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Thanks in Part to 'Soccer Moms,' Game Grows in the U.S.

Erin Shiavone and Nancy Steinbach



Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.


I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

We answer a question about Americans and the game of soccer …

Play some music from a Tony award winning musical play …

And report about a new cellular telephone ringtone that some people cannot hear.



Cellular phones are extremely popular in the United States and around the world, especially among young people. Now, teenagers are using a cell phone ringtone that many adults cannot hear. Mario Ritter has more.


The sound that the cell phone releases is a very high frequency, or pitch. Many older people are not able to hear the ringtone. Teenagers are using it to communicate during school classes. Students are supposed to have their cell phones turned off during classes. But some students use the ringtone so they can send text messages to each other during class without their teachers knowing.

For example, the frequency of normal talking is as high as eight kilohertz. The frequency of the ringtone is said to be about seventeen kilohertz. Over time, most adults over the age of forty or fifty lose their ability to hear high frequency sounds. So most young people can hear the ringtone but many older people cannot.

A British security company first created the sound and called it the Mosquito. The Mosquito device is a small black box that sends out sounds at a very high frequency. The device was used to solve a problem for British storeowners. Many teenagers gathered in stores without buying anything. Storeowners used the Mosquito sound to make the teenagers leave the store.

The Mosquito sound was reinvented as a ringtone for cell phones. Teenagers in the United States found the ringtone on the Internet. Some students downloaded the ringtone onto their cell phones and sent it to their friends. The ringtone quickly spread among teenagers in the United States and in other countries.

Many people from around the world have written about the ringtone on Web sites. Some people over forty years old said they could hear the ringtone, too. And some young people found the ringtone to be painful to hear. They said it hurt their ears and gave them headaches. Here is the ring tone. Can you hear it? Here it is again!



Our VOA listener question this week comes from South Korea. Byoung-Lip Ha asks why the game of soccer is not as popular in the United States as in other parts of the world.

That is a good question to answer right now as the World Cup is being played in Germany. Most of the world is very interested in this series of football games. In fact, it is the world’s most popular sport. Reports say as many as one thousand million people around the world are expected to watch the championship game on July ninth. Still, most people in the United States have little interest in the World Cup, even though the United States team is taking part.

Many sports experts say the American public has never shown much interest in the game called soccer in the United States. However, they say this is only true of older Americans. These adults did not play soccer when they were children. They did not grow up with the sport as people in other countries have. Sports like American football, baseball and basketball have always been more popular in the United States than soccer.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association says more than seventeen million people have played soccer at least once this year. That makes soccer one of the most popular team sports in the country.

Experts say children are making soccer more popular in the United States because almost anyone can play the game. There are teams for girls, boys, older children and young adults. Some Americans have become interested in soccer because their children play. This has produced a new American expression, “soccer mom.” This is a mother who spends a lot of time driving her children to soccer games and watching them compete.

The experts say soccer is increasing in popularity among Americans. The United States national team has qualified for four World Cup competitions. The new Major League Soccer organization has been making progress since it began about ten years ago.

The increased use of the Internet is permitting American soccer fans to communicate with those in other parts of the world. And more television stations are broadcasting soccer games. Still, most Americans say they would rather play soccer than watch it on television.

Tony Awards


Last week, the American Theater Wing presented its sixtieth yearly Tony Awards. The Tony awards honor work on the Broadway stage in New York City. Barbara Klein plays music from one of the winning musical plays.


Tony Awards are given to people who work in all areas of Broadway stage productions. These include actors, writers, directors and designers. One of the top awards is presented to the best musical play of the year.

The winner this year is the show “Jersey Boys.” It is the story of the Four Seasons rock and roll group that was popular in the nineteen sixties. It tells how the four young men from New Jersey got together, became successful and then broke up.

The Four Seasons wrote their own songs and created their own special sound. They sold one hundred seventy-five million records around the world. Maybe you remember the group. Here are the real Four Seasons singing their big hit, “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”


Theater critics praised the actors in “Jersey Boys” for their versions of the Four Seasons music. Listen now to the actors in the musical sing that same song.


“Jersey Boys” won several Tony awards last week. Christian Hoff won the Tony for featured actor in a musical for his work as Four Seasons member Tommy DeVito. And John Lloyd Young won the Tony for best actor in a musical. He plays Four Seasons lead singer Frankie Valli. We leave you now with John Lloyd Young singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”



I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. Our show was written by Erin Schiavone and Nancy Steinbach. Caty Weaver was our producer.

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