The rapid rise of the MLS

footy news blog

There are three major sports in the United States. Football, Hockey and Baseball. And then there’s soccer.

When Ellis Island took football, as we know it in the UK, across the pond to the U.S. the sport was laughed at by many native Americans. Yet in the modern era where European football is at its highest standard, American soccer players are aiming higher than they ever have before. The 1992 World Cup in America, seen by many as one of the most successful in the tournaments history, certainly helped the rapid rise in popularity of soccer in America. Then in 2002, America shocked the world by reaching the quarterfinals of the competition after beating a Portugal team 3-2, a squad that included Luis Figo.

Unlike the three major sports where the holy grail is becoming a legend of their sport in the U.S. young college soccer players aim to use the MLS system as a springboard to Europe and ply their trade amongst the best leagues in the world. Quite a few Americans have had successful spells in the UK, such as Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Landon Donavon. Some not so much, see Jozy Altidore.

So how will the New York Derby impact on the ever-growing popularity of soccer in the U.S.? In a city that is home to two NFL teams, two MLB teams and two NHL teams, the two MLS teams can only help the popularity of the sport not only in New York, but in the U.S. as a whole. A full house at the Red Bull arena watched an entertaining 2-1 win for a 10 man NY Red Bulls side who, after having Matt Miazga for a late challenge in the first half, survived a 15 minute New York City onslaught at the end of the match.

Yes, realistically it will still take a few seasons for MLS teams to sell out stadiums every week, but one thing they know how to do in the United States is make something exciting and with the sport only growing in popularity, it won’t be long before we see Major League Soccer up there with the likes of the NFL, NHL and MLB

Full house at the Red Bull Arena
Tim Howard has made 463 appearances during his time in England playing for Manchester United and Everton. winning the FA Cup, League Cup and Community Shield.

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By Matt

Matt is the owner and chief-editor of the Footy Blog, one of the UK's leading football news blogs.