As of 2017, 7% of Americans claimed that soccer was their favorite sport, according to Gallup. Popularly known as football, soccer is played in almost every country. Although soccer is the number one sport worldwide, this is not the case in the US. The sport has been overshadowed by American football, baseball, basketball, and hockey for many years, but it is starting to take shape. This growth can be attributed to factors such as:
The presence of international players in the MLS
Although some of these players join Major League Soccer at the twilight stage of their careers, their presence contributes to the popularity of US soccer. Fans would have to wait to see the favorite football heroes on TV playing in a league, mainly in Europe. However, some of these icons play in MLS today, so fans have the opportunity to watch them play. For example, Wayne Rooney and Bastian Schweinsteiger play for DC United.
The MLS has also seen many South and Central American players that have graced the league. Fredy Montero of Colombia, Dwayne De Rosario of Canada, and Guillermo Barros Schelotto of Argentina built their careers in the MLS.
The expansion of the Major League Soccer (MLS)
The past few years have seen the MLS expand exponentially. More teams participated in the league, and the quality of the sport has also improved. The league has 24 teams currently; Cincinnati being the latest team to join, and there are plans to include Miami and Nashville in 2020. As more teams join, the presence of soccer will receive national attention.
Different teams have won the MLS Cup in the past five seasons which shows just how competitive the league is becoming. In their second season, Philadelphia Union reached the playoffs.
Betting has also played a significant role in ensuring the growth of soccer, both in the US and globally. A lot of betting Companies have incorporated soccer into their sportsbooks, and hence fans can place their stakes on their favorite teams and players. In return, the betting organizations provide sponsorship opportunities for the growing soccer teams, thus enhancing their development and that of their players. A perfect example is Betway. Through their site, https://th.betway98.com/, Betway offers very impressive odds to their subscribers. The company has also sponsored some of the most reputable teams in the US and internationally.
The presence of US players abroad
Many American players are playing in some of the world’s top soccer leagues, for example, Christian Pulisic moved to the Chelsea Football club from Borussia Dortmund at a fee of $73 million and has scored seven goals so far. Other young American players such as Fabian Johnson, Tim Ream, Josh Gatt, and Terrence Boyd are also making their mark in Europe.
As more Americans play in more experienced leagues in Europe, they will continue to grow, and that will benefit the national team. The presence of these players also ensures that more people in the US watch soccer to support their countrymen.