On Sunday， June 30th， 2002 an important soccer football game will play in the city of Yokohama（横滨）， Japan.That game will decide the World Cup champion of soccer football.Americans are becoming more interested in this great international game.
In its first game in the World Cup matches this year， the United States defeated a strong team from Portugal（葡萄牙） by a score of three-to-two.That is the first time an American team had scored three points in World Cup competition since a game in 1930 against Paraguay（巴拉圭）。
The American team finally lost to Germany， one to nothing， in a very close quarter final（四分之一决赛） game.American soccer fans（球迷） were happy about the results.It was the best an American team had done in more than seventy years in World Cup competition.However， most of the American public showed little interest.Many people in the United States still have no idea how important the World Cup soccer championship games are to the rest of the world.Many Americans do not know how the game is played.
The American public has never shown interest in soccer.Sports experts say this is only true of older Americans.They never played soccer when they were children.They did not grow up with the sport as people in other countries.Sports like American football， baseball and basketball have always been much more popular.
The United States Soccer Federation （协会） says about 18 million people today play soccer in the United States.But those who play are very young.Seventy-eight percent are under the age of eighteen.Sports experts say it is these children who are making the sport popular in the United States.The experts say soccer has become popular with children because almost anyone can play.There are teams for girls， boys， older children and young adults（成年人）。
Many Americans are becoming interested in soccer because their children play.This has produced the new American expression “Soccer Mom”。This is a mother who spends a lot of time driving her children to soccer games in the family car.
The United States Soccer Federation says it is helping children improve their playing skills.It provides special training for young players at soccer camps during the summer.Federation officials say the United States may one day have a World Cup champion team， but it will be sometime in the future.Soccer fans in the United States will have to wait until young soccer players grow up playing the world's most popular sport.