World Football: 5 Reasons Why Soccer Is Gaining Momentum in the USA
We all know that soccer is the world's most popular sport, but it is far from the most popular in America.
However, interest in soccer has grown tremendously in the United States, and it could eclipse hockey and basketball in popularity in the next decade or two.
With a growing domestic league, a group of thriving players overseas and an improving national team, American fans have plenty to cheer about right now.
Here are five of the most important reasons why the beautiful game is becoming more popular every day in the United States of America.
More Parity in Major League Soccer
Not only has Major League Soccer expanded in teams over the past few years, but it has also improved in quality as well.
In the past five seasons, five different teams have won the MLS Cup, compared to the previous 11 seasons where the same amount of teams won the league title.
Also, expansion clubs like the Seattle Sounders have found success right away and the Philadelphia Union reached the playoffs in only their second season in 2011.
However, there is still work that needs to be done with the league's bottom feeders like Chivas USA and the New England Revolution, who have consistently failed to succeed over the past few seasons to make the league strong from top to bottom.
Steady Influx of Quality Foreign Talent into MLS
Those outsiders would be sadly mistaken if they thought that were true, as MLS has been a proving ground for many South and Central American stars as well.
In the past few seasons, MLS fans have gotten familiar with seeing Colombian stars Fredy Montero and David Ferreira, Frenchman Sebastien Le Toux, Dwayne De Rosario of Canada and Argentine Guillermo Barros Schelotto rise to stardom.
The league also boasts former European stars Torsten Frings, Alessandro Nesta and Rafa Marquez join Henry, Keane and Beckham as designated players in the league as well.
Development of American Players Overseas
Not only has MLS grown its talent pool from domestic and foreign talent, but clubs in Europe have also added American stars to their squads more over the past decade.
The prime example of an American success in Europe is Clint Dempsey at Fulham, but the American star is only the start of the star power that is overseas at the moment.
Many experienced players like Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra, Maurice Edu, Oguchi Onyewu and Jozy Altidore have made a mark in European leagues for quite some time now.
There is also a group of young Americans, such as Josh Gatt, Tim Ream, Terrence Boyd and Fabian Johnson, that is beginning to make its mark in Europe as well.
The future is nothing but bright for American talent in Europe, and with experience playing better competition in Europe, it will only benefit the national team.
The United States' national team and its fans finally got the coach that they wanted for years in Jurgen Klinsmann.
Klinsmann has already made a difference with the national side, as he has used a mix of MLS and European players along with young and old players to find his best 11 heading into the 2014 World Cup.
The German coach is bringing the United States to the next level in international soccer and giving them a chance to go further in the World Cup by playing friendlies against strong European teams in between World Cup Qualifying.
Higher Interest in International Competitions
American fans have networks like ESPN and Fox Soccer to thank for the higher exposure to the European game in the past few years.
ESPN drew very well this summer with Euro 2012, and with the Premier League title race being the most dramatic title chase in the league's history, American fans are being presented with excellent quality from the world's top talent.
With the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, German Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League all easily available now to Americans, the more they view soccer, the more they will want to watch. As a result, the demand for more matches on television will grow even more.