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MLS Ratings – Is There A World Cup Bounce?

mls logo MLS Ratings   Is There A World Cup Bounce?

Major League Soccer’s decision to take only part of the month of June off for the World Cup has come under some scrutiny in recent weeks.

Supporters of the schedule, and likely MLS owners as well, point to the potential for a World Cup TV ratings and interest bounce for the league. The thinking is that fans of the sport, with their appetites duly whetted, will be more likely to tune in for MLS games after checking out the action in South Africa.

Is it happening?

It may be too early to tell for sure, but there is some data available.

Seattle’s visit to Philadelphia for the opening of PPL Park had a 5 p.m. time slot on ESPN2 last Sunday. The Union won the game, 3-1, and drew a 0.2 rating, which equates to roughly 331,000 viewers.

That’s down slightly from a similar date and slightly later time slot last year, according to Sports Media Watch, but up significantly from other MLS broadcasts on ESPN so far this year (about 80 percent).

When the numbers come in for the Houston/Toronto game tonight on ESPN2, we’ll have an even better idea of what effect the 2010 World Cup might be having on MLS TV ratings.

This entry was posted in Leagues: Major League Soccer, MLS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

112 Responses to MLS Ratings – Is There A World Cup Bounce?

  1. Robert says:

    Are we even surprised the numbers are low? People are tired of soccer once MLS starts up. watching 2-4 games a day with world class players than juxtapose that to guys playing boot ball earning 40k a year with 18k stadiums? MLS just doesn’t get it.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Robert, I agree. MLS should take a break between June 11-July 11. And then come back strong after the World Cup is over. It’s asking a lot even for the most die-hard fans to follow MLS and the World Cup in the same month. The World Cup is always going to win.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  2. CTBlues says:

    ESPN has shown its true colors towards soccer in the past 2 days. Since there hasn’t been a match since Tuesday they haven’t said a word about soccer on SC. They have only been talking about Wimbledon and NBA free agency, but they can redeam themseleves if they put even more effort into the EPL and La Liga this coming season.

  3. sergio lima says:

    People are not tired of soccer. People who like soccer will watch soccer. But people who really like soccer are not capable of watching an MLS game. There is nothing there to watch. But, there are some who love it. If you only have MLS and never follow a first quality league in your life, you don’t know better so, you follow. But, I personally rather watch a youth league than those horrible players in the MLS. It is just not my taste for soccer.

    • MarylandBill says:

      So, lets see, if your attitude is common amongst “real” soccer fans in the United States, then the MLS, and indeed any other league that tries to start in this country is doomed. It takes time for a league to grow and develop. During that period of time, the quality of play is naturally not going to match the best in the world… but if “real” soccer fans don’t support it by attending games, watching it on TV, buying merchandise, etc. it will never get the revenue stream it needs to become a great league.

      So essentially, what you want is for an American Soccer League to spring forth fully developed like the Goddess Athena from the head of Zeus. Its not going to happen.

    • Clayton says:

      Why are you on a website called MLSTalk.com if it’s so beneath your incredible taste for “first quality” soccer? Go away

      • The Gaffer says:

        ….because we encourage open and honest discourse. No rah-rah MLS/USMNT cheers here – unless they’re deserving of it.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

        • MarylandBill says:

          The question is, at one point does it tip over from being open and honest discussion to simply belittling the American Game simply because it is not up to the standards of the best European Leagues despite the fact that that standard is unrealistic of a league that is less than 20 years old.

          • sergio lima says:

