EA Sports FIFA Soccer's U.S. Boom

Young Americans have become soccer die-hards—thanks to a video game
Since 2006, EA Sports FIFA has experienced annual growth of at least 20 percent in the U.S.

Shortly after the U.S. was chosen to host the 1994 World Cup, former Representative Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) felt compelled to address the matter on the floor of Congress. “I think it is important for all those young men out there who someday hope to play real football that a distinction should be made,” he declared. “Football is democratic capitalism, whereas soccer is a European socialist sport.” Perhaps it’s better that the late Kemp, a former professional quarterback, didn’t see the recent ESPN study finding that soccer is the nation’s second-favorite sport among ages 18 to 24, surpassing basketball, baseball, and college football. “Soccer has traditionally been seen as an adolescent rite of passage in this country,” says social scientist Rich Luker, the study’s author. “We are seeing a real changing of the guard.”

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