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Although it’s not as American as baseball and apple pie, soccer has become a sports staple in the US. Though it isn’t likely to overtake football, baseball and basketball here, its fan base and participation are growing. Soccer is only behind basketball in the number of participants. Its popularity ranges all the way from children to women’s athletics in college.

By Any Other Name

The sport and the World Cup are significant to many Americans who are often criticized as being soccer-illiterate. After all, it’s called soccer here instead of football, as it is traditionally called. Americans love their football, and that’s not about to change to hand the name over to soccer. Despite that fact, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and soccer by any other name is just as fun to play and watch.

Increased Media Coverage

Growth of the sport is evident not only in the number of people who play it, but also in those who watch it, its exposure in the media and its cultural significance. ESPN has a sizeable soccer portfolio, and there are a number of different channels that air soccer games as well.

Since big brands like Visa and Coca-Cola have used the game’s commercial appeal to their advantage in other countries where it’s popular, one can expect this promotional branding to continue in the U.S. In fact, networks have no trouble selling advertising air time during soccer games. You can expect a youth-focused marketing blitz as NBC covers the EPL matches this year.

Young Enthusiasm

Young people play a big role in the spread of enthusiasm for the sport. The increasingly large Hispanic-American youth population, in particular, helped soccer grow into a widely played and watched sport. Soccer is now the most popular sport among 12-24 year olds.

It has been played in schools and community leagues for decades, but is only recently became a popular spectator sport with pro matches. New teams formed, and new stadiums were built in the larger metropolitan areas to accommodate the growing number of professional American soccer teams.

Beckham and Video Games

Many also attribute the arrival of David Beckham into the American MLS league several years ago to the increased popularity of soccer among Americans. After all, the press followed the pair everywhere, piquing Americans’ curiosity about the attractive, young couple and their lives.

Americans read their stories as thoroughly as civilian resumes at a job interview. The video game franchise FIFA also increased the buzz around the sport. As the youth population ages and more youths enter the sport, interest is likely to continue to grow well into the future.

Soccer is becoming increasingly popular, and may well become a regular fixture among prime-time entertainment. Try getting friends together for a match!

 

 The Increasing Popularity of Soccer in America

About Shane Jones

I have been a long time soccer fanatic who naturally loves to live and breath the sport. Having played at many different competitive levels as well as coached the youth, I have developed a passion for talking about the game. My goal is to help educate on local opportunities to become involved in the soccer community, as well as help provide instruction, and entertainment for all soccer enthusiasts.