After the English set out to form a set of rules for the game of soccer, these were soon taken to the new World, where Americans learned to love this rising sport, right next to another game that grew strong roots in the US back then: baseball. Actually, the American Football Association is the second oldest sports league in America, after the Major League Baseball one.
Obviously, the history of soccer in US didn’t start with a professional league though (in terms of what we call professional today). The American Football Association, started out in 1884, was a semi-professional competition involving New England and some Midwest areas and it was a rather chaotic environment to play soccer in, but nevertheless it was there and progressing with each year.
A parallel soccer organization, the American Amateur Football Association was founded around the same time and the two coexisted until 1913, when they merged into the US Football Association, the first fully professional soccer organization throughout the history of soccer in the US.
The US football association (or USFA) was one of the first to join FIFA and as such, the United States team participated in the early World Cups, although the game was beginning to become outshined by baseball or basketball.
With American football also on the rise, the organization adopted a new name to avoid any confusion and called itself the US Soccer Football Association. However, the US soccer history would soon witness a new change in its governing body’s name in 1974, when the USSFA dropped “Football” from its tag and instead adopted the title of United States Soccer Federation, which is still used today.
So many will wonder, if the history of soccer in US starts out so early, how come soccer is not the main sport in USA? Well the truth is that the rather modest performances from the men’s national side early on in the 20th century, combined with the high rise of baseball, basketball, football and hockey, meant that the nation soon lost interest in soccer and since American kids had so many alternatives, soccer slowly went out of fashion.
However, with the increasingly good performances from the US men’s soccer team and the huge success of the women’s soccer team (who managed to bring in the first trophies in the history of soccer in US and is still one of the world powers in the game today), soccer is climbing back to its rightful place and with more and more American kids favoring it in school as a start-up sport, things look bright for the future of US soccer.