Soccer became a part of American history in 1609 when in the colony of Jamestown, (established by the country of Britain) started playing a game that was similar to what we now know as soccer. However, it wasn’t until 1862 that it became a sport, when Ivy League schools formed a conference. There is a controversy brewing, that it is not widespread enough to still be considered a sport.
Salisbury, a journalist writer from Pennsylvania, along with his colleagues believes that Soccer will never be popular enough throughout United States. According to a poll conducted this past year by the sports world, Football was rated as the most popular sport in the United States followed by Basketball, Baseball, and Soccer. In order for Soccer to break into the top three sports, some cultural changes would have to take place in the United States. The Soccer Industry Council of America had already successfully predicted that by the end of the 1980s about 12 million Americans under the age of 19 (37% of them girls) were playing organized soccer. This ranked soccer third among all sports, behind basketball (first) and volleyball (second). Further, soccer for children under the age of 13, it ranked second under basketball. Before further growth and popularity of soccer to take a stronger hold on the youth they needed to have professional role models to follow. Therefore, a professional organization had to be formed.
Since the early 1960's, the United States has had professional soccer leagues. There were two leagues during the 1960's; however, The National Professional Soccer League couldn't exist on their own so they merged with The National American Soccer League. The National American Soccer League (NASL) was created in order to raise the popularity of the sport in the United States. The leagues president Charlie Zarzour would make the major decision that affected the growth of soccer in the United States. The league recruited the elite players from Europe and Africa to play and train American players. As the NASL grew to 21 teams across the United States, attendance grew strong with an average of 15,000. A recent poll conducted this past year by Fox Sports Net states that the most watched sports on television today are basketball, football, baseball, and then soccer. This should prove to skeptics that the popularity of the sport is actually here in America but just over looked.
Those in attendance found it easy to learn, less injurious than U. S. football, and equally enjoyable for both boys and girls. The NASL was recruiting top player out of Europe to come and play for the teams in the States. The top players in the NASL were European, but were brought to the United States to become teachers and role models for the youth in America. Europeans have dominated the sport of soccer; however, Americans are making a bigger presence due to the growing popularity of the sport in the United States. These players were sparking more interest in the youth across the states. Americans now a day are adopting soccer as sport in the United States just like golf was adopted into the culture in the United States. An argument put forth by Salisbury, all though contradictory to his beginning statement, stating that soccer in the U. S. is as old as baseball and is no more foreign than golf.
Soccer is not a sport were a game will end up in double digits in scoring, although if a one-sided match occurs it is possible. A cultural trend now a day in the United States shows that a vast majority of people can not spend long periods of time sitting and watching a game without becoming fidgety. Research done by Universal Attention Disorders, Inc has shown that anywhere between 5 % and 15 % of the youth today have attention disorders. With the growing rate of ADD and other attention disorders, Soccer seems to be considered as impossible to watch. There is a huge contrast of cultural differences between the youth in the United States and the youth in Europe. Europeans were not brought up around the video games and explosive television shows that the youth in the United States thrive on. The video games and television shows create an aspect to children that sports, let alone soccer, can fulfill.
Other then the aspect of American culture, Soccer is considered to repetitive, slow to watch, and considered to be a sport that lacks skill. Soccer has other interesting aspects that add to the enjoyment of the sport. There are certain skills player's need to use to either kicks a ball perfectly across a 50 yard field or to slide at a player running at full speed and only kicking the ball away from him without colliding into the player. Soccer is also very exciting when it deals the skill used to beat a player one on one. There are specific camps run today in the States teaching kids how to dribble and how to do moves to beat a player one on one. Youth in America watch And 1 Mix Tapes, a street basketball tape that go through inner cities displaying moves, not to see the amazing amount of points scored, but to watch the moves and the skill put forth by the players. Soccer has aspects in the game that are interesting to all people. Those who like football and hockey because of the hard hitting would enjoy soccer because of the hard physical contact and the lack of protective pads. Those who enjoy basketball for the sleek moves would also enjoy soccer for the same reason. And for those who like baseball, well, there really is not anything inside soccer that is like aspects of baseball.
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