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U.S. thrusts itself into relevance

What has happened in South Africa bodes well for the soccer movement in America

Updated: June 24, 2010, 1:45 AM ET
By Scott French | Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com

Soccer is a big deal in the United States, whether you believe that or not. There are millions of fans, some as passionate about the sport and their teams as the most committed ultra in Argentina or Italy, many as knowledgeable about the game as the most informed Englishman or German.

But of the signposts on America's road to becoming a soccer nation -- from Pele to Beckham, from 1994 to Brandi Chastain taking off her shirt, from Fox Soccer Channel to ESPN embracing the game -- what's occurred ...

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