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July 3, 2014

World Cup is a win for American soccer despite U.S. loss

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U.S. soccer gains a legion of fans after a strong World Cup showing.

Although the United States’ World Cup run has ended, soccer fever in America has not. The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team’s performance throughout the tournament has raised interest in the sport in the U.S., despite its 2-1 loss to Belgium this week.

Nearly 22 million Americans watched the U.S. take on Belgium Tuesday, despite the match being on a weekday during work hours. The soccer fans, who chanted, “I believe that we will win,” pushed the game’s viewership ratings even higher than the NBA finals or the World Series.

After the loss to Belgium, fans expressed their disappointment in creative ways.

“I’m boycotting Belgian waffles, chocolates, Stella Artois,” said one fan.

The U.S. Soccer Federation, which recently reached over a million Twitter followers, praised its fans after the game, saying, “Thank you for your support, passion and pride the whole World Cup.”

The standout performance of the game was U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, who made a record 16 saves, the most ever recorded in World Cup history.

Jurgen Klinsmann, the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team, thinks their results in the tournament proved how talented his team is and can continue to be.

“We now know that we can play eye to eye with the big nations. The teams that we faced here are pretty much everyone’s favorites to win the World Cup,” Klinsmann said.


Warm up questions
  1. Pretend that a six year old has asked you, “What is the World Cup?” What would you say to them?
  2. Did you watch any of the World Cup games this year? Do you have any favorite moments?
  3. Did you root for a specific team? Who was it and why did you want them to win?
  4. Did you have any favorite players? Who were they and why?
Discussion questions
  1. Almost 22 million people in the United States watched the match against Belgium yesterday, strong numbers, and particularly so on a work day, higher than the average ratings for the NBA finals or the World Series. Why do you think Americans are more interested in the World Cup this year than in the past? Support your answer with relevant evidence. Also, do you think the American audience will continue to grow? Explain your answer.
  2. Even though Team USA is out, will you still watch the rest of the matches? Why or why not?u.s. soccer tweet
  3. What role did social media play in the World Cup? Did it bring people together? Did you tweet or post any messages about the World Cup on Facebook?
Writing prompt

Tim Howard, Goalkeeper of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team had this to say about his team’s performance after losing 2:1 to Belgium: “Our heads are high because we couldn’t have given any more. We played four phenomenal games, and last night everybody — everybody gave everything they had, and sometimes you don’t win, but we’re proud of ourselves.”

What kind of emotions do you think Howard was feeling when he made that statement? Do you think what he had to say was a good way to handle their loss? Explain your answer. What personal characteristics might Tim Howard have that led him to make the statement he did as opposed to something negative?  What are some other ways he might have handled the situation and might have said?

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