Is soccer set to be the next big thing?

SKS Editors

For a handful of nations, the World Cup is far from over. For the U.S. though, the deafening sound of vuvuzelas is drowning in the distance. Americans across the country, and a few in South Africa, watched the seconds tick as the United States faced elimination against Ghana Saturday ­­— for the second World Cup in a row.

As the players head home, there is one question that looms over the United States. Who cares? There is no hiding that soccer in the U.S. is easily a fourth place finisher to the likes of basketball, football and baseball. That’s neither here nor there, though. The truth is, that even at the high school and collegiate level, soccer exists, but is in no way a powerhouse.

Kent State is one example of a place where even some of the losingest mainstream sports programs take precedence over soccer. As the third largest school in Ohio, men’s soccer essentially consists of pick-up games through an underground collegiate intramural league. That shouldn’t take anything away from those few guys’ passion for the age-old sport, but it says something.

Maybe if the U.S. were able to pull through again, and went on to win the World Cup, they could have sparked fan interest all over the country. Several sportscasters said the loss came as the result of the U.S. running out of its “magic powder.” It was certainly true the men on the team shocked and awed fans each time, managing to squeak past with a miraculous comeback.

“Magic powder” seems to be relied on quite a bit in sports these days as teams obviously outmatched and outgunned attempt to pull off the unbelievable. It goes back to teams like the 1985 U.S. hockey team that shocked Russia to go on to win the gold medal; and teams each year in the NCAA tournament who pray not to be embarrassed by the number one seed in the first round. The suspenseful entertainment Americans enjoyed during the limited journey in the World Cup seems to have some people believing in the future of soccer in the U.S.

For some analysts, the little jolt of excitement Americans got from seeing their team compete on the world stage looked like a sign that soccer in the U.S. might be a hopeful prospect to become a staple in sports culture. If it takes another run in the World Cup for more people to get excited about soccer, though, they will have to wait another four years for a seemly new group of guys to take on the task of facing some of the best soccer players in the world. Until then, current fans waiting for soccer to gain popularity can enjoy that their sport isn’t NASCAR.