Different Name, Different Game: Will Soccer in the United States Ever Equal Football’s Popularity in Europe?

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2017

Faculty Sponsor

Laurel Traynowicz


The crowd is roaring, the bleachers are shaking, and the commentators are going wild over the plays. What sport are you imagining? Is your answer dependent on the country you are in? In most parts of the globe, soccer rules sports culture and even has an influence on economics and politics. Unlike in the rest of the world, however, soccer has never been seen as the American pastime. In the European and South American dominated soccer ranking, America is a mere 24th on the list. In an attempt to answer the question of the stagnant soccer culture in the United States, research was conducted into the historical impact, branding issues, and international perspective of the world’s most popular sport. The current study examined the sociopolitical impacts of soccer in the United States versus Europe throughout history, to explore the reasons behind its dismissiveness in American culture. The project is research-based in nature, and in addition to a written exploration, local interviews with a variety of demographics were conducted to address popular opinion of soccer in the United States. The gathered results may have proposed more questions than they answered, but common national perceptions of soccer suggest that American exceptionalism persists in its isolation from the “world’s sport.” Soccer has a profound impact on globalization, and this research implicates an even greater influence on the conception of sports as a catalyst for national identity.

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