The sport of soccer as it is referred to in North America, is called “football” throughout the rest of the world. Even the organization responsible for the World Cup, FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) uses the term “football”.
While in North America, football still refers to the game aired on Monday nights with a “bowl” so super it attracts half time performers such as Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the sport of soccer is growing in popularity.
With the 2014 FIFA World Cup underway, soccer has a very different place in North America. Interest in the game is at an all-time high. Fans in the U.S. for example, bought more World Cup tickets than any other country aside from those in host Brazil.
Canada’s participation in soccer is also growing. Even though Canada has only made it to the FIFA World Cup once since 1930, to Mexico in 1986, and even then, it failed to score at all through three games, support for the sport is strong. Partly due to the diverse makeup of the country, international interest in the sport has helped in its popularity.
Attracting youth to soccer is the main focus of organizations such as Canada Soccer these days. Even hotels that cater to traveling sports teams are developing products that appeal to youth. Special prices are appealing to the parents and coaches – the new Hampton Inn by Hilton™ Halifax-Downtown for example offers Hilton’s MVP program targeted to sports teams offering 20% off the best available rate, and the Lethbridge Lodge offers reduced rates and free breakfast to sports teams, but recreation (and food) options are what the kids are interested in.
Harbour Towers Hotels & Suites in Victoria, BC offers access to The Locker Room, an exclusive sports suite to play Wii, watch TV, or have team meetings and other team perks that young players get excited about and TownePlace Suites® by Marriott Mississauga – Airport Corporate Centre offers a Pizza Party for traveling teams.
Whatever team you are cheering for in the World Cup and whatever you call the game, I think we all can agree that youth participation in a fun, inexpensive, active sport like soccer is great for health and personal development. Check out eight reasons to play soccer to see a full list of benefits. And parents, you can encourage participation by volunteer to coach or manage local teams – you don’t just have to drive a minivan and carry the bucket of orange wedges.