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Old 05-21-2010, 08:37 AM
 
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I just wanted to give my two cents on this subject which has been debated to death. For a sport that was not invented in the States, and whose greatest stars play on the other side of the globe, I have to say soccer is alive and healthy in this nation. Not only that, is growing like crazy, and it will keep growing given two reasons: 1) Kid leagues. Soccer is by far the parent’s preferred sport for their kids to play. Not because it is the safest, but because it is the cheapest to play, and the less frustrating for kids to play, since kicking a ball comes natural to them. This does not mean is an easy sport, since soccer is one of the sport, if not, the sport, that requires the most coordination, speed, and skill. In the future, those kids will become our professional soccer players. 2) Immigration. Latin Americans immigrate to the USA in big numbers every year, and with them comes their love of soccer.

Last edited by mickey mouse is dead; 05-21-2010 at 09:39 AM..
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Fishers, IN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickey mouse is dead View Post
I just wanted to give my two cents on this subject which has been debated to death. For a sport that was not invented in the States, and whose greatest starts play on the other side of the globe, I have to say soccer is alive and healthy in this nation. Not only that, is growing like crazy, and it will keep growing given two reasons: 1) Kid leagues. Soccer is by far the parentís preferred sport for their kids to play. Not because it is the safest, but because it is the cheapest to play, and the less frustrating for kids to play, since kicking a ball comes natural to them. This does not mean is an easy sport, since soccer is one of the sport, if not, the sport, that requires the most coordination, speed, and skill. In the future, those kids will become our professional soccer players. 2) Immigration. Latin Americans immigrate to the USA in big numbers every year, and with them comes their love of soccer.
I would tend to agree with No. 2 moreso than No. 1. American kids have been playing soccer in droves for decades now, yet it doesn't seem to translate into the adult years.

As one of our posters noted in another thread, the university system in this country may be an impediment to more Americans becoming prominent in the sport. Still, what would prevent good, young American players from getting into the academies? If that were to happen, and more Americans became prominent in the sport, then you might see it really take off. Right now, for most Americans, there's no personal connection to soccer. And even the most novice U.S. fan can tell that MLS is not on par with the EPL, Serie A or La Liga.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by grmasterb View Post
I would tend to agree with No. 2 moreso than No. 1. American kids have been playing soccer in droves for decades now, yet it doesn't seem to translate into the adult years.

As one of our posters noted in another thread, the university system in this country may be an impediment to more Americans becoming prominent in the sport. Still, what would prevent good, young American players from getting into the academies? If that were to happen, and more Americans became prominent in the sport, then you might see it really take off. Right now, for most Americans, there's no personal connection to soccer. And even the most novice U.S. fan can tell that MLS is not on par with the EPL, Serie A or La Liga.
You would need European scouts to be actively scouting in the US and American families to be okay with their kids leaving home to go to the best clubs at ages 14, 15, 16. For the best prospects, the clubs would probably pay for the parents to come too.

I think the personal connection is important too. I grew up in Scotland and, as kids, we dreamed of the day we could play for our local teams.
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:58 AM
 
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
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Soccer is not doing great in the USA, it still is a secondary sport, that most people don't quite understand/care for. Why?

- Lack of soccer culture. Not much to do about that. In Europe we grow up playing soccer in the street kicking an empty can of coke; we start playing soccer at 6-7 years and we have real coaches who actually coach, unlike here where youth soccer coaches are more "taking care of kids while they run around". Kids are being taught that soccer is fun and it's above all non-competitive, win or lose matter little, just make sure you don't get hurt.
In Italy we compete for a starting position since we are 8 years old. And you are coached hours individually on stopping and controlling the ball. In America they don't want you to do that because their concept is that "all kids should be involved at any time", so you can't line them up and aske them to take turn in shooting because you "can't make them wait". And I know this first hand. That's why I stopped coaching here, it's a joke.

