US Finally Buying Soccer's Pitch

Viewership is soaring ahead of all-star game
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 29, 2009 11:58 AM CDT
President Barack Obama, center, greets members of the Columbus Crew Major League Soccer team in the Rose Garden, July 13, 2009.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – After years of intermittent sniffling, Americans may finally be catching soccer fever, the Wall Street Journal reports: Some 4 million watched the US men’s team almost beat Brazil last month; some 2 million are likely to attend games featuring top European teams this summer; Seattle’s Major League Soccer team pulls in more attendees on average than its baseball team.

Still, there’s a long way to go before soccer really kicks off in the US. For one thing, “you must have a league that is credible,” says the president of world soccer’s governing body. “You have good players, but you must keep them here,” rather than having them jump at the chance to play abroad. The US could also use “a Lance Armstrong of soccer to show the American market that they are able to be No. 1,” says the Barcelona team’s CEO.