By Andre Luciano, Head Soccer Coach
We are closing in on the final games of the group stage of the World Cup, and after an exhausting 11 days of watching eight hours of soccer per day and countless hours of coverage, I can honestly say that the 2014 World Cup has been a success so far.
TV viewership is at an all time high. With more than 18.4 million people watching the USA vs. Portugal game, it was the most-viewed soccer game in American TV history, surpassing the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final between the United States and China.
In cities across the country we are seeing thousands upon thousands of fans viewing the U.S. games in “Fan Zones,” signaling that the “World’s Game” has gained its foothold on American soil and that a new generation of soccer fans has cemented its footprint among the big four of American sports.
The old adage that soccer is boring has been thrown out the window, as the 2014 World Cup has shattered goals per game marks and almost doubled the combined goals scored in the past two World Cups. Fans have responded calling this the most exciting World Cup ever, making even the most ardent skeptics of the game amazed by the skill that has been displayed with each goal scored. The sport is here to stay.
TV viewership, media coverage of the games and commercial marketing has made Dempsey, Howard, Neymar, Messi, and Ronaldo household names in this country. We even had a serious dialogue about a player being left off the roster prior to the final selection of our U.S. National Team by fans that do not follow it closely.
When there is controversy, there is passion. And if there is passion, it shows that you care.