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Soccer in the U.S.: A Never-Ending Arrival

New TV deals and the World Cup could finally boost the sport in the U.S.

Soccer’s American breakthrough is like a UFO: always seen on the horizon, never actually landing. The sport was on the verge of triumph in 1977, when the New York Cosmos drew a crowd of 77,691 at Giants Stadium, and in the 1980s, when youth participation doubled, and in 1994, when the U.S. hosted the FIFA World Cup. Yet soccer as a spectacle remains a niche attraction in the U.S. NFL games draw roughly 80 times more television viewers than professional soccer matches.