If you weren’t born and raised in the US, you’re more than likely aware that soccer is the most popular sport in the world. It spans continents and cultures and allows fans to watch an athletic event while they take out their daily frustrations on each other and the stadium equipment.

Sure, games can be a riot with the occasional outbreak of soccer, but they are always exciting. If you’re a soccer fan who doesn’t like having a 2x4 implanted into your cranium, you might want to give a video game a whirl. They have all the excitement of a soccer game but without the unfortunate side effects of broken teeth and trampled spleen. That is, unless you have some seriously violent friends.

Here’s our list for the 10 best soccer video games ever:

  • 10

    Intellivision Soccer

    Sure the controller was completely unfathomable and looked more like a calculator than a gamepad, but Intellivision Soccer was the first soccer game that actually looked like soccer. Featuring a canted view of the field that implied the third dimension, Intellivision Soccer was the best a soccer fan could get in the infancy of gaming. It was simple and pure. You could dribble down the field and kick the ball into the goal. There were no stats, no in game commentary, no luxuries of any kind, but it did fire a header into Atari’s goal and fouled all of it’s boring little pixels.

  • 9

    Sega Soccer Slam

    Shunning any aspirations of realistic gameplay, graphics, or stats, Sega Soccer Slam instead goes the way of the arcade soccer game. With simple but effective controls, you get to play three on three matches with teams built up from stereotypes from around the world. They’re each colorful and have their own over-the-top personalities to match the insane gameplay and equally fantastical arenas. Sega Soccer Slam, like another game on our list, showed us that you didn’t need realism to have fun with a soccer game. For daring to be wildly different, Sega Soccer Slam earns a place on our premiere league of 10 best soccer games everr.

  • 8

    Virtua Striker 2

    The original Virtua Striker was the first soccer game to use 3D graphics. This followup improved upon the formula to provide you with a fast paced, arcade style session of soccer excitement. It was a great looking game with simple controls and an occasionally difficult AI opponent. That guy would slide tackle your striker constantly. Even though it had a somewhat funky camera angle that didn’t let you see much of the field, and there was an annoying announcer reading out everything on the screen as it popped up, Virtua Striker was a fun game that was a little taste of what was to come in the world of soccer video games.

  • 7

    2012 Fifa World Cup South Africa

    The World Cup is a very exciting time -- rivaled only by the excitement and grandeur by the Olympic Games. Nations gather to play a game that Americans seem to find childish and silly. Probably because it doesn’t involve helmets. Regardless, the World Cup in South Africa was a spectacular event that brought soccer fan’s excitement to a fever pitch. That fever pitch was the increasingly annoying vuvuzela that they were all blowing in the stands. Thankfully, there isn’t much of that in 2012 Fifa World Cup South Africa. The game is what you would expect from a modern sports game. It has the spectacularly realistic graphics, up to date stats on each player, tight and focused controls that let kept you on the attack against your shin guarded opponents. What made this game a bit better than the others was its setting. The South African stadium, lovingly realized in digital form, looks like a cascade of bright colors and provides the perfect backdrop to your hours of attempting to bicycle kick the ball into a goal.

  • 6

    Nintendo World Cup

    Back in the day, you didn’t have much of a choice of soccer games. You played what game you could find for whatever system you had. If you had a Nintendo, then you chose wisely because Nintendo World Cup was one of the 10 Best Soccer Games Ever. It had fun graphics with players that looked like they belonged more in a side scrolling brawler, and some pretty funny animations. The controls were simple, as it was with most games of the era, but that kept the game simple, which is part of what makes it so good. It is a minimalistic, but still charming, approach to a game as old as the hills. It is a timeless video game that will be remembered as long as its real life counterpart.

  • 5

    Mario Strikers Charged

    If Nintendo can find a way to shoehorn Mario into some type of game other than a platformer, you know they will. Thankfully, Mario Striker Charged is one of the best entries into the Mario franchise. It take full advantage of Mario’s assortment of characters and pits them against one another in a match full of outrageous powerups and slide tackles. The controls keep the game simple and enjoyable. Let’s be honest, you always wanted to know if Chain-Chomp could banana kick a penalty shot past ShyGuy.

  • 4

    Football Manager 2013


    Description Title

    What the hell is a football manager doing this high up on our list?! Well, for one thing, it is a soccer statistician’s dream. Football Manager 2013 is the best way for you to manage your team of players through a whole season. It is the closest most of us will ever be to coaching a pro level team. Coaching Pint-Sized Strikers on the weekend doesn’t count dads! From your iOS device, you get to manage every aspect of your march towards soccer domination. Just remember to manage your family affairs as well, people in the real world like to talk to you once in awhile as well.

  • 3

    Sensible World of Soccer

    You’re looking at the genesis of the all encompassing soccer game. The sequel to 1992’s Sensible Soccer, this game endeavored to add a whole management aspect and twenty season career mode into the mix. The controls were taut and the gameplay was as frantic as you could ever want in a soccer game. You could even put a spin on your shots and fake out the goalie. It used the bird’s eye view that so many of us are accustomed to in this genre and pioneered micromanagement of your whole career. For being the originator of so much of subsequent soccer games most valued features, and for having insanely fun gameplay, Sensible World Of Soccer sits high on our list of the 10 Best Soccer Games Ever.

  • 2

    Pro Evolution Soccer 5

    Pro Evolution Soccer was a punishing series that pitted you against an insanely intelligent AI and some refs that were more likely to call a penalty against you rather than their computer counterpart. But even with the odds stacked against you, Pro Evolution Soccer 5 remains one of the 10 Best Soccer Games Ever. It was one of the first soccer games to include the all important online multiplayer and leaderboards. You could now take down your friends over the wires and display your soccer gaming prowess of the leaderboards of eternity. Or, you could brag about it to your other friends on AIM. 

  • 1

    Fifa '10

    Come on? Did you really think we were going to snub the greatest soccer game franchise in the history of gaming? Of course Fifa was going to be our number one choice, but surprisingly we didn’t choose the most recent and that is for one very good reason. Fifa ‘10 was the last year that any significant changes have been made to the game. From then on, it was minor tweaks to the gameplay and graphics and team rosters. But we don’t care, because Fifa ‘10 was a masterpiece of soccer gaming ingenuity and should remain so as long as it can. The combination of controls, graphics, features, feel made Fifa ‘10 as close to soccer game nirvana as you’re likely to get. That is, until they come out with another one that breaks down all the rules and delivers an even better way to power home one last goal to break the tie at the last second. For being solid, dependable, and enjoyable, Fifa ‘10 garners our world cup for the 10 best soccer video games ever.