The 12th of November 2019 could prove a landmark for Liverpool FC as Matteo Ritaccio signed a professional contract with the club. Awarding the American midfielder a pro deal is hopefully a sign of things to come at Anfield.
Even though football purists and stubborn geezers may not like to believe it, the USA will play a major part in the future of the sport. ‘Soccer’ has been growing exponentially in the nation. Forbes reported that the sport has seen a 27% uptake in popularity in recent years. A 2018 Gallup Poll said that 7% of Americans stated it as their favourite sport to watch.
The United States are known for their sporting giants, just not in football. Legends have been born there: Michael Jordan, Lebron James and Tom Brady are all examples of superstars that have progressed to the top of their sports there, all tremendous athletes in their own right. One of the reasons that the USA has struggled to produce world class players is the popularity of other sports in the nation. Why would you devote the time and effort necessary to make it as a footballer when you prefer basketball?
As football grows in popularity more Americans will pursue a career in the sport. In the future, we will see the nation producing world class players as a result. Christian Pulisic’s move from Borussia Dortmund to Chelsea is indicative of the direction that American football is heading.
With Liverpool already bringing over top talents such as Matteo Ritaccio from New York, we are showing that we have an eye on the developing situation. Proving that Anfield is a place where Americans can flourish as footballers could prove vital in securing the continent’s brightest talents in the future.
The Reds snapped up Matteo Ritaccio from development academy BW Gottschee. This successful scouting network over in the Big Apple could help us steal the march over other European elites when it comes to finding the next best thing; especially when the next big thing may grow up in stars and stripes.