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As Professional Soccer's Fan Base Grows, Youth Interest Drops

Courtesy FC Cincinnati
FC Cincinnati's 2018 USL season attendance averaged 25,717 fans per game.

FC Cincinnati lost to the Seattle Sounders FC in its first Major League Soccer match last Saturday.

But the fact that Cincinnati now has an MLS team shows the growing popularity of the sport in the U.S. FC Cincinnati is the 24th franchise expansion team in the MLS.

Yet while soccer is gaining fans in the U.S. at the professional level, fewer young people are participating in the sport. According to a study by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, the percentage of 6- to 12-year-olds playing soccer regularly has dropped nearly 14 percent since 2015.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss the rising popularity of professional soccer and local youth soccer programs, and to share their thoughts on how FC Cincinnati will fare this season, are founder and publisher of the soccer blog and podcast, Wrong Side of the Pond, DJ Switzer; Cincinnati United Soccer Club Juniors Coordinator Garry Hancock; and President of the FCC supporters group, Die Innenstadt, Jared Handra.

Another resource for anyone interested in leaning more about soccer is the podcast What's This Soccer Thing.

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Michael Monks brings a broad range of experience to WVXU-FM as the host of Cincinnati Edition, Cincinnati Public Radio's weekday news and information talk show.