Portal:Soccer in the United States Article

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Soccer in the United States has long been popular amongst all ages and it is the most popular recreational sport for both boys and girls, and according to History of Soccer: The Beautiful Game, has been so for about 25 years. This late 20th century boom is attributed for the most part to the existence of the North American Soccer League from 1967 to 1984, and the New York Cosmos, its marquee team which included among its players stellar names like Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer.

Professional soccer has expanded since the mid-1990s, especially since the 1994 FIFA World Cup which was hosted in the United States for the first time. Both the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women's World Cups were also held in the U.S., and the United States women's national team is one of the best in the world. Their home crowd of over 90,000 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California for the 1999 World Cup Final remains the largest crowd in the world ever to witness any women's sporting event.

More and more Americans, having played the game in their youth are now avid spectators. Most cities with Major League Soccer teams have large fan bases. In addition, as Latin American immigration is increasing overall in the entire nation, so is the popularity of soccer.

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The United States' men's national team training prior to the 2006 World Cup
The United States men's national soccer team is the national soccer team of the United States for men and is controlled by the United States Soccer Federation. Playing their first ever match in 1885 against Canada and winning their first ever official international in 1916 against Sweden; the team also have won an Olympic Silver and Bronze medal in the sport at the 1904 Summer Olympics.

The United States also had the honour of winning the first ever game to be played in the inaugural FIFA World Cup, defeating Belgium 3–0 and Bert Patenaude scored the first ever hat-trick at the finals in a 3–0 win against Paraguay. The third-place finishing position at this competition remains their best World Cup result.

Closer to home, the United States has won the CONCACAF Gold Cup on four occasions (in 1991, 2002, 2005 and 2007) and was awarded the honour of hosting the 1994 FIFA World Cup. This latter event led to the increase in public interest in the game in the USA which resulted in the creation of the current leagues and the strengthening of the national team.

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FC Dallas players congratulate Dominic Oduro after scoring the winning goal against the Colorado Rapids in 2007
Credit: Flickr user Jason Gulledge

FC Dallas players congratulate Dominic Oduro after he scored the winning goal in a 3–1 win against the Colorado Rapids in a game from the 2007 Major League Soccer season. Founded as Dallas Burn in 1996, the team renamed itself following its move to the Pizza Hut Park stadium in 2005.

Selected biography

Guillermo Schelotto attending a "meet the crew" event in Columbus
Guillermo Barros Schelotto (born May 4, 1973 in La Plata, Argentina) is a soccer player who plays in the winger position. Guillermo had played for Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata (1991-1996) and Boca Juniors (1996-2007) of the Primera División Argentina before moving to the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer in 2007.

El Mellizo ("the twin") started playing professionally at the end of 1991 with Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata, where he scored 45 goals in 181 matches and in 1993 won the AFA Centenario Cup. On September 14, 1997 he transferred to Boca Juniors, for whom he played for almost 10 years. He remains one of Boca's top ten scorers.

On April 19, 2007 he announced he would sign a two-year contract with Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew. Schelotto made his debut in the US on May 5 as a substitute and went on to become a team leader and fan favorite in Columbus, helping to turn their season around. He led the team with 11 assists and scored 5 goals in 22 games in his first season with the club.

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