How soccer may be the U.S.’s most popular sport by the 2026 World Cup

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Soccer is a growing sport in the United States, but no one is thinking it’s anywhere near as popular as football, basketball, or baseball. With the USA set to host the World Cup in 2026, alongside Canada and Mexico, soccer could end up being the most popular sport in the country. Here’s why the world’s sport might finally be America’s game by 2026.

The World Cup

What was a striking change to the norm was the amount of Americans tuning in to watch the World Cup back in 2018. Even though the USA didn’t make it to the summer tournament, there were bars packed full of people trying to catch any of the games from the international tournament. Soccer has been steadily rising over the past years, but we’ve all been here before.

When the USA hosted the World Cup in 1994 many people thought it was going to have a huge impact on American sports. In truth, it didn’t. Then the youths who grew up playing soccer in high school were expected to lead a new wave of soccer fans across America. They didn’t.

Soccer has traditionally struggled in the U.S., but things finally look like they are changing for the global sport. The World Cup happens every four years, but the MLS is growing all the time.

Why is it growing?

Soccer is seen by many as a game for the younger generation, and it certainly seems as though young Americans are swapping baseball for soccer. There are few rock stars in baseball like there are in soccer and young people would struggle to name many of baseball’s top stars these days.

If you ask a millennial to name a global sportstar, the first names coming out of their mouths are likely to be soccer players like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Soccer is tapping into the youth market like no other sport and apart of that is down to one thing, in particular, a video game.

FIFA

People across all generations love playing video games, but one that has really hit home with millennials is FIFA soccer. This has given the sport a cool factor that is allowing people to connect to the sport.

The increased interest in soccer in the United States is coming from this video game, but people aren’t just enjoying it virtually. The MLS is getting more popular than ever as record-breaking soccer crowds in Atlanta and Seattle can prove.

Easy to watch

Soccer was once labeled too dull for American audiences, but there is one thing that is attracting people to soccer over traditional sports like baseball and football. The games are over in two hours, and people are less willing to dedicate four hours to a game of football or baseball. With the games resolved in a shorter amount of time, it’s proving less of a disruption and commitment than traditional American sports.

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and it seems Americans are getting with the program. As the World Cup in 2026 appears on the horizon, it looks as though soccer is going to continue its rise in popularity in the United States.

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