Soccer Memorabilia

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Collecting soccer memorabilia was, for many years, a niche hobby, and to some extent it still is--at least in the U.S. It's often said that soccer (or "futbol") is the most popular sport worldwide, and it's mostly Americans' cultural blinders that keep us from seeing this obvious fact. Tune into any foreign station from Telemundo to the BBC and watch to see which sport is covered first at around 20 past the hour.

In recent years, however, a few things have brought soccer's popularity to American shores. One is the Olympics, which every four years shine a slightly brighter spotlight on the sport statesiders are loath to adopt. Two is the (relative) success of the MLS league, which features teams from 10 major U.S. cities and regions including Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and New England. The third, and arguably strongest, reason for soccer's gradual adoption in the New World is coverage of the World Cup, which in 2006 comes to Germany, then four years later to South Africa.

More Soccer Means More Soccer Memorabilia

There's a pretty linear relationship between interest in a given sport and the pursuit of its memorabilia. There was a time not too long ago that mention of an authentic Mia Hamm or Ronaldo jersey would fetch nothing more than a chorus of laughs. Nowadays, though, thanks not only to FIFA's revamped worldwide marketing push, but the U.S. women's World Cup run, that same offer for rare soccer memorabilia would garner big loot in America.

As the game continues to gain a wider audience, more and more soccer memorabilia will undoubtedly saturate the market. Soccer balls, jerseys, ticket stubs, posters, game cleats, programs, and more will sell at auction and through online collecting sites for fees formerly reserved for baseball and football memorabilia. Of course, even if the market in America sours, there are still several billion people throughout Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, and Africa who keep an eye on the sport.


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