- Lack of competitive leagues. Until the MLS will keep importing old european players who have nothing left to give (but they have a name and people buy tickets) and central and southern american players who can't even start at home, the level won't improve much.
The system is similar to the other American sports (nfl, nba, nhl, mlb etc..): pro or college. That hurts soccer. In the rest of the nworld you have a pro or semi-pro team in most of cities. You have the 1st league, 2nd, 3rd and on and there is a system of promotion and relegation, not just the national title.
Without that, you have half of the teams that midway in the season are already playing for nothing: can't win anything, won't go tom play-offs, and no fear of being relegated to league 2, because there is none. That takes away interest, fans etc...

- Most of Americans still think soccer is a "light contact" sport and obviously will keep doing that until they start watching games from leagues in England, Italy and Spain.

That's the problem with soccer in the USA. It's not in the heart of people, it's not in the mind. So all there is left is an attempt to see "if there is money to be made". And traditionally you don't go far in soccer with a financial attitude if that is not accompanied by a soccer ball running inside your veins and rolling into your heart.
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoItaly View Post
Soccer is not doing great in the USA, it still is a secondary sport, that most people don't quite understand/care for. Why?
Compared to 20 years ago, soccer is doing great and the popularity keeps growing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MoItaly View Post
- Lack of competitive leagues. Until the MLS will keep importing old european players who have nothing left to give (but they have a name and people buy tickets) and central and southern american players who can't even start at home, the level won't improve much.
The system is similar to the other American sports (nfl, nba, nhl, mlb etc..): pro or college. That hurts soccer. In the rest of the nworld you have a pro or semi-pro team in most of cities. You have the 1st league, 2nd, 3rd and on and there is a system of promotion and relegation, not just the national title.
Without that, you have half of the teams that midway in the season are already playing for nothing: can't win anything, won't go tom play-offs, and no fear of being relegated to league 2, because there is none. That takes away interest, fans etc...
The quality of play in MLS has improved a ton since it started in 1996. If you go back and watch those games, you will see that. It improves every single season.

Getting soccer talent to play here is not easy. Pretty much every single country in the world has several professional leagues.

We also have several divisions of soccer. Obviously, we do not have pro/reg. We will never have pro/reg. The business of sports in this country does not allow for that kind of system and the American sports fan would never understand it. I personally think that the other sports leagues should use it as well but it will never happen.

The USSF just formed a new second division that should go along way in developing US talent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoItaly View Post
- Most of Americans still think soccer is a "light contact" sport and obviously will keep doing that until they start watching games from leagues in England, Italy and Spain.
They do think of it as a light contact sport. However, the people that think that are not watching games at all. The MLS is one of the more physical leagues in the world. Players that play here from other places have even said so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoItaly View Post
That's the problem with soccer in the USA. It's not in the heart of people, it's not in the mind. So all there is left is an attempt to see "if there is money to be made". And traditionally you don't go far in soccer with a financial attitude if that is not accompanied by a soccer ball running inside your veins and rolling into your heart.
You're right but that is slowly changing. It takes time, a lot of time, to change a mindset like that. With each passing generation, soccer becomes more and more welcome.

Another thing we need is for Americans to start getting healthier. This is going to sound odd but I believe that part of football being so popular is that we are okay with fatness. Americans see offensive and defensive lineman that are 350 pounds or more and think they are some amazing athlete when in reality, they are on the verge of having a coronary. We frown on sports like soccer and cycling because the athletes are smaller when in reality they are in tens time better shape than anyone playing football or baseball. Americans need to wake up and realize that being big with a lot of muscles doesnt mean you are in good shape, generally it means the opposite.
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC
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Good post MoItaly... One thing that bothers me about US soccer fans is that they don't take MLS for what it is, too often they prostitute themselves to ManU, Chelsea and Barcelona because they are the biggest and best. Soccer fans in Holland, Denmark, Greece, Turkey, etal. are passionate about their domestic leagues even though they know they are not close to the best.

And the Latino influence is way overrated, their attendance is nothing special and on the field they bring a selfish but still very soft approach to the game. We could use more Euro influence, to teach the game correctly, how to use space, how to man-mark, etc.

