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Speed to Sidemen Charity Match, a Domino Effect That Brought Soccer to America

Ben Degani

IShowSpeed stands over KSI after tackling him to the ground.

On March 4, 2022, IShowSpeed, a very quickly rising social media star, said three words that would go on to change the view of soccer by millions of Americans. In America, at the start of 2022, interest in soccer had reached an extreme low. The number of people searching for soccer fell to record lows and had an interest score of 12/100 on “Google Trends.” But with the World Cup less than a year away and America due to host the next one, Speed may have just provided the kickstarter that the sport needed.

In his live streams, Speed would engage in much more soccer-related content, marketing the sport to those who may have never seen it in such a light before, including himself. Speed would continue integrating soccer into his daily content, and it would become well-received among his fan base. This would then go on to attract the attention of the popular United Kingdom soccer/comedy group known as Sidemen. Composed of many popular YouTubers from the UK, a nation where soccer is already very popular, they found much better success when using soccer as the soul of their content. They have also made their fair share of waves as a solid percentage of their viewers are American.

For the past few years, the Sidemen have hosted the Sidemen Charity Match. Taking place in the UK, the Sidemen Charity Match is a soccer match that brings together popular soccer YouTubers from all over the platform to go head-to-head while also collecting donations for charity. When deciding who to invite, it was a no-brainer for Speed to be involved as he was one of the most popular and staggering soccer personalities on the internet. As ridiculous as it sounds, Speed may even be bigger amongst the youth than American soccer player Christian Pulisic. The Sidemen Charity match was a massive success as it raked in millions of views and raised two million pounds for charity. I even personally watched it with my dad and uncle, two of the most hardcore soccer fans I know. I went into the match expecting them to be insulted by these semi-unathletic young adults displaying their subpar skills. However, they found it hilarious and were amazed at how decent these guys were. The next thing you know, my whole family was huddled around the TV. It was honestly a fantastic experience to watch it with them.

With all that being said, it's unsure where the trajectory of American interest in soccer is going to go. With many influencers continuing to push the captivating sport to the furthest edges of the world, it's safe to say the marketing for soccer, football, or whatever you may call it, is in good hands.


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