FIFA Website

Expert Commentary
What are the biggest issues facing U.S. soccer today?
“One of the biggest issues U.S. soccer faces is the same for almost every other sport. The U.S. sports market is heavily crowded and hypercompetitive in terms of attracting and retaining participants in each sport and capturing the attention of consumers, who have limited amounts of discretionary time and money to spend on sports. Taking a long-term, strategic approach, U.S. soccer would be well-served helping to increase soccer participation not just at the youth level but all the way up to adults as well. For a host of reasons, more people are ending their participation in sports at younger ages. If U.S. soccer was able to increase participation and keep people playing soccer longer, it would benefit the sport in several ways. One benefit would be a larger talent pool to eventually identify the best athletes who make it up to professional and national teams. Even if the vast majority of soccer participants never make it to those elite levels, another benefit of increased participation in U.S. soccer would be the development of more lifelong fans who understand and have a greater appreciation for the game because they have had a positive participation experience playing and being taught the sport.”
Brennan K. Berg, Ph.D. – Associate Professor and Program Director, Sport and Recreation Administration, The University of Mississippi
“There’s an already crowded pro sports marketplace with new and emerging options. F1 is seeing immense growth in interest and investment in the US. Other international sports such as rugby and cricket are looking to make similar gains in the States. Competitively, the USMNT needs to produce results on the World Cup stage. Equitably, the USWNT needs to continue to make gains in treatment and resource allocation. The NWSL storylines are evidence that there are strides to be made in the treatment of athletes. I think fans should continue the support of the teams to support the players as they work to elevate women’s soccer (and other women’s sports) to the level of the men’s game.”
Alex Voss – Lecturer, University of Iowa
What is the long-term outlook for professional soccer in the US?
“Despite the issues faced by both men’s and women’s soccer in the US, the long-term outlook for professional soccer in the US does appear optimistic. The MLS announced a long-term, multi-billion-dollar broadcast rights partnership with Apple earlier this year. The average age of the USMNT is still quite young, with many key players set to hit their prime for the 2026 World Cup being primarily hosted in the US. This event should provide a lift to the sport of soccer in the US in a similar way to the 1994 World Cup. The USWNT is going through a bit of a transition phase at the moment but still has many exciting young prospects breaking into the national team picture, such as Trinity Rodman, Midge Purce, and Mallory Pugh. The ultimate success of women’s professional soccer in the US will largely rest upon the long-term fallout from the Yates report.”
Adam R. Cocco – Assistant Professor, University of Louisville
“I think it is strong. MLS is delivering quality fan experiences and interesting competitive storylines. If NWSL can unite the players and give them the respect and support they deserve, it has the greatest potential of any professional women’s team sport in the US. While the 1994 World Cup helped the US care about soccer, I think the 2026 World Cup will supercharge the US sports fan landscape and help them realize the desirability of soccer experiences over other traditional US sports experiences.”
Alex Voss – Lecturer, University of Iowa
What, in your mind, makes a good soccer fan?
“Soccer fandom is unique from fandom in other sports due to its collective displays of fandom from established supporter groups. Although fans of teams across all sports gather to cheer for their team, soccer fans engage in more actively collective forms of support for their team, such as organized marches to matches, singing/chanting from the stands, and displaying ‘tifo’ during matches. For me, a ‘good’ soccer fan is someone passionate about their team, willing to show that passion through collective fandom displays when attending matches, and has respect for the game, opponents, and other fans. Although it is fun and a part of sports fandom to loudly cheer for your team and deride the opposition, that must be done without crossing a line and becoming disrespectful. Too often in the game of soccer, we have seen that line crossed and fandom has turned into emotional and physical violence against opposition fans.”
Adam R. Cocco – Assistant Professor, University of Louisville
“I think the support of players, support of the team, and contribution to the fan experience. Also, based on my MLS game experiences (at FC Cincinnati and Sporting KC), being inclusive and welcoming to all who enjoy soccer and aspire to be part of a community.”
Alex Voss – Lecturer, University of Iowa


2022’s Best Cities for Soccer Fans *Click Here*