While the history of soccer or football as it is known in some parts of the world dates back to the 1800s, arguably, it didn’t really take off in the United States to the same extent as it had done in places like the United Kingdom. Other games were a much more popular option both to play, as well as to watch as well. American football is a sport that perhaps has a lot more enthusiasm to show for it, as well as sports games such as baseball.
However, this stance is slowly changing, and with the world cup in full swing this year too, the United States has undoubtedly started to pick up some traction in the soccer world in order to make its presence known, both globally as well as wanting a place in the online sportsbook to be able to look back at in history. To see how and why this sport really started taking off and is becoming increasingly popular in the US, keep reading below!
Although football is typically associated with having started in England, and soccer itself doesn’t have a classical history, in the same way, it is commonly understood that soccer and football are used interchangeably, the former being the preferred term in the United States. In contrast, in England and the majority of the world, the same game is called football.
Interestingly, the word ‘soccer’ also originated from within England but never took hold as a permanent name for the sport. This came about in the 1880s when students from the University of Oxford needed to distinguish between rugby and football. Rugby used to be known as ‘rugger,’ and football used to be known as association football, which was then shortened and abbreviated from association to soccer.
In the United States, soccer started to be played in the mid-19th century and was known as gridiron football. If this is the first time you’ve heard that term at all, you can imagine that it really didn’t stick around for very long. Soon the official football association for soccer in the United States changed the name to soccer, and the name has stuck ever since!
Given its long-standing history, it’s not that soccer did not exist as a sport in the United States. However, as mentioned earlier, it seemed like there were other sports games that were more favorable and in demand for both players and spectators alike, so soccer didn’t really find itself in any kind of spotlight until recently.
Arguably, one of the reasons for this is thanks to the success of the United States team during the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The fact that the United States hosted it was honorable in itself and created quite a buzz across the country.
It took place at nine different venues across the US, meaning that more than just one state was able to have a moment in the spotlight and make its presence known. The US team might not have done too well, with one of the biggest penalty misses in soccer history, but it was still an excellent way to generate interest for the future years.
There were probably more soccer fans coming into the United States than within the host country itself. Still, the success of it all, both socially and financially, making World Cup history meant that more and more Americans began to take an interest in the sport.
Some of the top sports games in the United States include basketball, ice hockey, and baseball. Soccer has currently overtaken ice hockey and is considered to be a part of the top five sports in the United States. This has been a gradual climb, and the 1994 World Cup was a part of this.
Still, the number of matches available to watch online or on TV globally has also grown tremendously. This gives viewers more opportunities to watch and enjoy these sports games, such as the Premier League, World Cup, and Euros, just to name a few of the popular soccer tournaments around the world.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be the 23rd international tournament, and it is due to be held in joint cities across Mexico, Canada, as well as the United States.
Despite it being spread across those three, the US is set to host about 60 matches, an impressive feat, especially considering that these matches will include everything onwards from the quarter-finals, and that’s when things really start to get heated, so you can expect to see the majority of people visiting the US in order for the chance to watch their favorite teams fight for the top spot.