Popularity of professional soccer scores with USMNT


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Forward and captain of the USMNT Clint Dempsey is key for the team to advance in the World Cup. Dempsey shows incredible skill, which was obvious in his goal against Ghana in the first 29 seconds of the game. He also shows rare toughness, visible again in the Ghana match when he got kicked in the face, coughed up blood, and then returned to the field to play. Dempsey will need to execute the offense early in the game in order for the U.S. to pull out a win against Germany.

Anne Rogers, Sports Editor

America is not a soccer nation. Everyone, no matter what sport one is a fanatic about, can recognize that the American people do not engage in soccer as often and as enthusiastically as they do in football, baseball or basketball. The World Cup this year, however, has shown that the American people might be willing to open up their eyes a little more to the world of soccer, and in truth, to the rest of the world.

The gripping match between USA and Portugal on Sunday ended in a draw, 2-2, and was arguably the most watched soccer game ever in the U.S. According to usatoday.com, the Associated Press revealed that Sunday’s game was seen by an average of 24.7 million viewers on ESPN and Univision, a Spanish-language channel. That matches it with the 24.7 million U.S. viewers who watched the 2010 World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands

Through 32 matches, World Cup games averaged 4.3 million viewers on ESPN. That’s up 50 percent from the nearly 2.9 million for matches in the 2010 World Cup. Sunday’s match was the most-watch event ever on ESPN that did not involve American football. That’s saying a lot isn’t it Americans? Now we can recognize that the Buffalo Wild Wings commercial, “beer, wings, sports,” is actually true, and it shouldn’t actually be “beer, wings, football.”

This new-found popularity puts a lot of pressure on the U.S players down in Brazil. They need to at least tie with Germany this coming Thursday in order to advance to the elimination round. A win would be even better.

If the U.S wins against Germany, a few things will happen. One is on a national scale. National pride is what attracts American people to watch these big events like the Olympics and the World Cup. We want our nation to be the best in everything, right? The U.S Men’s National Team (USMNT) this year is arguably one of the best in America’s history. With players like Clint Dempsey, whose unpredictability and potential to score key goals attracts even the simplest soccer viewers, or not-so-bad-looking players like Aron Johannsson (am I right ladies?), the USMNT has the ability to rise to the near top in popularity. Because we’re actually doing well now, there will be more people to watch the matches and get into the sport.

The next thing that would happen is on an international scale. If we win against Germany, international recognition will rise considerably for the USMNT, and even the women’s team. That’s a big step for American soccer, or should I say futbol?

Can the U.S beat Germany? I’m not so sure. Germany is a strong team who has the potential to win the entire tournament, or at least go far. They are a versatile team, and the organization is not based around one player as Portugal is with Cristiano Ronaldo. Can the Americans give a good fight, and possibly end it in a draw? I think it is a possibility. They certainly cannot have what happened in the last few minutes of the USA-Portugal game happen again. The defense needs to be strong, unlike it was during the end of Sunday’s match, and the offense needs to execute like it has been doing. We do not want our own fate to be decided by the match between Portugal and Ghana, who play on Thursday as well. We want to be in control of our own fate. The USMNT not only has the power to control how their stance in the World Cup will turn out, but also how the popularity of professional soccer will rise around America.