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We’ve been debating all week the value of the high-profile European teams touring the US to huge crowds, while MLS fans slap their foreheads and wonder why fans don’t come out for their local team’s games. At Footsmoke,
Can someone explain to me how more exposure to the game, especially such a high quality brand of soccer, is bad? Should we stop importing foreign beer because it’s better and undermines our domestic product?
Importing a refined foreign product should help American soccer fans, of which MLS fans represent only a small subset, continue to develop a realistic comparison to their domestic product. It should help erode the snobbery and ignorance of American fans, or at least it will as long as American soccer continues to close the gap that separates it from Europe (another touchy subject that I won’t get into right now). Fans will see Seattle play a fiery and even game with Chelsea for 90 minutes, despite losing 2-0. They will watch MLS games held as part of double-headers after Barcelona and Milan games. And some on the cuff will be converted when they realize, yeah, American soccer is bad, but you know what it’s not that bad goddammit, or at least not bad enough to ignore. They will think, it’s kind of like American beer – cheaper, grittier, and a lot less pretentious.
Philbrick is probably right that more exposure is not in itself bad. Plenty of fans can follow Premier League teams and support their local MLS team, and one has to start somewhere with soccer. Perhaps what’s needed is not to see it as a battle, but for MLS and US Soccer to work on how it can be coordinated better scheduling-wise and in terms of commercial and marketing activity to ensure each time a high-profile team plays in the US, it is providing a benefit for the local MLS team — this clearly isn’t always the case.
- Nothing is looking up for Newcastle United. Getting smashed 6-1 by Leyton Orient in a friendly over the weekend was bad enough — but now one of the few serious parties interested in purchasing the club has pulled out. Profitable Group, headed by former England player Steve McMahon, are apparently not-so-profitable after all, after failing to provide proof of funding. This means Newcastle are likely to stagger into the new season rudderless and without installing Alan Shearer as manager.
- It’s not just MLS stadiums that have stages. A freak roof accident at a stage installed for a Madonna concert at Marseille’s Velodrome stadium will see it closed for some time.
- Umm: Wigan and the Dutch national team are not usually synonymous, but their new kit for the 09-10 season is in brilliant Orange “in honour of the famous Netherlands side from the 1978 World Cup,” apparently because that was also the same year Wigan entered the Football League. Well, OK then. Can’t wait for Total Football at the JJB (or is it DW Stadium already now?).
- One of the more comical 75-yard goals you’ll ever see was scored by Essau Kanyenda in the Russian Second Division this week. Did no-one tell the goalkeeper that footballs bounce?
- The Premier League is correcting one of its most short-sighted moves in the global marketplace, by going free-to-air on Chinese television.
- Struggling Livingston, the original Franchise FC we reported on last month, are edging closer to oblivion.
- Even the Scottish elite are struggling — Rangers have not made a single summer signing, surely because they made a post-tax loss of £4 million.
- MLS must be delighted that one of their representative clubs in the CONCACAF Champions League, Red Bull New York, are also right now the worst in the league’s history. Red Bull have won only 2 of their last 21 league games (this in a league designed to ensure parity!), and formerly-acclaimed coach Juan Carlos Osorio is hanging on by the skin of his fat contract. They take on W Connection in Trinidad and Tobago in a match to be televised on Fox Soccer Channel. Of course, it was only thanks to MLS’ overly-generous playoff system that a Red Bull team that epitomised mediocrity last season was able to sneak into the playoffs and rather luckily find their way to the final, and hence continental qualification. Maybe that new playoff system idea we mentioned yesterday would help prevent this kind of debacle?
- If the US national team needed any more motivation ahead of their huge World Cup qualifier in Mexico City next month, the Mexican press provided some clippings for them — they seem to think that their B team beating the US’s B team had achieved a “golden dream” and proven Mexico to be “the best team in the CONCACAF Zone” (Mediotiempo.com). I guess you could say it’s on, were you prone to such hyperbole. US fans will be pleased to learn that the Telemundo has opened up mun2’s English-language broadcast of the match to all DirecTV and DishNetwork subscribers.
- The fan who taunted Beckham has had his lifetime ban from the Home Depot Center rescinded. It’s not particularly clear why, though many of said that he was, after all, invited onto the field by a certain Galaxy employee.
- Houston was selected to host the 2010 MLS All-Star game. Anyone know, well, why?