|(source photo by Scott Ableman)|
Our current, incredibly underdeveloped theory of sports games is this: sports games are simulations. We watch professional sports on TV, then go on to play the licensed game with licensed properties and likenesses of professional players and John Madden's licensed voice saying licensed things with a sportscast-style user interface and presentation. Just compare a still from an ESPN sportscast and a screenshot and the resemblance, from the HUD to the camera angles, is uncanny.
If we're to say they're simulations, we have to think about the act of simulation; specifically, the "thing" one simulates must be a stable, discrete thing in order to simulate it.
But modern soccer as we know it (or "football" as the rest of the silly world calls it) has transformed through hundreds of cultures, variants, rulesets... It's not stable. We don't just plug some VGA cables into a rulebook and get a "simulation." The Mayan version of "football" existed for millenia; who's to say our "football" is more "football-ish" than their version of football? Thus, sports are largely originless, and only exist as long as we're willing to repeat playing them over and over.