After World Cup 2006, we observed a remarkable growth in the sport here in the United States. I am proud to have been associated with the EPL Talk Network since the fall of 2006, and to have been the founding writer of this website, MLS Talk. As someone who has been deeply passionate about my football since the early 1980s, Christopher Harris gave me an opportunity of the lifetime, something that has allowed me to transform almost three decades of passion into a career. I will forever be indebted to him and the EPL Talk Network.
When we launched the MLS Talk website and podcast in early 2007, the excitement about David Beckham’s signing in MLS was reaching a fever pitch. That year, we were able to cover the US National Team win its second consecutive CONCACAF Gold Cup, Mexican Football from a local vantage point, as well as MLS’ golden season, its best since the late 1990s, with Houston’s dynamic second straight title, Beckham, Blanco, Angel and all the rest. Yanks Abroad and the US U-20 team was also a focus of our coverage in 2007.
In 2008, we reached new heights, with increased MLS coverage, new writers, and an increased range of coverage. We began covering USL and College Soccer heavily, as well as having the honor to cover the USMNT in person for friendlies versus Mexico and England. We also covered the US U-23 teams Olympic qualifiers in Tampa, and spent a great deal of effort tracking our top youth national team prospects from Bradenton, across the globe.
During the summer of 2008, I received my personal greatest honor as a writer, when the Guardian, my favorite British newspaper listed my MLS Talk article on David Beckham’s troubles in Los Angeles, as their “favorite thing this week,” on the newspaper’s football page. That year, we also became the first blog exclusively covering American soccer to be listed on the UK’s, News Now service.
The following year brought increased traffic and focus to MLS Talk. We were able to add several talented and recognizable writers to our staff in addition to increasing our scope of coverage to include the woman’s game and in-depth analysis of finances and television ratings. From any perspective, 2009 was a banner year for MLS Talk.
The USMNT’s run in the Confederations Cup, CONCACAF news from other nations in the region, World Cup qualifying, and the growing influence and scope of Americans playing abroad became a big part of our focus in 2009. We also saw growing interest among non Latino fans in Mexican Football, and we covered that as well.
The scope of MLS Talk has grown as our readers, listeners and writers have become more diverse. We’ve done our best to reflect the growing cosmopolitan nature of the American soccer fan while continuing to focus on the domestic game with a critical lens.
As we enter a World Cup year, MLS Talk will be more indispensable than ever for fans of the beautiful game here in North America. Richard Farley, who takes over the MLS Talk Podcast and a substantial amount of my writing duties, will continue our good work, while further developing the understanding that we are developing of the world game. Richard watches more football from abroad, and understands the game better than any other American based blog writer, that I have worked with.
Finally, I want to thank all our readers and listeners. When we began covering American Soccer, first on EPL Talk in 2006 and then with the launching of this site in 2007, it was considered by many an ambitious endeavor. But thanks to you, the readers and listeners, we proved that an ever growing number of fans around the globe desire consistent coverage of the American game, without the sugarcoated optimism that was prevalent from many other sources of coverage.
We have aimed to provide insightful, thoughtful analysis, which often times is mischaracterized or misinterpreted by a few message board writers and some of our readers. My opinions have been often mischaracterized by those who do not take opinions in context or fail to read entire articles, or those who seem to have missed my many supportive articles about various subjects that I am accused of “hating.”
Despite this, I think we have had a substantial impact on the way all aspects of football in North America is covered, and the type of analysis that fans are looking for. I will continue to contribute to our sister site, EPL Talk through the conclusion of this summer’s World Cup, but after in excess of a thousand postings on this site, since it was founded with me as the only writer, I say goodbye.
Best of luck to our talented writers and new podcast host, Richard Farley on making 2010 even better than the years that preceded it for MLS Talk.