The fact that the U.S. has made it to the knock-out stage of the World Cup has sparked widespread football-fever in a country where the sport has long failed to catch on. CCTV’s Chris Casquejo reports on the sport’s growing popularity in the U.S.
The World Cup has been a big draw for sports bars all over the U.S. One sports bar, Seattle’s Market Arms, was packed with fans during the U.S. – Germany match. No matter the hour, U.S. fans will be awake and ‘primed’ for Tuesday’s match with Belgium.
The World Cup match between the U.S. and Portugal on June 22nd was the most-watched football game ever in the United States. 24.7 million people tuned in on English-language sports channel ESPN and Spanish-language network Univision.
The number of American kids playing football has been growing since the U.S hosted the World Cup in 1994. In Seattle alone, youth leagues draw 14,000 kids. The sport keeps growing in a nation whose fans prefer watching games played with bats, hoops and a brand of football play with pads.
According to FIFA, the U.S. is second in the world only to China in the total number of people playing football. Coaches say this year’s World Cup is helping create a new generation of U.S. fans, as well as players.
Legions of American girls have also drawn inspiration from the U.S. women’s squad, which won its second World Cup in 1999, and was runner-up in 2011. There is also one category in which the U.S. appears to be number one in this year’s cup.
According to Facebook “check-ins” from the 12 Brazilian cities hosting World Cup matches, more Americans have travelled to Brazil for the tournament than fans from any other country.
Belgium plays the United States in the second match on Tuesday. However, many did not expect the U.S. to get to this second round. CCTV’s Lucrecia Franco spoke with the former coach of the U.S. men’s team, Steve Sampson.
Steve Sampson on the U.S. football teamBelgium plays the United States in the second match on Tuesday. However, many did not expect the U.S. to get to this second round. CCTV's Lucrecia Franco spoke with the former coach of the U.S. men's team, Steve Sampson.
The winner of the U.S. Belgium match will play Argentina in the next round.