Author Topic: Is It Make Or Break For Football In The US?  (Read 1713 times)

White Noise

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Is It Make Or Break For Football In The US?
« on: May 31, 2010, 06:22:28 PM »
Or is the momentum unstoppable now and the roll out of a much bigger set-up inevitable?


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/world-cup-2010/7786465/Kevin-Garside-Soccer-makes-smart-plays-in-quest-to-conquer-America-before-World-Cup.html

Kevin Garside: Soccer makes smart plays in quest to conquer America before World Cup


Has the American experiment with ‘soccer’ - football carries a different trademark here - taken a definitive turn? Clint Dempsey, Fulham’s card-carrying Texan, said he couldn’t remember two games like it where the larger part of the crowd were cheering for the United States in a Yankie stadium.
 
By Kevin Garside, Chief Sports Writer


Published: 8:00AM BST 31 May 2010

Kevin's Twitter

He was referring to the experience in Hartford Connecticut, where the United States hosted the Czech Republic, and Philadelphia. An audience of 55,000 gave them a patriotic World Cup send-off against Turkey, ahead of their World Cup opener against England on June 12.

The crowd in American soccer history is drawn traditionally from an immigrant demographic rooting for the old country. A home match against Mexico in Los Angeles, for example, is an intimidating experience for an American team, with 90 per cent of the audience wearing Mexican green. The supporters at Lincoln Financial Field, in contrast, melded match day into a joint July 4 and Thanksgiving parade. Think old west car park at Twickenham minus the Range Rover and Barbour. This was not the casual observer dropping by for a peak, rather the full-on, replica shirt love-in; a sure sign of informed allegiance.

The choice of Philadelphia was, as they like to say in this neighbourhood, a ‘smart play’, tapping into the city’s new affiliation with Major League Soccer through the Philadelphia Union. The city, the sixth most populous in the United States, has an established obsession with sport demonstrated by a canon that includes major league baseball, football, basketball and ice hockey. Soccer, the city’s elders claim, is here to stay. The USA bid committee selected Philadelphia as a host city in their World Cup submission for the 2018 and 2022 events. The Union move into their purpose-built home in neighbouring Chester next month.

This is surely soccer’s last chance to crack America. The game had a presence in the early part of the 20th century before disappearing between the wars. The North American Soccer League threw George Best and Pele at the problem in the early Seventies but neither LA Aztecs nor the New York Cosmos survived the indifference.

The grand projects of Los Angeles and New York were an attempt to establish the game from the top down, to impose a professional structure on a sport without foundations. The Hispanic community that might have supported soccer failed the cricket test by maintaining an attachment to Mexico. That may be about to change. The most important shift in the Hispanic American dynamic came with the decision of Jose Torres to choose America, the country of his mother, over Mexico, the land of his fathers.

Torres, who plays for Mexican club Pachuca, is the first Hispanic footballer to make the move. “It was a tough choice. I was born here in the States but play in Mexico and have lived there for six years. When the fans heard about the choice I made I think they took it pretty hard. But Bob [Bradley, USA coach] was watching me when I was in the minor Leagues. I had a chance to go to the Olympic Games [Beijing 2008]. But I wanted to take things slowly. When Bob called a second time for the World Cup qualifiers I knew the opportunity was now or never. I had to take it. Mexico tried to call me but I’m happy with the choice I made.”

So is Bradley, whose pedestrian, unimaginative team was transformed by the introduction of Torres in the second half against Turkey. America’s Hispanic youth now have one of their own to cheer in a US shirt. That must be significant for the growth of the game. Soccer’s third coming in the States is built on the strength of the game at grass roots, not the iconic import, though there are sure to be more of those. Two fans who flew up from Florida to be at the Turkey match formed their attachment to the sport through the involvement of their children. Soccer has a rapidly developing presence in schools and colleges. The trick is to connect to the professional game via the same umbilical link that exists in football’s traditional playgrounds. Grow your own David Beckham, as it were.

Gates in the MLS average about 14,000, which, outside of the Glasgow axis is superior to Scotland, and on a par with the lesser clubs in Serie A and La Liga. The Seattle Sounders, the 15th franchise to launch in the MLS last year, sell out their 37,000-capacity ground. Philadelphia joined this year with plans to add four more teams, including Portland, Montreal and possibly Miami. The cheers ringing out around Philadelphia as the players went on a lap of honour was the soundtrack the game here needs; sweet soul music piping across that final frontier. Not in South Africa, but on the continent of America itself.

