As the governing body of soccer in all its forms in the United States, U.S. Soccer has helped chart the course for the sport in the USA for more than 90 years. In this time, the Federation’s mission statement has been very simple and very clear: to make soccer, in all its forms, a preeminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels.
To that end, the sports growth in the past two decades has been nothing short of remarkable. In 1989, the U.S. Men's National Team hadn't played in a World Cup in 40 years and the U.S. Women's program was just four years old. U.S. Soccer was playing games in small stadiums that were rarely filled to capacity. There were few games being televised (and none without commercials during play). There were no soccer-specific stadiums, and there were no high-level professional outdoor leagues of which to speak.
Since that time, things have evolved significantly. The U.S. MNT has qualified for their fifth consecutive World Cup, and advanced to the quarterfinals at the 2002 event. U.S. Soccer is a world leader in women’s soccer at every level, and the team has won two Women's World Cups, along with two Olympic Gold Medals. The United States has also hosted three World Cups with the support of its members and strong organizational abilities.
Professionally, Major League Soccer recently celebrated its tenth season of play and continues to further the development of the American player, along with the three-tiered developmental league, the United Soccer Leagues. Perhaps most importantly of all, though, no fewer than five major soccer specific stadiums are in place now coast-to-coast with more facilities en route.
Founded in 1913, U.S. Soccer is one of the world’s first organizations to be affiliated with FIFA, the Federation Internationale de Football Association, soccer’s world governing body. U.S. Soccer has continued to grow in the 90-plus years since, and now has the largest membership among U.S. Olympic Committee national governing bodies. After building the platform on which the Federation would stand, U.S. Soccer turned toward a more tangible measuring stick: success on the field. Everyone involved with the sport knows that only consistent success at the sports highest level can entrench soccer in the mainstream media.
The addition of World Cup-miracle worker Bora Milutinovic as head coach for a fast-improving Men’s National Team was the first step in that process. With Milutinovic on board in the early 90s, the U.S. Men captured the inaugural Gold Cup competition in 1991, laying claim to the championship of CONCACAF (the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Football). That victory was the first in a long-line of successes for the team, which culminated in a second-round appearance at the 1994 World Cup.
The men’s team would continue to succeed on their road to what was eventually a disappointing 1998 World Cup performance, but with Bruce Arena righting the ship and guiding the U.S. Men to their fourth straight World Cup appearance, the development of the young professional in the U.S. is at an all-time high.
In the last 3 years the United States has seen amazing growth in the interest of soccer. From growing popularity in Major League Soccer (MLS) since the drama with the arrival of David Beckham to the amazement and belief when the US National Team made it to the FIFA Confederations Cup final in South Africa, the US is on its way from being a Football nation, to a Fútbol nation. A country that is known for hot dogs at the ballpark (ballpark is one word) and tailgating before the football … more
So, I’m admittedly not a huge soccer buff, but I certainly respect the sport AND I can definitely appreciate a rowdy, exciting, adrenaline-pumping, unexpected game with loads of athletic skill. Last Wednesday, I watched the Confederations Cup Semi-Final between the US and top-ranked Spain. The U.S. Soccer team vanquished the Spanish team that had not lost since November of 2006. Led by their defense, the Americans capitalized on their physical play and opportunistic goals to … more
Say what you will about their quality, but the Americans rarely play boring matches. They had the most intense match of the group stage four years ago against Italy, and the most entertaining so far against Slovenia. Also in great shape to qualify or maybe even win the group.