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U.S. SOCCER REACHING NEW HEIGHTS
As the governing body of soccer in all its forms in the United States, U.S. Soccer has played an integral part in charting the course for the sport in the USA for more than 100 years. In that time, the Federation’s mission statement has been clear and simple: to make soccer, in all its forms, a preeminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels.
From a viewership standpoint, nearly 20 million Americans watched the Round of 16 match at the 2010 FIFA World Cup on television. Soccer-specific stadiums have opened their doors to resounding success. The National Training Center in Carson, California, has been a valuable facility for all levels, including the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, which kicked off at the state-of-the-art complex with much fanfare in 2007.
In 1989, the U.S. Men’s National Team had not played in a World Cup in 40 years and the U.S. Women’s program was in its early stages. U.S. Soccer was playing games in small stadiums that did not reach capacity, few matches were televised, soccer-specific stadiums were yet to be created and there were no high-level professional outdoor leagues.
Since that time, the state of U.S. Soccer has evolved significantly. The U.S. MNT has played in seven consecutive FIFA World Cups and advanced to the quarterfinals at the 2002 event. U.S. Soccer is a world leader in women’s soccer at every level, and the U.S. WNT has won two FIFA Women’s World Cups and four Olympic Gold Medals – an accomplishment that no other country on the men’s and women’s side has reached in Olympic competition. The United States has also hosted three World Cups with the support of its members and strong organizational abilities.
Professionally, Major League Soccer continues to grow in popularity and prestige with 20 teams throughout North America, as well as increasing attendance and viewership. Also of significant importance has been the growth of the other professional tiers of the men's game with the North American Soccer League and the United Soccer League. Seven MLS teams have USL affiliations to further their players' professional development. On the women’s side, the U.S. Soccer Federation administered the launch of the National Women’s Soccer League in 2013. U.S. Soccer is subsidizing the salaries of up to 24 U.S. WNT players while the Canadian Soccer Association and Federation of Mexican Football are doing the same for up to 16 players.
From a coaching standpoint in the United States, more classes are continually being offered around the country, and the number of licensed, well-educated trainers and managers is larger than ever. The education level among coaches has been tailored to match the expanding pool of talent in the U.S.