The top 10 best soccer cities in the U.S.

Where is Soccer City, USA? Apparently, it's not Portland, Oregon, which has long laid claim to that title. According to a new study released last month, Los Angeles actually tops the list of best soccer cities in America.

Portland finished third overall in the rankings, just behind their Cascadia rivals to the north, Seattle.

WalletHub conducted the study comparing 294 U.S. cities across five levels of competitive soccer: MLS, NWSL, USL and men’s and women’s Division I college soccer. Cities had to have at least one team to be included in the study.

A panel of six experts, including an NCAA Division I soccer coach, and sports management, administration and marketing scholars evaluated each market based on 52 different criteria, assigning scores in each category based on performance.

Included in the criteria were things like how many teams were playing at each level, how well those teams performed, number of championships, franchise valuations, season ticket prices, fan engagement on Facebook, stadium capacity and attendance and the number of coaches each team had had over the last decade.

Top 10 best soccer cities in the U.S.

  1. Los Angeles, California
  2. Seattle, Washington
  3. Portland, Oregon
  4. Orlando, Florida
  5. Kansas City, Missouri
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. New York, NY
  8. Atlanta, Georgia
  9. Salt Lake City, Utah
  10. St. Paul, Minnesota

Los Angeles scored highest, in part, because there is so much competitive soccer for fans to watch. It has two MLS teams (LAFC and LA Galaxy), an NWSL team (Angel City FC), a USL team (Orange County SC), and a men’s and women’s Division I college soccer team (UCLA). 

Half of the cities that made the top 10 were chosen by FIFA to host World Cup games in 2026. Those include: Los Angeles, Seattle, Kansas City, New York and Atlanta.

The rankings of the other U.S. cities selected to host World Cup games in 2026 are as follows: Dallas (19), San Francisco (202), Miami (14), Philadelphia (16), Boston (13). Of course, these cities would presumably see a huge jump in future rankings if “World Cup host city” became a new criteria for these rankings.

Portland was the highest-ranked soccer city to miss out on hosting the World Cup in 2026. It did not submit a bid because it did not have a stadium large enough to meet FIFA’s requirements.

The study also broke down the best cities by market size. Orlando was the top ranked mid-sized city, and the highest-ranked soccer city to submit a World Cup hosting bid but get passed over. 

Top 10 best mid-sized soccer cities in the U.S.

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Salt Lake City, Utah
  3. Cary, North Carolina
  4. Kansas City, Kansas
  5. Charleston, South Carolina
  6. Hartford, Connecticut
  7. Birmingham, Alabama
  8. Irvine, California
  9. St. Petersburg, Florida
  10. Providence, Rhode Island

Top 10 best small soccer cities in the U.S.

  1. Edinburg, Texas
  2. Clemson, South Carolina
  3. Leesburg, Virginia
  4. Buies Creek, North Carolina
  5. Charlottesville, Virginia
  6. Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  7. Seaside, California
  8. State College, Pennsylvania
  9. West Long Branch, New Jersey
  10. Bloomington, Indiana

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