A missed opportunity: Tulane should consider varsity soccer

Abe Seldowitz, Staff Reporter

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The Green Wave Athletics program has not had a soccer team since 2008, when there was a women’s team but not a men’s team. This might seem unusual. A bona fide NCAA Division I athletic program with athletes seeking professional careers across multiple sports lacks soccer, the most popular sport in the world. 

Unlike football, the sport that produces a large number of professional athletes for Tulane, soccer has an extremely diverse fan base. In fact, a whopping 203 nations attempted to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. That is more than the number of countries in the United Nations.

Having locally popular sports makes sense, but Tulane not having a varsity soccer team is strange. Not only would it be adding a very popular sport, soccer would allow Tulane to market its brand internationally to foreign students wishing to play varsity soccer and get an education in the U.S.

Czars Trinidad | Senior Staff Artist

Soccer has the largest global following at 4 billion fans, more than half the world’s population. Cricket and field hockey sit second and third in total following with 2.5 billion and 2 billion fans in the world, respectively. Soccer has the widest margin of following between any two consecutively-ranked sports on the World Atlas ranking.

The simplicity of soccer means it is accessible to nearly everyone. All you need is a round ball and you can start playing anywhere, anytime. Other sports like football require much more equipment, making the game much less accessible to low-income populations.

The high participation rate among club soccer athletes clearly shows that there would be an audience for the sport. According to the club soccer page on WaveSync, Tulane men’s club soccer boasts a whopping 237 total members while the women’s team having an impressive 193 members. In addition, soccer has been, by participation rates, the school’s most popular intramural sport, with 530 unique participants this semester. 

New Orleans is known for its diversity and that is exactly what soccer brings. Adding soccer could diversify our campus. Tulane prides itself on being a global school — a school known not only locally, but internationally. To help promote its international brand, Tulane should add varsity soccer teams for both men and women.