If there is one thing about the United States that everyone can agree on, it’s that America loves sports. Professional sports leagues like the National Basketball Association and the National Football League make up a billion-dollar industry with a loyal fan-base well into the millions. In addition to watching sports, Americans also love to play sports — and especially the youth. It is estimated that 60% of kids play sports outside of school. In school, 7.7 million high school students play on at least one sports team according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.
“Traditional” American sports like football, baseball, basketball, and hockey are very popular in high school but soccer, a sport that doesn’t necessarily have as large of a following as in the rest of the world, is also avidly played. From little league to high school, soccer is played in nearly 8,200 youth clubs in the U.S. Thousands (if not millions) of American children grow up and love playing soccer.
Recently, American youth leagues have taken their dedication to soccer to a higher, and international, level. International youth soccer tournaments are an increasingly popular option for young soccer players across the country. From soccer tours to England to soccer tours to Costa Rica, youth soccer tournaments abroad present a wonderful and life-changing opportunity for American high school students to travel the world and play the sport they love while doing it!
Why not, for example, play in the Iber Cup in Lisbon this July? Spend five nights in the gorgeous Portuguese capital city as 200 teams from over 20 countries vie for the title. When the teams aren’t playing, the players can explore the city, swim in the beautiful beaches, visit museums and cultural icons, and even travel to Algarve and Barcelona! Tours such as the Iber Cup would be the journey of a lifetime for eager, young soccer players — whether they come home with the title or not!