[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.

    There have been two Baltimore Blast teams in Baltimore. The first team played from 1980 to 1992 in the Major Indoor Soccer League. They won the Championship in 1984. The first Blast team disbanded when the League ceased operations in 1992.

    The Baltimore Spirit, part of the National Professional Soccer League (American Conference), formed in 1992. They were renamed the Baltimore Blast in 1998. They won the Championship in 2003-04, 2006, 2008-09, 2013, and 2016-18.

    In 2001, the Blast joined the second Major Indoor Soccer League, but the League ceased operations in 2008, and the team joined the National Indoor Soccer League, later known as the third Major Indoor Soccer League. In 2014, the Blast moved to the Professional Arena Soccer League, which was later renamed the Major Arena Soccer League. Early in 2016, the Blast became part of a new League known as the Indoor Professional League, but rejoined the Major Arena Soccer League in August 2016.

    The Blast plays at the SECU Arena at Towson University, 7500 Osler Drive, Towson. The arena seats up to 5,200 patrons.


    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)


    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)





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