Americanizing Soccer for the U.S. Sports Fan pt. 1
In order for Soccer to find the success it seeks in the U.S., it must make changes to the traditional rules without changing the integrity of the sport. Soccer can be that viable alternative for sports fans in the U.S. if it plays with American rules and also promotes the game to fit U.S. sports fans expectations, not the expectations of soccer enthusiasts.
The game of Soccer, like all other American spectator sports, must be tinkered with from time to time in order to maintain its entertainment value for the newest generation. But, the sport must not be altered significantly to where it is not recognized as Soccer. The integity of the sport must be kept intact (10 on 10 where no one touches the ball with their hands and one Goalkeeper for each side).
In sport, it is common for rules to vary from country to country. FIBA, the International Federation of Basketball plays its games under its rules, including a trapezoid key (paint). The U.S. adheres to these rules during international play and reverts back to its own rules for play in the NBA.
All strategies for delivering the product must adjust to the spectatorship landscape of the U.S. sports fans. If done with an American flavor, soccer can be an enduring spectator sport in the U.S. It has the ability to provide unique drama, escape and entertainment. It is definitely possible to raise the American consciousness for the appreciation of Soccer and it can become the 4th most dominating spectator sport in America.
Soccer needs to be serious, competitive, fun, and unapologetically American. The rules changes and marketing schemes must take responsibility in perfecting the art in the sport. They must make sure that the skill involved in the sport is showcased and that every match is played with contemporary sports drama and theatre. Action, tension during the contests and common sense in the rules must take precedence so that every game has the potential to rise to the occasion and be an unforgettable sporting spectacle.
There is a lot that must be done for American soccer to succeed. Sports fans in the U.S. expect more from their spectator sports. They are different than sports fans from other parts of the world. They are more sophisticated and they have been spoiled. The greatest moments in the recent history of sports have occurred in American sports or with American athletes.
The sport has been built-up significantly over time at the youth level and upwards through high-school and college levels. But, in order for professional soccer in the U.S. to derive the most amount of fan support possible, the marketing must become event-driven and reach the diehard sports fans.
Soccer can become a fabric of the American sports fans environment just as football, basketball, and baseball have consistently achieved from year to year. Soccer must think progressive in their rules amendments and consider what makes 4th down, the 3 and 2 count and the last-second shot so appealing to sports fans.