Most popular soccer teams in the U.S.
The United States was an interesting selection to host the FIFA World Cup in 1994. The vote was carried out six years before when they didn’t even have a professional league between 1984-1996.
FIFA’s decision to vote the USA was hope that the world’s most prestigious sporting tournament would lead to growth in interest domestically.
Nearly three decades later and Major League Soccer now attracts more than 25 million television viewers in the United States – the fourth most popular sport. And only the NFL and MLB get higher average attendances in person.
It’s not just the MLS that American soccer fans watch though, many also have a favorite team outside of the country, particularly in Europe, with the English Premier League being the number one attraction This despite many early morning kickoffs local time.
Here’s a look at the most popular soccer teams among U.S. soccer fans:
Despite not winning the Premier League title for eight years now, Manchester United are the most popular soccer team in the USA, according to research by FootballBlog. Many fans will have jumped on board towards the end of Sir Alex Ferguson’s time at Old Trafford when they were enjoying great success. Producing David Beckham will have gone a long way in gaining popularity too as his move to LA Galaxy in 2007 helped increase the popularity of the sport.
Manchester United are regularly in the States for their pre-season tours too, including the annual International Champions Cup. The Red Devils are the most popular soccer team in England and worldwide so it’s not surprising they rank number one in this list too.
Up until last year the United States had hosted the World Cup more recently (1994) than Liverpool had been champions of England. That all changed when Jurgen Klopp’s side ran away with the title less than 12 months ago.
It hasn’t been the most successful attempt of a title defense though and the Reds now risk missing out on the Champions League next season as a result. Though it’s their success in European competition along with their history that helps them rank number two on the list.
Manchester City have been relegated from the Premier League twice since the MLS restarted in 1996. They were even playing third tier football in 1998-99.
Although they had returned to the Premier League in 2002, they were often a bottom half side, not getting close to winning any trophies and very rarely competing in European tournaments.
That all changed in 2008 when they were purchased by the Abu Dhabi United Group. Superstars quickly started arriving at the Etihad Stadium before they brought home the Premier League title in the most dramatic circumstances in stoppage time of the final game in the 2011-12 season.
It’s just a matter of time before the Citizens close in on their fifth Premier League title, with a 14-point lead over Manchester United in second and with only eight games remaining this season.
Success breeds success as Manchester City’s recent trophy haul has earned them a big fanbase in the United States.
One team that hasn’t huge a great deal of success since the popularity of soccer has boomed in the United States is Arsenal. The North London side’s last Premier League trophy came in 2004 and although they’ve had a few FA Cup wins since, they haven’t come close to another league title.
Many fans in North America will be waiting for good Arsenal news and a first Premier League title in nearly two decades – which would be for the first time in their lifetime for many of their fans.
The Champions League hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Gunners either, but just like they are in their homeland, Arsenal have one of the biggest followings in the United States too.