Both the United States Men’s and Women’s National Teams have completed their final matches in the 2010s, and it’s a good time to take a look back through the decade to see where they have been. A big talking point for fans recently has been about U.S. Soccer’s perceived inability to bring the USMNT and USWNT to all corners of the country. We examine which cities and areas have seen the most matches and which regions of the country have been left behind.
We start with the USMNT, who had a total of 170 matches from 2010-2019. They had a record of 88 wins, 48 losses, and 34 draws during the decade. When we look at all the cities and areas that had matches, it includes all friendlies and official matches, including the World Cup, Gold Cup, Copa América Centenario, and World Cup qualifying. Here is where the USMNT frequented during the 2010s:
The Los Angeles area saw the most USMNT matches in the 2010s, with 10 total. Of course, the team’s annual January Camp saw them play in Carson, California several times. They also had a couple matches at the Rose Bowl during the Gold Cup as well as the CONCACAF Confederations Cup Playoff in 2015.
The east coast saw several matches go to New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, with 23 matches combined in the I-95 corridor. Kansas City saw quite a few USMNT matches for friendlies, World Cup qualifying, and the Gold Cup. Other cities that saw several matches for the USMNT include Hartford, Nashville, the Bay Area, Tampa, Chicago, and Columbus. The place abroad the team played the most was South Africa, a result of the team’s run during the 2010 World Cup as well as two friendlies in the country.
The USWNT had 220 matches in the 2010s, going an insane 177-14-29 (W-L-D) in the process. Their matches include not only the official matches like World Cup qualifying, Olympic qualifying, the Women’s World Cup, and friendly tournaments like SheBelieves Cup, Tournament of Nations, and the Algarve Cup. Because of that, the top venues that the USWNT have played skew internationally:
Portugal is the place that has seen the USWNT the most over the past decade, with the vast majority of those instances coming during the team’s participation in the Algarve Cup. Since SheBelieves Cup began in 2016, the USWNT has opted not to participate in the Algarve Cup. But, 25 times is a ton of times on the Iberian Peninsula.
The next three most popular places are Canada, France, and Brazil. Those venues are popular as a result of the past two Women’s World Cups as well as the 2016 Olympics. The team has played friendlies in France and Canada recently, but victories in the past two Women’s World Cups added to the totals there.
The American area that has seen the USWNT the most is Dallas-Fort Worth, who have had 8 matches. Philadelphia, LA, Chicago, New Jersey, and Raleigh-Durham also have hosted more than 5 USWNT matches.
So, let’s look at the two teams combined to see where both teams have played matches the most:
Domestically, LA, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Dallas-Fort Worth, the Bay Area, Chicago, Hartford, and Kansas City have seen 10 or more matches during the 2010s. Abroad, Portugal, Canada, Brazil, and France all have been where the USMNT and USWNT have played more than 10 times.
The final thing we inspect is whether there are some places that are being neglected. We broke down the number of matches held internationally and in each American time zone (with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska, which did not host any matches):
The Eastern time zone had almost half the domestic USMNT and USWNT matches during the decade, with 118 matches hosted in cities in that time zone. The Central time zone had 63 matches, the Mountain time zone only 22 matches, and the Pacific time zone had 41 matches despite LA being the city that had the most matches of any in the country. 146 matches were played outside the United States, about 37.4% of all the matches played from 2010-2019.
The Mountain time zone only had matches in 3 cities: Denver, Salt Lake City, and Phoenix (which we included in the Mountain time zone because it doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time and fluctuates between Mountain and Pacific time as a result). The South, outside of Florida, didn’t have many matches despite Raleigh-Durham and Nashville having several matches. The Pacific Northwest hasn’t had many matches as well as the Southwest outside of Texas.
With the dawn of the 2020s upon us and several cities building soccer-specific stadiums for MLS, we could see the USMNT and USWNT travel to several new areas as well as return to several cities that have seen new stadiums built recently or will have them in the near future. U.S. Soccer, in an effort to bring the game to all corners of the country, will do right if they continue to play in new markets and cater to fans who might not otherwise be able to travel to see our national teams play.