Soccer in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts (2021)
Soccer

Soccer Popularity in the U.S. – Statistics & Facts (2021)

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The answer to the question about the popularity of soccer in America is a bit complicated. This is because while some states embrace soccer and are so in love with the sport, others simply do not think about the sport and think there is no space for it in the country. As a result, it’s more accurate to talk about the popularity of soccer in America by states. 

With this in mind, I’ve decided to determine the most soccer-enthused states in the USA. To decide on my rankings, I decided to use a number of criteria. The first criterion is the average attendance for Major League Soccer (MLS) and National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) matches. This provides us with numbers we can use to see the popularity of soccer in different states. 

Also, I considered the number of soccer-friendly pubs per capita as determined by the Wrong Side of the Pond’s Soccer Pub Atlas and the number of youth soccer clubs per capita. 

With this in mind, let’s take a look at how soccer performs in different states in America. 

Soccer popularity in Alabama

An article about the most enthused soccer states carried out by Estately back in 2014 shows Alabama as the least enthused soccer state. And this has not changed over the past years. For one, Alabama doesn’t have any professional soccer club in both the MLS and NWSL. This means there is no MLS/NWSL attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the state.

Also, the state doesn’t have many a lot of youth soccer clubs. Like Estately said back then, Alabama seems to have a total disdain for soccer. And I can’t imagine they have a lot of soccer-friendly pubs in the state or imagine the residents showing significant online search interest in soccer.

Soccer popularity in Alaska

Like Alabama, the state of Alaska doesn’t have any team competing in the MLS and NWSL. And this means that soccer isn’t a popular sport in the state. There are a number of youth soccer clubs in the state which is good for the future of soccer in the state. However, the state would need to have professional soccer clubs participating in the MLS or NWSL if the popularity of the sport in the area is to improve. I would also reckon that soccer-friendly pubs aren’t going to be much here. And you can’t expect the residents of Alaska to be too concerned with international soccer tournaments like the FIFA World Cup or the UEFA Champions League. 

Soccer popularity in Arizona

There are no teams from Arizona playing in the MLS and NWSL. This means there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. There are still a number of professional soccer teams in the state and I expect the popularity of the sport to increase as these teams participate in the major leagues in both men and women soccer. 

Soccer popularity in Arkansas

It’s fair to say people in Arkansas don’t give soccer much thought. For one, no soccer team from the state is playing in the MLS or NWSL. A quick google search also shows the state isn’t blessed with many youth soccer clubs. And you can’t expect to find many soccer-friendly clubs around. 

Soccer popularity in California

California is a very soccer-friendly state thanks to the number of professional soccer teams participating in the upper tiers of the league. There are three teams from California participating in the MLS namely LA Galaxy, Los Angeles Football Club, and San Jose Earthquakes. After the conclusion of the 2019 MLS season, LA Galaxy has an average attendance of 23,205, Los Angeles Football Club has 22,251 while San Jose Earthquake has 18,781. These numbers mean California is the most soccer enthused state in the US as far as MLS attendance statistics are concerned. You could walk into a pub in California and expect an MLS match to be shown, After all, the state has three teams competing in the MLS. 

When it comes to women’s football, California doesn’t have any team competing in the NWSL. And this isn’t particularly good for the interest in women’s football in the state. California also has many people that search about soccer online. 

Soccer popularity in Colorado

The level of interest in soccer in Colorado is okay. And this is due to the professional MLS soccer club in the area, Colorado Rapids. The team has an average performance of 14,284 at the end of the 2019 MLS season. Soccer is fairly popular in Colorado and this should increase if there are more teams in the MLS or if the Colorado Rapids see more success on the pitch. 

When it comes to NWSL, Colorado has no team in the top-tier women’s league. As a result, there are no NWSL attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the state.

Soccer popularity in Connecticut

There are no teams from Connecticut playing in the MLS and NWSL. This means there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. There are still a number of professional soccer and youth soccer teams in the state and I expect the popularity of the sport to increase as these teams participate in the major leagues in both men and women soccer.  

