Football

Football continues to grow in America

Stars like Donovan are making football popular in America (©GettyImages)
Stars like Donovan are making football popular in America (©GettyImages).

You see them on the television and you just wish you could be there. The atmosphere. Rowdy, jolly, angry, possibly drunk.

Like it or not, soccer is the world's sport and Americans are starting to realise it. While Americans, like myself, will continue to hold on to baseball and "football", more and more Americans are appreciating the beautiful game. 

Players like Clint Dempsey coming back to the MLS, and David Beckham and Thierry Henry signing for MLS clubs have done wonders to bring support to this world game.

Ever since it was started in 1996, the MLS has gone on to grow at a steady pace. With only 10 teams at the time, it wasn't off to a dream start. However, there are now 19 teams with New York FC to begin playing in 2015. 

MLS games are already the third most popular sporting event to attend in America, with an average attendance of about 19,000. While the average attendance pales in comparison to the likes of the Premier League, Bundesliga, and La Liga, it is comparable to Eredivisie and Ligue 1. Not bad for a country who aren't crazy for the sport...yet. 

The major problem with MLS at the moment is that there are clear superpowers in the league. Although, all the teams are capable of shocking one of the superpowers. Most people can agree that LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders are the two big teams in the MLS.

Not only do they have talented squads, but they also have the fan base to back them up. Between the two teams in 2013, their average attendance is 33,140. This isn't even a fair reflection to Seattle Sounders fans as they averaged over 44,000 fans per game! The rest of the league averages is far below those numbers. 

I attended the Guiness World Cup match between Real Madrid and LA Galaxy. I enjoyed the two quality teams playing on the field, but something that disturbed me was the fans lack of knowledge of the game.

While everybody came to see Cristiano Ronaldo perform magic tricks on the field, I was interested in watching Carlo Ancelotti's team developing chemistry and to see how the team as a whole would perform. I was looking for players like Kaka, Mesut Ozil, Diego Lopez, Angel di Maria, and others dazzle us with their game.

I was hoping to see Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan play for the Galaxy, but was delighted with the opportunity to see Gyasi Zardes dribbling at the Madrid defence.

Americans are already set to watch the World Cup. I'm sure people in the US will probably not work or continue to watch World Cup games in the middle of work.

At Arizona State University, people are gearing up for the World Cup. I can see the excitement in their eyes. Attend a Sounders game, and somebody will see an atmosphere similar to that of a Premier League match. Not only that, people are excited by the US National Men's team. Although they aren't as talented as the women's team, they are every bit as exciting. 

Jurgen Klinsmann has added an element to the USMNT. Rather than the laid back style of play that Bob Bradley had the US play, Klinsmann has a high tempo and high pressure team.

Klinsmann has 10 of the 11 players running around on the field for all 90 minutes. Although the US has a shaky defence, their attack is extremely exciting.

I hope to attend a USMNT game in the future as they are developing the type of atmosphere that the game sees in Europe. People are excited about the US team and believe that they can have a decent run in the World Cup. 

The more time that passes by, the more soccer fans that the US will have. Although "football" and baseball are America's top two sports, soccer is at a distant third place. However, with additions such as New York FC and quality players, MLS will generate an even stronger fan base. 

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Topics:
MLS
Seattle Sounders FC
Football
LA Galaxy

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