Over the years I have been privileged to take part in a number of courses, seminars and clinics in the United States.

A number were with the top US National and International Referees but I also enjoyed courses with the grassroots referees in AYSO.

The Americans I encountered were fanatical about their soccer and were wonderful hosts.

US Soccer Refereeing under the leadership of my good friend, recently retired Director of Referee Education, Alf Kleinaitis, produced teaching material for the 100,000 plus American referees, which was comparable in quality with the best produced by any federation in the world.

American soccer moms enthusiastically support their kids on the touchline, although most do not have a detailed knowledge of the game.

Soccer is the major participation sport for under 18’s in America, both male and female,  and don’t forget the performances of the US national teams at the 2010 FIFA World Cup when they won their group or the American Women’s team who are former FIFA Women’s World Cup Winners.

The American media, however can’t seem to get their head round some of the things which we in Europe take for granted.

A match which finishes 0 – 0 can be a great match to a European viewer because of its high technical or tactical content while a match which finishes 7 – 0 can be boring because it is too one-sided.

Many American media would have the exact opposite view. 

I have no knowledge of baseball but I once sat through a match at Wrigley Field in Chicago where two women sitting next to me were knitting, which seemed to me to be more exciting than the action on the ball park.

In my opinion, a  big problem soccer faces in America is that the media is controlled by the same people who own the main American sports teams – NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball and National League Hockey. There is little incentive to them to introduce a new competitor on a major scale.

Many Americans also seem much more comfortable with their own home sports, although many outside America find it strange that the World Series in baseball has teams mostly from America with a few additional Canadian teams. How ‘World’ is that?

Soccer raised its profile in the USA during the World Cup and of course is closely supported by the various national communities in the country such as the Mexicans, the Italians, the British and  many with historical links to some of the European countries. Their love of football will never change.

 But will the surge in American interest last now that the tournament is over?

Over 200 countries played in the Qualification Rounds of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Football is the world’s most popular game but it will have to work hard to convince America to fall in love with it.

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