By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
American kids love soccer. Should they love FIFA?
Soccer is starting to take hold in America, especially among youngsters. But arrests today show that the soccer's governing body may have a moral problem. - photo by Herb Scribner
Seven officials of FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, were arrested Wednesday morning in Zurich, according to the BBC. The arrests came after the United States filed corruption charges against 14 FIFA members, the BBC reported. Prosecutors from Switzerland, the home of FIFAs headquarters, also launched a criminal case against FIFA.

The United States filed these charges after an investigation found there was corruption within the international organization that led to Russia and Qatar being selected as the 2016 and 2022 World Cup hosts, respectively, in 2010, according to the BBC.

America was the heavy favorite to host the 2022 World Cup, but was sidestepped for Qatar, a Middle Eastern country whose deathly hot summers would make an outdoor event like the World Cup unbearable for common fans, according to CBS.

As BBC reported, many believed leaders in Russia and Qatar bribed FIFA to hand the World Cup to those countries, instead of the United States. This prompted the U.S. to investigate and eventually file charges.

"They corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich themselves, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, according to the BBC.

These arrests come at a time when the governing bodies of other sports have been scrutinized by the media and investigators. MLB has faced criticism for its steroid policies for months. Racism issues tarnished the NBA last season. And last year, the NFL was bombarded with criticisms over domestic violence issues, especially when the league suspended running back Ray Rice for two games instead of four games, which has traditionally been the minimum amount of games players are suspended for, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Though the league still has domestic violence issues former Bears player Ray McDonald was arrested just two days ago the NFL made efforts to appease its fans and critics last year by promoting a domestic violence awareness commercial during the Super Bowl, according to Deseret News Nationals Danielle Arrivillaga.

Will these arrests inspire FIFA to make such changes and rid itself of possible corruption? Experts seem split, but some are calling for a change in leadership, like the Union of European Football Associations, who believes all of FIFA's leadership, including FIFA President Sepp Blatter, needs to be "rebooted" for the sake of soccer, Deadspin reported.

If changes are made, it may give American children a moral and good-valued leadership team to look up to.

After all, soccer has been a rising sport for American children and has been a growing part of American culture in recent years. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that even though American children have slowly stepped away from organized youth sports, theyre still playing soccer.

In fact, more than 3.5 million children ages 7 to 17 have stopped participating in baseball Americas pastime, according to WSJ. Meanwhile, soccer participation went from 9.2 million youth players in 2000 to 6.9 million in 2013 the smallest drop of any of the five major American sports. And soccer still stands only behind basketball, which has 10.3 million active players, in the total amount of active participants for children, WSJ reported.

Thats because soccer has a cultural connection unlike other sports, according to Allen St. John of Forbes.

Playing on a kiddie soccer team is a rite of passage for most suburban kids, and the practice of shuttling kids back and forth to practices and games even gave rise to an important political and social demographic: the soccer mom, St. John wrote for Forbes.

Children are watching professional soccer more and more, too. ESPN reported last year that Major League Soccer Americas top professional soccer league has the same amount of popularity as MLB and is more popular than the NHL.

Some, like Daniel Cox of the Public Religion Research Institute, even predict that soccer will soon be Americas national pastime.

So will FIFA change its ways for the good of its fans, especially as soccer gains hold in America? While some experts arent sure, Prince Ali of Jordan, who hopes to succeed Blatter as the head of FIFA, believes the governing body should find a new path that embraces fans, Yahoo reported.

"We cannot continue with the crisis in FIFA, a crisis that has been ongoing and is not just relevant to the events of today, Ali said, according to Yahoo. FIFA needs leadership that governs, guides and protects our national associations. Leadership that accepts responsibility for its actions and does not pass blame. Leadership that restores confidence in the hundreds of millions of soccer fans around the world.