Commemorative issue 1994 World Cup Soccer championships
Soccer's World Cup, which ranks with the Olympic Games as one of the greatest international sports competitions, was honored with three stamps and a souvenir sheet for its first contest in the United States. The 1994 World Cup brought together twenty-four national teams, each made up of twenty-two players. There were a total of fifty-two matches in nine different U.S. cities. The continuous action and fast pace of soccer have made it a major spectator sport throughout the world and attracted millions of players as well. Since the late 1960s and early 1970s, its growth in the United States, especially on the amateur level, has been substantial. The name of the game presents some confusion. In countries other than the United States, soccer is called football. The word soccer is a shortened and altered form of "association football." There are millions of soccer players throughout the world competing both formally and informally. The international governing body of soccer is the Federation Internationale de Football Associations (FIFA), whose headquarters are in Zurich, Switzerland.