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How Did Soccer Become The Fourth Most Popular Sport In The United States?

Factors such as rivalry, scouting, women's soccer, and the globalization of their league made soccer in the United States one of the sports with the most attention this year.

Football players

The events that took place in 2021 around soccer have been crucial for the growth of its popularity in the country. Photo: Pexels

LatinAmerican Post | Julián Gómez

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Leer en español: ¿Cómo el fútbol se convirtió en el cuarto deporte más popular de Estados Unidos?

Whenever you look at sports in the United States, it is football, basketball, and baseball that reign supreme. Ice hockey used to be very dominant, but now soccer is the fourth most popular sport in the United States.

The events that took place in 2021 around soccer have been crucial for the growth of its popularity in the country. The most important item has been his rivalry with Mexico, a team against which he played at least three games in the year. Nor should it be forgotten that it continues to be the power par excellence in women's soccer and other factors that make its league continue to globalize.

Rivalry

One of the main reasons that make soccer attractive is a rivalry. In 2021, despite the fact that they had already faced each other for a long time, the Mexico and the United States had an unprecedented rivalry in recent decades.

Two finals and a decisive match in the Qualifiers sparked the spark between the two countries. This was the year for the Americans, who beat Mexico in the Gold Cup final, the Concacaf Nations League final and in the Playoffs. During each confrontation, there were controversial statements between the players and controversial decisions of the arbitrations in the disputed matches. This inevitably caused the ratings to grow on American televisions and the audience in the stands.

Globalization

America's goal with soccer through MLS is to keep expanding the league more and more. For this, it is necessary to establish alliances and agreements with different leagues and teams from other countries in which soccer is the most popular sport.

For this reason, the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Mexico and FC Juárez signed an agreement to promote the practice of soccer among Mexican-Americans living in the United States and that they can also play in the MX League in the future.

In addition to this, in 2021 the world witnessed the 25th edition of the MLS All-Star Game, a match that united the leagues of Mexico and the United States. However, the game had rosters made up of players of 13 different nationalities, most of them from Latin America.

In fact, many South American teams dared to call up MLS players, which speaks to the growing level of American soccer and the league's reach for coaches on the continent.

Also read: Who are the best NFL players in 2021?

Women's Soccer

The momentum of women's soccer has also been key to understanding the growth in popularity of the sport in the United States. His team is the current two-time world champion after having been crowned in France 2019 against the Netherlands. With this title, they reached 4 World Cups in the list of winners.

In addition, this 2021 the team reached the bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after a very good presentation.

Scouts

Another of the strategies that have been implemented to enhance soccer in the United States are scouts in different soccer countries, preferably Spanish-speaking.

With scholarships in American universities, scouts review players with some potential who can play in the United States and possibly nationalize them so that they can play for the National Team in the future.

Players of the United States National Team such as Ricardo Pepi, Sergiño Dest, Timothy Weah, Giovanni Reyna, among others, are footballers with dual nationality.