In preparation of the 2010 soccer World Cup in South Africa, ESPN today released its Soccer Power Index. The index ranks the relative level of capability of national soccer teams. It was developed with the help of Nate Silver and is equipped to have predictive power - i.e. a higher rank indicates a greater chance of success during future matches.
What does this mean? It means that soccer is finally hitting the tipping point of popularity in the United States. Football, baseball, and basketball have had similar ranking systems for years. It means that there is significant interest in this fun method for expressing athletic pride. It also means that ESPN views soccer as a lucrative investment.