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Soccer: Kids And The Growth Of The Beautiful Game At The Youth Level In The U.S.


 

(Image courtesy of kidssoccernyc.com)
(Image courtesy of kidssoccernyc.com)

 

For years, it has been a well-known fact that the U.S. youth soccer system has struggled to create global superstars in the sport and a team that can effectively compete for the World Cup.

But the last ten years have seen a resurgence of interest in learning to play soccer coming from kids who then continue on with the sport and end up playing at the youth level.

In about the last 7 years soccer has been making steady gains in popularity in the U.S.  Currently, there are almost four million children between the ages of 5-19 playing in youth soccer leagues through the country.

Here is some more information about youth and soccer in the U.S.:

History Lesson

Soccer got its start in England back in the mid-1800’s, and, you might be surprised to learn this, was originally played by the elite English classes in their boarding schools and private clubs.

It didn’t stay that way long,however, because the ease and affordability of the sport quickly turned it into a sport for the masses.

The London Football Association was founded in 1863 and standardized game rules throughout Europe. It took less than 20 years, for professional players and teams to develop.

The U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) was formed in 1913, but it took the United States years to enter the soccer arena on a widespread basis, and even longer for kids to start learning to play soccer.

It was just that most Americans seemed to prefer watching, and playing a different form of the sport—American football—that is until a Brazilian named Pele, (thought to be the greatest soccer player of all time), joined the N.Y. Cosmos team in 1975.

With such an awe-inspiring player to watch, soccer grew in popularity even in America, and spread throughout the states. This new resurgence even affected kids soccer Brisbane and in other countries globally.

Unfortunately, when he retired in 1977, soccer once again was outshone by football in America.

In fact, after Pele’s retirement, the North American Soccer League slowly lost fan support, until it was forced to dissolve in 1985.

It wasn’t that Americans didn’t understand soccer, or even that they didn’t like the game, it was simply that in our culture football was revered, soccer wasn’t. That was why it took so long for the beautiful game to finally catch on here in the U.S. People aren’t going to watch or participate in a sport just because it’s popular in other countries.

They have to feel inspired and excited, and for a long soccer just didn’t do that for most Americans.

After that it wasn’t until the men’s World Cup competition was held in the United States in 1994, that soccer interest was reignited among American youth. The Major League Soccer (MLS) was founded in 1993, and had its first season in 1996 with 10 teams and 32 regular season games.

Over 3 million fans watched the playoffs that year.

Interest in youth soccer remains strong globally today, including kids soccer Brisbane, but it has seen a special infusion of energy and notice throughout the United States. Sports teams and leagues are now available in nearly every American community.

From players who aren’t even school age yet, to semi-professional high school teams, players from all states and with varying abilities are now heading to the soccer field for both spring and fall competition.

The U.S. Youth Soccer, a division of the USSF, now includes nearly 3 million official players.

Biography: Jake Hyet is considered an expert in kids’ galaxy soccer Brisbane, and in kids learning to play soccer. He’s coached children’s soccer in Australia and has written expensively on both topics.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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