Portal:Soccer in the United States

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The Soccer in the United States Portal

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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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An NCAA tournament game between Indiana University and the University of Tulsa in 2004
College soccer is a term used to describe soccer that is played by teams operated by colleges and universities as opposed to a professional league operated for exclusively financial purposes. It is probably most widespread in the United States, but is also important in South Korea and Canada.

In the United States, college soccer is divided into three National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Divisions, as well as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Many top American college soccer players play for separate teams in the Premier Development League (PDL) during the summer although one college club, the BYU Cougars, have foregone playing in the NCAA or NAIA and instead play all of their games in the PDL.

College soccer has slightly different rules than many other soccer leagues. It allows for unlimited substitutions and, if a match is tied after regulation, two 10-minute golden goal overtimes follow. If neither team scores, the match ends in a draw. College soccer also does not have stoppage or injury time. The referee signals to a timekeeper for the clock to be stopped on injuries, substitutions, and when he feels a team is wasting time. The clock counts down as opposed to up, and a period is over immediately when the clock reads 0:00, even if a shot is in flight.

The two highest awards in the sport are the Hermann Trophy and the Soccer America Player of the Year Award which both identify the best male and female players in the game.

Selected picture

Christiane in action at the 2007 Pan American Games
Credit: Agência Brasil

2007 FIFA World Player of the Year nominee Christiane controls the ball during the 2007 Pan American Games gold match. Brazil beat the United States 5–0 to win the competition for the second time.

Selected biography

Brandi Chastain commentating on a game
Brandi Chastain (born July 21, 1968) is a former soccer player, who was on the U.S. women's national soccer team from 1991 to 2004 and the San Jose CyberRays of the WUSA from 2001 to 2003. She is best known for her game-winning penalty kick against China in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final and her bra-baring celebration afterwards.

Chastain first represented her country on April 18, 1991, against Mexico. She came off the bench as a forward to score five consecutive goals in a 12-0 United States win in a CONCACAF FIFA Women's World Cup. Team USA went on to win the World Cup, staged in China.

After retiring from the game, she moved into sports commentary; covering both Major League Soccer and the Olympic Games.

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