Nov 13, 2007

India, The Final (Soccer) Frontier

If you thought U.S. soccer was bad, you may not necessarily be wrong, but there is a place with even more squandered soccer resources--1.3 billion of them, to be exact. Check out India's soccer accomplishments (or severe lack thereof) since independence in 1947: In 1956, an Indian scored the first hat trick in Olympic soccer. And that's it--we're done already.

The world's largest democracy is currently placed 145th in FIFA's world rankings. It has never produced a player capable of earning his keep with a European pro team and only once qualified for a world cup (in 1950, though it did not attend due to lack of funding. Wait a tick. Did teams even need to qualify then?). In India, cricket and field hockey rule the roost, much like baseball, basketball and (American) football did--and to large extent still do--in the U.S.

My friends at Breaking News Online recently alerted me to a feature they did on Indian soccer, which is where I got the background for this post. I recommend checking it out. It goes to show that the U.S. is no longer the final frontier in world soccer. Neither are countries like Australia and China, both of which have qualified for recent world cups. Even Canada, for so long a soccer wasteland, has begun making strides (meaning they have learned that you don't play the game with hockey sticks. But Canada's population is a tiny fraction of India's). Which begs the question: is there any hope for India? Or is it permanently relegated to the nether regions of soccer's universe?


  1. Very interesting article.

    India must have a gigantic talent pool but developing it is a different cat altogether. To achieve this India is better off getting Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish coaches in there than England - a natural country to turn to. England simply does not pay close enough attention to tactics and training like the aforementioned countries.

    As for Canada, there is a huge talent base here but the system is in disarray. Just google 'Canadian Soccer Association' and you'll see what I mean.

  2. I think that they are going to be like us in the fact that they are going to improve, but they are never going to be on par with Europe unless soccer there catches fire.