Featured Matches
Previous
Valencia
Malaga
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Augsburg
Borussia Dortmund
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Marseille
Nice
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
Houston Dynamo
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Getafe
Almeria
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Getafe
Almeria
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Valencia
Malaga
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Augsburg
Borussia Dortmund
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Marseille
Nice
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Perugia
Bologna
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Union Berlin
Nurnberg
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FSV Frankfurt
RB Leipzig
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
VfR Aalen
Kaiserslautern
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AJ Auxerre
Valenciennes
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ajaccio GFCO
Troyes
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Chateauroux
Orléans
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Le Havre AC
Créteil
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nimes
Arles
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Niort
Clermont Foot
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sochaux
Dijon FCO
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stade Laval
AC Ajaccio
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Go Ahead Eagles
Willem II Tilburg
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Achilles '29
Fortuna Sittard
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Den Bosch
Jong Ajax
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Helmond Sport
NEC Nijmegen
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Jong PSV
FC Eindhoven
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
RKC Waalwijk
Jong FC Twente
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SC Stormvogels Telstar
Almere City
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sparta Rotterdam
FC Volendam
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
VVV Venlo
FC Emmen VV
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Academica de Coimbra
Vitoria Setubal
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast
Terek Grozny
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Balikesirspor
Akhisar Belediye
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Caykur Rizespor
Genclerbirligi
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
KAA Gent
KV Kortrijk
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Helsingborg
Halmstad
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Orebro SK
Brommapojkarna
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Athlone Town FC
Cork
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bray
UCD
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Derry City
St Patricks
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Dundalk
Bohemians
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Limerick FC
Drogheda Utd
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Shamrock
Sligo
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Glenavon
Ballymena
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Coleraine
Portadown
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
Houston Dynamo
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Queretaro
Monterrey
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Tijuana
U. de G.
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Aberystwyth
Bangor City
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Carmarthen
Port Talbot
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Newi Cefn Druids
Connah's Quay
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Airbus UK
Newtown
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
T.N.S.
Rhyl
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Rivadavia
Atlético Tucumán
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Unión de Santa Fe
Crucero del Norte
7:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Huracán
Patronato
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Instituto de Córdoba
Ferro Carril Oeste
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Temperley
Sp. Belgrano
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy
San Martín de San Juan
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlante
At. San Luis
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Coras Tepic
Lobos BUAP
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Joinville
Oeste
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
América Mineiro
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Goianiense
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Arica
Palestino
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
12 de Octubre
Nacional
Postp
Game Details
Bidvest Wits
Moroka Swallows
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Chippa United
Ajax Cape Town
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next
Mar 7, 2014

MLS equals MLB in popularity with kids

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol and Alejandro Moreno give their take on the MLS' popularity with kids in the United States and how it has caught up with the MLB.

Are MLS players now America’s “Boys of Summer?”

For the first time in the 20-year history of the ESPN Sports Poll, Major League Soccer has caught up with Major League Baseball in one significant marker of popularity.

Vote: Will MLS become one of U.S.'s Big Four?

In the survey, both leagues can claim 18 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds as avid fans of their sport, the poll said.

The ESPN Sports Poll Annual Report, which is managed by Luker on Trends, interviews 1,500 Americans per month and tracks interest in 31 different sports. In 2012, the poll determined soccer was America's second-most popular sport for those aged 12-24, ahead of NBA, MLB and college football. Respondents are asked to rank their affinity for sports (how avid a fan they are), athletes, sponsorships and other trends.

The NFL led the poll with 39 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds saying they are avid fans. The NBA, NCAA football and NCAA basketball were all over 23 percent. The current poll was released on the eve of MLS’s 19th season.

The MLS has seen a real upward curve.

“MLS has been around since 1996,” said Rich Luker, who has been with the poll since its launch. “It is phenomenal that in just one generation it has gone from zero adherents to tying MLB, especially when you recognize this is the first generation to only know the United States with a professional soccer league. MLS is in their generational DNA.”

Luker admits it would have been difficult to predict this outcome event five years ago.

"It was not so long ago we used to do focus groups and raise MLS to the room and hear crickets in response," he said. "Although a lot of American kids were playing in organized soccer environments, there was no connection between that game, which everyone plays to learn the basics, and MLS.

"MLS also did not have a defined personality that sufficiently contrasted to the European and South American leagues."

The poll suggests that reality has changed significantly.

"Over the last five years, our research shows even American [soccer] fans who were born in other parts of the world, like Europe and South America, are starting to respect MLS," he said. "They have seen the fan bases in Portland and Seattle. It is hard not to be impressed.

"You need to understand, [the] 12-17 [demographic] is among the hardest to win over. At that age, they follow a whole lot of everything."

Luker couldn't point to one specific thing that is driving the change.

"[David] Beckham’s stardom definitely plays a role," he said. "EA Sports' FIFA [franchise] has also contributed to the liking and knowledge of the sport in a way other sports video games have not, because Americans really did not know much about soccer before they started to play, as opposed to Madden, where they already understood plenty about the NFL."

The sports poll will track the trend to see if it continues over the next 12 months.

"There is a lot of evidence to suggest MLS's growth will continue," Luker predicted.

"Now that EPL [English Premier League] and the other leagues are widely available on television, the sport of soccer is much more likely to be part of social conversations, which, in turn, increases the likelihood of people taking the underdog stance of supporting MLS and continuing to grow the league.

"While there are questions about which direction MLB will go in for 12- to 17-year-olds, we have no reason to believe the trend for MLS will be anything but up."

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.