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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David Beckham signing autographs in New Zealand
David Beckham, OBE (born 2 May 1975) is an English professional football (soccer) midfielder.

Beckham's career began when he signed a professional contract with Manchester United, making his first-team début in 1992 aged 17. During his time there, United won the Premiership title six times, the FA Cup twice, and the UEFA Champions League in 1999. He left Manchester United to sign for Real Madrid in 2003, where he remained for four seasons and was part of the La Liga winning squad in 2007. Beckham subsequently moved to the United States to play for the LA Galaxy in a move that gave him the highest salary of any Major League Soccer player in history.

He has twice been runner-up for FIFA World Player of the Year, and in 2004 was the world's highest-paid footballer. Beckham was also the captain of England from 15 November 2000 to 2 July 2006. He made 58 appearances as captain, and ended his tenure in that role after the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals.

Outside of football, he is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a spokesman for Malaria No More and was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2003.





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