Offline Tom

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Re: Is It Make Or Break For Football In The US?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2010, 10:11:10 PM »
No, soccer is growing here in the U.S. I am hoping that in the next 20 years that it can knockout hockey and move into the top 4 at number 4. MLS needs to invest more money into the younger players and they need to have reserve teams like the Premiere League has. 68,000 for a send off game this past Saturday is pretty damn good. Now that says something and that the game is growing here in the U.S. A nice run in the WC this year wouldn't hurt either.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 10:16:24 PM by Tom »

Offline YankeeJim

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Re: Is It Make Or Break For Football In The US?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2010, 06:59:56 PM »
Soccer is here to stay. I was just at a family reunion with family members from 6 different states. There were several discussions about the upcoming WC & my son-in-law from Minnesota asked me several questions and made positive comments about Fulham's success this season. Both of my grandchildren play and both paused in front of the telly when I had the US-Turkey game on and didn't leave until they were called away by my daughter. The game will be different in the US. After all, we are a different people. I think at some point there will be more interaction between the Mexican League and MLS. There are some potential natural rivalrys there. The other aspect is women's soccer. I'd like to see some of the MLS teams join with the women's teams. They could use the same facilities and maybe have a good old fashion double header on match days. We gotta put some butts in the seats. Course, the upcoming thrashing of England will bring some interest.   :011:  :005:


Offline finnster01

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Re: Is It Make Or Break For Football In The US?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2010, 07:09:51 PM »
... We gotta put some butts in the seats. Course, the upcoming thrashing of England will bring some interest.   :011:  :005:
Well Mr Jim, you know as well as I do that will never happen. Didn't we just play you the other week and you know what the result was? And I am not going to follow that up (as I now live in the US) with the well known chant of "Can we play you every week" and "Are you Scunthorpe in disguise"


Offline YankeeJim

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Re: Is It Make Or Break For Football In The US?
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2010, 07:22:08 PM »
Finney,
I am at a loss! A Fulham fan without hope? I would think that hopeful people are drawn to Fulham rather then becoming so after being a follower. Why would we have Fulhamish? If I had asked you this time last year would Fulham reach the final of the Europa, you would have said you & I can hope but we both know that won't happen.

Truth be told, the US does not match up well with England. We are better against Spain or Brazil. What gives the US a chance is fitness & effort. England has that as well. They, like us, don't quit like so many teams will do. It seems that this is a characteristic of English speaking peoples. Wonder where that came from?  :032:

mofulham

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Re: Is It Make Or Break For Football In The US?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2010, 09:49:19 PM »
I think at some point there will be more interaction between the Mexican League and MLS. There are some potential natural rivalrys there. The other aspect is women's soccer. I'd like to see some of the MLS teams join with the women's teams. They could use the same facilities and maybe have a good old fashion double header on match days. We gotta put some butts in the seats. Course, the upcoming thrashing of England will bring some interest.   :011:  :005:

Those are some good ideas! MLS sign-up Yankee Jim


Offline finnster01

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Re: Is It Make Or Break For Football In The US?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2010, 10:52:16 PM »
Finney,
I am at a loss! A Fulham fan without hope? I would think that hopeful people are drawn to Fulham rather then becoming so after being a follower. Why would we have Fulhamish? If I had asked you this time last year would Fulham reach the final of the Europa, you would have said you & I can hope but we both know that won't happen.

Truth be told, the US does not match up well with England. We are better against Spain or Brazil. What gives the US a chance is fitness & effort. England has that as well. They, like us, don't quit like so many teams will do. It seems that this is a characteristic of English speaking peoples. Wonder where that came from?  :032:
All good banter my friend. Maybe we can grab a beer one day (even a Fullers of some kind ESB is preferred, but London Pride will do mate). Look, what worries me is that we have no goal keeper, you seem to have about 10 of them. I don't remember a WC team winning the world cup without a solid goalie (the exception being perhaps the ridiculous good 1970 Brazil who could have fielded my mother in goals and still won the world cup)

Offline Kiwi Fulham Fan

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Re: Is It Make Or Break For Football In The US?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2010, 07:05:51 AM »
to hold another world cup there in the next 20 years would boost the influenece
and like Yankee Jim said a format where they do play Mexican Clubs would be would be a great start

Offline HatterDon

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Re: Is It Make Or Break For Football In The US?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2010, 05:37:12 PM »
Well, we actually have TWO competitions where MLS clubs play Mexican clubs. One of them, the CONCACAF champions league features the League Champions, the US Open Cup champions [our FA Cup], and top finishers in the league. Also included in the latter are similar teams in the other CONCACAF nations. The result is that the MLS squads value these competitions so little, that they use them as a chance to get some minutes for their kids. As the result, we see the MLS champions getting schooled by Joe Public [I poo you not], and USL-1 teams [our version of the CCC] based in Puerto Rico and Canada slapping the snot out of other MLS sides. Embarrasing.

The results in both competitions is usually between two Mexican clubs. 


mhatc

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Re: Is It Make Or Break For Football In The US?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2010, 10:57:38 PM »
Joe Public

Poor Revolution. I think it was the lack of a Dempsey that did it.