MARYLAND AT A GLANCE

SPORTS

SOCCER


[photo, Young soccer player, Glen Burnie, Maryland]
  • Major Arena Soccer League
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association
  • United States Soccer Federation
  • Team USA (Olympics)
  • Young soccer player, Glen Burnie, Maryland, July 2012. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    The game known in America as soccer was first played in England during the 19th century as football, and is currently played in over 200 nations throughout the world. Only Canada, the U.S., and Samoa use the term soccer, and the offically recognized title is association football. The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) oversees continental and national leagues, as well as makes arrangements for the World Cup, the highest level of soccer competition. Played every four years, the World Cup is held over a period of four weeks, with 32 nations competing. It is next scheduled for June 8 to July 8, 2018 in Russia.

    In Maryland, soccer is played by all age groups, and at varying skill levels. The Maryland State Soccer Association oversees six amateur leagues throughout the State, and is an affiliate of the United State Soccer Federation (USSF), the United States Adult Soccer Association, and the U.S. Olympic Committee. Additional levels of skill, ranging from amateur to professional, are included within other USSF affiliates.

    At the college level, soccer is organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and is available at most colleges and universities in Maryland. College soccer is classified as a fall sport, played from August through December. Maryland colleges have won the NCAA championship on a number of occassions, most recently in 2008, when the University of Maryland, College Park men's team defeated the University of North Carolina.


    MAJOR ARENA SOCCER LEAGUE (MASL)
    The Baltimore Blast (indoor soccer) joined the National Professional Soccer League (American Conference), as the Baltimore Spirit in 1992 but, with new ownership, changed names in 1998. Now part of the Major Arena Soccer League, the Blast plays at the 1st Mariner Arena (formerly the Baltimore Arena), 201 West Baltimore St., Baltimore. The Arena can seat up to 14,000 patrons.

    NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION (NCAA)

    The primary athletic organizer of collegiate Sports, the NCAA structures colleges into three divisions, with schools further organized by conferences.

    Division I (men's)

    Division III (men's)

    Division I (women's)

    Division III (women's)


    UNITED STATES SOCCER FEDERATION (USSF)

    The United States Soccer Federation is the official governing body of all soccer leagues and teams in the United States. In this capacity, the Federation publishes rules and authorizes the creation and expansion of national leagues. Affiliated leagues include the National Premier Soccer League, the United Soccer Leagues, and the Women's Premier Soccer League. The USSF also organizes and maintains Team USA for the US Olympic Committee.

    TEAM USA (men's soccer)
    TEAM USA (women's soccer)
    TEAM USA (paralympic soccer)

    NATIONAL PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE

    UNITED SOCCER LEAGUES

    WOMEN'S PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE

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