Soccer popularity in Delaware

Delaware, like some states in the US, doesn’t have teams competing in the MLS or NWSL. But according to wrongsideofthepond, there are a number of soccer-friendly pubs in the state which means there is a good interest in the sport. One can only expect the popularity of soccer to increase in the area as teams from the state participate in the MLS/NWSL.

Soccer popularity in Florida

Thanks to teams from the state playing in both the MLS and NWSL, soccer is one of the most popular sports in the state. In the MLS, there are two teams from Florida playing in the league namely Inter Miami CF and Orlando City SC. Orlando City SC has been playing in the MLS since 2015 and had an average attendance of 22,761 last season. Inter Miami is Florida’s most recent MLS team and joined the league in 2020. As a result, there isn’t a lot of statistics about Inter Miami yet. But Inter Miami will no doubt help boost the popularity of soccer in the state. 

In the NWSL, the state has Orlando Pride participating in the league. Orlando Pride averaged 5,565 attendance last season. This combined with the MLS statistics shows soccer is very popular in Florida. And you’ll have no problem finding a soccer friendly pub in the state. There are three teams playing in top tier leagues and the soccer following in the state has greatly increased. 

Soccer popularity in Georgia

Atlanta United is the team that represents Georgia in the MLS. The club may have only been established in 2017 but has topped the average attendance chart since its introduction in the league. Last season, Atlanta United had an average attendance of 52,510, the highest in the league. The team’s recent success has contributed to the increase in popularity of the sport in the state. Atlanta United is the recent winner of the U.S. Open Cup and Campeones Cup.

Georgia has no team participating in the NWSL so interest in soccer in the state is mainly in men’s soccer. There are also several soccer-friendly pubs in the state and you can easily find a place to relax and watch soccer matches. 

Soccer popularity in Hawaii

Welcome to the aloha state. Here, soccer isn’t a very popular sport and you’ll most likely see pubs showing baseball or football. There are no teams from Hawaii participating in the MLS or NWSL meaning there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. Even without these statistics, the general feeling is that people in Hawaii do not care about soccer-like they do other sports.

Soccer popularity in Idaho

This is yet another state that seems to have utter disdain for soccer. The situation is not helped by the fact that there is no professional soccer club from Idaho participating in either the MLS or NWSL. Also, there aren’t a lot of soccer-friendly pubs or youth soccer teams.

Soccer popularity in Illinois

Chicago Fire represents the state of Illinois in the MLS and the club averaged an attendance of 12,324 per game at the end of last season. This number ranks Chicago Fire as the lowest team on the league’s average attendance chart which is a bit strange when you consider the fact that Chicago Fire is one of the oldest teams in the MLS. 

In the NWSL, Chicago Red Stars represents the state and had an average attendance of 5,451 last year.

Soccer popularity in Indiana

There are no teams from Indiana playing in the MLS and NWSL. This means there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. There are still a number of professional soccer and youth soccer teams in the state and I expect the popularity of the sport to increase as these teams participate in the major leagues in both men and women soccer.

Soccer popularity in Iowa

The good people of Iowa do not give soccer much thought as interest in the sport here is generally considered to be low. There are no teams from Iowa playing in the MLS and NWSL. This means there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. There aren’t a lot of soccer-friendly pubs either. 

Soccer popularity in Kansas

Representing Kansa in the MLS is Sporting Kansas City. The club had an average attendance of 18,601 which ranks it 13th in the league. The popularity of soccer in the state will further increase with Sporting KC’s success as fans will be more inclined to pay to see their club win. There is no team from Kansas currently playing in the NWSL. 

Soccer popularity in Kentucky

There is no team from Kentucky playing in the MLS and NWSL. However, Racing Louisville FC will join the NWSL in 2021 and this should help increase the popularity of soccer in the state then. The success of Racing Louisville will determine how quickly the popularity of soccer in Kentucky will increase going forward. 

Soccer popularity in Louisana

Soccer isn’t a very popular sport in Louisana. For one, there are no teams from Louisana playing in the MLS and NWSL. This means there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. There aren’t a lot of soccer-friendly pubs or professional soccer clubs here. 

