Presentation on theme: "Mr. Flynn. Ask that question to 100 people and you may very well receive 100 different responses. People’s perception of American soccer culture depends."— Presentation transcript:
Ask that question to 100 people and you may very well receive 100 different responses. People’s perception of American soccer culture depends entirely on where they are coming from. Soccer moms, for instance, have very different perceptions of soccer culture in this country than do immigrants recently arrived here.
Yet despite the obvious level of diversity among Americans involved with the sport, many observers ignore this variety and attempt to make proclamations about a single idea of “American soccer culture.” What follows are the different areas of soccer in the US
When many people think about American soccer, the first culture that comes to mind is the game that kids in the suburbs play. Drive around nearly any suburb in the United States and you are likely to encounter fields full of children playing soccer. Soccer is one of the most played sports among children in this country, and the US has the most registered youth players of any country in the world.
15 teams makes up MLS, though 3 more will join the league in the next two years, with more expected to follow them. The league’s success in recent years has come as it has switched away from Americanizing the sport and embraced a more traditional brand of soccer.
For years, college soccer was looked down on by those who saw it as less than serious preparation for the pro game. In recent years, the college game has produced more and more players who have been successful in MLS and abroad (e.g. Maurice Edu and Charlie Davies). The number one team in the country is the Akron Zips who draw 5,000 fans to their games regularly
Discussions of American soccer often fail to include one of the largest segments of American soccer fans: immigrants. Even excluding the groups I’ve mentioned so far, the number of immigrants who are involved in soccer is huge. Television ratings for any game involving Mexican soccer (the league or national team) are huge on Spanish-language channels.
One soccer culture that is stronger in the US than in many other countries is the women’s game. Although the days of US dominance at the national team level are long gone, the US team continues to be among the world’s best. More significantly in terms of numbers are the many girls who play the game.