            NO. It is only because I always believed that the only way to improve something is by criticizing and offering ideas. If you read my comments you will always find suggestions. I know you Americans, hate to be criticized for anything, it is in your nature, your government and the big corporations who live off taking advantage of you are always telling you you are perfect and your country is perfect and for some reason, even being among the most educated people in the world you end up believing. Americans stop challenging themselves to be really best than every other nation. But that is not the worst part, the worst part is confusing honest criticism with hate or dislike. Maybe in your mind, your parents had hate you your entire life, because, if you have parents like mine, you heard a lot of criticism during your entire life. But why did they even bothered right? Maybe because they had always believed in you. I am not the father of the American soccer. But I came from a nation where soccer is a religion but is run by gangsters who are getting rich while the big brands, the clubs are all going literally bankrupt. I see the way the NFL is run and I believe the MLS could go in the same direction, I believe that the MLS could be almost as strong as the NFL, but I know in my heart that you guys who are coming here criticizing me for giving my opinion, don’t believe that the MLS could be that strong. But I believe that in order to do it you got to invest more money in the quality of the players and coaches. You must improve the quality of the game in order to attract more viewers and them bring more money through TV contracts. It is so obvious. You guys don’t have a culture of producing great players, so you got to bring them here and invest big money in the salaries for five years in order to get profits later. You guys have everything to be one of the best leagues in the world, we are a nation of immigrants. Millions are paying a lot of money to watch other leagues. People who loves soccer would watch the MLS if they could produce a better quality game. And Clayton, my friend, one of the reasons I decided to move to this country is because i have the freedom to say whatever I want when I want and where I want, so, if I am bothering you, you should be the one going away, not me. I have my opinion and sometimes I know I will sound arrogant and I know my English is horrible, but I won’t change because you don’t like. I will continue to express my opinion when I fell like it. For those who think I have anything against the MLS, I don’t. I just want the league to be better and with better players. And one day I believe I will be buying a ticket to watch one of the MLS teams. Something I did my entire life and something I miss dearly.

          • MarylandBill says:

            Sergio,
            With respect, the comment that I and Clayton responded to could, I think be fairly interpreted as simply denigrating both the MLS and fans of the MLS (I.e, your claim that real soccer fans can’t like the MLS but that it has its fans… your implication is that MLS fans are not real soccer fans). If there is any constructive criticism in it, or any ideas for improving MLS soccer, I can’t see them.

            Now, your latest post does include some ideas, at least when it is not making ad hominem attacks on Americans. I won’t deal with those attacks, but I will deal with the suggestions.

            Now, can soccer be nearly as popular in this country as the NFL? I certainly believe it can, provided it is given time. I actually believe that given time, it can be more popular here than the NFL (If nothing else, the NFL may have to make changes in the way it is played over the next few years as it becomes increasingly clear that the sport is crippling its players with mental and physical ailments). What I don’t believe is that it is going to happen in 5 or even 10 years.

            Lets remember, the NFL did not develop instantly into the most profitable sports league on the planet. Say for the first 30 years, it was definitely a second rate league compared to baseball and even into the 1970s it was considered America’s second sport.

            Now is it going to take 50 years for the MLS to get to the point where it is really considered a Major League of American Sports? I don’t think so. But its going to get there through careful growth and incremental improvements of the product over time. Its going to get there because Fathers bring their sons to watch the games which will inspire them to bring their sons.

          • sergio lima says:

            Bill, I did not attack Americans at all. Go there and read it. I criticized again with the same heart as before. I live here and I want this place to be better. I want this place to be again the best. And I want the MLS to be better. And about you comment on the fans. Can we assume that most of the people here never had a chance to go to a Brazilian stadium for years like I did? And had played and watched closely the Argentinian league? Can we assume that as the truth? And, can we assume that most of the Americans who follow soccer never been in any European country watching a game? Do you have any doubt about the better quality of the leagues on the power house nations? So, if the majority of the fans never had that experience they really don’t know better. It is a fact. And if sound like I was criticizing the fans for going I would like to apologize. I, in fact, believe that you must be the best fans in the entire soccer world once I still believe your team can’t beat on a real official competition, most of the second and third division teams playing in other countries. If you read my comment, you will see that I am, in fact, trying to make the league better for guys like you. I think it would be a shame if with years the MLS end up fading and the fans run out of patience. I know Americans don’t like to loose always. If this thing doesn’t improve, a lot of people may quit and them the league would be dead. They have the stadiums, they have the brands, they have the fans, c’mom man, put a good team to play. That is my only issue with MLS, but is a big one. Please don’t get offended. That is not my goal. But twenty years is a long time. I want to see this league changing stuff every year. I don’t want them to sit there and think they are doing a good job. I want them kicking themselves.

          • MarylandBill says:

            Sergio, What can I say, I am only working with what you yourself have written. The first of your posts that I responded to offered nothing constructive. To my mind, that takes it beyond criticism to an attack. Your reply to me started off with a couple hundred words talking about Americans as a people, not related to soccer at all (Hence my accusation of an Ad Hominem attack). Just a point, yes, parents can be critical, but it must be tempered with advice for improvement (i.e., if your kid brings home a D, saying he is stupid or lazy is not useful… saying you are disappointed and spending time working with him on figuring out how he can do better is useful).

