By Marc Parker
In two months when the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa it will bring with it a new level of attention and popularity for the game of soccer. The majority of the world is accustomed to the popularity of the sport since soccer is widely considered the "globe's game." However, in the United States, soccer is not as popular because American football, baseball, basketball, hockey and NCAA collegiate games all steal the spotlight first. The good news is that the love for soccer has been increasing in the U.S. and its’ popularity is spreading rapidly across a lot more American homes. As the World Cup approaches and talk of soccer picks up, Americans are rediscovering the importance of bringing the 2018 or 2022 World Cup to American soil.
The 1994 World Cup (the last time the games were held in the United States) was attended by a total of 3.6 million people, which is still a record even though the games have expanded. From a United States perspective, it was the highest attended single sporting event in U.S. history. That just goes to show you the power the games have even in a country where soccer usually plays second fiddle. With Team USA posed to begin their quest for their first ever World Cup, and America ready to root them on, 2018/2022 is the time to bring the cultural relevance of the world's most popular sport back to America.
The World Cup gives the United States a chance to bring together and play host for a variety of cultures, showcasing to the world that America is a global country - a quality that they’ve prided themselves on possessing since their inception. The United States Bid Committee understands the significance of hosting such an event and has pulled out all the stops to bring the games to America over other locations like England and Japan. The U.S. Committee's board of directors is made up of important figures like U.S. Soccer President, Sunil Gulati, Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Counselor to former President Clinton, Doug Band.
The latest addition of Doug Band to the U.S. Committee is a smart move on behalf of the committee because Band, an avid fan of the game, is co-creator of the Clinton Global Initiative, and has worked tirelessly to help millions across the globe, adding an internationally recognized face on America’s bid. Band's commitment and global understanding is exactly what the Committee needs to make the 2018/2022 World Cup in America a reality.
The United States wants to bring the world’s attention to America by hosting the World Cup and demonstrating their embrace for the international game of soccer. Billions of people come together under the banner of soccer and root for their country's team in hopes of holding the cup. Winning the World Cup bid will hopefully convey the message that America welcomes diversity and respects worldwide culture.