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A soccer breakthrough, but will high schools suffer?

Life has changed in America.

On Monday afternoon, while preparing to drive home after visiting a high school football practice in Hollywood, I overheard a student on the blacktop scream, "Tim Howard."

He was imagining himself as the goalie for the U.S. World Cup soccer team.

I overheard a football player talking about Argentina.

When non-soccer teenagers are starting to talk about soccer, it means something has happened.

There were about 30 million people in America who watched the World Cup final on Sunday. The question is whether soccer has really gained a foothold in America to build upon or whether new fans will just focus every four years when the World Cup comes around?

Maybe there will be signs this fall depending on how many new students decide to try out for high school soccer teams.

"It's going to take another four to eight years to become more main stream," said El Camino Real soccer Coach David Hussey.

Hussey usually has more than 100 students try out for his soccer team in August.

"We may get a couple athletes who come out that wouldn't have come out before," he said. "I don't think we'll get any new kids that weren't soccer players. If you're not used to using your feet, it's hard to pick up."

One negative to the soccer enthusiasm could be the continuing decline of high school soccer. Top players have been abandoning high school for academy teams that supposedly better prepare them for international competition.

"There's so much pressure to be a World Cup player that they wouldn't play high school," Hussey said. "High school has always been the roots for football, basketball and baseball. We just won't have the roots for soccer."

 

Twitter:@LATSondheimer

 

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