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One thing lacking in U.S. soccer: Fans

December 03, 2005|By Evan Lowery

Every day in America when you turn on a television, the sportscasters talk about who won the big football game, who hit a walk-on home-run in baseball or who made a buzzer-beater to win a basketball game. You hardly ever hear anything about the world's most popular sport. I'm talking about soccer. Most people in this country might think that soccer is a sissy sport and that it has no chance at being profitable right here in the good ol' U.S.

What these people don't realize is that as soon as you leave the U.S., soccer will be all around you.

Let's just talk about one country for right now instead of the rest of the world - England. In England, soccer generates billions of dollars every year, approximately 1.7 billion euros in the 2003-04 season, which is a little more than $2 billion, U.S.

That isn't that far behind the $3.7 billion that is predicted next year for the NFL. You also have to take into consideration that football receives a lot of money from TV endorsements, commercials and many other programs that involve football. If England could get this kind of coverage, the $2 billion (U.S.) would dramatically increase. If we could get this kind of publicity for soccer in the U.S., this would probably provide an income that is greater than that of England - there is so much potential.

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Lately, soccer has become somewhat more popular in the U.S. Many more leagues for youth have been made as well as many more tournaments that will help expand the popularity of soccer in the United States. However, after high school, not many people pursue increasing their abilities in soccer and turn away from the sport. Even for the people who do make it through cfor ollege playing soccer, there isn't much further they can go here in the U.S. Some might be lucky enough to play for one of the 12 professional teams here. But other than that, there isn't much more of an option, which also turns people away from the sport to others such as football and baseball.

If more teams and leagues were made, more and more people would have clubs by their homes to cheer for, as their club increased through its respective league, be it the top division or secondary or third divisions. If any clubs are created, they would make it known that they have a favorite, which would make others join.

It won't be able to increase to this size unless the populace starts to attend more games and support their local clubs more often.

In my school, soccer has become a very popular sport and people have gained a great deal of respect for it. As a student in my school said, "I have come to have a greater understanding and thus a greater respect for soccer, after watching many games and the effect that each game had on the individuals."

This quote is the concept of what people need to do. If soccer were to be broadcast more, rather than at 2 a.m.,(which is how it was on ESPN during the 2002 World Cup), people would get a chance to better understand it and realize that it is a respectable sport. It won't be until this, that soccer will become, finally, the most popular sport in all nations.

As soon as people realize the potential that soccer has in the U.S., not just financially, but also in popularity, it will become a dominant sport in this country. Small steps are being made each year to increase the popularity of the sport, but it is up to people to come to respect the sport that will bring about the greatest change.

However, there has been poor attendance for championship games such as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup held recently. Attendance there was under 10,000 people compared to games in England, where an average of over 40,000 people for a regular season match is an everyday thing, will not help with the effort to make soccer a big sport in this country.

When people start to attend games and become fans of the sport, soccer will become bigger than any other sport in this country.

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