The US National Team will rely on two, maybe three thirty somethings to move through the first group of CONCACAF qualification. (the names Frankie Hejduk, Eddie Lewis and Pablo Mastroeni come to mind)
Major League Soccer will fail to sign a big name over the hill international, but will scout well and sign a few regular national team members from Latin America.
The European Championships will flop on ESPN and ABC without any British Isles nations participating. Our orientation in the American soccer media is heavily skewed towards the Premier League and England National Team almost to the point where England’s team gets as much attention from our media as the US team.
The more aggressive and successful USL clubs will see the Seattle model and attempt to climb into MLS by finding more investment and perhaps signing one or two decent internationals.
We will begin to see the fruits borne of the partnership between the MLS and Bundesliga. Better TV production, more creative marketing and perhaps more fan participation will be the results of MLS learning from the Bundesliga.
MLS will begin to learn its future lies in the alternative soccer based media (like CSRN) and Latino/Hispanic oriented media. Therefore the league will continue to move its product towards the demographic likely to embrace the league. Drew Carey’s marching band idea in Seattle not withstanding, we will see more emphasis on the product on the field and less clever Americanized sideshows around the game.
Carlos Bocanegra’s continued poor play will force him out of England and either back to MLS or to Scandinavia.
Speaking of Scandinavia, one or two Americans who play there will become national team regulars, since those Yanks play more meaningful regular roles on their clubs than many of the Americans playing in the Premier League, Bundesliga or even in some MLS situations.
More young American players will move directly to Holland, Sweden or Germany rather than attend college for more than two years. MLS with its insulting pay scale for developmental players is not an option for these aspiring national team members.
Real Salt Lake will be the most improved team in MLS for 2008.