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Soccer: Growing in America

John Brooks surprised and delighted after heading in a goal
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Soccer is relatively new in America. Baseball has been popular since the early 1920s. Football (or in this context, American Football) has been popular since the 1920s. Basketball has been popular since around the 1960s. Soccer is the most popular sport throughout the rest of the world and has been for over a century. Soccer, or Football as it is known everywhere else, can trace its origins back to ancient Greece, but Soccer as we know it really starts in the late 1800s.

Soccer has increased in popularity in America in the past few decades. The World Cup, a tournament that occurs once every four years, was held in the US in 1994 and in the twenty years since has drawn a steadily increasing American audience. For the most part, the younger generation has really embraced this new-to-America sport. It's the older generation that clings to the notion that soccer cannot compete with the popularity of baseball, football, and basketball. It is not uncommon to find newspaper sports articles that slight soccer. The old folks just don't get it.

The World Cup has more viewers and makes more money than the Super Bowl, World Series, and NBA Finals combined. For a true soccer fan, a good game is full of excitement and suspense. Many critics complain that at the end of 90 minutes of play the game can end with a score line as low as 1-0 or even 0-0. They claim the sport lacks zeal and can be anti-climactic. They couldn't be more wrong. As in any sport, there are games that are less electrifying, but a good match-up between talented teams is always action-packed, fast-paced, thrilling, and full of edge-of-your-seat excitement. Soccer's increasing popularity in America is well deserved.

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