Soccer popularity in Maine

Maine is considered among the least soccer-enthused states in the US. There are no teams from Maine playing in the MLS and NWSL meaning there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. However, looking at other things in the state shows why soccer isn’t very popular here. Maine is among the states with the lowest professional and youth soccer clubs. 

Soccer popularity in Maryland

It’s fair to say people in Maryland don’t give soccer much thought. For one, no soccer team from the state is playing in the MLS or NWSL. A quick google search also shows the state isn’t blessed with lots of youth soccer clubs. And you can’t expect to find many soccer-friendly clubs around. 

Soccer popularity in Massachusetts 

New England Revolution is the only Massachusetts-based club playing in the MLS. The club has an average attendance of 16,737 last season which ranks them 18th in the league. Massachusetts doesn’t have any club competing in the NWSL. There is a positive feeling about soccer in this state and you’ll easily find soccer-friendly pubs around. 

Soccer popularity in Michigan 

Michigan doesn’t have any club playing in the MLS or NWSL. Soccer isn’t a very popular sport in this state as there are very few professional and youth soccer teams. You’ll also find it difficult to find a soccer-friendly pub. The people here will rather watch other sports. 

Soccer popularity in Minnesota

The popularity of soccer in Minnesota has greatly improved since Minnesota joined the MLS in 2017. The club has an average attendance of 19,723 last season which ranks it tenth in the league. The state still has a long way to go in women’s football as it currently has no team competing in the NWSL. 

Soccer popularity in Mississippi

This is yet another state that seems to have utter disdain for soccer. The situation is not helped by the fact that there is no professional soccer club from Mississippi participating in either the MLS or NWSL. Also, there aren’t a lot of soccer-friendly pubs or youth soccer teams.

Soccer popularity in Missouri

Missouri currently doesn’t have any team playing in the MLS and NWSL meaning there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. The low number of professional soccer teams, youth soccer clubs, soccer friendly pubs all point that soccer isn’t a very popular sport here.

Soccer popularity in Montana

The good people of Montana show very little interest in soccer. Perhaps this can later be remedied in the future as more professional soccer clubs are established and start playing in the MLS or NWSL. For now, the residents here are far more interested in other sports. 

Soccer popularity in Nevada

Nevada currently doesn’t have any team playing in the MLS and NWSL meaning there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. However, the number of soccer-friendly pubs in the state shows that the people here have a good feeling about soccer. 

Soccer popularity in Nebraska

Here, soccer isn’t a very popular sport and you’ll most likely see pubs showing baseball or football. There are no teams from Nebraska participating in the MLS or NWSL meaning there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. Even without these statistics, the general feeling is that people in Nebraska do not care about soccer-like they do other sports.

Soccer popularity in New Hampshire

There is no team from Kentucky playing in the MLS and NWSL. A quick google search shows that the state has a number of youth soccer clubs meaning soccer may have a bright future in the state after all. I expect the popularity of soccer to improve massively here should a club from the state starts playing in the MLS or NWSL. 

Soccer popularity in New Jersey

New York Red Bulls represents New Jersey in the MLS. With an average attendance of 17,281 last season, the club ranks 17th in the MLS. In the NWSL, there is Sky Blue FC which had an average performance of 3,338 last season, the lowest in the league. 

Soccer popularity in New Mexico

New Mexico currently doesn’t have any team playing in the MLS and NWSL meaning there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. The low number of professional soccer teams, youth soccer clubs, soccer friendly pubs all point that soccer isn’t a very popular sport here.

Soccer popularity in New York 

Soccer is quite popular in New York thanks to New York City FC which is one of the most popular clubs in the MLS. The club had an average attendance of 21,107 last season which ranks it 9th in the league. However, New York is yet to have a team participating in the NWSL. You’ll easily find soccer friendly pubs here though. 

Soccer popularity in North Carolina

The only club here playing in a top-tier American league is the North Carolina Courage which plays in the NWSL. This is no North Carolina-based club in the MLS. North Carolina Courage had an average attendance of 5,875 last season which ranks it fourth in the league. 