            I agree, the MLS is not up to the quality of the EPL or any of the other first level European Leagues, but I am not sure if the best American Teams might not be up to the standards of the League Championship (for example). What I do know is that The MLS cannot spend itself to profitability. Soccer, like any sport in this country will take time to develop. Simply dropping a couple of billion on the MLS is not going to turn the US into a soccer country in 5 years.

          • Logan says:

            Reading the back and forth here, I think there may be a language barrier or something.

            But to yr point, MarylandBill, about MLS not being on par with any 1st Div European leagues, I must disagree. I’m no expert or anything, but MLS is at least as good as the Dutch league, for one. And the only thing separating the SPL from MLS is Celtic and Rangers, but otherwise, they seem on par. As well, the Russian league is probably not quite as good as MLS. I haven’t heard much about the Greeks, Czechs, Norwegian, Finnish, Polish, etc,. either.

            Mind you, I find most of the lesser European leagues entertaining, too.

            Sorry, just being a stickler. MLS is better or at least on par with the majority of European leagues, just not the big 4 of England, Germany, Italy, and Spain– maybe not Portugal and France, either, but I’m not sure.

            Two cents spent.

          • sergio lima says:

            MarylandBill, looks like we will never agree on this subject. Or probably any. Maybe is my bad English but I don’t think so. We think the MLS different, just that. Happy 4th of July.

  4. f4denz says:

    Missing the point, MLS doesn’t get good ratings on ESPN because of when they schedule the matches, Sunday early evening. Yeah nobody else is doing anything then. Their midweek matches on Thursday have always been a joke, they go up against some of the best network TV. How about this ESPN show matches on Saturday, like FSC. I know you have such quality programming on Saturday afternoons and evenings. Like this weekends showing of reruns of the World Series of Poker, MLL, and the WNBA.

    Of course the ratings will be down, have you seen any ESPN adds promoting the match? Anything at all?

    I love the people who snipe at MLS, most have never attended a match but they hate it because they want the World Cup every day, no mention that we have a team that draws better than most in the EPL, that almost every US World Cup player has come from MLS, nope they just want to hate it because it isn’t what they want. Sorry I would watch MLS all day over Mexican soccer, and the live matches are entertaining and the level of play improves all the time.

    • The Gaffer says:

      f4denz, ESPN has been mentioning their coverage of their MLS games routinely throughout the World Cup during the World Cup which is even better ‘advertising’ than an actual ad itself. And yet still, the ratings are low.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Clayton says:

        Briefly mentioning that there’s a game once over the course of a game before quickly changing the subject is hardly a great advertisement for an MLS game.

      • Clayton says:

        If the media (mainly ESPN) started treating MLS like a quality league worth watching, it would start getting good ratings and therefore more revenue and therefore higher paid players. People in the media who have never seen an MLS game constantly make disparaging comments about the quality of play in MLS or even worse, pretend like it doesn’t even exist. MLS suffers from a perception problem more than a quality problem.

  5. Charles says:

    MLS has been around since the 94 WCup, 3 World Cups later, no increase in attendance and I don’t believe there were huge bounces in TV ratings.

    This World Cup I would expect LESS of a jump, as more of the players play elsewhere. Maybe if Donovan stays, he is a hero that gives you something.

    I’ll tell you were the next bump is. Adding Portland and Vancouver to the league. Almost 16,000 at last nights US Open Cup game versus the Sounders. That is the loudest stadium the Sounders will play at this year outside of QWest.

    ACES fans still have petrified wood for brains, but they pretty impressive last night.

    • MarylandBill says:

      Charles… perhaps average attendance is not increasing, but I think league total attendance has increased… after all, the league has 6 more teams now than it did when the league was founded. And I think if the league can consistently sell 12-15,000 tickets on average per game, they have a good base to work from (That puts them a head of many other leagues around the world), at that point the issue becomes TV ratings.

      The MLS season is the second shortest (in terms of number of games) major sports season in the United States. Baseball, basketball and Hockey can afford relatively low ratings (Mostly only home town folk watch most of their games) because they have so many games through out their season to play. In contrast, MLS needs to figure out how to get soccer fans watching not just the home team play, but other teams play as well (Kind of how it works for the NFL… many fans will watch three games on Sunday as well as the Monday and Thursday game regardless of the teams that are playing).

      • Rick says:

        Who cares if MLS is ahead of other small leagues around the world. It’s puts them ahead of other leagues in the world where the population is much less than that of the U.S. So what if MLS outdraws Scotland? New York city has more people in it than all of Scotland yet the Red Bulls couldn’t outdraw Celtic or Rangers if their life depended on it. Hell, last year’s NYRB attendance average was less than Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian.

