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Algo está cambiando en Estados Unidos. Algo que muchos creyeron imposible. El soccer (el fútbol) está ganando popularidad. De acuerdo con Yahoo Sports Report «el fútbol ha despertado del todo. Nadie se lo cuestiona más: el fútbol dominará el mundo». Y también Estados Unidos.
Te animamos a que leas – y escuches- este artículo en inglés…
A change is happening across the United States that many people thought impossible. Soccer (football/fútbol as the rest of the world calls it), is beginning to catch fire. According to a recent Yahoo Sports report*, “American Soccer has fully awakened. Nobody questions it anymore. Soccer will rule the world.”
The question is: Will the U.S. soccer eventually rule the football world?
The U.S. sports market is very competitive. For many years the MLS (Major League Soccer) has ranked anywhere from 5th to 8th behind American football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey and auto racing. This is changing, in a way that GOLTV commentator, Diego Pessolano, calls an “inexplicable phenomenon”. Let’s look at how…
Growth rate – According to Forbes (2013), “MLS’ avid fan base is the fastest growing of any sport, outpacing all others in the ten-year periods from 2001 to 2011 as well as 2002 to 2012. And the gains come from nearly all ages of both genders.” The average attendance per match has reached about 19,000. This may be small for European standards, but it is ahead of the NBA and NHL. The MLS has 19 teams currently and plans to expand to 24 teams by the end of the decade.
Youth love it – As of 2014, polls now show that for age groups of 12-24 years old U.S. soccer is either the 2nd or 3rd most popular, behind American football and basketball. What’s really surprising is that the U.S. has the second-most players federated in FIFA (second only to China) with 24 million. Most are young players, who also love the FIFA video game, which is the second most successful video franchise in the U.S. after Madden (American football).
World Cup popularity –Since 1990 the U.S. hasn’t missed qualifying for the World Cup. In 2014, 26 million people in the U.S. watched the World Cup and the U.S. bought more tickets (200,000) to the World Cup than any other country. U.S. Americans are very patriotic and love the idea that their teams are rising in global competition.
More money – The MLS is paying players more and is recruiting bigger names and talent from abroad with players like Thierry Henry, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Diego Valeri and David Beckam. In 2014 New York City FC signed English legend Frank Lampard and Spain’s David Villa, while Orlando City SC signed Brazilian Kaka. The quality of these players may be on the way down, but these names translate to bigger and better TV contracts are pushing profits up.
Challenges ahead – Soccer will always compete with the deep-rooted, ‘American-pie’ sports of American football and baseball. While many kids play soccer when they’re younger, opportunities in High School and University programs are not as developed. European football is still the standard. Currently, MSL salaries are only about a tenth of what players make in the Premier League. The U.S. still needs time to cultivate the tradition and ultimately create its own heroes of the game.
While “football” may already be old in the rest of the world, it is relatively new in the States…
Final thoughts – U.S. culture is always looking for the new, next best thing. While “football” may already be old in the rest of the world, it is relatively new in the States…which is an appeal all in its own, a new frontier. Don’t worry, Europe. You are still projected to rule the world of soccer for many years to come, according to ESPN journalist Fernando Schwartz. But don’t be surprised to see the stars-and-stripes flags and scarves held higher!
to catch fire = ganar mucha popularidad
to awaken = despertar
to rule the world = dominar el mundo
commentator = comentarista
growth rate = índice de crecimiento
to outpace = dejar atrás
gains = ganancias
genders = géneros
ahead of = por delante de
youth = juventud
hasn’t missed qualifying = no se ha perdido ninguna clasificación
to rise = subir
to recruit = reclutar
to sign = fichar
to push = empujar
challenges = desafíos
deep-rooted = profundamente arraigada
a tenth = un decimo
ultimately = a la larga
an appeal all in its own = atractivo por ser novedoso
stars-and-stripes = estrellas y rayas
scarves = bufandas
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