Soccer popularity in North Dakota

North Dakota currently doesn’t have any team playing in the MLS and NWSL meaning there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. The low number of professional soccer teams, youth soccer clubs, soccer friendly pubs all point that soccer isn’t a very popular sport here.

Soccer popularity in Ohio

Thanks to Columbus Crew SC and FC Cincinnati playing in the MLS, soccer is very popular in Ohio. FC Cincinnati had the third-highest average attendance last season with 27,336. Columbus Crew on the other hand was 21st in the league with an average attendance of 14,856. 

There are no teams from Ohio playing in the NWSL. 

Soccer popularity in Oklahoma

Soccer isn’t a very popular sport in Oklahoma. For one, there are no teams from Louisana playing in the MLS and NWSL. This means there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. There aren’t a lot of soccer-friendly pubs or professional soccer clubs here. 

Soccer popularity in Oregon

Oregon has a team each in the MLS and NWSL. In the MLS, we have Portland Timbers which had the fourth-highest average attendance last year with 25,218. In the NWSL, we have Portland Thorns FC, the most popular club in the league as the club had the highest average attendance last year with 20,098. Both men’s and women’s soccer is very popular here. 

Soccer popularity in Pennsylvania

Representing Pennsylvania in the MLS is Philadelphia Union which had an average performance of 17,111 last year. This figure ranks the club 17th in the league. When it comes to women’s football, there are no clubs from the state playing in the NWSL. 

Soccer popularity in Rhode Island

There are no teams from Rhode Island playing in the MLS and NWSL meaning there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. There are several youth soccer clubs though. 

Soccer popularity in South Carolina

There are no teams from South Carolina playing in the MLS and NWSL meaning there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. There aren’t a lot of soccer-friendly pubs here either. 

Soccer popularity in South Dakota

South Dakota doesn’t have any club playing in the MLS or NWSL. Soccer isn’t a very popular sport in this state as there are very few professional and youth soccer teams. You’ll also find it difficult to find a soccer-friendly pub.

Soccer popularity in Tennessee

Before 2020, Tennesse didn’t have any club playing in the MLS or NWSL. Nashville SC joined the MLS this year and it’ll take some time to see the impact of the new soccer club on the popularity of soccer in the state. 

Soccer popularity in Texas

With three professional soccer clubs – two in MLS, one in NWSL – in Texas, soccer is well-known in the state. FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo had an average attendance of 14,842 and 15,674 respectively in the MLS last season. Houston Dash plays in the NWSL and had an average attendance of 3,615. 

Soccer popularity in Utah

Utah is well known for its love for soccer which has blossomed thanks to Real Salt Lake playing in the MLS and Utah Royals FC playing their trade in the NWSL. Utah Royals had the second-highest average attendance last season with 10,774. Real Salt Lake didn’t do bad either pulling in 18,121 fans on average which ranks it 14th in the league.  

Soccer popularity in Vermont

There are no teams from Vermont playing in the MLS and NWSL meaning there are no attendance statistics to judge the popularity of soccer in the area. There aren’t a lot of soccer-friendly pubs here either.

Soccer popularity in Virginia 

Currently, there are no teams from Virginia playing in the MLS or NWSL. However, there are a number of professional soccer clubs in the state as well as a number of soccer-friendly pubs. There is a good feeling towards soccer in Virginia overall. 

Soccer popularity in Washington

The state of Washington is one of the most soccer friendly states in the United States. Soccer is a very popular club in the state of Washington which is evident in the number of professional clubs and youth soccer teams in the state. The success of the United States women’s national soccer team at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup has only boosted the popularity of the sport in the state. OL Reign had an average attendance of 5,213 in the NWSL last season. 

In the MLS, Seattle Sounders have the second-highest attendance in the league as 

40,247 fans flocked to their stadium throughout the season. 

Soccer popularity in West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

Soccer has more or less the same popularity in these states. None of these states have teams playing in either the MLS or NWSL. Soccer still has a long way to go before winning the hearts of the residents of these states.

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