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The World Cup is setting ratings records left and right, the US Men's National Team seems poised to possibly move onto the elimination round of the World Cup, and football (soccer) is on the minds of more people in America today than ever before.

Of course, this isn't the first time Americans have been excited about football. In fact, it's not even the first time we've heard that the sport is on the rise here. But perhaps, just maybe, the grand old sport of football is finally catching a break here in America.

The English Premiere league is on NBC, the MLS is drawing once thought impossible crowds, and more people are watching.

Sound off: Is this it? Is football finally on the rise in America? Will there be any maintenance at all of the momentum the sport has generated with a (thus far) fabulous World Cup?

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Member Comments
# 1 malky @ 06/23/14 03:17 PM
The fact that there are not many comments on this topic sort of shows soccer still has a long long way to go lol

As far as popular in the USA , I've been saying it for years , the mls has to get rid of the ties and make the rules benefit more scoring and you actually might have a shot to move up to 3 or 4 in the top major sports

Other than that , most people are right now are just supporting the nation as a whole, nothing more to read into it
 
# 2 razorkaos @ 06/23/14 03:19 PM
I'll repeat myself here (i posted this on another thread)

About the growth of soccer in the US...

The first WC i watched was the one hosted by the US, in 94, i was 8. I remember the people saying that the US was trying to popularize soccer there, even talking about Pelé playing for the NY Cosmos. I remember some american players, like Lalas and Meola. I honestly don't remember the USA's campaign in the WC 98 in France (i'm still traumatized by that final), but since 2002, i keep saying that i don't see another country that evolved their soccer like the US did. Maybe Japan, but they were in love with the sport even before the 90's. That match in the confederations cup, when you guys played against us, was the best example of how much you guys evolved in the sport technically.

If we look behind, the growth of soccer in the US was huge, even if it was not as fast as it could be, probably by cultural differences (as stated before, the relegation/promotion system and the draft are not part of soccer outside the US). Your league is growing, you guys are gradually getting better on an international level, it's just a matter of time. Also, the US is probably the only country with 4 strong, big leagues of different sports, so there's this competition as well.
 
# 3 abclefty12 @ 06/23/14 03:27 PM
Coverage of soccer is more available and better than ever here in the US. I've been following the Premier League since 1999 and it's amazing how accessible it is these days. I can't say enough about how great NBC's coverage is and how thankful I am for it! To answer the question, soccer is certainly on the rise in the US, however I feel the fate of soccer long term in the US rests on the MLS's ability to compete with other top sports in the country. While effective, I don't feel the World Cup and European club soccer alone will build sustainable long term soccer growth in America rivaling that of the big four sports in the US.
 
# 4 Radja @ 06/23/14 03:37 PM
soccer is never going to go nuts here like the rest of the world. regionally it will have good support though. i live in sac and there is a desire for an mls team. it is a perfect example of what will happen in the right area.

the new minor league soccer team packed 20,000 in their first few games here in a community college football stadium. they just built a soccer only stadium and sold out again. they only built it for 8,000 which is about what every other minor league team stadium size was but if they get the mls and a bigger venue, they will sell out. however, we have a ton of soccer played here and a sizeable mexican community who love soccer. so regionally it will catch fire and work here.

this wont happen in every area. there might be parts of the south where american football is king that will almost feel it is an insult to the usa to support soccer.

unlike the nfl, nba and mlb, which are the top leagues in the world, even if the mls became popular, it would still be minor league on the world soccer scene. it would take a long time before any mls team could compete with the bottom teams in spain, england and italy consistently. that in itself will keep it from ever competing for the $$$ that go to the top american sports.

i hope we get an mls team here. soccer live is a very fun sport. the games are relatively short compared to others. they whole game is usually over in under two hours. i owned season tickets to the kings for years and it took over your entire evening to go to games as they often took 2.5 hours if no overtime.
 
# 5 msuhockeycj @ 06/23/14 03:38 PM
This debate is tired. The question has been asked for a decade. The evidence is clear. Soccer is rising in the country. More people watch it. More people play it. More people follow it, both domestically and internationally.

To what extent is the real question and something that people get all too worked up about. Soccer has its place in the American sports culture. Thats a fact. It may never top football or basketball, but it has a place, and a growing one at that. To claim otherwise would be ignorant of all the data (rising tv ratings progressively over a decade, rising attendance over time, 2nd most followed sport among youth).
 
