The future of soccer in the United States of America might be brighter than ever. As we know, the country is often referred to as the melting pot of cultures. The United States is known for its diversity and variety when it comes to different aspects of life. This holds true to the world of sports in the United States. The United States is home to many different professional sports such as American football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, soccer, just to name a few. Despite its universal acclaim and popularity, the United States is one country that the sport of soccer has yet to truly breach. Although there is a soccer scene, it is undeniably a smaller sport in popularity compared to the likes of baseball, basketball, and American football. However, it seems that the future of soccer is looking bright in the United States, most especially in the city of Atlanta.
As we know from the history of basketball, from references by famous hip hop artists, fashion inspired by the sport, and many more in the past and up to the present, that basketball is a famous sport among the black community. However, what comes as a surprise is that the biggest and brightest city for soccer in the United States is that of Atlanta, a state with a huge black population. Known as the black capital of soccer in the States, the residents are passionate and crazy about the sport.
Based on a Bleacher Report article written in 2018, there is an abundance of soccer talent in Atlanta. One young promising player is Betwel Mateyo, who was a 15-year old East African immigrant (at the time the article was written). He has been playing for the highest level of Atlanta soccer, under the ATL UTD youth squad. The future is definitely bright when you hear about kids like these thriving and aiming to be the best athletes that they can be. Examples like these show us that the city will definitely make a lot of noise in the near future, for the domestic leagues, and hopefully the big leagues as well.
According to MARTA Board of Director Ryan Glover, he says that soccer is truly the biggest sport in Atlanta, with even him being a soccer dad to two daughters. A further testament to the popularity of soccer in Atlanta is the promotion of the sport by various, famous, Atlanta celebrities. Rapper, Wacka Flacka Flame was seen numerous times attending games of Atlanta United FC, with his daughter Charlie, and other famous rappers 2 Chainz was seen in numerous games. Both rappers consider themselves as team ambassadors of Atlanta United. Sarah ViVan also pushed her son towards the sport, because of CTE fears from American Football. Moreover, soccer is growing also because of its effect on popular culture. More people are interested in buying the latest soccer jerseys. Famous rapper 21 Savage was seen repping the kit multiple times, and soccer jerseys have become a way to create trends that are popular among kids in American culture.
Despite the rapid growth and development of the sport in the city of Atlanta in recent years, the city’s relationship with the sport has not always been warm. As a matter of fact, in 2006, many of the parks that were created were for baseball, finding a soccer field was extremely rare. Before the stadiums, before the MARTA, before there was an “A” in Atlanta, soccer started merely in a small town called Clarkston, home to immigrants from Europe and Southeast Asia. Soccer is a big part of those cultures, hence why Clarkston is considered the mecca of Atlanta football. But perhaps, the biggest takeaway from it all is how much soccer in Atlanta has grown from a small town to an entire state. Maybe, just maybe, in a few years time, the “Beautiful Game” will be America’s hottest sport.