(Rock Hill, S.C.) — A number of Winthrop University students say they’ve noticed a difference between the way sports are played in the U.S. versus globally, with soccer being one of the best examples.
Emily Patterson, an elementary education major and president of the Winthrop Soccer Club, was a guest on the Palmetto Report podcast to discuss how soccer is played differently in the U.S.
“I have noticed a difference between foreign athletes and American athletes, just in my experience in college athletics,” Patterson said.
“I think soccer is a very universal sport. It’s played literally almost in every country internationally and I think that soccer is a sport that can be played by any person at any skill level.”
Patterson said she thinks soccer is taken much more seriously internationally.
“Even just casual athletics, like the club soccer team, there are definitely guys that are international students that play at a different level from our players, who are American athletes,” Patterson said. “I’m not sure if that’s because they train harder or they take it more seriously where they come from, but I definitely do notice a difference,” she said.
“Foreign athletes come here specifically to play their sport, whereas American athletes, they can go to college wherever they choose and it can still be local and they have a choice to play their sport or not, but foreign athletes train to get scholarships to come over here.”
She also said she thinks soccer is treated differently among young athletes.
“I think American athletics places more of an emphasis on contact sports to be honest, to where American athletes may not last as long with their bodies. They tend to get injured more, their careers tend to be shorter, just because if you consider American football or stuff like that,” she said.
Arthur Le Corguillé, an international student from France who is studying at Winthrop, said he has noticed that Americans seem less interested in soccer, because there is so much interest in other sports, such as football and basketball.
“The French really like to play soccer, like it’s really something that we play as kids, almost every kid has played soccer (in France) during their childhood,” said Le Corguillé, who also appeared on the Palmetto Report podcast.
He said soccer is one of the top sports in France, which isn’t surprising considering the country won the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
“It was definitely something when (France) won it,” he said. “Almost everyone in my city was in the streets (celebrating). I’ve never seen so much people in my city and everybody was so hyped around this event…It was so amazing.”
* Logan Elrod, Gaëlle Doisy and Arthur Le Corguillé contributed to this report.