Monday, April 8, 2013

Photo of the Day: The World’s Biggest Sport at the World’s Crossroads

It has always seemed a bit odd to me that, even as a nation of immigrants, the U.S. has never embraced soccer the way it has baseball, football and even basketball. I thought that situation would be rectified in the ‘70s, when the likes of Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer, and other foreign players brought their charisma to the New York Cosmos. But the North American Soccer League folded, and with it went the glamour and attention the sport had, for a short while, here.

Well, little did I know that the sport had roots older than I thought, at least in the U.S.  Last week, in celebration of the signing of the charter for the U.S.Soccer Federation at the onetime Astor Hotel, a weeklong celebration was held in New York City. Events included the ringing of the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, a press conference at City Hall, the lighting of the Empire State Building, and a WNT Watch Party at Nevada Smith’s.

This photo caught the action last Thursday at Times Square, when fans could play soccer on a small-sided field; sign their name and make a pledge to the future of U.S. Soccer; take pictures with the 1991 and 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup trophies; and share their favorite soccer stories with U.S. Soccer. We'll see what the next 100 years holds for the sport here.

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