Thanks for the interesting question. Of course, the only way to figure
out how many people actually play a sport like soccer (where the
numbers are in the millions) is by using estimates and statistics. So,
when looking for numbers like this, you are likely going to get
different answers depending on who did the surveying and how.
However, all answers that I've been able to find so far point to a
total number of people who play soccer in the U.S. of between 16
million and 18 million, with the likeliest total being in the 17+
Here's what I've found:
Soccer Voted Hottest Sport in the U.S. For Each Of Past Five Years
Quote: "Play on high school soccer teams soared 88% between 1990-91
and 2003-04, while registration on U.S. Youth Soccer Association teams
climbed at an almost identical rate to nearly 3.2 million players in
2002-03. According to American Sports Data, total soccer participation
in the U.S. is at nearly 18 million. Girls account for 40% of all
soccer players and 47% of all high school players. Soccer has also
grown significantly among NCAA colleges, with a nearly 200% increase
in female players since 1990-91."
Note: american Sprts Data can be found at
US Soccer Participation Steady at 18.2 Million
Quote: "The 1998 National Soccer Participation Survey reports that
while 18.2 million individuals played soccer at least once last year,
slightly more than the 18.1 million reported in 1996, the number of
frequent participants - - those who play 25 or more days a year - -
rose from 7.7 million to 8.5 million. Although other major demographic
measures showed no significant changes, the survey did confirm that
adult (age 18+) participation remains at 4.6 million players after
experiencing 33% growth in 1996."
Termination of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in the FY 06
Budget - March 10, 2005
Quote: "17 million or more Americans play soccer each year, including
6 million women and girls $$ increased dollars are needed to meet the
growing demand to provide soccer fields."
U.S. fans staying up late to watch World Cup - June 9, 2002
Quote: "Americans, meanwhile, love playing soccer. The Sporting Goods
Manufacturers Association says more than 18 million people play in
this country, leaving it behind only basketball in terms of team
Sports Participation Topline Report - 2005 Edition
Note: If you look on page 2 of this report, you'll see that the net
number of soccer players (over age 6) for 2003 is listed as
17,690,000, while for 2004 it is listed as 15,900,000.
Search Strategy (on Google):
* 2004 "soccer players" US million
* 2004 "play soccer" US million
* "american sports data"
* Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association
I hope this helps!