If asked which sport is increasing in popularity the quickest in the U.S., you might say football or basketball. You'd be wrong.

Rugby is America's fastest growing sport over the past decade, according to a Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association survey.

Nearly 350,000 kids were introduced to the sport from Maine to Maui over the past 12 months, USA Rugby reports. Annual memberships to the organization formed in 1975 have gone up 53% since 2005.

"Just about every city in the country now has about half a dozen rugby teams," Bob Watkins, president of USA Soccer told "The Daily."

"You're getting better athletes coming through the system earlier in their lifetime. If you were looking at the national team at the 1987 World Cup, the average age was 34. The average age of the U.S. World Cup team today is probably 27. More players on our national team are from the colleges than they would've been 20 years ago."

Rugby returns as an Olympic sport in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, for the first time since 1924.

It will be a cooler game than William Webb Ellis helped invent at England's Rugby School in 1823.

The 2016 Olympic version is called 7s, with seven players on each side and two seven-minute halves, letting teams play more than one game in a single day.

Fast, lean players are more in demand for 7s, which is said to be a good commercial product.

To get ready for the Rio de Janeiro, the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif, opened its doors to athletes of all ages since 2009, when it was announced that rugby was returning as an Olympic sport.

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