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When Did Soccer Start In America?

Many people think soccer is the new sport on the block in America. That couldn't be further from the truth.

Every week, we here at The18 will take soccer's most frequently asked questions and attempt to answer them, so you can show off all of your fancy knowledge on trivia night. You're welcome. This week: When did soccer start in America?

We hear the phrase all the time, to the point where it has really lost all meaning. Soccer is foreign to America. We all know that soccer isn't America's traditional number one sport, but just because the popularity has historically paled in comparison to that of other American sports, it doesn't mean that it's some strange alien implant in American society. Quite the contrary, soccer is most definitely here, it has been here, and in fact, you might be surprised to learn that it has been here for a very long time, so much so that it is woven in the fabric of U.S. history. 

When Did Soccer Start In America?

Six surviving members of Oneida FC stand by the monument commemorating the team in 1925. Photo: Author Unknown | Wikimedia Commons

In fact, the first club team in the U.S.A, The Oneidas of Boston, was formed all the way back in 1862. However, colleges had been playing soccer as far back as 1820. The club was formed prior to the rules being formalized in 1863, so there is some dispute as to whether they were actually playing soccer or not. However, since the 1863 iteration of the sport was so different from the modern game we know now, we think it is fair to give Oneida FC some credit here. 

In 1885, the U.S. and Canada played each other in the first international match to take place outside Britain, and the U.S. Football Association was admitted to FIFA in 1914. Thoroughout history, the sport has been overshadowed by its more illustrious cousin, gridiron football (as well as other American sports such as baseball and basketball), and soccer has struggled to achieve widespread attention. 

Yet clearly, soccer has been an inherent part of this country for far longer than anyone gives credit for. Granted, the popularity of the sport has grown leaps and bounds over recent years, but the idea that soccer is "foreign" to the U.S.A. is something of a myth. There is a lot of history behind soccer in the United States, and although it has been undervalued at times in this country, we shouldn't forget that the U.S. are not newcomers to the world's sport. 

Follow me on Twitter @J_Hansen_89

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