It’s taken a long time for soccer to become popular in America. During the 70s, the US tried to make the sport popular with the North American Soccer League, which ultimately ended in 1984. The wait was worth it as the sport is now becoming very popular. Here are five reasons why soccer has finally taken over America.
Hosted World Cup in 1994
The US hosted a World Cup in 1994 and it was very successful. This was pretty much the mark of soccer taking over America. Many skeptics though that the tournament was going to be a total failure, bringing the biggest sporting event in the world to a country that did not embrace it at the time. In the end, the matches were outstanding and all of the stadiums were practically sold out. The 1994 World Cup helped start a professional soccer league two years later. In 1996, the MLS started and it is still going.
MLS Is Still Going
The MLS is still going. The professional soccer league had its ups and downs, but in the long run, it has only gone up. The MLS is expanding teams with worthy owners from out of town. Currently, Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, prime minister of United Arab Emirates and a successful investor, has started a team in New York. A league that started with 10 teams and progressed to 20 teams in the span of 18 years is a pretty good rate and a sure indication of the growing popularity of the sport.
High-Quality Players Are Coming to Play in the US
It was done in the late 70s with Brazilian legend Pelé with the NASL, but no one came out to see him play. Now that soccer has more hype in the US, quality foreign players are playing in the MLS and fans are showing up to see them. One example of this was David Beckham when he signed with the LA Galaxy. Ticket sales went up and helped the sport become more popular. There’s also the French star Thierry Henry, who is still playing with the New York Red Bulls. And the latest news involves Spaniard David Villa signing with the new expansion team New York FC for next season.
International Matches are a Sell Out
International matches, whether they are club or national teams, are a sell out in the US. It all started with the World Cup in 1994. In 2013, Guinness sponsored the International Champions Cup and it turned out to be a success, especially when the Dodger Stadium in LA was packed to watch the LA Galaxy versus Italian champions Juventus FC; the Galaxy won 3-1. National teams always come to the US for friendly games including Mexico’s squad. Sometimes these national teams are preparing for the World Cup, but every time, the stadiums are packed.
Kids Wearing Soccer Jerseys at School
It used to only be football, basketball, hockey and baseball jerseys that kids were sporting. Now, soccer is also in the mix. More kids are playing the sport in parks just like other sports. In the schoolyards, kids are kicking the ball around and pretending to be certain soccer players just like kids used to do with the other sports back in the day. Bringing quality players to the US to play in the MLS is causing exciting among the younger set, and as all things go, the younger generation sets the standard for the future. That is how you know soccer has finally taken over the US.