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Expert: U.S. soccer snubs rooted in past


UPI News Service, 06/21/2010 

An Indiana sports historian says the reason soccer is less popular in the United States than Britain may have to do with historical events.

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"After America declared its independence in 1776, Americans had a tendency to reject some of the traditional British pastimes, including sports," Purdue University history Professor Randy Roberts said. "The game that we played with our feet morphed into football instead of soccer, and our game with a bat morphed into baseball instead of cricket."

"Today, soccer is the sport of American pluralism. A lot of recent immigrants, as well as first and second generations from Asia, Mexico and South America support the American fan base for soccer. But I'm not sure that fan base has spread," he said.

The U.S. Youth Soccer Association said more than 3 million children played in the leagues in 2009, but Roberts said the interest rarely lasts the test of age.

"What is interesting is that even those young kids who grow up playing soccer because they love the sport don't watch it on TV or follow the American professional league," Roberts said. "Instead, they follow American football. There just doesn't seem to be room for two popular games."


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