With four years to go until the 2026 FIFA World Cup, sports-crazy Americans are already gearing up for the most-watched sporting event in the world. Sport has always played an important role in U.S. culture with as many as 25% of all adults formally participating in at least one sporting discipline. Indoor sports, in particular, have become very popular over the last few years as people are looking to alternate their routines. Here’s a closer look at three popular sports that have noteworthy indoor alternatives for both recreational and professional athletes.
Soccer is a National Favorite
Although soccer is the most played (and watched) sport in the world, it has never been quite as popular in the USA as in the UK, Europe, and Africa. That said, there are still nearly 12 million Americans over the age of 6 who do play soccer on a regular basis, making it one of the most popular sports in the country. Indoor soccer is also skyrocketing in popularity and there is even an entire organization, the USA Indoor Soccer Association, dedicated to it. Indoor soccer, or Futsal as it is officially known as, is considerably different from its outdoor counterpart both in terms of team size and playing conditions. While there are 11 players on a regular soccer team, only five players are allowed on the field during a futsal game. An indoor game is also generally played on a special turf designed to minimize maintenance and reduce injuries.
Cricket Enjoys a Surge in Popularity
Cricket has skyrocketed in popularity in the USA over the past decade with over 200,000 players regularly participating in the sport. The sport has developed so much in the country, in fact, that it has been chosen to co-host the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup alongside the West Indies in 2024. This decision from the ICC also ensures that the USA men’s national team is guaranteed to appear in its first-ever World Cup tournament. While limited-overs and test matches remain the most popular forms of the spot, indoor cricket is also becoming increasingly popular. Although it may never rank in the same league as other indoor sports such as basketball and soccer, the fast-paced indoor version of the ultimate gentleman’s game continues to appeal to a growing number of men, women, and children.
Indoor Athletics Enjoy World-Wide Acclaim
The USA has always dominated as far as track and field Olympic medals have been concerned, winning three times as many medals as any other Olympian team. This should come as no surprise considering some of the best athletes in modern times have hailed from the USA. This includes the likes of Sanya Richards- Ross, Justin Gatlin, Gail Devers, and Carl Lewis. Although track and field events are typically associated with large, outdoor venues, indoor athletics enjoys worldwide acclaim. Indoor athletics is especially gaining momentum at school and university level as more athletes are looking to compete in a sport that is not influenced by factors such as the weather. The annual USA Indoor Track and Field Championship which took place in Spokane, Washington in February this year showcased the best indoor athletes in the country.
Indoor sport appeals to a growing number of Americans. Participation levels will undoubtedly continue to increase as more athletes seek out all-weather alternatives to their favorite outdoor sports.