Soccer Still Growing Among America’s Youth

World's Most Popular Sport Has Gained Popularity Over Last Two Decades

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Why is soccer still gaining popularity in the United States?

“It’s a fun game,” said Cloquet girls coach Dustin Randall. “It’s accessible to lots of different people, you don’t need much to play it, and it’s really enjoyable.”

Also, the beautiful game is a great way to stay fit.

“It keeps you very, very active,” said Randall. “A lot of running, anaerobic, aerobic sort of exercise.”

Any sport that involves as much running as soccer, also comes with risk.

“Any time you do a lot of repetitive running, you can get overuse soft–tissue injuries in the kneecap or the achilles,” said Dr John Watkins of St. Luke’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. He adds so many soccer players develop foot injuries, because of the shoes they wear.

“Often with soccer cleats, the problem is they’re pretty tight fitting shoes,” said Dr. Watkins. “Often you can find the players don’t feel the cleats are very comfortable.”

Finding the right pair of cleats is important, because players spend so much time wearing them.

“We practice a couple times a week, we have several games a week, that’s a lot of running there,” said Randall, who coaches the high school team in the fall. He says anyone that thinks soccer is soft, is watching the wrong game.”

“Soccer is a rougher sport than some people think, there are a lot of bumps and bruises,” he said.

“There’s a lot of pulled muscles, rolled ankles, stuff like that.”

“You can get soft tissue injuries like meniscus tears, ACL tears,” said Dr. Watkins. “That’s usually due to the pivoting and twisting time motions you get and that rapid starting and stopping and changing directions.”

So how can players prevent injuries?

“Make sure we’re working a good stretching program to warm the muscles up,” said Dr. Watkins.

“After activity, work on stretching things out to minimize the tightness.”

Anything to stay active, and on the field.

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