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Messi's Immeasurable Impact On American Soccer & Beyond

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Soccer has hardly been given a chance in the United States, primarily because of the popularity of American football. The arrival of Lionel Messi has erupted the already growing popularity of soccer in the land of the free.

Inter Miami was the worst team in Major League Soccer (MLS) two months ago. While they still sit in last place, having not played any league games in over a month, the team had incredible success in the League's Cup. They defeated Nashville SC in the Finals in penalty kicks Saturday.

The Real Impact

The widespread impact's far more interesting than just the success on the field. Since Messi joined the team, MLS Season Pass subscriptions have "more than doubled," according to Inter Miami Managing Owner Jorge Mas. The day after the announcement, Jersey sales were 50 times that of the day before. The Inter Miami Instagram account has also gained over 10 million followers since his joining.

The business growth is evident. The league is gaining popularity, and the team value is increasing rapidly, but the impact on U.S. soccer is even more exciting.

Spoiler Alert: Messi will not play for the U.S. Men's National Team as the picture suggests. Nonetheless, he acknowledges the growth and seems committed to helping this country increase its focus on the world's most popular game. After years of improvement and what many consider a successful World Cup for the stars and stripes, Messi's arrival is critical. People are excited to be a part of soccer.

While Miami President and co-owner David Beckham was the true pioneer of European soccer players coming to play in the MLS, Messi is taking it to another level. We've also seen guys like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney join the MLS late in their careers, but none have made a mission of it to change the entire landscape.

Messi received some of his favorite counterparts, despite denying that he played a role in acquiring them. Legendary head coach Gerardo Martino was hired to turn the team around. Martino has an impressive resume, including coaching Messi at FC Barcelona and on the Argentina National Team. Players including Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets (Messi's former teammates at FC Barcelona) joined Inter Miami to develop what some call "Barcelona West."

End Of Rant

Whatever you want to call it, Inter Miami has dominated, and the spirit and joy at which the team is playing is attracting young soccer fans everywhere. This isn't just some retirement tour for Messi, and this team's success won't be based on the wins and losses. But the level at which Americans are galvanized by an MLS team that didn't exist five years ago is obvious. Just sit back and watch golazo after golazo.

Will Messi's Move Impact Others To Come To The MLS

  • Yes

  • No

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