You've probably heard the theory from soccer skeptics many times before that soccer is a popular sport for kids, but they give up the sport as teenagers. It's usually argued that this demonstrates a lack of real cultural affinity for the sport in the US. I decided to check this theory out by examining high school participation statistics. There's a handy database located at the National Federation of State High School Associations. http://www.nfhs.org/custom/participation_figures/default.aspx What I found is that soccer participation in High School relative to other sports ranks behind that of younger age groups, but the gap is closing. Boys high school soccer is "catching on." Derived from that database, here is a list in the changes of participation rates in selected major boys sports between '79/'80 and '04/'05, the most recent year for which the data is available. Code: Sport 79/'80 04/'05 % Change Baseball 415860 459717 10.55% Bsktbll 569228 545497 -4.17% Crss Ctry 163094 201719 23.68% Football 937677 1045494 11.50% Golf 117273 161025 37.31% Swm/Divg 84204 103754 23.22% Tennis 131290 148530 13.13% Track 524890 516703 -1.56% Wrestling 273326 243009 -11.09% Soccer 133649 354587 165.31% One interesting thing in particular that I found was that soccer is gaining on baseball. The following images represent the long term growth trend (back to '69/'70), and an extrapolation into the future based on them. View attachment 2925 View attachment 2926 Fascinating conclusion here: soccer will catch and pass baseball in about a dozen years. For some reason my image file cropped the years off, but the anticipated date based on a linear trend line including all the data happened to be roughly 2018. (I should not I did this on OpenOffice, which seems to lack a few features of Excel. On Excel, I was kinder to baseball, ignoring some of the early years of the data series to get a higher r-squared value put the date back a couple years from there). Also interesting to note that if the current trends held long enough, soccer would eventually even pass basketball, though that would take a lot longer. We'll all be dead by the time it catches football.