(NBC News) As Team USA moves on to the round of 16 in the World Cup, there is evidence the country’s new found love affair with soccer may be more than just a one time fling.
A growing fan base is embracing the sport like never before.
“It’s a true testament to how far soccer has come in this country people are just excited. leaving work early, the country is stopping to watch us,” says Team USA goalie Tim Howard.
At massive outdoor parties, in restaurants and bars, at work on tablets and smart phones, in Congress even on board Air Force One, America has gone World Cup crazy.
“The US games in the World Cup have actually done better on TV than both the NBA finals and the World Series,” notes the Huffington Post’s Jordan Schultz. “And it is not just soccer fans. Now it is sports fans that are galvanizing and kind of becoming soccer fans.”
Evidence of that trend is the fact that the World Cup is trending online.
“So far Twitter has reported 300 million Tweets sent so far in the World Cup in the past two weeks, and that’s twice the amount that were sent related to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London,” notes NBCNews.com senior tech writer Julianne Pepitone. “Google has reported 1.2 billion World Cup searches so far.”
The next match for the Americans is Tuesday afternoon against Belgium.