US Soccer: Soon a Major Force?

Today, the US National Team is playing a friendly against Scotland in Glascow. In an interview, Scotland coach Walter Smith said, “I think everybody has to accept they will become a force in world football at some stage within the next 10 years or so.”

And he’s right– if it hasn’t happened already. In the 2002 World Cup, the US team advanced as far as it ever had. Its best players play for– and make significant contributions to– European clubs. The team has currently enjoyed a long run in the top 15 in FIFA’s world rankings.

The question is, though, when will the US sports world start to notice? Sure, it’s a different world from the four-sport monolith we had in the early 1990’s, and the wealth of media options has made the sports landscape much more interesting. But with the success the US team is seeing, and the fall of the NHL, one can hope that a new awareness of soccer in the sports world will start to take hold.

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5 thoughts on “US Soccer: Soon a Major Force?

  1. Don’t hold yer breath, Lancer. If you can’t even beat Scotland….!What depresses me most about US soccer is that here in Baltimore the indoor team garners quite a bit of press. INDOOR SOCCER SUCKS, EVEN MORE SO THAN ARENA FOOTBALL.John C. tells me that Real Salt Lake got decent crowds this season. Remember the MLS Cup tomorrow, if MLS is not beneath you, of course!

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  2. Hey– we started a bunch of young guys. And we never win in Europe anyhow.Yes, the stupid Blast does get lots of press. I don’t understand it. A few years ago there was an attempt to start a pro lax league– why not push that over a dippy bastardization like MLIS?And I’m well aware of the MSL Cup tomorrow. If I can, I’m going to watch, though I’ve found myself at school more often than not these days…

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  3. Call me a pessimist, but I don’t think professional soccer in the U.S. will draw decent crowds for at least another 30 years or so. MLS has ridiculously over-expanded on its tiny fan-base, even if it does have enough players to fill these teams.I think I am part of the problem. I love soccer and even watching it on TV, but the U.S. matches bore me to tears. I can only stand watching Americans if it is a World Cup game or if they are playing for a Premiership side. I’d watch Scottish, English, Argentine, Italian, Spanish, German, Brazilian, and Mexican soccer (in that order) before I’d watch an MLS game (sorry Guatemala).The problem is that I can’t care if the made-up team from Dallas beats the made-up team from Columbus. Besides the players and their immediate families, no one else cares either. However, if Man City beats Man U., tears will be shed, cars will be burnt, lives will be fulfilled. THAT’S worth watching.

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  4. Ned,You are half right. Euro-snobs like you are hurting the domestic game, for sure. But why do you care if the teams are “made-up”? Most American sports teams are just made-up franchises.Fox Soccer Channel (“F..S..C”) is awesome, don’t you think?

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  5. I too love FSC and Gol-TV. I don’t know what I’d do without them.You’re right, I am an International Soccer Snob. The problem is that the core baseball and American football teams have been around for a hundred (Yankees, Red Sox) or eighty (Packers, Bears) years. That isn’t as old as a lot of European clubs (Hearts, 1874!) but to us Americans, it is ancient. Therefore, it’s easier to accept all the new fake teams, like the Ravens and Astros, because they are just part of the older tradition. I attended a Washington Nationals game this summer and my wife and I were amused by all the apparently passionate fans (well, they were verbally abusive, at least). How can you be proud of a team that has existed for a few weeks? It’s much easier to rally a city around a team when there are large numbers of fans with no one to root for.Unfortunately, American soccer teams are being created ex nihilo with very few fans. Perhaps once the memory of their creation fades away and more soccer fans are created, people can get passionate about something as ridiculous as “Real Salt Lake” (what were they thinking? Is that an obscure temple reference?). Maybe witnessing the birth of these clubs is what has soured me on them. That and their lack of popularity, prestige, history, and recognizable international players. Once all these things are fixed, sign me up for season tickets!

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