Finally, I still think the media drops the ball on soccer despite ESPN's good pending coverage of the World Cup. Too many in the sports media critisize the sport because they don't know much about it and play like they are FOX News! So it can appear to the casual viewer that soccer ain't happening here, when it is just some backward white dudes slamming it.
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC
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Originally Posted by RjRobb2 View Post
Another thing we need is for Americans to start getting healthier. This is going to sound odd but I believe that part of football being so popular is that we are okay with fatness. Americans see offensive and defensive lineman that are 350 pounds or more and think they are some amazing athlete when in reality, they are on the verge of having a coronary. We frown on sports like soccer and cycling because the athletes are smaller when in reality they are in tens time better shape than anyone playing football or baseball. Americans need to wake up and realize that being big with a lot of muscles doesnt mean you are in good shape, generally it means the opposite.
Good stuff Robb, very true. Similarly rap music and most popular dance music in America has a very slow tempo or if not a pretty simple beat. I think because so many Americans are big or obese, they can only dance to that stuff where you can just walk and sway a bit. Meanwhile in South America and especially Europe, you have intricate up-tempo beats that you really have to move to.
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MoItaly View Post

- Most of Americans still think soccer is a "light contact" sport and obviously will keep doing that until they start watching games from leagues in England, Italy and Spain.
You are obviously making the assumption that Americans compare football with American football. I don't think anybody watches soccer and think, "geez, why aren't they tackling each other!". People in the states love the NFL, that's granted, but they also watch baseball, which is a very relaxed, almost non physical sport. Basketball is physical, but can also be considered "light".

MLS is improving, and while it keeps doing so, is going to attract more fans. Also, there has to be an interest in Europe to gain some market here in the states by bringing their teams here to do exhibitions, or to have regular season games in the states.
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:38 PM
 
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MoItaly is absolutely right on point.

I grew up in Glasgow, Scotland. Although I played rugby competitively, soccer was in our blood. We played in the street, in the back lanes, in the playground at break, after school. The goals were our sweaters piled up together. We supported our local team, in my case the Mighty Glasgow Rangers. I am still passionate about them 50 years on and I will get up at 4.30am to watch the games live over the internet.

Even as adults, we played in corporate leagues or in the minor divisions. We would play 5s after work also against other companies. Every 4 years our company would have a national inter-office soccer tournament and we would put together a team for it. My son, who now works in Switzerland, was playing semi-profesional in one of the minor leagues until recently. He still plays but amateur now. It is easy to find teams. Under 11, under 15, under 19, veterans, corporate, etc.. Around Geneva, every village has a team. It isn't dissimilar to the structure you find in the US around baseball.

So, soccer is in the blood in Europe and it really isn't here in the US. A friend of mine coaches at the local High School so I went along to watch the game. It was great in that there were a lot of parents there. But they had no idea what they were watching. They didn't know the basic rules of the game. And the game was bland. It needed a few hard tackles to get the blood up.

That said, soccer has come a long way here. But to get to the next level, it needs a league structure at the grass roots. It needs local teams and people who are able to identify with that team and who come to care about it. And it needs promotion/relegation to add some real competition and so that teams have skin in the game.

And we need less of the EPL, of the Man Utd. of the Chelsea or the Barcelona because those teams are about the power of money and not the passion of soccer. As the joke goes, "how many Man Utd. fans does it take to change a light bulb?". Answer: "two. One to change the bulb and one to fly the plane over from New York".

Oh ... and I hate Glasgow Celtic with a passion that not even the Yankee/Red Sox rivalry can attain
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:56 PM
 
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Ranger guy huh?

I am a non-soccer oriented yank. Soccer seems to be doing Okay on a niche level. Not much more than that though. The words "amazingly well" will only apply if you begin to see heavily hyped matches of free to air tv every weekend like you have with college football or basketball.

To be frank though, I am surprised how much buzz ESPN is giving the world cup on their website. Granted being at college doesn't give me a lot of time to watch them on TV to compare coverage. Still it is interesting. Then again, no other sports sites are really talking about it so.
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