By: Vince Schilleci
Soccer is not the sport of the future here in the US. Soccer is the sport of over 3,000,000 youth registered to play throughout the US year in and year out. Soccer is the sport of little girls that have traded in ballet shoes for soccer cleats. Soccer is the sport of little boys that have traded in shoulder pads for shin guards. Soccer is the sport of kids around the country that dream of playing in the World Cup Final rather than the World Series. It’s the sport of kids that have traded in their Brady and Lebron jerseys for a Pulisic kit.
Soccer is the sport of Morgan, Solo, McKennie, Adams, Hamm, Donovan, Wambach and Howard. It’s the sport of the US Women’s National Team that has won three world cups and four gold medals in the last quarter century. Soccer is the sport of the scrappy US Men’s National Team, winner of six CONCACAF Gold Cups. It’s the sport of the American Outlaws who believe we will win regardless of the odds stacked against us.
Soccer is the sport of the Lamar Hunt Trophy. It’s the sport of the Supporters’ Shield. Soccer is the sport of memorable teams, plays, and players; 1-nil over England in the 1950 World Cup; the shot heard round the world; Chastain in ’99; Donovan in extra time; the snow game against Los Ticos; Dempsey’s left footer in 29 seconds; Lloyd’s mid-field goal capping off her hat trick in the 2015 World Cup Final.
Soccer is the MLS and the USL. It’s the sport of the Sounders, the Timbers, Atlanta United, and the Red Bull’s. Soccer is the sport of hundreds of thousands of fans that sell out Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Century Link Field, and Providence Park 10 months out of the year. It’s the sport of those same fans that wear their team scarves in 90 degree weather in the Middle of August. Soccer is the sport of fans that wake up every Saturday and Sunday morning at 6 AM to gather in bars throughout the US to watch their favorite clubs from around the world play the beautiful game. It’s the sport of fans marching to matches; witty chants sung in unison; and the steady beat of drums throughout the match.
No, soccer is not just a sport for the rest of the world. Soccer is our sport; an American sport; a sport of the people, by the people, and for the people. Soccer isn’t the sport of the future in the US. Soccer is the sport of today. Here. Now. Always.