In winning the title, St. Louis declared its supremacy for the second successive year over the more than 300 college soccer teams in the U.S., a number that testifies to the fact that college soccer is rising like bread dough in a hot kitchen. That 300 is about triple the number of college teams in the U.S. soon after World War II.
Recently the almost exclusive property of ethnic clubs in the U.S., and known in other countries by such names as football, futbol and calcio, it was the original sport from which our special brand of football evolved.
No premium on size
High and prep schools also have taken up soccer at a proportionate rate, some of them at the expense of regular football. Many schools have dropped football because it is so costly to outfit a squad, and because the frequency of injury to the skeletally undeveloped teen-age stripling appalls much more than the quality of the high school game appeals. Besides, there is a special attraction in the fact that soccer is a team sport at which the physically average in weight and stature can excel, provided they develop the requisite stamina and skills. Body checking is strictly regulated. There is no particular premium on beef or height, factors that dull the rest of the world's appreciation for our football and basketball.
Today more and more physical education schools around the country are urging that future coaches be competent to teach soccer as well as other sports. It is possible to predict that more and more of these coaches will seek an outlet for their soccer education in the secondary schools, and that graduates of these schools and teams will seek out colleges that give them a chance to win a letter—even a minor letter—at their sport. Some colleges that now field soccer teams on a club basis, unrecognized by the athletic departments, appear to be on the verge of giving in and recognizing the game as a letter sport.
It is no presumption, therefore, to hold that more and more soccer will be seen in American colleges during the next few years. There is even ground for hope that it may some day be a major sport, though by no means soon. A major sport must have a major following in the stands and there were only 1,000 spectators at the NCAA finals. True, it was the afternoon of the Army-Navy football game, available on television. And the finals were held in Brooklyn College, which is in Flatbush, which is out where the subway ends.
Soccer isn't nearly that far out any more.