Why is soccer so much more than just an international game?

Learning basic soccer skills can also contribute to toddler learning processes. And on Robben Island where political prisoners and Nelson Mandela suffered appalling treatment soccer became a symbol of union, escape, resistance and triumph over apartheid. 'More Than Just a Game' by Chuck Korr and Marvin Close provided a more extreme example of the magnificent sport. What I seek is feedback from others is why you think soccer / football (round ball) can even contribute to learning, overcome cultural differences and unite people.