A reader writes:
The success of the US in the World Cup won't be the impetus for a large growth in soccer fandom in the US. The World Cup only happens every four years and people’s memories are short. When we are producing worldwide stars - and better yet, if they are playing regularly in the US - that will bring the fans. We Americans love winning, but we love stars more. If the US is able to produce a Pele, Maradona, or even a Beckham, soccer will grow in popularity more than FIFA success. Look at basketball; it wasn’t extraordinarily popular until Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and then Michael Jordan appeared on the scene, and now viewership of games involving Kobe Bryant or Lebron James are much greater than games involving good teams without huge stars.
I have no stake in the argument about whether soccer will or will not become a major sport in the US. However, as a historian, I like to remind people that up until the Second World War, three sports dominated the USA: baseball, boxing and horse racing. To have suggested that basketball or football or stock-car racing would be major sports then would have been met with disbelief. None of us knows what sports will become popular in the future.