While soccer is loved and played by millions, it is a sad fact that few people are any good at it. Even the best amateur players will never get to experience the pleasure of pulling on the colors of their favorite team or winning a trophy in front of an adoring crowd.
To fill this gap, however, game makers identified early that there was a huge market for games that offered all the excitement of soccer for the armchair fan to play in their bedroom or living room. That demand has, in turn, created a whole industry, ranging from simple 2D stick-like figures to entire 3D simulations where players compete against each other to become League Champions or Cup winners.
Soccer games are available for download on a variety of platforms – PCs, play stations, smartphones, and other mobile devices. And they vary in price, from the expensive elite games like FIFA and PES with annual releases where fans scramble to obtain the latest versions, to others which are free to download and play (although players might have to accept in-game advertising as a trade-off.
Here are some of the best soccer games ever.
FIFA is listed in the Guinness World Records as the best-selling sports video game ever. The 2012 version, for example, saw over 3.2 million games sold worldwide in its first week of release. It is known for the fact that it had an official license from FIFA to feature its teams, the latest version – FIFA 20 – includes nearly all the world’s top leagues, including the English Premier League, German Bundesliga, and the top leagues in Italy, Spain, France, and the Netherlands to name but a few.
A new version of FIFA is released every year and is eagerly awaited by game players and esports fans alike. Over the years, the quality of graphics and screen pixelation has improved immensely and continues to do so as technology involves.
One of the many unique features of FIFA is the skill games which are mini-games that are played in advance of actual matches on the pitch. In an example of art influencing real life, many professional soccer clubs have begun to create their own mini-games and to post these on social media.
Another facet that makes the game stand out is its Journey mode which lets the player control an aspiring professional and builds them up into a superstar, and the Career mode which allows people to manage their favorite team both on, and off, the field.
FIFA is one of the few soccer games currently on the market to feature women’s teams.
Pro Evolution Soccer
Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) is one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful of all the soccer simulation video soccer games ever produced, with a new version released annually since 2001.
The game seeks to mimic real soccer, with the same rules, as players control either an entire team or a selected player, as they fight to win matches, leagues, and cups. Winning results in the award of points which can be used to buy real players to add to a team. Various gameplay modes are offered by PES including Kick Off, Online, and Offline.
The series has also been used in e-sports, with an official world championship held every year since 2010.
Football Manager is a series of soccer management simulation games which aim to give players an insight into the challenges and demands of managing a professional football club. It encompasses everything from the tactics on the field, to massaging the egos of players which have been dropped or working with the medical team to work out why specific injuries keep occurring.
The game is enormous and contains almost every player in every league around the world. It is known, by its devotees, for the frequency with which situations develop in Football Manager which mirror what is happening in the real soccer world.
Football Tactics and Glory
Football Tactics and Glory is a combined turn-based strategy and role-playing game. It gives the player the chance to create and manage a team and make all the hard choices that help it either succeed or fail. Matches are played, new skills learned, players are bought and sold, or are brought thoroughly from the academy, as in real-life.
It concentrates on the big decisions rather than micromanagement issues, and has the benefit, unlike many other competing products, that an entire season can be played out in a few hours, as opposed to days, or even weeks. It has been described as the football game for those who do not like soccer.
New Star Manager
While this game may lack the glitz and impressive graphics of some of the other games, New Star Manager is simple to grasp, and easier to play than many others, while still offering a lot for a player to absorb. Like Football Manager, the player is in charge of a whole team, so they have a lot of managerial tasks that they have to perform. And, once a game starts, they have to take control, moving players, passing via an intuitive interface, and then shooting once the ball finds a forward.
Soccer Stars is a multi-player soccer platform which offers an easy to use game interface and realistic graphics. It allows users to play with a community of similar enthusiasts from all around the world. This game can be played with different teams and styles, and offers fully customizable options.
The game can be played in both online and offline mode.
This game is regarded as one of the best mobile soccer games on the market, offering players the chance to win medals, trophies, coins and more. It is a 3D game with excellent graphics and sound quality and offers more than 500 different levels of play. Designed for mobile phones and devices. It provides smooth scrolling and control functions.
It is regarded as easy to play, but tough to master.
World Soccer League
This game is free to download and play from app stores and provides both a realistic set-up and smooth graphics integration. Offering more than 200 players and 60 national teams from which to pick, it comes with a variety of gameplay modes, and the ability to compete for leagues and cups. It features real-life soccer skills like dribbling, passing, and shooting.
Since its inception in 1985, Player of the Year award recipients, in multiple branches of sport, has gone to win countless professional and college championships. Previous recipients who have gone on to become household names include Abby Wambach, six-time US Soccer Athlete of the Year, and twice an Olympic gold medallist; American football star Peyton Manning; NBA’s Karl-Anthony Towns, and Derek Jeter, who plays Major League Baseball.
Each year a selection committee made up of sports journalists, and coaches, trainers and administrators choosing national winners from 12 different sports – boys’ and girls’ soccer; American football; girls’ volleyball; boys’ and girls’ basketball; baseball, softball, and boys’ and girls’ cross country and track and field.
The 12 winners are then whittled down to one male and one female athlete, who then earn the accolade Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year.
Awards are based not just of athletic excellence, but also high academic standards, and the demonstration of exceptional character on and off the pitch.
While soccer is a growing sport in the United States, it continues to lag behind Europe and South America when it comes to the development of the game, and few American male soccer stars have yet to emerge.
With the women, though, it has been different, and the USA has established itself as the most international team of all, with four World Cups (including in France this year), four Olympic gold medals, and eight regional CONCACAF Championships to their name.