revered game but also in showing just how beautiful the precision and athleticism of high-quality soccer is. With all eyes on the German league, American sports fans will now be able to see just how difficult and impressive game soccer is.

     Moreover, this American exposure could lead to interest beyond viewing what is available right now. This is an opportunity to open American eyes to the great soccer fan bases of the world, which cover entire sides of a stadium with one enormous banner, release walls of sound in a unified chant, and sing songs for their team when they score. Exactly how any football fan would behave but far grander.

The official Bundesliga ball lies on an empty pitch – via Pixabay

     This could also open a new door for American soccer in the MLS, where match quality has gone up immensely in the past few years. With new stars such as Chicharito, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thierry Henry, and other soccer legends joining the league every year both in playing and coaching, the league could grow to become one of the best in the world in little time thanks to fan support, with one of its best teams being right here in Philadelphia.

     But perhaps more than anything this time of little viewing choice will end the common misconception that “soccer is boring.” It is best put by World Cup American goalkeeper Tim Howard who explains the excitement in watching soccer: “There are no timeouts, you can drink lots of beer, and you can yell at the TV. It’s the same as watching any other sport.”