Those of you who tuned into the American Soccer Show this afternoon or morning depending on where you reside were probably entertained by the passionate conversation my co-host Dave Denholm and I had on the subject of Euro snobbery. We hear the term all time with reference for football fans here in the states, but what exactly constitutes a “Eurosnob” in my mind?
A Eurosnob is a person who is not an ex-pat or a Latino/Hispanic that feels every aspect of American soccer should resemble the Premier League, or some other European league or FA of their choice. These people who are almost entirely new to the game in the past few years will take an opportunity to knock American soccer while not understanding or appreciating the game in this country at all levels. These people simply put have not taken the time to learn about our system in this country and have been deeply “affected” in my mind by what they see on television, hear on the radio or read on certain websites. Let me preface the remainder of this post stating I in no way hold those who emigrated to the United States from traditional footballing nations guilty in any way shape or form of supporting their native national team or club team. This discussion is based around American born soccer fans who have chosen for whatever reason to trash soccer in this country.
A common misconception of this Eurosnob crowd is that the US National Team is inferior to any in Europe or South America. Many in this crowd were spotted in Soldier Field when the US played Brazil in yellow and blue regalia. Others walk around the streets of suburbia USA wearing the blue French kit or the Azurri jersey. These people haven’t given their home nation a chance to show its quality in football. These”fans” of the beautiful game have never been spotted in any MLS, USL or National Team game unless it is of course to cheer for Brazil. Many of these people advocate the point of the view that “the US doesn’t matter” and that the “US stinks” while claiming to love the game. When I point out to some of these types of people that the US has qualified for more consecutive world cups than England, France, Mexico, Portugal, or Holland these people usually attack the CONCACAF federation or claim I am simply making this unbelievable fact up.
Another misconception is that the quality in MLS is that of let’s say League Two or the Conference in England. This is even more laughable than what we have discussed above. I don’t know many teams in the Conference who have full internationals with dozens of caps for nations that routinely make the World Cup or compete in Continental Championships. While Major League Soccer isn’t the Premier League or La Liga, it isn’t the Conference North either. In addition, does MLS have to be of the EPL standard to get support here at home? Another question for those who bash both the MLS and US National Team………..does the MLS becoming a mini Premier League help or hurt the US National Team? I’ll let those who have views on the affect of the Premier League’s power and the weight of certain English based clubs on the English FA and Three Lions debate that subject more thoroughly, but my view is that the circa 1990 England National Team featuring Gary Lineker, David Platt and Peter Shilton among others (let me admit the England 1990 team is one of my all-time favorite teams ever ranking up there with the “Total Football” Holland teams of the 1970s and 1980s) would wipe the floor in its prime with any England team since including the 2006 World Cup team dubbed a “Golden Generation of English Football”.
When discussing MLS many in the Eurosnob crowd encouraged by critics of the league state that the league’s calender is misplaced and that no other league in the world has a playoff system to determine a champion. So that must mean that the leagues in Australia, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Brazil and Sweden among others must be misplaced also schedule wise, and that leagues in Australia, Mexico, Brazil and South Korea must really not exist since they use playoffs to determine a champion. Since La Liga and the Bundesliga play August to May so must any other credible league in the world argues the Eurosnob.
A common Eurosnob complaint revolves around the speed of MLS matches. Well if speed was the determining factor in quality, Brazil and Argentina would play second fiddle to England in every World Cup. The English game is the fastest and in my opinion the most entertaining around. But entertainment doesn’t translate to quality. Speed doesn’t determine skill or quality. Besides, try running as quickly as Joe Cole does down the wing for Chelsea in blinding 100 degree summer heat in the USA after getting off a five hour plane flight where you crossed three time zones in economy class. The Eurosnob argument ignores the fact that most matches in England, Germany and even Spain or short hop away where ground transportation is more often than not used and the body doesn’t have to adjust to a pressurized air cabin or crossing multiple time zones. Managing in MLS is not easy because as our friend Eric Wynalda stated this year on Around the League with Gary Richards and Peter Brown, you must know how to handle the travel side of things to be successful in MLS.
Many other arguments are put forward by the Eurosnob crowd, but they are too lengthy to get into on this blog. Let me state that I unequivocally love European and Latin American Football. I watch games from all over the globe and prefer the English Premier League above all other football worldwide. But the game has evolved and is different in all corners of the globe. To assume simply because a product somewhere doesn’t resemble exactly the product elsewhere doesn’t deem it inferior or worthless. Moreover to claim you love the game and be an American means you must support the games growth here in the United States. To do otherwise could be catastrophic to the games evolution in our nation.