# 6 inkcil @ 06/23/14 03:40 PM
No. Every 4 years we have this same discussion and most people aren't even interested in the discussion, much less the sport.

The reason our other major team sports (namely the Big 4) are so popular is because the best players from all over the world come to play in this country's leagues. As Americans, we are used to watching the best talent in any given team sport.

The globes best players in soccer take their talents across the pond.

As a matter of fact, what is the MLS, the 9th or 10th best soccer league in the world? Would we watch the worlds 9th best football, basketball or baseball league? Of course not.

And we will never buy into the Premier League because it holds no geographical significance for us.
 
# 7 dubcity @ 06/23/14 03:46 PM
I'll be convinced that it is rising when people decide that this debate is worth having in a non World Cup year. Maybe if the MLS rises from irrelevancy. I mean, just watch most of the World Cup ads. The one with the Cinderella song, for example. It's clear that women and children are the key demos. When more 25-40 year old men in America decide they give a damn, then we'll be on to something.
 
# 8 Suntan Superman @ 06/23/14 03:58 PM
Americans like commercial breaks too much for soccer to be relevant in the US.

Not only that, it doesn't really fit the typical American male psychological profile.
 
# 9 dubcity @ 06/23/14 04:09 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan Superman
Americans like commercial breaks too much for soccer to be relevant in the US..

Yeah, makes me wonder if big business in America really wants soccer to catch on. TV in Europe (particularly England) is so much different than America. Compare the obscene amount of commercial breaks in the NFL and NBA (or even the ridiculousness of NASCAR advertising), to the 45+ minutes of uninterrupted game time in soccer. And yet many Americans mock the ads on soccer uniforms. I will take that trade.
 
# 10 sparkdawg777 @ 06/23/14 04:13 PM
First off let me say that I now enjoy soccer a lot, I have never played but I have grown into a fan the last 4 years. I'm still no where near as interested compared to football but I still enjoy it if there is a good match up. Personally I would like to see it grow and see the US become a powerhouse but in my opinion there is one big problem that I see..

Soccer is not cool

I am from the south and grew up with 3 sports Football, Basketball and Baseball. I grew up being taught to hate soccer along with many of my friends who were also the best athletes in high school, soccer was not cool.
Baseball is though and you can't play baseball and soccer because they both fall in the spring. This could be the first reason soccer is frowned upon, things could be different now, but I mean my classmates would choose to run the track than play soccer in PE. Soccer has this label that it is for wimps, no offense to anyone who plays it. I don't see it that way anymore now because I understand the game, which is the source of this problem, parents grew up not playing or watching so they don't understand it except that there is hardly any scoring and players fake injuries. So they teach their kids that the sport is dumb (which is ridiculous).

Because of this our best athletes don't play the game and who are the most popular kids in school? What I mean is social status is one of the most important things in high school (unfortunately) and most people don't see soccer players as cool or good athletes. Don't get me wrong the US national team and many college/pro players are still exceptional athletes but they are the best out of the smallest sample of athletes to choose from in America. In high school if you can't play football you might play basketball or baseball. But most football players who don't play 2 sports run track in the spring instead of playing soccer. My point is we have the largest sample of athletes in the world but because of this bad label of soccer not being cool the sport has a tough disadvantage to grow in my area.

What I'm saying might be controversial but I believe it's true at least where I am from. I am sure there are some places around the US that don't think this way but I coach high school football now and still see this by kids here in the south. Again I don't won't to sound like this is all over the US but just in my area, I'm interested if anyone else sees this?
 
# 11 asu666 @ 06/23/14 04:14 PM
I believe soccer is past the years of struggling to exist at all in America and in a lasting upward trend that should take the next decade to really begin to firm up as a lot of young kids are playing soccer now and sticking with playing longer. America is seeing more high school teams and the rise of college soccer program importance now that the MLS represents a viable long-term domestic league.

I for one hate commerical breaks, so I'd always prefer to watch soccer over American football, which breaks every couple of minutes for ads. Soccer never had much support from major television networks in America because there's no place to break in with ads every few minutes, but the groundswell of support from a now sizable fanbase has made not televising soccer too risky because the support continues to grow and all of the networks want to have a toe in the pool if the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. begin to slide in popularity.

Additionally, the MLS app is awesome. Like the other major sport ads there are matches, but the MLS app goes further with shows and player-centeric content. Plus, there's no ultra-annoying commerical break music like on say the NBA app.
 
