Soccer magical and growing in America

July 9, 2014 

The World Cup may not have converted all Americans into crazy soccer hooligans. It did, however, convert a lot of us.

Twenty million-plus Americans cleared their schedule at 4 p.m. to watch the U.S. men's squad face Belgium, a game which ended in heart break for the U.S. but left everyone wanting more.

This craze goes much deeper as Major League Soccer has seen meteoric-like growth over that time. The league has had four new expansion franchises join since 2010.

A league which sold over 87 percent of all tickets available in 2013 and had higher attendance per game than both the NBA and the NHL. The Seattle Sounders already average 40,000 fans a game.

This may be hard to comprehend for many old school sports writers who refuse to cover soccer because it's not an "American" game and would rather spend time looking for a new home for basketball free agents (a sport invented by a Canadian, for the record) than a U.S. soccer match.

There is no denying that in America, football is the master of all sports and baseball lives in royalty; soccer will never have our whole nation obsessed.

But it will have a nice place in American sports culture. This is a salvation for many fans who no longer wish to turn on sports center to see what mood LeBron James is in today, who A-Rod is suing, or what Jameis Winston was arrested for this time.

It may be hard for some to stop micromanaging every move that happens in Tallahassee and Gainesville, but for those of us who no longer care which "student-athlete" was dismissed or who Roger Goodell will be fining this week, soccer is our true salvation.

Justin Lakin, Arizona State University Bradenton

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