Soccer’s impact and interest in the United States grows as time goes by


Victor O'Neill Studios

Northwest High School soccer player pushes ball past defenders

Jose Alvarez, Reporter

The influence of people from other countries and their friends and families inspires a new passion for the sport of soccer. In the article “Soccer soars in the United States”, presented on the US State Department’s website, more youth are playing soccer, and the sport’s popularity and attendance at US professional matches are rising. “Both men’s and women’s leagues set attendance records in 2022, with Major League Soccer (MLS) exceeding 10 million spectators and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) surpassing 1 million.” The Northwest High School community is following right along with this national trend.

Soccer creates bonds

Soccer is not only a sport to watch or play; it’s also a passion and a love. Soccer is a sport that influences families through multiple generations. Gian Luca is a Junior soccer player at Northwest. According to Luca, he has such a strong passion for this sport it has created a bond in his family. “I started to play soccer to feel more connected with my dad,” Luca added.

Juan Nuñez is another student at Northwest that credits soccer with creating stronger bonds within his family.  The Colombian sophomore player at Northwest has also been influenced by his dad and aims to keep the tradition in his family. “My dad used to play soccer games on TV constantly. I slowly got attached to it, but later it became one of the most important things in my life,” Nuñez stated.

The Beginning of its popularity

Soccer’s popularity has been growing in the USA since the late 1960s. As a matter of fact, that was the decade when the first soccer league in the United States was created, called: North American Soccer League(NASL). However, it received a significant boost when the USA hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup and 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Since these World Cups were very successful, that led to the creation of Major League Soccer (MLS).

Soccer has multiple benefits

Soccer is more than an entertaining game to watch. This sport also helps in physical and mental development. Research shows soccer helps people clear their minds and people who play the sport, even just for fun, with a community of like-minded individuals. Soccer is also good for health because it’s a physical sport that depends on movement. Mr. Corpuz, a soccer teacher at Northwest High School, believes that there are a lot of life lessons in these sports that students can apply in their lives, such as learning to work with others and learning to deal with challenges and diversity.

In addition, this sport, for most fans, helps in geography.  Fans, including myself, gain more knowledge about countries and their States because the majority of team names are inspired by a State from a country other than the one they currently live in.

Programs and local opportunities for everybody

The popularity of soccer in Maryland is pretty huge. Any time you go out to the park, there is almost always a soccer field filled with people playing “The Beautiful Game”. It is important to highlight that in Montgomery County, Maryland, there is a popular soccer academy called MSI. According to their official webpage, this academy was founded nearly 50 years ago. Their mission is to help the development of the physical and personal growth of the youth. MSI provides soccer program opportunities for 15,000 Montgomery County youths each year.

Maryland’s passion for soccer does not end at the youth level. The University of Maryland is a good option for soccer athletes. According to the website “college factual,” the University of Maryland ranked #2 in 2021 Best Colleges for D1 Women’s Soccer athletes in Maryland.

The presence of women’s soccer has been very important for the growth of soccer in Maryland as well. The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) has the most wins in the FIFA Women’s World Cup with 4 titles, starting with the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991.  The next Women’s World Cup starts this summer, July 2023.