The World Cup and the State of American Soccer

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Most of the world waits with baited breath for the start of soccer’s World Cup, the most watched sporting event anywhere. That is, most the world besides much of the United States, where soccer continues to struggle to capture the nation’s attention.

When the World Cup was played in the U.S. in 1994, American soccer fans hoped that would propel the sport into new popularity in America. But over the past eight seasons, has anything changed?

Major League Soccer is now in its seventh season, and there are more professional soccer players in this country than at any time in history. Many of America’s new immigrant populations are bringing with them the passion for soccer that grips much of the rest of the world. But one look at the sports pages in any major city will tell you that soccer is still an afterthought to even the most diehard American sports fan.

This hour, soccer — at home and overseas. We’ll preview one of the world’s premiere sporting events and ask why so many Americans aren’t even paying attention.


Jonathan Wilson, covered the last World Cup for “The New Yorker”

Seamus Mallin, soccer commentator for ABC and ESPN

Derek Rae, broadcaster in Korea covering World Cup