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The Future of US Soccer

  • Sep 21, 2009

In the last 3 years the United States has seen amazing growth in the interest of soccer.  From growing popularity in Major League Soccer (MLS) since the drama with the arrival of David Beckham to the amazement and belief when the US National Team made it to the FIFA Confederations Cup final in South Africa, the US is on its way from being a Football nation, to a Fútbol nation.

A country that is known for hot dogs at the ballpark (ballpark is one word) and tailgating before the football game, soccer is slowly but surely growing in popularity in the US. Every kid in the US plays AYSO soccer, yet when it comes to the professional side of the sport it seems to dwindle. I feel these days are coming to an end and that baseball and football will no longer be the dominating sports in the US. I foresee huge growth with this sport in every aspect in the US.  Kids will not stop playing soccer after high school and the “crop” of good soccer players in the States will increase tremendously. With the way MLS is expanding and how great the US National Team is playing, the diehard fans will follow, the occasional fans will become permanent fans, and the newbies will learn to love the game. If the US National team can continue to perform the way they did this past summer in South Africa, our country will be put on the global map when it comes to great soccer nations. Just recently the US National team has qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and will be competing for top honor against teams such as Spain and Brazil. The US has a relatively young team, which is a very good thing to have especially if the team is actually showing potential for competing against some of the top teams in the World.  New players such as Jozy Altidore and Charlie Davies have really made a name for themselves for the great show they put on for their fans.  These players potentially hold the future of US Soccer on their shoulders and I feel that they are both ready for it. The team also has players who have been around for years such as Landon Donovan.  Donovan, who will one day be considered the greatest US Soccer player ever, if not already, has really shown what a diverse player he is and has helped move the US National Team from a group that could barely compete against lower level teams to one of the top national teams in the world. With great players like these I can only dream of what is next to come.

 The US Soccer Federation is working to bring the World Cup to the US in either 2018 or 2022 with help from people such as Drew Carey and Henry Kissinger. (You can check out the journey to bring the World Cup to the States here at http://www.gousabid.com/ ). If the US Bid Committee can get the World Cup to come to the US, it would mean so much to the sport for growth here.  Now that the MLS and the US National Team is starting to show some impact on a global level, outside investors will definitely want to put their money into the biggest sports event in the world.

Today, more and more big name players are leaving the European leagues and coming to play in the United States. Players like Juan Pablo Angel and David Beckham have made the move from European leagues, to play in the MLS, which has definitely helped sell tickets, but hasn’t helped the level of play on the field. Last year Beckham’s team, the Los Angeles Galaxy, finished in last place and this season the New York Red Bulls, where Juan Pablo Angel plays, will finish the season as one of the bottom teams as well. Although they are selling tickets, the MLS needs to prove that their league can compete against other leagues and not be known as the league that players retire to. Don Garber the commissioner of the MLS is making great advancements to improve the league by making small and slow steps.  The league is expanding with a new team each year and soon to be two teams a year.  There has also been a rumor about the league looking into changing the season to an August to May season like the European leagues. With these small steps the sport of Soccer will move from the misunderstood, non-popular sport in the US, to a sport competing with Baseball and Football.

Although the people in charge of the development of Soccer here in the states are doing a good job, I feel there is more to be done and some things to be changed.  Major improvement is needed in media coverage.  There is simply not enough.  When one watches the 6 o'clock news, no one hears a sports update about Soccer.  This year both ESPN and Fox Sports have taken the initiative to promote the sport by picking up coverage of the English Premier League and the Spanish league, La Liga. Other than that ESPN and Fox Sports minimal shows that are all about soccer which air during the day while everyone is at work.  If more media coverage was put into place, growth of soccer in the states would flourish. 

Over all I feel the future of soccer in the states can and will be great. I would have to give the promoters of the sport here in the states a B+.  More can be done and things can be changed, but I know that the right steps will be made to make soccer a huge sport in the USA!

This review was written while news broke that Charlie Davies was involved in a terrible car accident. He survived but has undergone surgery. My heart and prayers go out to him.

