How big is ‘soccer’ in the US? BBC News

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Benjamin Zand is living in six US cities over six months as part of BBC Pop Up. In every city, he has tried to find a place to watch his beloved Liverpool team, and to play a competitive game or two. While living in Boulder, he found diversity on the pitch – a contrast to the rest of the city, which felt overwhelmingly white.
He talks to players and fans about what football means to Colorado.

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Comment (575)

  1. USA picking up with the rest of the world ay? Happy to hear that. Finally they see that their sports are just theirs. Only they play them. They noticed it and now are catching up! Well done USA…

  2. American football is gonna die out soon because of the parents not wanting their kids to play for fear of cuncussions. so pretty sure there'll be no more players left… hopefully

  3. 2014 and FIFA 15. Introduced me to the beautiful game. Always will have a special part in my heart. It's also fun how in 2014 I would try to talk about soccer. I would be called "gay" "kill your self" and would be shut up immediately. But now in 2016 i can have a basic conversation with some people and still have the occasional gay but it's much better. Also the stands and atmosphere are getting much better and it's amazing

  4. People that say American football is pussy rugby is the same mindset of people who have no idea about soccer saying it's sissy ball both people have no idea about either sport to be saying these things

  5. It's amazing if you think about how well America does internationally, cuz it's like our 5th favorite sport , we just got the best athletes

  6. I'm a major soccer fan, and I live in the U.S, born in the U.S, and so was the rest of my family, that is currently alive. Where I live, soccer and lacrosse are the two major sports (Among children) and football is discussed, but not as often as lacrosse or soccer. Literally everyone I know at my school plays for either a lacrosse or soccer team, sometimes both at the same time. But in my first year of soccer (I put in LOTS of commitment and hard work) I was already better than those who've been playing ever since they were 4. As someone in the comments said, if the U.S starts to give more attention to soccer/football, we will win LOTS of world cups.

  7. If soccer has grown in popularity and raw numbers, it's most likely due to recent immigrants favoring the sport over anything american…9 times out of ten it's a foreign-born person who really likes soccer as an adult…this has been my experience.

  8. i hope they wont pussify soccer, americans have a tendancy to take other spots pussify them and call their own, american football = pussified rugby , baseball = pussified cricket

  9. Why do daft yanks buy kits of European teams especially British and then say you're a supporter ? Lmao you're not. You're a wannabe. Follow your local club you're allowed to like and love the game but don't try and make out you support a British team. Supporters are the locals who attend matches.

  10. its a shame people move away from soccer at HS because the only other sports in fall are football and wrestling, 2 things that you never do after you leave HS. Golf is a good fall sport for longevity.

  11. I think gridiron football will eventually die out or be modified to a very different game. With people becoming more aware of the head trauma associated with the game less parents are going to allow their kids to play. Its already begun actually. Soccer will continue to get more popular and with the world becoming more of an international community I think it’s only natural that we would adopt the worlds most popular game. YNWA

  12. The problem in the US is unless a solution is found for the growing amount of diagnosed concussions resulting from American Football is found then more and more parents are not going to let their children play American Football cutting off the player base for the game. The way the NFL has been hiding the evidence of severe concussions resulting from playing the the less amount of people will be playing the game. I do not think this will happen in the short term but give it 20 years and we will see what happens.

  13. Thank God my boy loves playing football and hockey. The following is just a few things I would rather he be than a soccer player.  1) A heroin addict. 2) Being convicted of War crimes. or 3) Winner of the best power bottom award at the gay adult video awards.

  14. This is really sad , I love sports I have played football, baseball, basketball, since I was 3 years old, but didn't start playing soccer until I was in high school. Here in the Southern United States , its seen as more of prep sport with the rural schools teams non existent, and the rich city schools have the best programs. Here in Tennessee I can't even get a pick up game there are places to play but no organization.

  15. Wana know why USA and Canada are trash at SOCCER? Aside from the coaches not knowing shit of how to build a strategic team…They make the players run…and get very small time to learn to control the ball…its as simple as that.That is why very few make it…in the end skill is all that matters.I sure as hell wouldnt like to pass the ball to a player who has amazing stamania but is trash with the ball.

  16. As of 2006, over 24 million Americans play soccer. There are 4.2 million players (2.5 million male and 1.7 million female) registered with U.S. Soccer. As of 2012, thirty percent of American households contain someone playing soccer, a figure second only to baseball.

