It’s officially the most popular sport in the world, with an estimated 4 billion fans worldwide. Events such as the FIFA World Cup finals are watched by over a billion people, but in the United States, people seem to resist the lure of this beautiful sport. Soccer doesn’t seem to be the right sport for the American public. That is, until recently. Ten years ago, if you had asked an American sports expert if soccer was the fifth most popular team sport in the United States, they would have answered with a resounding no.
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They argued that soccer was too slow, didn’t score enough goals, and too many games ended in ties. It’s not part of the American tradition, but a game played by their colonial masters, who want nothing to do with it.
The more mocking commentators point out that Americans can never get too interested in a sport unless they have a chance to become world champions, and in soccer, they still have too much to do. But despite all the objections, soccer has seen steady growth in recent years. So could it be, or has it become, one of the great sports in America? Let’s look at the evidence.
Kids love it
One of the explanations soccer could become a bigger sport in America in the future is its fame with kids and younger generations. It’s already one of the most played sports in schools across the country, and it seems that young people are taking their passion for the sport into adulthood. Statistics show that it was the much-maligned millennial generation that ignited America’s love of soccer. Surveys show that soccer is the second most popular spectator sport among this age group after rugby. When all age groups are considered, soccer now surpasses hockey as a sport worth watching.
The influence of Latinos
Soccer may not be as big in the United States, but it dominates in Latin America. As the Latino population in the USA continues to grow, the influence of different cultures in the USA has become even more pronounced. What unites most Latin American countries is a love of soccer, a tradition that, along with language and cuisine, is slowly making its way to the United States.
Famous players, successful teams
Many of soccer’s biggest names, including David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, have chosen to spend the end of their careers with American clubs, raising the profile of soccer. These high-profile moves, which have involved significant investment, have helped to attract audiences and generate enthusiasm. In addition, the global success of the women’s national team, in particular, has made soccer a source of national pride.
It’s just not American enough
We’ve looked at the evidence that points to a surge in popularity, but is the recent trend just a fad? History shows that it certainly could be. Traditional American sports are deeply rooted in this country’s culture and identity. Football, baseball, and basketball are part of what it means to be American.
The rituals that friends, family, and colleagues cherish around Thanksgiving football, the Super Bowl, and March Madness in college basketball are unlikely to be replaced by relatively new items on the sports calendar. For more details about Football World Cup Tickets.
Not enough international success
The US women’s soccer team is the most successful female international side since the first FIFA World Cup Women’s Championship in 1991 and the highest-ranked team currently. Unhappily, when it comes to this type of team sport, it’s how the men’s team performs that holds the most weight.
While they have qualified for almost every Football World Cup final since 1990, the USA men’s team has rarely troubled the top spots. In 2026, the USA will co-host the Football World Cup along with Canada and Mexico, which is sure to give soccer a boost. Until then, USA may still struggle to get into a sport where they stand little chance on the international stage.
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