How MLS Is Practically Extinct In Parts of the U.S.

Sold out crowd at Lockhart Stadium for Miami Fusion v DC United

I had the sudden realization Sunday that if aliens descended on my town and were asked to find any life of Major League Soccer in South Florida, the only thing they would find is MLS trading cards in the bargain bin of the local dollar store. Seriously.

Sadly, Major League Soccer is extinct in South Florida. The nearest MLS team is 1,000 miles away. The last time I saw anyone wearing a MLS jersey was more than two years ago. And the last time there was a trace of a MLS team in all of Florida was nine years ago.

I sound like a broken record, but the reality is that if it wasn’t for television, I would be — as the Brits say — a miserable old git. It’s practically my only outlet to watch the professional game. And even then, the amount of MLS coverage is few and far between especially when compared to the smorgasbord of European soccer on US TV.

Yes, I go watch my kids play AYSO games. Yes, I attend Miami FC matches in the USL, now NASL or whatever temporary league name the USSF gives it, but the reality is that it’s not MLS. It’s nowhere close to a MLS experience. It’s nothing like when I was a Miami Fusion season ticket holder when most of my life revolved around when the home team played at Lockhart Stadium.

Many critics may argue that South Florida had its chance and failed at Major League Soccer. But that’s a far too simplistic explanation. The reality is that it was a combination of drastic mistakes everywhere from the back office staff to poor marketing and a failed attempt to target the Miami-Dade community, most of whom didn’t want to drive the short distance to Fort Lauderdale. But the main culprits were, in my opinion, the ownership of Ken Horowitz who decided to pull the plug too early just as the team was becoming successful both on and off the field, and the failure of Major League Soccer to find an investor willing to take over from Horowitz.

The reality is that there are hundreds of thousands of soccer fans around the United States, or perhaps more, who are in a similar boat to me and have no local MLS team to follow. Arsenal is just as “local” to them as is Chicago Fire. There’s little bond between MLS and these isolated soccer fans, so the next best thing is either the USL or NASL or, more likely, television. And as I’ve discussed previously, when it comes to the TV war, MLS almost always loses.

So in communities such as South Florida and tens of other large metropolitan areas around the United States, we have to be patient. But the longer we wait, the more the new soccer fans will gravitate to what is most accessible — which is European soccer on television. And the longer the wait, the harder it will be for new MLS teams to make the local team its passion instead of Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur or whatever team he or she supports.

If you’re fortunate to live near a MLS team, count yourself lucky. Go watch games at the stadium and support the beautiful game. There are huge amounts of soccer fans nationwide who would jump at the chance to go see a MLS team.

106 Comments

  1. BC March 15, 2010
    • The Gaffer March 15, 2010
      • BC March 15, 2010
        • The Gaffer March 15, 2010
          • BC March 15, 2010
  2. Stevo March 15, 2010
    • The Gaffer March 15, 2010
      • Garrett March 15, 2010
        • The Gaffer March 15, 2010
          • OleGunnar20 March 15, 2010
      • DCUDiplomat96 March 16, 2010
  3. Robert March 15, 2010
  4. Tim March 15, 2010
  5. Tim March 15, 2010
    • OleGunnar20 March 15, 2010
    • Jarrett Campbell March 16, 2010
    • Bobby March 17, 2010
  6. Stevil March 15, 2010
    • The Gaffer March 15, 2010
      • OleGunnar20 March 15, 2010
        • ruskerdu March 15, 2010
          • 2010... March 18, 2010
  7. CTBlues March 15, 2010
    • OleGunnar20 March 15, 2010
      • CTBlues March 15, 2010
        • Kevin March 15, 2010
          • CTBlues March 15, 2010
          • 2010... March 18, 2010
          • CTBlues March 18, 2010
        • bigvic March 16, 2010
        • 2010... March 18, 2010
          • CTBlues March 18, 2010
    • 2010... March 18, 2010
  8. David Falk March 15, 2010
    • Joey P. March 15, 2010
  9. OleGunnar20 March 15, 2010
    • CoconutMonkey March 15, 2010
    • jcr March 15, 2010
    • The Gaffer March 15, 2010
      • OleGunnar20 March 15, 2010
        • The Gaffer March 15, 2010
    • bigvic March 16, 2010
    • 2010... March 18, 2010
      • OleGunnar20 March 18, 2010
  10. Tom March 15, 2010
    • OleGunnar20 March 15, 2010
      • Mark March 16, 2010
        • OleGunnar20 March 16, 2010
          • 2010... March 18, 2010
  11. James March 15, 2010
  12. Sergio Azevedo March 15, 2010
    • CTBlues March 15, 2010
      • Cavan March 15, 2010
        • CTBlues March 15, 2010
          • CoconutMonkey March 16, 2010
          • Cavan March 16, 2010
          • CTBlues March 16, 2010
  13. soccerreform.us March 15, 2010
  14. Jack in TX March 15, 2010
  15. Kartik Krishnaiyer March 15, 2010
    • Cavan March 15, 2010
      • David March 15, 2010
        • Charles March 15, 2010
          • David March 15, 2010
          • Charles March 16, 2010
    • eplnfl March 15, 2010
    • soccerreform.us March 16, 2010
    • 2010... March 18, 2010
      • soccerreform.us March 18, 2010
  16. allan March 15, 2010
    • CTBlues March 15, 2010
    • CTBlues March 15, 2010
    • Roger March 15, 2010
      • soccerreform.us March 16, 2010
    • Joey P. March 15, 2010
    • CoconutMonkey March 15, 2010
  17. Roger March 15, 2010
    • Mark March 16, 2010
      • soccerreform.us March 18, 2010
  18. Charles March 15, 2010
  19. OleGunnar20 March 15, 2010
    • Charles March 16, 2010
      • soccerreform.us March 18, 2010
    • soccerreform.us March 18, 2010
  20. Roger March 16, 2010
    • soccerreform.us March 16, 2010
  21. Tom March 16, 2010
    • CoconutMonkey March 16, 2010
      • Tom March 16, 2010
        • OleGunnar20 March 16, 2010
  22. allan March 16, 2010
  23. Michael March 16, 2010
  24. Ian March 16, 2010
  25. soccerreform.us March 16, 2010
    • CoconutMonkey March 16, 2010
      • soccerreform.us March 17, 2010
  26. Roger March 16, 2010
    • soccerreform.us March 17, 2010
  27. Miami Ultra March 16, 2010
    • soccerreform.us March 17, 2010
  28. here's an idea March 18, 2010
    • soccerreform.us March 18, 2010
  29. here's an idea March 18, 2010
    • eplnfl March 18, 2010
  30. eplnfl March 18, 2010
  31. eplnfl March 18, 2010

Leave a Reply