Soccer In America Essay

3473 words - 14 pages

Around the globe soccer, or more often futbol, is the national game. In America however, it is overshadowed by the big three; American football, basketball and baseball. As the sport of soccer gains momentum in the United States, will it become as popular as the big three? This is unclear because Americans often jump on the band wagon for major events like the FIFA World Cup and then fall off once Premier League and MLS seasons start. Many analyses point to European disdain and the American identity as key factors in the failure of soccer in the US. There are many factors that contribute positively to soccer's place in the American popular culture as well. The MLS helps to support and expand American soccer through league play. The World Cup increases the popularity of soccer in America through well known popular athletes and large companies advertising campaigns. By understanding the origins and the original failure of American soccer and then exploring today's American professional league and fan participation in the FIFA World Cup, a clearer image of the people's love or hate for the game can be painted.Why Hasn't American Soccer made it?Sports are nothing new to the American cultural scene. Just ask anyone around. The USA has some of the largest economical and influential athletic associations on earth. They can proudly claim the invention of both baseball and football and the establishment and popularity of basketball (Thorn, NBA.com). With professional and college level sports being granted large amounts of air time and corporate sponsorships and thousands of Americans buying tickets to events everyday it is a shock that soccer, the sport of the world, has not taken its rightful place in the hierarchy of American sports. What is it about soccer or fútbol that has American's uninterested? How has soccer slipped through the quasi-religious culture that sports are associated as in the United States?A major argument made against soccer is how the other big three fit into the identity of being an American. Sports really took off in the mid nineteenth to early twentieth centuries. With large amounts of immigrants pouring in and a large scale urbanization occurring, city populations began to spend their free time participating in athletics. On the east coast, the textile industry was the most important and the largest of its time. Nearly every factory sponsored a soccer team (Haner). Between these teams and the ethnic club teams, (Irish American churches, polish-American squads, Italian American teams…), the eastern shoreline was a center for soccer. Famous fields hosted international competitions with Europe's best teams playing against the local club. This love of soccer would continue until the Great Depression, when both a loss of sponsorship and hostility towards immigrants caused it to decline. At the tail end of the depression, in 1938, the child labor laws were passed and thousands of young children were left with a lot of...

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