        • duder says:

          B/c Scotland’s league has been around for over 100 years and is the only major sport in Scotland. MLS has only been around 15 years and starting of well behind numerous other sports in the USA that all dwarf the Scottish league.

        • MarylandBill says:

          Its important from league viability. If a number of other countries have been able to support leagues with smaller attendance than ours, then it gives us reason to hope that ours will survive. Further, lets look at it objectively, in 2009, only 7 Association Football Leagues had an average attendance above 20,000. Only 12 outdrew the MLS period. Some, including the Brazilian Campeonato Brasileiro Série A drew less than 2000 more than the average MLS game. Now, I doubt anyone is going to question how vibrant soccer is in Brazil.

          The question ultimately, is can the MLS break out of a league that is relying mostly on ticket sales for revenue and become one that can rely on media and merchandise to help make it profitable enough to attract some of the best athletes out there?

  6. bradjmoore48 says:

    The ESPN numbers aren’t that surprising, and it’s likely ESPN is only retaining it’s MLS Game of the Week in order to appease FIFA in gaining the 2018 and 2022 World Cup TV rights. ESPN is going to do much to promote MLS, that just should be accepted. FSC should be doing more, but since they have EPL and Serie A ratings better than MLS, they are not interested either. The rumors floating around are that Versus might pick up MLS broadcast rights next year which would hopefully put MLS at the forefront of their sports line-up, up with the NHL, and not have to be seen as an afterthought as on FSC and ESPN.

    Ultimately though, MLS isn’t going to convert people who don’t like soccer, people who only follow major events like the World Cup, and, of course, soccer fans who only follow the top leagues and talents. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for growth. It’s disappointing, the level of play and players have improved a lot over the years, I just feel a lot of people are missing out.

  7. Logan says:

    I’ve never quite understood how ratings work. Where do these numbers come from? And do they include online viewership?

  8. BA14 says:

    Well this is where ESPN could plaster their promos with Landon Donovan and the LA Galaxy. He is the only player from the USMNT that the public knows.

    I think FSC should have aired promos of the premier league and serie A on ESPN/ABC. this is where they can watch these world cup stars play week in and week out.

  9. Roger says:

    Dont you guys think that the fact that MLS is a joke have something to do with it?

    ..if they would advertise this way ….no,no,no….if they would advertise this other way….COME ON!!!!!!!

    can somebody say something real!! MLS is a circus!
    They have East and West,wich would make sense if that would save the teams on travel diastances;but then they play interconference games anyways,wich kind of defeats the purpose of the East and West thing.

    Halve the teams qualify to the play offs. Thats not very exiting ! Isnt it?!

    The salary cap shoots the growth of the league on the foot.

    We can not enjoy a promotion and relegation dogfight. Because there is not promotion and relegation.

    The league adds 2 franchises,one of then created from scratch; before adding a club that made it to the QF on the biggest club Championship on the continent.

    And the list goes on and on and on and on.

    Soccer is a product that sells itself. It is not that complicated!! People chant,suffer,cry,enjoy the game all over the planet. Bring to North America the REAL product and you woul not have to worry about marketing so much. Everything will happen naturally, the way it happened all around the world.

    ….if they would advertise this way…..no no no if they would advertise that way.

    How about :….”if we had a soccer league”………..
    maybe that would work?!?!

    • Dan says:

      MLS if awsome compared to other leagues. Im never bored with MLS.
      On the PRO/REG who are they agoing to do the PRO/REG with.
      US D2 is still trying to find itself.

      • Jim says:

        It’s awesome if you mean: full of byzantine rules meant to stifle competition between teams. I watch MLS to see some of the young up and coming players for the US. I hope more people go to the games after the world cup, it would be nice to see it grow as long as the increased revenue goes into developing the game and not too much into the owners pockets.

        • MarylandBill says:

          I doubt that the owners are getting much from most of the MLS yet. Most teams are still not profitable.

          There are exceptions, but in general, owning a sports team is not the easiest way to make a fortune. More often than not, the owners could make a lot more money with other investments, but they love a lot of the other aspects about owning a sports team.

      • Charles says:

        MLS IS awesome compared to the other leagues.

        Pro/Rel is the single stupidest idea in the history of sports and sports business.
        How exciting ! The team 50 points down in the standing may or may not play in the league next year ! Who cares ? They are in last place, lets focus on something that matters. Which is why MLS is exciting, the same team doesn’t win it every year like the Euro leagues.

