With the rest of the world calling it football, the USA calls it soccer. To distinguish it from American football, players use only their feet. Soccer in the US has taken a slow pace in terms of attracting players, fans and sponsors. This is when in comparison with other mainstream sporting activities such as basketball, ice hockey, American Football and baseball, which have millions of ardent followers. However, with the intervention of FIFA, the USA National Soccerteam is now among the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me of soccer playing nations in the world. Given the popularity of the game in the world, soccer is the fastest growing sport in the country in terms of fans and players. In 2014 the FIFA world Cup will be held in Brazil.
The professional league in the US is Major League Soccer, formed in 1993. The league has 19 teams, with 16 coming from the US, and three from Canada. The teams are in either the Eastern or Western Conference. The team with the highest points at the end of the regular season takes the Supporterâ€™s Shield. This is followed by a 10-team playoff that culminates in the MLS cup final. Its popularity continues to grow, as evidenced by the arrival of some of the worldâ€™s best footballers such as David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane among others. It has also produced some of the most revered soccer names in the world such as Landon Donovan, Brian McBride, Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey among other household names. Some of the best teams in Major Soccer League include the New York Red bulls, DC United, Red Salt Lake and Los Angeles Galaxy.
The other league in the US is the North American Soccer League, a second tier. Below the second tier is the USL pro. The fourth tier is the USL Premier Development League, a semi professional league featuring teams in the US, Canada and Bermuda. Women in the US also play professional soccer under the Womenâ€™s Professional Soccer banner. It consists of seven teams. They also have two-second tier leagues, the W-League and WPSL.