Originally Published: December 2, 2009, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

Soccer has always been the most popular sport in the world, but in the United States it has never been better than 5th in many people’s eyes. Slowly though it has pulled even with other sports for many people as the USA’s representative team and MLS teams have improved their overall quality of play over the years. Now, as we prepare for the 2010 World Cup, US soccer fans are almost at a fever pitch.

Although it is arguable if a US soccer fan will ever reach the level of intensity as fans from European or South American countries (probably not), the spike in popularity for the sport on US soil is clear. With this spike in popularity, we have seen a spike in video games sales for the main soccer video game franchise, FIFA, produced by EA Sports, as well.

FIFA 10, this year’s entry into the FIFA library, is clearly the best version ever produced in the series as the inclusion of the My Live feature, similar to the NBA Live 365 feature, allows you to take control of your favorite team like never before. And the people have responded to this year’s improvements as 4.5 million units have been sold worldwide in its first five weeks of availability, easily making it the most popular sports game of 2009.

I had a chance to talk to Sam Cooper, the Global Product Manager for the FIFA Soccer Franchise at EA Sports, about everything dealing with the FIFA franchise from the increase in sales and popularity over the years and improvements to this year’s game to his overall thoughts on the upcoming World Cup.

To listen to my interview with Sam Cooper, Global Product Manager for FIFA at EA Sports

Ray Carsillo