By Jared Frank and Chauncey Jones, KHQ.com/SWXRightNow.com
For as long as American sports fans can remember soccer has been put down, beat down and trashed as a sport for kids. The harshest critics
call it an activity for those wanna-be athletes who weren’t good enough to play a real sport like football, baseball or basketball.
SWX’s Chauncey Jones admits he used to be one of those guys. But not anymore. Soccer - in the Inland Northwest at least - has grown in popularity over the past several years. Seeing Richland native Hope Solo rise to stardom in the women’s World Cup hasn’t hurt. Watching the Seattle Sounders draw nearly 40,000 for every match has helped too, if not further signified soccer’s arrival.
Then there are the thousands - yes, thousands - of kids who play soccer in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Hundreds of them play at the highest competitive level available. Is soccer a kids’ sport? Yes it is. And they, as they reach young adulthood and beyond, are carrying on the tradition and bringing soccer into the mainstream of American sports life.