The USA is the next big thing in soccer


Of all countries out side the tradidional football powers which made a huge progess in the last two decades the United States of America made the biggest only with Australia and Japan coming close besides that Japan formed its professional league which is the J-League three years earlier in 1993,but the Japanese National Team won 4 Asian Cups and an increasing number of Japanese players are plying their trade in Europe such as Keisuke Honda and Sinji Kagawa,meanwhile Australia got the its own professional league in the late 1970s with the National Soccer League,however the NSL was filled wth clubs of Australia’s immigrant communities and as years passed by the NSL had many problems with immigrant led clubs.In 2004 the NSL was dissolved in the favor of the A-League which doesn’t have any immigrant or ethnic clubs and its model was to build clubs which represent a certain city or a part of that city.Australia just recently had some success in the World Cup when in 2006 they went to the round of 16 when they were defeated by Italy and the Asian Cup which they hosted last year and won for the first time in their history.But that is nothing compared to the next big thing in the world of football which is the United States of America.Football or Soccer how it is called in America it has a tradition over a 100 years but it never really took off as a national sport since it is overshadowed by American Football,Baseball,Basketball and a lesser extent Ice Hockey which represent the view of American Expetionalism towards the World.For decades Soccer was treated as a sport of European and Latin American immigrants,but the truth is Soccer is American as its gets.In the 1920s Soccer was the second most watched sport in the USA behind baseball and with the success of the USMNT in the inaugural edition of the FIFA World Cup which was held in Uruguay where the Yanks made it to the semifinal which is their biggest success to date.On the domestic plan with the Great Depression sweeping the country it meant the end of the popularity of the sport since many of the soccer clubs where in fact factory teams where immigrants from Europe played and the closure of factories,the factory teams as well as the league closed as well.In the decades to come soccer as a sport was extremely limited to public exposure with very few resources.But the Yanks shocked the World in the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil where by a single goal they defeated England by a single goal scored by Joe Gaetens who was a Haitian immigrant by that time which created a stunning sensation and embarassed the English.The 1950 FIFA World Cup would be the last World Cup which America would participate for the next four decades until the 1990 FIFA World Cup.On the domestic plan came the formation of the North American Soccer League in the late 1960s,its boom period in the mid-to-late 1970 when the popularity of the league skyrocketed with appearaces of Pele,Beckenbauer,Crujff and other international stars and its demise in the 1980s due to financial problems and mismangement of the league’s owners which weren’t into the sport.However the legacy of the old NASL left is the first grassroots soccer programs for the youth which increasingly came in contact with the sport also in the 1980s began US television began to offer coverage from European leagues with that came a growing interest and the first generation of Americans plying their trade abroad besides again only amateur leagues existed in the time.Nevertheless soccer as a sport began to grow in the post-NASL era besides a lack of a professional league and the failure of hosting the 1986 FIFA World Cup which went its biggest rivals-Mexico.However the new dawn of soccer in America was rising.For the first time in 40 years the Yanks qualified for the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy thanks to a victory in the final qualifying match against Trinidad & Tobago and since then the USA has featured in the FIFA World Cup.

Also the USA hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1994 which was viewed with a lot of skepticism in that time since the rest of the World didn’t believed that America couldn’t successfully host the tournament since it failed to sell the sport to the general public,nevertheless the 1994 FIFA World Cup one of the most successful tournaments ever.With the obligation of hosting the World Cup the US Soccer Federation has formed in 1993 a new professional soccer league which is the Major League Soccer which began to play in 1996 and currently it is in its 20th season and has outlived the old NASL with a more business wise approach which included that franchises should build their own stadiums.In recent years the popularity of soccer in the US has experienced a fenomenal growth with the growth of the MLS which has now 20 clubs and expects a further expansion to 28 clubs in the following years and the lower division leagues like the new NASL and the USL (United Soccer League),also in TV viewership of the sport where millions of US television viewers have watched the USMNT and USWNT matches in the World Cups.Participation of youth in the sport has also increased as well since unlike the previous generations are in touch with the sport.All of that is indicating that soccer in the USA is coming out of the shadows after decades of being in the wilderness and most notably of being ridiculed as an “immigrant” sport which never was since it has a tradition but in the past due to various factors it couldn’t get out of the shadows.Now it is out of those shadows and America is positioned to be the next big thing in soccer.With being the number 1 economy in the World which gives huge financial resources,an infrastructure in a place,a racially diverse population and a developing a strong soccer program,the question is not will but when the USA will become a serious competitor to win the World Cup,besides that in the women’s category the USA is already a power with three World Cup titles and countless other international trophies and currently it is ranked 1st the FIFA Women’s Rankings.More and more American players are playing their trade in major European league something which 20 years ago was a rarity,while Bob Bradley became the first American to coach in the English Premier League when he took over Swansea City in the beginning of the season.In short soccer in the US has a bright future and America is ready to conquer the world of soccer.

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