Soccer’s popularity has grown significantly here in the United States. Major soccer stars are taking the place of American football stars as careers are being followed by kids throughout America. Some states are obsessed with soccer. No other state is more obsessed with soccer than New Jersey. That’s right, he said New Jersey.

Research conducted by with analytics provided by Google showed that New Jersey is the most soccer-obsessed state in the country. Research showed that New Jersey is the home to the most World Cup fans ranking higher than 2nd place California, 3rd place District of Columbia and the always soccer-active Connecticut.

When I thought about the rankings, it makes sense. Take a walk into the Ironbound section of Newark at 5 a.m. and soccer fans are spilling out into the streets. Soccer fans of Portuguese, Brazilian, Mexican and Spanish decent are all rooting for their teams in local New Jersey establishments.

Go to North and Central Jersey and you’ll see European and USA team soccer fans enjoying the coverage of World Cup Soccer. There are numerous places to watch the games up and down New Jersey. South Jersey has many places, too.

Members Of Female High School Soccer Playing Match

New soccer clubs have grown the number of adult soccer leagues throughout New Jersey. More and more youth soccer programs are being implemented particularly because of the amount of increase or at least the increased injury awareness of that American football presents and the surrounding enthusiasm and popularity of soccer, particularly World Cup soccer.

The excitement of this year’s World Cup is at a fever high level here in the United States. Americans have been flocking to their TV sets to catch the U.S. Men’s National Team take on their opponents and watch them squeak by into the next round.

Fans watch USA play Germany in a World Cup soccer match on one of two large screens placed for fans in Chicago's Grant Park (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Fans watch USA play Germany in a World Cup soccer match on one of two large screens placed for fans in Chicago's Grant Park (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Friday’s U.S. Team’s match against England reached over 15.4 million viewers on U.S. television and 3.4 million more on U.S. television for the Spanish-language broadcast. That match was on a Friday after Thanksgiving when there is historically very little TV usage. Tuesday’s game aired at 2 p.m. against Iran and garnered another impressive 12 million plus in viewership, some big numbers.

Soccer is real, I am now a believer and enjoy watching it when I can and it’s good to be in the Soccer Mecca right here in New Jersey. GO USA!

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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