# 12 asu666 @ 06/23/14 04:17 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkdawg777
First off let me say that I now enjoy soccer a lot, I have never played but I have grown into a fan the last 4 years. I'm still no where near as interested compared to football but I still enjoy it if there is a good match up. Personally I would like to see it grow and see the US become a powerhouse but in my opinion there is one big problem that I see..

Soccer is not cool

I am from the south and grew up with 3 sports Football, Basketball and Baseball. I grew up being taught to hate soccer along with many of my friends who were also the best athletes in high school, soccer was not cool.
Baseball is though and you can't play baseball and soccer because they both fall in the spring. This could be the first reason soccer is frowned upon, things could be different now, but I mean my classmates would choose to run the track than play soccer in PE. Soccer has this label that it is for wimps, no offense to anyone who plays it. I don't see it that way anymore now because I understand the game, which is the source of this problem, parents grew up not playing or watching so they don't understand it except that there is hardly any scoring and players fake injuries. So they teach their kids that the sport is dumb (which is ridiculous).

Because of this our best athletes don't play the game and who are the most popular kids in school? Don't get me wrong the US national team and many college/pro players are still exceptional athletes but they are the best out of the smallest sample of athletes to choose from in America. In high school if you can't play football you might play basketball or baseball. But most football players who don't play 2 sports run track in the spring instead of playing soccer. My point is we have the largest sample of athletes in the world but because of this bad label of soccer not being cool the sport has a tough disadvantage to grow in my area.

What I'm saying might be controversial but I believe it's true at least where I am from. I am sure there are some places around the US that don't think this way but I coach high school football now and still see this by kids here in the south. Again I don't won't to sound like this is all over the US but just in my area, I'm interested if anyone else sees this?
Anyone who thinks soccer is not cool should be shown a WAGS photo site. Let's face it, American football is a lot of practices for a few games. Why do most high school guys play? Because girls tend to dig football players.
 
# 13 RipCityAndy @ 06/23/14 04:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan Superman
Americans like commercial breaks too much for soccer to be relevant in the US.

Not only that, it doesn't really fit the typical American male psychological profile.
American male psychological profile? Is that the thing where I don't want to watch professional flopping for 90 minutes and have it end in a draw?

I kid. I kid.

But in all seriousness I've seen the soccer fan base grow fairly dramatically over the last couple years in Portland.
 
# 14 sparkdawg777 @ 06/23/14 04:56 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by asu666
Anyone who thinks soccer is not cool should be shown a WAGS photo site. Let's face it, American football is a lot of practices for a few games. Why do most high school guys play? Because girls tend to dig football players.
I'm not going to necessarily disagree with that because we do have players that are that way. I'm not sure if you've ever played football before on Friday nights but I would gladly practice 20 more times for just 1 game. There's nothing like it.

I could be in the minority though but in my opinion most American athletes like football for the sport. We didn't play out in the yard as kids because the girls were watching, we did it because that's the game we knew and loved.
 
# 15 braves_94 @ 06/23/14 05:12 PM
When I was a kid, youth soccer leagues exploded. This was in the mid to early 90s. Shortly after that, the MLS started up. So soccer has enjoyed a pretty steady rise for going on two decades in America. But I don't know why you're questioning soccer's rise. I'd call any increase in popularity a rise. I imagine as the latino heritage in America grows, so will the sport's base. Which means by default it'll get more exposure to our youths across the spectrum.

On the otherside, I think the NFL is setting itself up for a monster decline. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are in the twilight of their careers. They might have 2 or 3 years left in the tank. And I don't see where the draw will come after them. The players are getting more and more unrelateable. You could have a situation not unlike the NBA when MJ hung it up. Starting to figure out why all those rules are in place to keep QB's upright. Brady and Manning are viewed as the life blood of their sport, and the longer they're around the better for the NFL.
 
# 16 razorkaos @ 06/23/14 05:15 PM
I think i understand what sparkdawg is talking about. The problem is cultural. I say this cause i see a similar problem here in Brazil: the great media "kills" other sports, mocking them and acting like other sports are "exotic". It's easier (and cheaper) for them to focus in soccer only, so we rarely see some support to other sports from the media. There is only one open tv channel here that broadcasts NFL games. Other than that, we only see Volleyball, Handball (it's gradually growing around here), Judo and Swimming. The NBA, NHL and MLB games are only for those who can pay for cable/satellite tv (or we watch on the internet via streams).

