The So-Called Pan-Pacific Championship

Try as the likes of Ian Plenderleith might, it’s increasingly hard to satirise the David Beckham Extravaganza. Reality has become too absurd.

Major League Soccer (USA), the J.League (Japan) and the Hyundai A-League (Australia) today announced an unprecedented and innovative partnership in the creation of a new international soccer tournament to be hosted in Honolulu, Hawaii: the Pan-Pacific Championship (PPC), which will crown the top club from the Asian and North American soccer confederations. [. . .]

The four teams to participate in the 2008 tournament are: reigning MLS Cup champion Houston Dynamo and Haleiwa, Hawaii native Brian Ching; the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Champion Gamba Osaka, with 19-year-old Japanese sensation Michihiro Yasuda and J.League star Yasuhito Endo; the 2007 SuperLiga finalists Los Angeles Galaxy, whose international roster includes English superstar David Beckham and perennial MLS all-star Landon Donovan; and a club to qualify from the Hyundai A-League Final Series, which concludes in February 2008 ahead of the Pan-Pacific Championship.

Now, I’m not against exhibition tournaments in general. If Beckham can fill stadia across the world for reasons that remain somewhat obscure to my footballing brain, no-one can blame the Galaxy for whoring themselves endlessly. It’s what football teams do nowadays. Or at least, we shouldn’t blame them particularly.

David Beckham, Christ

But do they have to pretend this is about “crown[ing] the top club from the Asian and North American soccer confederations”? The Galaxy finished third from bottom in MLS this season. The teams that qualify should be the MLS Cup champions (Houston, as is happening) and the Supporters’ Shield regular season champions (DC United, who are probably glad they don’t have yet another tournament to plan for).

Even Galaxy fans have had enough. Over at The Offside, Laurie lays into the front office for continuing to attempt to become a “superclub” by their actions off the field rather than on it.

Is it the sole goal of MLS to make the Galaxy the most hated/criticized/laughed at team in the league because of the special treatment they receive? That seems to be the case. It’s getting embarrassing to be a fan. And if they don’t start performing, it will be humiliating, too.

Of course, it’s doubtful the “Pan-Pacific Championship” would even be happening without Beckham’s draw in Asia. So, one could conclude anything that raises MLS profile is beneficial, and Beckham does that. On the other hand, raising its profile as what is the question.

6 thoughts on “The So-Called Pan-Pacific Championship

  1. Laurie

    My team are NOT whores. They just…just… They just like spreading their affection around all over the world while earning tons of money by doing it. And if that makes them whores, well…

    Damn. You’re right. They’re whores. ;-)

  2. Brian

    Don’t think of them as whores, Laurie. Just think of them as spreading a gospel of free love for an unusually high degree of compensation.

  3. Davyd Trunyov

    “no-one can blame the Galaxy for whoring themselves endlessly. It’s what football teams do nowadays.”
    COSMOS have done it, back in 1920 AC Hakoah a top Jewish team from Vienna have traveled all around Europe and even played in U.S.. So teams away whored themselves out, what LA Galaxy are doing, is pure circus.

  4. Hawaii Soccer mom

    What’s so bad about the LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo (with local boy Brian Ching) coming to Hawaii….we don’t have a MLS team like the rest of you. But we do have a large number of kids involved in soccer that are unable to travel to the mainland or Europe to see a professional game. This exhibition benefits alot of people, the league, the teams and the fans willing to pay to see professional soccer at home. Don’t be haters, think about the kids that will be inspired. We hope to fill there will be enough interest that this will become an annual event.

  5. Thomas Dunmore Post author

    Absolutely agree, nobody is saying there shouldn’t be an exhibition. It’s great to spread the word.

    I just object to inviting certain teams on merit and calling it a “Championship”, when one team is being invited purely for marketing reasons.

    Call it an exhibition tournament and everyone’s happy.

    Still, hope you have fun with it anyway, let us know how it goes down.