Which US states are the most interested in soccer? 

With the U.S. all set to host the 2026 World Cup, soccer's popularity is skyrocketing in America.

Talles Magno (43) of NYCFC controls ball during MLS regular
Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

What to Know

  • More than 4 million people searched for soccer highlights last year
  • Florida still ranks 3rd in interest the nation despite Messi’s high-profile move to Inter Miami

Using Google search data for soccer-related terms and U.S. Census Bureau population statistics, soccer experts tapped into America’s growing fascination with soccer.

For example, more than four million people searched for soccer highlights last year in the U.S.

While American football reigns supreme, soccer is steadily gaining traction across the United States. Interest varies regionally, with some states embracing the "beautiful game" more than others.

When the U.S. hosted the 1994 World Cup, it had no professional league. Since then, the growth of soccer has skyrocketed.

With the 2026 World Cup around the corner, sixteen cities will host matches during the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The schedule of games includes 11 host cities in the United States and three in Mexico (Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey). Canada will play host to a baker's dozen of matches as well, with seven set in Vancouver and six in Toronto.

Six countries will host the soccer tournament.

Where does soccer shine brightest in the United States?

Studies suggest a trend of higher soccer interest in coastal areas and states with large metropolitan populations, such as California and Texas.

This aligns with the presence of Major League Soccer (MLS) and National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) franchises, often concentrated in major cities.

Factors like youth club participation, professional team presence and online engagement played an important role in rounding the numbers and crowing Washington state as the number one in followers in the U.S.

A study done by Sports Innovation Lab, a company that measures sports fan data, shows that 55% of U.S. soccer fans are from the ages of 18 to 34. The younger demographic is clearly at the forefront of the fandom, and this could be because they grew up playing or watching the game. 

Who are the top 3 states embracing soccer in the United States?

  • #1 - New Jersey is the top state in the US for soccer interest, with over 174,500 monthly searches by its 9.3 million residents. No wonder the iconic MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and Jets, will stage the final for the World Cup on Sunday, July 19, 2026.
  • #2 - California's love for soccer is evident, ranking second with an impressive 1,791 searches per 100,000 individuals. With its population of 39 million people, the Golden State racked up an immense 698,100 soccer-related searches monthly as they gear up to host the World Cup at two locations: SoFi Stadium in Inglewood and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. 
  • #3 - Florida is gearing up to shine as a host for the 2026 World Cup, solidifying its reputation as a haven for soccer fans. Ranking third among states, Florida, with its 22.6 million population and total of 397,300 soccer-related searches per month, sees 1,757 searches per 100,000 people. The arrival of the legendary Lionel Messi to play for Inter Miami in MLS has undoubtedly played a crucial role in boosting the state’s soccer fervor.

Which U.S cities are most interested in Soccer?

RankingStatesTotal SearchPopulation
1New Jersey174,5009.3M
7New York287,60019.6M
15Rhode Island12,3901.1M
16North Carolina122,00010.8M

Ranking States By Soccer Interest Per 100K Residents.

States traditionally known for American football dominance might show less enthusiasm for soccer. However, even in these regions, participation among youth is steadily rising, indicating a potential shift in future generations.

States like West Virginia, Mississippi and Montana are listed as the states least interested in the "jogo bonito."

According to Forbes, the 2022 men’s World Cup final garnered almost 26 million viewers on average as Lionel Messi and Argentina lifted the trophy after beating France.

The U.S. men's team’s group-stage game against England in that same World Cup peaked at over 15 million viewers, and their game against Iran averaged 12.01 million, according to Sports Watch Media.

The average viewership in the Iran match was higher than the average for the 2023 NBA Finals which, according to Forbes, sat at 11.65 million.

While the U.S. may not have the same soccer culture as other countries, the data suggests that the sport is becoming more popular than ever in the country.

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