The United States is out of the World Cup, but that doesn't mean the tournament is over. In fact, with eight teams remaining in the biggest global sporting event on the planet, it almost feels like the real World Cup is just beginning.
Don't get me wrong, I wish the United States was still playing in Brazil, and a day after a loss to Belgium which featured an American side that was not outworked but decidedly outclassed, it hurts to think about turning on a soccer game and not seeing the red, white and blue represent our rooting interests.
We are a long way from the United States becoming a world power in the sport, but the interest shown this week proves that until we get there, more and more fans seem to be hopping on for the ride.
There is no need to hop off now that the U.S. is out.
Gone is the four-year waiting period after each World Cup for soccer to return to America. There is soccer tonight and nearly every night this week in both MLS and—starting back up on Friday—the World Cup.
There are but a few short months between now and the resumption of the European league schedules. There is a lot of soccer to be played between now and 2018, even if the United States isn't suiting up for all of it.
As prevalent as the sport has become on American television, this isn't another plea for casual fans to become year-round fans of the sport.
For those of us who watch soccer every weekend, we don't need the pep talk. For those of you who may only care once every four years when it's World Cup time, that's fine too.
Just don't quit on the World Cup yet. As incredible as it has already been, it could get even better. Here are a few reasons why it's worth watching the rest of the tournament, and a few more reasons for those with the interest to continue watching the sport in general. The rest of this World Cup can turn casual fans into diehards.