Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds

On today’s program: Soccer attendance is on the rise in Pittsburgh, likely thanks to the U.S. Women's team; PFAS chemicals were discovered near Pittsburgh International; a poet reckons with her multi-racial identity; and Shady Side Academy teens reflect on their student Emmy Award nomination. 

Sheila May-Stein / Twitter

Brandon Sears, 15, started playing soccer for Pittsburgh’s Obama Academy this fall. It didn’t take long for an opposing player to call him the n-word.

Nam Y. Huh / AP

The NCAA will host more prestigious college tournaments in the Pittsburgh region over the next four years than any other, Visit Pittsburgh officials announced Wednesday.

The Steel City will welcome 22 events, from Division III men’s and women cross country regionals in 2020 to the 2021 Division I men’s hockey championship, dubbed the Frozen Four.

Team USA's remarkable run in the Copa America came to a screeching halt on Tuesday during a semi-final match against Argentina.

In front of more than 70,000 fans in Houston, Texas, the U.S. men's national soccer team was quite simply outmatched by the best team in the world.

As Ives Galarcep of put it, Argentina looked every bit like a No. 1 team, while the "USA looked like a team nowhere near ready for the challenge."

Soccer fans have gathered in Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh this afternoon to watch the U.S. face off with the team from Belgium. Here's some of what we're seeing on social media:

The Fort Pitt Regiment: An Attractive Brand of Soccer

Jul 1, 2014
Fort Pitt Regiment

The World Cup soccer tournament taking place in Brazil is really calling attention to the sport of soccer in the United States. Here in western Pennsylvania a new soccer team has just formed in the last year.

The Fort Pitt Regiment soccer team is the newest member of the Nation Premier Soccer League. But not many Pittsburgh residents know anything about the league. Tim McCoy, Director of Business Operations and board member of the Regiment said this new team is not trying to compete with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

“What we offer is an affordable evening out and in some ways I would equate it to the difference between the Washington Wild Things and the Pittsburgh Pirates.”

With the current popularity of World Cup Soccer, the Regiment’s inaugural season was well timed.

Christopher Squier / 90.5 WESA

The next game the United States plays in the World Cup could be its last of the tournament. The match against Germany is already being considered one of the most important soccer games in the country's history. With this important matchup beginning in less than 24 hours, some fans are getting ready by watching rally videos, getting their USA team gear, and setting up plans to watch the game with friends and other fans

Nick Sandi, owner of Nick's Imports on East Carson Street, sees the excitement of the World Cup growing in Pittsburgh first hand. Sand has been selling soccer shirts and country jerseys for each World Cup since 2002.

For him, the excitement has reflected in sales.

U.S. Soccer's Greatest Upset

Jun 25, 2014
The Aged P Blog

On Thursday, the U.S. World Cup soccer team can advance to the round of 16 with either a win or tie against Germany. The United States has surpassed expectations; few thought they would escape the so-called “Group of Death” that also included Ghana and Portugal. As stacked as the odds have been against the United States in 2014, it is nothing compared to the odds faced by the U.S. team when Brazil last hosted the World Cup in 1950.

The U.S. team that year consisted entirely of semi-pro players who often held additional jobs- one player missed the tournament because he could not take time off of work. In their second game, they faced England, who were widely considered to be the world’s best team. But when the final whistle blew on June 29, 1950, it was the U.S. who had won, 1-0.

The Business of Soccer

Jun 24, 2014
Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Arguably the biggest sporting event in the world is currently taking place down in Brazil. The World Cup draws big numbers of television viewers across the planet, making it a great opportunity for companies looking to get their brand in front of a global market. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of soccer.

“It’s a widely viewed sport. It has a cumulative audience, in the 2006 figures that we looked at, 26 billion people watched it over a course of a month, with an estimated 715 million people watching the final match, which is 1/9 of the entire world’s population. When we talk about those numbers, automatically that translates into television advertising, sports apparel sponsorship, infrastructure building in the host country, think about what's been built in Brazil alone, it’s just remarkable. So this really is big business.”

Is It Finally Soccer's Time in the Steel City?

Jun 23, 2014
Christopher Squier / 90.5 WESA

In case you haven’t heard, there is a rather large soccer tournament playing in Brazil that happens once every four years called the World Cup. And unlike baseball’s World Series: every country in the world is eligible to play, after making it through the qualifying rounds.

This year the United States has a good chance of advancing past the “Group of Death” and into the round of 16. Their actual odds are disputed among sites such as Bloomberg, World Soccer Talk and CBSDC. All three give the US team at least a 60 percent chance of advancing.