19 year old Jozy Altidore. The future of US Soccer Charlie Davies USMNT US Soccer Logo

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February 17, 2010
Very good review Ryan. I think for the MLS to become a truly attractive and competitive league, they need to attract more world-class players while hey are still in the prime of their careers. Guys like Beckham and Juan Pablo Angel are great, but clearly in their 'twilight' years when they came over. That will be a very difficult task, as most top players want to play in the top European leagues. As for a US-hosted World Cup boosting the overall interest in the game, that never really panned out when the US hosted it in 1994. I wish the US team well this summer, though I'll be rooting for England. :)
February 17, 2010
I'd have to agree that it will be a difficult task to get quality players over to the MLS and not have them run off to Europe. To be honest with you though I feel like the US Sports market is huge and that if the MLS would let it's teams spend whatever they wanted on players, then the MLS could have the great European players. Some people are against this because of the idea that there would be a couple top teams that just dominate the league like in England and Spain, but if I can have a league that looks like England or Spain, I'm perfectly fine with a couple dominating teams!
February 17, 2010
The US sports market is huge for sure, but the MLS isn't. I can't see how their clubs could possibly afford to compete for the top players with the current and historic levels of interest here in the US. Also, they'll have a near-impossible uphill battle to convince top players, as the league itself is considered a very 'minor' one, not a place where the top stars shine etc.
February 17, 2010
Well currently the teams can't afford a full team of players like in England, but if the salary cap was lifted, I think the teams could get some investing companies to jump in a give some money. I mean by bringing Beckham to the Galaxy, AEG turned that team from a team with massive debt to a team worth $100 Million over night and that was with just one player, imagine that with 5 big name stars. There is a lot of room for growth and it's not going to be over night, not even over 5 years. I do believe it'll work though.
September 27, 2009
nicely done. It would great to see the U.S. team go all out; even if they don't make the finals, as long as they make a great showing it'll be good.
September 22, 2009
Well said! I am looking forward to the World Cup and I really hope we can make a strong showing. I think that would do a lot to move the popularity upward.
September 21, 2009
Great review. I think you captured the US soccer situation perfectly. Trying to find a station that played the CONCACAF Cup was a disaster. ESPN did the initial game analysis and then never aired the show. I ended up watching it on the Spanish language channel!

I agree that soccer is slowly growing in popularity, especially with kids playing in school. Hopefully corporations and marketers will realize the value of soccer and its potential!
More U.S. Men's Soccer Team reviews
review by . June 28, 2009
posted in Yank's Soccer
US Soccer victory over Spain
  So, I’m admittedly not a huge soccer buff, but I certainly respect the sport AND I can definitely appreciate a rowdy, exciting, adrenaline-pumping, unexpected game with loads of athletic skill. Last Wednesday, I watched the Confederations Cup Semi-Final between the US and top-ranked Spain. The U.S. Soccer team vanquished the Spanish team that had not lost since November of 2006.  Led by their defense, the Americans capitalized on their physical play and opportunistic goals to …
Quick Tip by . June 18, 2010
Say what you will about their quality, but the Americans rarely play boring matches. They had the most intense match of the group stage four years ago against Italy, and the most entertaining so far against Slovenia. Also in great shape to qualify or maybe even win the group.
Quick Tip by . June 18, 2010
What a game today versus Slovenia today - The second half was inspiring. What a goal by Landon Donovan. Looking forward to the final group game versus Algeria next Wednesday!
About the reviewer
Ryan Weiss ()
Ranked #66
Follow Me On Twitter: @RyanWeiss   Read My Blog:Virtual Ryan      Born and raised in So Cal. Go Dodgers!!! I went to LMU and studied Business Admin/Marketing. I love Soccer … more
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As the governing body of soccer in all its forms in the United States, U.S. Soccer has helped chart the course for the sport in the USA for more than 90 years. In this time, the Federation’s mission statement has been very simple and very clear: to make soccer, in all its forms, a preeminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels.

To that end, the sports growth in the past two decades has been nothing short of remarkable. In 1989, the U.S. Men's National Team hadn't played in a World Cup in 40 years and the U.S. Women's program was just four years old. U.S. Soccer was playing games in small stadiums that were rarely filled to capacity. There were few games being televised (and none without commercials during play). There were no soccer-specific stadiums, and there were no high-level professional outdoor leagues of which to speak.

Since that time, things have evolved significantly. The U.S. MNT has qualified for their fifth consecutive World Cup, and advanced to the quarterfinals at the 2002 event. U.S. Soccer is a world leader in women’s soccer at every level, and the team has won two Women's World Cups, along with two Olympic Gold Medals. The United States has also hosted three World Cups with the support of its members and strong organizational abilities.

Professionally, Major League Soccer recently celebrated its tenth season of play and continues to further the ...
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