Soccer: The ‘beautiful game’ is taking the world by storm


Drew J. Lewallen

Passion, grit, and leadership. These are a few characteristics you need in order to play this beautiful game of “Futbol,” which is more commonly known to Americans as soccer. A game voted the world’s most popular sport in 2022 once again. It is also the fastest-growing sport in America and it is happening right now in your local community! 

Here in Amherst, the community sports a Division IV high school soccer team. Amherst started its soccer team in 2009 but it was only considered a club team at the time, not a school team. It was in only recently in 2016 when the team was finally associated with the school. With very low numbers at the start of the 2012 season, the squad only had 15 kids. In 2023, the school boasts a total of 33 players and the very first full junior varsity team. 

Assistant varsity coach Ryan Pikka is excited about the program and what it holds for the future. Amherst Soccer has put together a new middle school soccer team which started in 2021 and over this past summer hosted a special Skills Camp for kids in 5th through 8th grade. 

“I was very pleased with what I saw,” Pikka stated. “Taking the program to the next level requires an investment in the youth from the program. I think we’re set up extremely well to be able to capitalize on the solid foundations that are already in place in the community to continue to drive Amherst Soccer forward in a positive direction.”

According to Moore (2022), soccer has just surpassed hockey and is now the fourth most popular sport in America, behind football, basketball, and baseball (para 1). Soccer is by far the most popular sport in the world with it being played in over 200 countries and having just over 3.5 billion people viewing the sport. Analytics predict that the sport is growing so rapidly it will surpass baseball in only a couple of years.

But why? Soccer is very easy to learn, and set up and is accessible to anyone. The equipment is inexpensive and can be interchangeable with different objects. For example, in different countries, many kids don’t have stores where they can go and purchase a soccer ball or goals so they make soccer balls out of balled-up clothing, such as socks. Goals can be anything you can imagine. From sticks in the ground to the space between rocks or poles. This is why the sport gains so much popularity in even the poorest of nations. 

Why hasn’t soccer been as popular in the U.S. as it has been in other countries? Soccer originated in England in the 12th century. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the U.S. hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Since then the soccer culture has grown dramatically but, admittedly, has still not caught up to the rest of the world and their obsession with this beautiful sport. 

You can see that soccer is slowly growing even in a small community like our very own Amherst. On a larger scale, soccer is expanding like this in many communities throughout the state. It’s good to finally see America catch up with the rest of the world. One quote I always hear as a player from Pikka is, “There is a reason why it is called the ‘Beautiful Game’ and is the most popular sport in the world. Learn to love the game!”

(Editor’s note: The World Cup kicks off in November. It is among the most widely-viewed sporting events in the world. The U.S. will boast one of the youngest teams in the field this year.)



Moore, T. (2022, April 10). Soccer: The U.S is catching up with the rest of the world. Soccer: The U.S is Catching Up with the Rest of the World – The Blackprint. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from,U.S%20major%20league%20soccer%20teams