News Blaze in their article American Support for Football Steadily Growing has reported about a survey conducted by Sporting Goods Manufacturer’s Association (SGMA) in 2004.
The survey claims that football is the principal sport which has enjoyed participation growth since 1987. The review further pointed out that almost 16 million Americans played football in 2004. The study concluded that ‘it was one of only two team sports to show a net increase of players during its 17 years of data collection.‘
In 1996 the U.S. professional men’s football league, Major League Soccer (MLS), started with 10 teams and now boasts of 12. Five of these teams are involved in construction plans of football specific fields. From the 1 st April 10th MLS season commences which will result in the championship match in October.
The craze has ‘seeped into the America culture’ Paul Lusty of Lucky Bar says. He started showing soccer games on a large screen television in 1996, and during World Cup 2002 there was queue waiting till around the corner at 5:00a.m.
People shouting and cheering for their teams and waiting at 5:00a.m to catch a glimpse of the game; Americans are definitely on the roll when it comes to football. The interest is unparalleled! And it is not a game confined by age limits, the awareness amidst adults and children is unanimous. Data collected by US youth Soccer shows that ‘more than 3 million American children between the age of 5 and 19 are registered to play on teams all over the country.’ Coining of the term “soccer mom” for moms going to pick and drop their children to soccer practice is proof enough.
In another article titled U.S. Women’s Football Player Sees Sport Growing in United States, America’s leading lady defender Cat Whitehill agreed with the school of thought that the game’s popularity has increased tremendously in the last decade.
She speculated about why the game has always created more hype in Europe than in America, because they “play it more and understand the game better. But it is encouraging to see how more and more people [in the United States] are becoming interested, and I believe that in the next ten years, soccer will become even more popular,” she added.
However she wistfully concluded “I wish Americans knew how to cheer! I love going to EPL [English Premier League] games and just watching the fans get into the game and chant.”
The rapid progress that soccer has shown in the field and in the stands there hardly remains any reason to doubt that America would soon be ready to go international with what they call soccer.