PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On the heels of a significant change to Portland’s soccer landscape, the city has been named the third-best in the U.S. for fans of the sport.
On Monday, the Portland Timbers announced that head coach Gio Savarese had been fired after receiving a contract extension through 2025 just last year. Days later, the Rose City nearly topped WalletHub’s list of the best soccer cities.
“Americans finally have found their own soft spot for the world’s most beloved professional sport. After what seemed an eternity of low popularity among U.S. fans, soccer — better known as ‘football’ to the international community — has gained admiration and respect here at home,” WalletHub said in its study.
The website compiled a list of almost 300 places with at least one college or professional soccer team, and divided them based on population size. Experts then used metrics such as the number of championship wins, stadium capacities and fan engagement to determine top cities.
After Los Angeles and Seattle, Portland was recognized as the No. 3 soccer city overall with a total score of 46.75 points out of 100.
However, the Rose City was first-in-line for the “National Women’s Soccer League” category — which makes sense considering the success of the Portland Thorns.
Current players Sophia Smith and Crystal Dunn were on the U.S. Women’s National Team roster. Several other current and former Thorns athletes played for competing teams throughout the World Cup as well.
Portland also ranked at No. 10 in the Major League Soccer category, and No. 25 in the United Soccer League category.
Orlando, Fla., and Kansas City, Mo., rounded out the top five spots for best soccer cities.