    Increasing numbers of Americans, having played the game in their youth, are now avid spectators. The annual ESPN sports poll has shown soccer as the fourth most popular team sport in the United States every year since overtaking hockey in 2006.

    And you don’t think ESPN, FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC aren’t chomping at the bits to figure out their Commercial problem so they can start Soccer Fantasy Leagues and Sports Gambling Rings now Legal with a chance to sell some Patriotism every 4 years for World Cup ?

  17. The only reason why Soccer/Futbol has not been embraced by ESPN, FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC is because they can’t figure out how to solve their commercial/sponsorship problem. No TV Time Outs, No stoppage of play in between change of possessions, no commercials between innings, no stoppage of play for instant review….

    The moment they can figure out how Lexus of Orlando, Pepsi, All State and Target can run their commercials and it not be ticker tape at the bottom of the screen Soccer will be fully embraced

  18. FFS, if you want to grow soccer in America, how about you not adopt foreign influence wholesale? You're not a "supporter," you're a fan. It's called a five hole, not a nutmeg. You score two goals, not a "brace." It's a cross-town rivalry, not a derby (doesn't really work for MLS, because only Los Angeles and New York have two intercity rivals, be that as it may). Quit wearing those pathetic scarves. Get some Americans involved, not fresh-off-the-boat foreigners or barely Americans like Joe Gaetjens, Feddy Adu, Sunil Gulati, and John Brooks. Quit singing "Seven Nation Army" and doing that stupid clapping thing a la the Icelandic national team. Bring out some Terrible Towels instead or channel the Cameron Crazies. Ideally, America would eliminate ties, deciding a match by penalty kicks, and league tables to determine who wins the season. It should be overtime, sudden death playoffs, and playoff finals, respectively, to determine the winners for each. America brought goal-line technology to the World Cup; it's time to expand soccer's horizons.

  19. Here’s the thing, the don’t let kids play like they do in the rest of the world, a clueless coach will train them, they won’t let them run free in the field. They get trained like is baseball or American football.

  20. if you have a chance to invest buy shares in the mls cause its just gonna grow and grow beckham suppose to have started a club in miami if i get some coin i would invest in shares its gonna blow up and make me rich

  21. Why do people even care when Americans call it soccer
    I don't care what it's called, it just needs to be legit
    People wasting their time trying to correct Americans… Like… Who gives a crap about what they're calling it?

  22. i am a democratic socialist who believes universal healthcare and strong national defense and i hate soccer it is an abomination people who play soccer are people who were to small and girl like who couldn't make it in real sports by which i mean baseball basketball hockey and american football which i call real football .

  23. ever wonder why america consistently dominates the world economically and militarily its because we reject that waste of time slow boring unexciting sissy football that the hole third and fourth world and the castrated remains of the British empire put way to much of your time and money in.

  24. Even with low MFL ratings and the rise of MLS, basketball will dethrone American football as the biggest sport in America while baseball and football (soccer) will tie for 2nd place

  25. Soccer is a joke in the US. It is generally a kids sport and the boys only play it until they get old enough to play American football, Baseball, or Basketball. The remaining players who play Soccer in America are generally nerds. Soccer just does not appeal to most Americans. The attendance at Soccer games does not out draw the NBA. Those numbers quoted for soccer are questionable at best.

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  27. FYI thes guys are hipster losers, soccer just ain't our thing no matter how much Thurston wants it to be. Too slow, too boring, no strategy

  28. I’ve got nothing against Americans supporting football you do you, but what pisses me off if them supporting English teams make no sense to me you can’t say you’re a true supporter if you support anyone from England that’s glory hunting support your locals

  29. I don't think the rest of the world is thinking this through. Can you imagine if soccer actually became the #1 sport in America? You have to fear we'd crush every other nation just like we dominate everything, including the Olympics. Our female soccer is already dominant and they have a tiny pool to draw from.

  30. america:
    lets make a game and call it football even though we use our hands
    everyone else:
    there is a game called football where you use your feet
    america:
    lets call that soccer so we can keep OUR sport

  31. Also Korvball or Dutch basketball will take over in the USA. Basketball will lose. And then there is Netball. Also Team Handball will take over US gyms and television. Also Bandy will take over Hockey in Canada.

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