You may be a football fan, a baseball fan, a soccer fan, doesn't matter. If you're a sports fan, above all other things, you will at least respect every sport. Hell, even curling got our attention here during the winter games and we only have snow in one state, and it's as rare as you can imagine.
 
# 17 eyeamg0dly @ 06/23/14 05:32 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkdawg777
I am from the south and grew up with 3 sports Football, Basketball and Baseball. I grew up being taught to hate soccer along with many of my friends who were also the best athletes in high school, soccer was not cool.
Baseball is though and you can't play baseball and soccer because they both fall in the spring.
That is kind of weird because they play soccer in the fall here in NC and just about everywhere else I have been. I have traveled across the states quite a bit. Like you, I played football throughout my youth because it really is the sport in the south. Soccer at my school during my time there was always for the super preppy jerk offs. You seriously had to be part of their social elite to play, so that was my turn off to the game.

Years later, I found soccer and see that it is an amazing game. I think most people underrate MLS and the talent that it does attract. MLS is on par with second level of English soccer which is called the championship. the lower english leagues (below the premier league) are still the better ones in Europe.

Next thing is that the MLS was created and designed to give americans playing time for the world cup. It is not designed to compete with other leagues over who is better. This is also the reason why there are salary caps and limit to how many international players can play for each team. Look at what it has done for the national team. We might not have the world class talent that other countries have on their teams, but our worst players are not far in difference from our best players. This means that we have tightened the gap between talent on the team which causes the team to play more consistent. There has also been a big increase in MLS based american players breaking into Europe. Sure they haven't had much success but at least they are there and have the opportunity to get that chance.
 
# 18 eyeamg0dly @ 06/23/14 05:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by razorkaos
I think i understand what sparkdawg is talking about. The problem is cultural. I say this cause i see a similar problem here in Brazil: the great media "kills" other sports, mocking them and acting like other sports are "exotic". It's easier (and cheaper) for them to focus in soccer only, so we rarely see some support to other sports from the media. There is only one open tv channel here that broadcasts NFL games. Other than that, we only see Volleyball, Handball (it's gradually growing around here), Judo and Swimming. The NBA, NHL and MLB games are only for those who can pay for cable/satellite tv (or we watch on the internet via streams).

You may be a football fan, a baseball fan, a soccer fan, doesn't matter. If you're a sports fan, above all other things, you will at least respect every sport. Hell, even curling got our attention here during the winter games and we only have snow in one state, and it's as rare as you can imagine.
I wonder how well you guys would do at other sports if they had a chance. I am kind of surprised that basketball isn't bigger in Brazil.
 
# 19 eyeamg0dly @ 06/23/14 05:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by braves_94
When I was a kid, youth soccer leagues exploded. This was in the mid to early 90s. Shortly after that, the MLS started up. So soccer has enjoyed a pretty steady rise for going on two decades in America. But I don't know why you're questioning soccer's rise. I'd call any increase in popularity a rise. I imagine as the latino heritage in America grows, so will the sport's base. Which means by default it'll get more exposure to our youths across the spectrum.

On the otherside, I think the NFL is setting itself up for a monster decline. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are in the twilight of their careers. They might have 2 or 3 years left in the tank. And I don't see where the draw will come after them. The players are getting more and more unrelateable. You could have a situation not unlike the NBA when MJ hung it up. Starting to figure out why all those rules are in place to keep QB's upright. Brady and Manning are viewed as the life blood of their sport, and the longer they're around the better for the NFL.
We said the same thing when Marino, Aikmen, Young, etc decided to retire. The NFL will be always be ok, there might be a couple seasons where it might get more mediocre than it is now but it will never be on the decline like the NBA.
 
# 20 razorkaos @ 06/23/14 05:46 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeamg0dly
I wonder how well you guys would do at other sports if they had a chance. I am kind of surprised that basketball isn't bigger in Brazil.
Yeah, me too. I think we just waste a lot of talent and good opportunities to popularize other sports. See, Hortencia and Oscar Schmidt, they're legends, and even then, we only created a professional basketball league a few years ago (we have some american players here too, but they're not at NBA level). I could say the same for Tennis (Gustavo Kuerten won Roland Garros 3 times, and we never have developed our Tennis).

Other than soccer, we only have real support (sponsors) to our Volleyball players and for some of Judo and Swimming athletes. And it's a ridiculous situation. When i was still in Karate, my master was in the national team, and he and the other athletes had to pay for all of their expenses if they wanted to compete. This kind of thing happens all the time, and it makes me really sad.
 

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