Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=229268
Story Retrieval Date: 7/25/2014 3:35:48 PM CST

Top Stories
Features

Brian Ayala/MEDILL

Neil Buethe (left), U.S. Soccer Director of Communications, Parker Heaps (middle), Co-Founder of World FC, discuss the World Cup and the chances the U.S. men's national team has of advancing.


Mad about soccer: bigger youth academies, better soccer leagues and World Cup fever

by Brian Ayala
Mar 14, 2014


AYALA_SOCCER

Brian Ayala/MEDILL

A few retired players from the US and Mexican national teams were recently reunited with other former players for the "Clash of the All-Stars" game in Villa Park.

More than 3 million players between the ages of 3 and 19 are part of youth soccer leagues. The U.S. Soccer Federation has partnered with associations and organizations across the country to enhance the overall gameplay.

But not only are the youth leagues improving--competition in Major League Soccer is getting better. Renowned players on the national team, such as Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, have made their way back to the MLS after successful campaigns in Europe.

With the World Cup less than three months away, many soccer fans here in the U.S. can't wait to get to Brazil. However, this group from Chicago known as World FC, is hitting the road for the tournament, documenting their experience along the way.