It was quite a weekend for soccer fans in the United States. The women won the World Cup again and the men played in the Gold Cup Final last night and lost to Mexico. This sort of excitement is one of the reasons the sport continues to grow in the US.
(Robbie Krul):"Capitalize on the excitement of winning and get these young boys and girls hooked on a game that is fun to play. Give them a ball and a piece of grass and they will want to be the next Ronaldo."
Jeroen Haarsma is a Journalist and Soccer Coach in the Netherlands. He is seeing first hand what a berth in the World Cup Final is doing for his Country
(Jeroen Haarsma):" Women's soccer in the Netherlands is not nearly as developed as Men's soccer. We see a big shift now to everyone getting excited about the Dutch women. Little girls wearing shirts of not only the men's names, but also the women's names on the back."
Over 140 youngsters are attending the Dutch Soccer Academy this week in Presque Isle. Krul says that he has noticed the increase in popularity of the sport over the past 20 years.
Krul:" We find a huge improvement over the last 20 years. I am honored to see many players leaving our state and going to North Carolina and to Florida where they are being recruited to play."
Haarsma:" I was here 11 years ago as well and we would be on the field and a lot of guys and girls would wear Boston Red Sox jerseys New England Patriots jerseys and now we sell almost exclusively soccer shirts."
Many of the youngsters at the camp spend a lot of time in the pitch both locally and some travel around the state to play and practice
(Chris Martin):" It really is it is inspiring to a lot of younger players. You see that and it gives you something to aspire to be to achieve."
(Ava Lerman):" Play as a team and get to use teamwork and your best skills."
Smaller countries are using a model to increase the number of younger players. Maine is using a model similar to the one that Iceland has used to bring the game to people just starting school
Krul:" We found in Maine and that is one of the reasons we follow Icelandic approach where they also have the similar climate. You need to be facilities where you can train year round. They develop coaches with a high level license to be able to coach at the 5,6,7, 8,9 year old level."