Created on 2014-08-11 at 10:00 AM
The rising popularity of soccer in the United States was more evident than ever before during the World Cup this summer. New television viewership records were set in America throughout the tournament as large numbers of people tuned in to watch not only the US national team but also Germany on its way to lift the trophy. Bayern's US tour and other club friendlies in the US this summer are further indicators of the beautiful game's prolific rise in the country.
Following the World Cup, FC Bayern Munich set out on the Audi Summer Tour USA 2014, a tour of America that included trips to New York, New Jersey and Portland to take part in two pre-season friendlies against Chivas de Guadalajara and the MLS All-Stars. The tour, too, proved hugely successful and was indicative of the ever-increasing interest in soccer and FC Bayern in the States. Over a thousand people showed up to Bayern's public training session in Portland and both friendlies were played in front of a sold-out crowd.
To top it off, a friendly at Michigan Stadium between Manchester United and Real Madrid set a new attendance record for a soccer match in the US. The match drew an astounding 109,318 spectators, surpassing the previous record of 101,799 set at the Rose Bowl for the 1984 Olympic gold-medal match between France and Brazil. The previous record for a club match was set back in 2009 in a friendly between Barcelona and the LA Galaxy, also held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
US soccer legend announces retirement
In other news, Major League Soccer's all-time leading goalscorer and former Bayern Munich player, Landon Donovan, announced his retirement at the end of the 2014 season this past week. Donovan, who has scored 138 goals in 321 MLS games, is also the US national team's leading goalscorer with 57 goals in 156 games and has played in three World Cups.
Donovan spent parts of the 2008/09 season on loan at FC Bayern and scored the match-winner against them in the MLS All-Star Game last Wednesday. For over a decade, Donovan has been the face of US soccer and the MLS and a key figure in the development of soccer in the US.