Sports are an important part of the culture of the United States. Four of the nation's five most popular team sports were developed in North America: American football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey, whereas soccer was developed in England. The four Major leagues in the United States are the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL); all enjoy massive media exposure and are considered the preeminent competitions in their respective sports in the world. Three of those leagues have teams that represent Canadian cities, and all four are among the most lucrative sports leagues in the world. The top professional soccer league in the United States, Major League Soccer, has not yet reached the popularity levels of the top four sports leagues, although average attendance has been increasing and in fact has matched or surpassed those of the NBA and the NHL.
Professional teams in all major sports operate as franchises within a league. All major sports leagues use the same type of schedule with a playoff tournament after the regular season ends. In addition to the major league-level organizations, several sports also have professional minor leagues, active in smaller cities across the country.
American football (known as football in the United States and gridiron in some other countries) is a sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field 120 yards long by 53.33 yards wide with goalposts at each end. The offense attempts to advance an oval ball (the football) down the field by running with or passing it. They must advance it at least ten yards in four downs to receive a new set of four downs and continue the drive; if not, they turn over the football to the opposing team. Points are scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown, kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal or by the defense tackling the ball carrier in the offense's end zone for a safety. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.
American football evolved in the United States, originating from the sport of rugby football. The first game of American football was played on November 6, 1869 between two college teams, Rutgers and Princeton, under rules resembling rugby and soccer. A set of rule changes drawn up from 1880 onward by Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football", established the snap, eleven-player teams and the concept of downs, and later rule changes legalized the forward pass, created the neutral zone and specified the size and shape of the football.
The Connecticut Huskies football team is a collegiate football team that competes in NCAA Division I FBS and the American Athletic Conference (The American). Connecticut first fielded a team in 1896, and participated in Division I-AA until 1999. The Huskies began their two-year Division I-A transition period in 2000, and became a full-fledged Division I-A team in 2002. The team's football team joined the other sports leagues in the American Athletic Conference (then known as the Big East until the end of the 2012-13 season) starting in 2004.
College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.
The Connecticut Huskies, also known as the UConn Huskies, are the athletic teams of the University of Connecticut in the United States. The school is a member of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I and the American Athletic Conference. The major sports at the university are football (played at Rentschler Field) and men's and women's basketball (played on-campus at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion and off-campus at the XL Center), although many of the other sports have large followings and a tradition of success. UConn is one of only 15 universities in the nation that plays Division I FBS football and Division I men's ice hockey.
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The Connecticut Huskies women's basketball team represents the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut in NCAA women's basketball competition. They currently play in the American Athletic Conference and are the last original member of the conference to remain in the conference. The Huskies have won 8 NCAA Division I national championships, advanced to 14 Final Fours, and won over 30 Big East regular season and tournament championships. UConn has also been one of the leaders in women's basketball attendance and has produced numerous Olympians and WNBA All-Stars. The team plays its home games at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut and the XL Center in Hartford.