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[ Check out photos from the Group G matchup between the United States & Germany ]
As World Cup fever grips the United States, the question arises: why do so many Americans care all of the sudden?
If you watched the U.S. men's national soccer team take on Portugal on Sunday you weren't alone. Almost 25 million people across the country watched the match, making it the most-watched soccer game in American history. That's more viewers than the NBA finals, the World Series and the previous record which was set ... well, the week before, when the U.S. took on Ghana.
So if you're asking yourself, why do Americans like soccer all of the sudden? Well you're not alone there either.
Media outlets from The Guardian to NPR are asking that same question, and while there are a lot of theories, there probably isn't one right answer. It could be the USA-friendly start times, with games kicking off at noon, 3 and 6 PM eastern. Or it could be how well the U.S. has done in the tournament: surprisingly beating Ghana and drawing -that's tying- Portugal.
One thing that seems certain: the soccer craze that's sweeping the nation?
It's been a long time coming. According to the Huffington Post , "The two demographic groups most passionate about soccer are young adults -- those ages 18 to 29 -- and Hispanics." And that booming popularity is evident in the U.S.'s domestic league: Major League Soccer. A decade ago the league only had 10 teams. Now, the league boasts 19 different teams, with two more clubs in the works. (Via MLS )
Forbes reports that, "MLS’ avid fan base is the fastest growing of any sport, outpacing all others in the ten-year periods from 2001 to 2011 as well as 2002 to 2012. And the gains come from nearly all ages of both genders."
So chances are, even if this World Cup is your first time watching soccer, you probably know a serious fan or two.
Americans Take Off Work To Cheer Team USA In World Cup
The entire nation came to a standstill to watch Team USA battle Germany at the World Cup and INSIDE EDITION caught up with a few fans who played hooky from work to show their support.
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"Oh, So Now America Cares About Soccer? "