Both Sydney and I have grown up playing sports. Sydney tried playing basketball, and I tried playing soccer. But, ultimately, we landed on our respective sports, with me playing basketball and Sydney playing soccer. We both have participated in our sports since a young age, been involved with club teams and STA Varsity in high school, and Sydney plans to continue soccer into college. However, we have constantly conflicted over which sport is better. Hope you enjoy the blog!
In third grade, I walked onto a basketball court for the first time. A timid, naturally unathletic student who preferred to read more in their free time than run around outside, I had tried many different sports. But nine years later, at the end of my senior season, I stepped off the court for the last time as a stronger person, both mentally and physically.
My primary argument for basketball over soccer is that we get to score more, and everyone gets to score. I’ll never forget the feeling of hitting a three from my favorite spot, the right corner, block-high. And the amazing thing is that I get to experience the feeling of hitting a shot almost every practice or game that I play in. Basketball allows everyone to experience a little bit of that adrenaline rush from hitting a crucial shot, whereas soccer you only score maybe three times as a team, and it’s usually the same people over and over again.
The other biggest advantage to basketball is that there are options for it to be more enjoyable. I have heard from multiple soccer players that club soccer coaches constantly drill into you the need to play in college, and that, if you don’t, you fail. This is something that I have also experienced when, as a first grader mind you, I tried to play soccer and the coach was more concerned about getting us ready to play competitively than actually allowing us to enjoy the game. On the other hand, when I decided that I wanted to play club basketball to continue improving my skills in the off-season, I was able to do that. I became involved in an environment where I could play competitively, but also enjoy myself and make new friends, without my coach constantly pressuring me to commit to a college.
In addition, basketball has provided me with so many valuable connections and role models. From my fifth grade coach, Coach Katie —who has since gone on to become the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl and the first openly LGBTQ+ coach in the NFL— to my club coach, Coach Alby —who I can always come to when I’m fighting with my parents and who has learned to tell when I am upset or struggling— to Sedona Prince —the player at University of Oregon who spoke out on social media about the inequality between men’s and women’s sports. Basketball provides excellent role models that have significantly impacted my life.
So I’m not going to be that person who tries to convince you that one sport is obviously better for everyone. Athletics are so personal and individual that it’s impossible to distinctly say which is better. I have had classmates who, when I brought up something I enjoy about basketball, instantly respond with why their own sport is better. At the end of the day, there’s enough competitiveness within athletics already, it doesn’t need to be an argument of which sport is the best. In my own experience, basketball has provided an irreplaceable growth experience in my life, and I don’t want to invalidate anyone else’s experiences. Ultimately, basketball was the most effective and impactful sport for me, and I hope I could give you some insight into my own experience.
I have been playing soccer since I was around 3 or 4 years old. Of course, it was recreational soccer so you don’t think much of rec soccer. But I started playing competitively when I was 8 years old. My first club was KCFC, and my coach was an absolute icon. He gave us the basics and I’m not going to lie, he helped me improve a lot. That club merged with another club, and I’ve been bouncing around Kansas City soccer clubs ever since. Basketball, on the other hand, was different.
I played basketball from kindergarten to 7th grade and even tried playing for a few clubs at one point. I played competitively in Lawrence, KS and then tried to play competitively again in Lee’s Summit. Neither time worked out and basketball to me did not seem that intense or interesting the more I played it. It was doing the same thing over and over again, the same plays, the same runs, consistently. I was bored.
Playing soccer, on the other hand, just makes me feel happier. When I’m out playing soccer it’s just so easy, and it makes me forget about all of my problems. I understand it, and it’s something that just brings me so much joy. People like to claim that soccer’s easy and anyone could play it, but I would very much like to disagree. There’s a lot of working parts within soccer. Whether it’s your first touch, movement on and off the ball, talking, shooting, how to shoot, where to shoot, when, having good timing, passing and receiving, tackling, staying onsides. It varies, and it’s not easy.
Soccer, in my personal opinion, is the better sport. I know there’s a lot of working parts to basketball as well, but soccer is just overall better. I’ve played both sports competitively, I’ve seen the reality of both and soccer is better. I’ve never had a coach pressure me to do something other than my job. I’ve always had them telling me to be better and if it stops being fun, then I can stop if I want. I was never told I had to play in college, I wanted to. Even when I had teammates that didn’t, our coaches never cared because it’s not their decision.
I respect basketball, it’s a cool sport, but I just don’t have the same kind of connection with basketball that I do with soccer. Plus, women’s soccer is just overall better than men’s. I’m playing in college for the next four years, and I don’t even know what I’m going to do after that because soccer has been my entire life. Overall, soccer just means more and has had more of an affect on me than basketball ever did.