The goalie dives, seemingly in slow motion, but the ball goes just past his fingertips. As the players run around celebrating, fans erupt with excitement. This scene takes place all over the world, as soccer has become the most popular sport in the world. Soccer has traveled effortlessly over borders, as it is a simple yet exciting sport.
For most countries in the world, soccer is the most popular sport. There are professional leagues that have teams in most major cities, giving many the opportunity to watch. With the rise of televised sports, fans are able to watch almost all games no matter where they occur in the world. Because of its popularity, many kids grow up watching soccer, sparking their interest from a young age.
Within the United States, youth soccer has grown on many levels. From recreational to the academy levels, there are opportunities for anyone who is interested in the sport to be on a team. For some, a game on a Saturday morning is all they need, while others can have practice 5 days a week with tournaments across the country. As a result, almost all kids play soccer at some point in their life, either through their school, a local club, or even just at a local park. This flexibility is very appealing, as kids are able to play soccer no matter what their interest, commitment, or skill levels are.
For most sports, the top major professional league resides in the United States. MLS, the top soccer league in the US, is still considered as a mediocre league compared to top European clubs. My hometeam, DC United, went from struggling to get any fans to come to sold out games through investments in a new stadium and through bringing big names to the team such as Wayne Rooney. The excitement of top players and a fancy stadium was very appealing to our sports loving city, and during the playoffs the team became the talk of the town. Although soccer is competing against many sports in the US, investments from owners of MLS teams and the development of youth soccer has made the sport extremely popular in the US.