Soccer, or football as it’s called outside the United States, is arguably the world’s most popular sport. It is especially popular in Europe and South America, where the game is considered by many to be an obsession and religion.
There are many soccer leagues across the world but none are as prestigious as the English Premier League. Many of the best players around the globe join Premier League clubs, aspiring to thrive at the highest level.
As one may expect, the U.S. does not embrace soccer as its main sport, and as it stands, it is far from mainstream. The soccer league for the U.S., Major League Soccer (MLS), is far from the most profitable sports league in the world, especially when compared to other soccer leagues. The MLS does not crack the top 20 in revenue earned in a calendar year when compared to other sports leagues such as the NFL, NBA and MLB as they only earned a little over a billion dollars in 2017-18 compared to $6.04 billion for the Premier League.
When looking at the top 100 most-watched primetime telecasts according to Nielsen, a list including NFL, college football, NBA, MLB and the Final Four, not a single event on there is soccer.
On an international scale, the U.S. men’s national team has not helped matters at all, failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after losing 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago in the 2017 World Cup qualifiers.
With the U.S. hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup, is there any hope for “the beautiful game” to reach mainstream status in the U.S.?
The one hope for this is in 22-year-old Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic, who has earned the nickname, “Captain America.” He earned himself a starting spot for Chelsea, one of the Premier League’s top clubs. Pulisic is a creative winger with a knack for scoring incredible goals, who also sets up teammates.
Pulisic is as talented as any player the U.S. has produced. The fact he’s producing in the world’s top league at only 22 shows his skill and star power.
Due to a content-filled society, people in the U.S. tend to latch onto stars who stand out such as LeBron James, Tom Brady and Michael Phelps. Many find soccer boring and unnecessary, but with Pulisic’s exciting style of play, he can be an American sports icon, drawing people into the sport like Vince Carter did for Canadian basketball.
If Pulisic performs well in the 2026 World Cup and leads the U.S. to success, such as the quarterfinals or later, it would be huge for soccer’s popularity in the U.S.
Soccer is a beautiful sport and “Captain America” has the chance to show his home country that soccer is worth watching among the many different sporting and entertainment options out there.