Most Americans know United States soccer system has not earned the same level of respect as that of many European countries.
As of 2021, the USA has had the fewest number of up and coming managers coming through their ranks. They did not show as well as expected following their 3-2 defeat to Brazil in the Confederations Cup Final.
While soccer is gaining in popularity, it still does not command the respect and fan identity that is celebrated in much of the rest of the world.
That being noted, the level of play in the US has improved dramatically over the past decade. More US born players are being signed with European clubs. Additionally, as superstar players from abroad move to the states to play, they not only raise recognition for the game but increase the fan base, helping to grow the sports' popularity here in the US.
The United States Soccer Federation is the governing body for soccer in the United States. It operates as a 501 nonprofit
United States Soccer Leagues
Major League Soccer (MLS) is considered the peak of American football. There are 27 teams in the league. Three Canadian clubs from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver respectively also compete in the MLS.
Unlike most other countries, the MLS league has a set membership. This is the structure that most US and Canadian sports leagues follow. It means that promotion and relegation do not factor into the teams movements. This has resulted in some European leagues criticism of the American system as being weak. They argue that without fear of dropping or incentive of moving up, the pressure to perform is not the same.
The league itself is divided into two conferences. Every team plays two matches against each within its conference, one is a home game, the other away. They also play games against teams in the other conference. At the close of hte season, points are tallied and the team with the highest win record is given the Supporter’s Shield.
Apart from MLS, the best American soccer clubs also compete in the CONCACAF Champions League. This tournament happens in the pre-season (July). Some of the biggest North American football clubs take part in that tournament.
Two other professional tiers are also recognized by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). The second division of American soccer is the USL Championship. As of 2021, it contains 32 teams.
Unlike the others, NISA’s season runs fall to spring.