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European Football vs American Soccer

cookestretchground European Football vs American Soccer

My colleague at the Champions Soccer Radio Network, Daniel Feuerstein has a very interesting take on what now seems like an age old question: Has Soccer arrived? Much along the same lines as my column over the weekend about how MLS Cup garnered about one fourth of the total viewers the Euro final did on ABC, it seems something about the domestic game is preventing people from following it. Let me state this: I have about as little regard for MLS as possible. I saw my local team contracted by the league while clubs with less local support continued to play. I’ve seen a dip in quality in the league and fewer and fewer good young American players being developed in MLS. Unlike some fans I also believe MLS’ poor record in CONCACAF competitions speaks for itself. I happen to believe the best team in MLS would be in a dogfight to avoid relegation over a two year period if they played in the Mexican First Division, a league which many MLS proponents claim is comparable to MLS. I also enjoyed watching MLS on a weekly basis ten years ago more than today: not only did I have a local team to support but more players in MLS were part of their national teams and accomplished internationally than today.

All of this having been said, I again remain curious and disappointed that so many American born fans of the beautiful game  choose to totally ignore MLS and  focus on European football. Maybe its simply my makeup and my national pride/jingoism but I cannot truly imagine calling myself a soccer fan being American and totally ignoring MLS.

I believe MLS is an inferior product to most European leagues. However it is also OUR product. Take some pride in ownership, take some pride in being American. You don’t have to love MLS but to dismiss it and not even attempt to follow it is a disservice to the sport in this country. While we are at it, it is important to support USL and NCAA Soccer as well. The NCAA Final Four will be on ESPN 2 this weekend. This is a good chance to check out some young home grown talent and support the continued growth of the game here at home.

EDITORS NOTE: SEVERAL COMMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN LEFT ABOUT TELEFUTURA’S RATING BEING ADDED TO ABC’S TO GIVE MLS CUP A 0.9 RATING ARE MISLEADING. TELEFUTURA HAD LESS VIEWERS FOR LAST WEEK’S MLS CUP THAN THE MATCH A YEAR AGO AND LESS VIEWERS THAN TELEMUNDO DID FOR THE SPANISH LANGUAGE BROADCAST OF MLS CUP 1998.  BOTTOM LINE: MLS CUP RATINGS ARE DROPPING.


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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

5 Responses to European Football vs American Soccer

  1. Jonathan says:

    I’m a naturalized American who likes football. I support the USMNT even as it got humiliated in the Copa. One thing I won’t do is be a fan of the domestic league. I will spend my time as I see fit when watching football. IT is my free time afterall.

  2. When it comes to football(soccer) I cant get enough. However if you asked me this question prior to the 2008 EuroCup I would have probably teased you about being a fan of such a weak sport. Luckily I started work in Detroit here for a British boss and in an attempt to kiss a** I watched the Euro Cup. The rest of my summer I didnt watch a single game of my beloved Detroit Tigers…instead I watched MLS,Euro Cup,Champions League Final, and the start of the Premier League. I am as passionate as a fan could be about a game. I played soccer as a youth but because it was never on television and my parents failed to sign me up for it after we moveed there was no avenue to grow as a fan. I find that to still be the case today. ESPN does a terrible job on sports center in regards to MLS coverage. They play one game a week late on Thursdays. They play the champions league only live when they should replay it at night, in favor of poker or cup stacking which is wrather sad. A pbs documentary called the Merchants of Cool talk about how media make things cool, its the chicken or the egg theory. I believe if ESPN really backed the sport it could be huge here. However they dont. If soccer became a production like it is on Setanta on ESPN that would be great. Anyway I have been rambling and I have alot more opinions that would just take to long to post. I appreciate the fact that I can podcast from here all day long at work. I would love to see the MLS in Detroit. I think there would be a good TRI-State rivalry. Great Work Kepp It Up.

  3. Brian says:

    For what it’s worth, I was sitting in an ICU waiting room, watching the Telefutura feed via Justin.tv.

    Adam, I like the idea of a team in Detroit. Did you now that Gil-Scott Heron’s father played for the Detroit Corinthians and was the first black player, I believe, at Celtic.

  4. Nick says:

    I almost had a heart attack this weekend based off this battle. The American fan that ignores the MLS because of the “quality of play” rationale.

    Case in point about “quality” – the Manchester United v. Sunderland Premiership match on Saturday on FSC. That was the worst, WORST display of soccer I have seen in a long, long time. And I watched many MLS matches during the season on FSC, ESPN2, and HDNET.

    Sunderland played 11 men behind the ball for 90 minutes. American fan that bashes the MLS for “quality” should be bashing Sunderland for the disgrace they pulled this weekend.

    Kartik said it – the MLS is our league. Take the good with the bad and support the league. There is no doubt that the 2 MLS semi-finals AND the MLS Cup were a better display of “quality” then what was put out there at Old Trafford this weekend.

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