        Roger your list does go on and on, at least we can agree on that ;-)

        • MarylandBill says:

          Charles, with respect… I like the MLS, I want it, and soccer to be hugely successful in the USA, but lets be honest, the MLS is at best a AAA league compared to the top European Leagues.

          As for promotion and relegation, I think you miss the point. If you are a fan of one of the teams at the bottom of the league, relegation gives you a reason to remain interested in your team long after the chance of them placing well in the league is gone. Likewise, it gives the team a reason to continue to fight hard, often up to the very last game and likewise, will make sure that owners don’t decide to sit on a loosing team to get their share of TV revenue.

          Frankly, I wish American sports had relegation.

        • Roger says:

          The team 50 points down in the standings, are deciding in the final games of the league wich division are they going to be in next year. If you dont find that exiting, you could check reports on the promotion / relegation dogfights that take place every year at the end of seassons of the best leagues in the world.

          Promotion and relegation will allow us to have hundreds of clubs linked on a single divisional system, instead of the 18 we have now. It will allow us to take advantage of our size. Look Uruguay on the WC semifinals, they have about 3 million habitants. We have a few States bigger than Uruguay without an MLS “franchise”; guess what system they practice on theyr national league? promotion /relegation of course. Netherlands, Argentina, Germany,Paraguay,Spain,Brasil….you can not hide the truth so easy.

          Miami is a good example of why soccer doesn’t finally take over in america. Lots of regional leagues.Lots of soccer fans. Miami FC draws about 1000 X game; but a local Selecion Haiti vs Honduras 5 Estrellas draws 4 or 5 thousand or more.
          On soccer countries,the conecction between fan and club is a very close one.The passion that our game generates is because that tight link.A Miami fan doesn’t have a lot of motivation to drive all the way to Ft Lauderdale to watch a “Miami” team that plays on a league that doesn’t qualify your club for ANYTHING.
          However ,if they could have a humble 3rd division local club, they will support it fanatically.Every time the local Haitian team plays , they are follow by no less than 3 or 4 thaousand fans.

          That is the key for American soccer, to let fans , owners , institutions to create their own clubs; that way the soccer phenomenom will happen naturally, fans will have clubs that they will feel identified with, that will bring the real pasion.Without that real passion , you could do as much advertising as you want,t is all fake.
          What we have in place is the complete oposit, a set of rules that are keeping our game as insignificant and meaningless as posible as posible.

          • Charles says:

            When a team in down 50+ points in a season that ONLY reason to discuss them is if they were going to go winless. THE ONLY reason.
            This is America for peat sake.

            I gave the EPL one year, I barely made it. It was such a joke.
            Oh I really hope my team can finish 8th this year….that would be great….combined with 17th would be really nice, so we can try to finish 17th next year too.
            The top teams scoring goal differentials through the roof and the relegated teams not even scoring a goal a game.

            Pro/rel just doesn’t work and when you start to comment on how it has worked all over the world. This is soccer, the greatest game in the world and EPL teams are going bankrupt left and right.

          • amerisnob says:

            Pro/rel can work with a salary cap based on a percentage of turnover.

          • SSReporters says:

            Charles there are thousands of clubs in England. Some big and many small clubs like York City. You think their goal is to win the Premier League? It doesn’t work that way. They do not have franchises hence no relocation to other cities like the Sonics.

            Why do you beat up on the EPL anyway? All of Europe uses pro/rel and so does South America!

          • Charles says:

            SS Reporters,

            Not beating up on the EPL, Spain has to be worse, I wonder what the odds were for the 3rd-20th place teams to win at the beginning of the season. Could they be negative ?

            At least the EPL has a sort of shocker with Liverpool getting knocked down to 5th or 6th, or whatever loser position they are in this year versus other years’ loser positions.

            Low blow on the Supersonics moving comment…but a valid point.

        • Roger says:

          there is something else the we are not considering on the promotion and relegation debate.

          Promotion and relegation is just one more piece of a bigger and depper soccer philosophy, a merithocratic system that links the football world together.

          When a club wings a national league and therefore wings a right to play a continental Champions League.That is a kind of promotion as well.

          When a club wings a Continental Champions league and therefore quilifies for the FIFA World Clubs Cup.That is a promotion to a higher competition.

          When a national team qualifies for the World Cup..it is the same principle!!

          My point is. If we are benefited by FIFA’s merithocratic inclusive system with a chance of “being promoted” to play on the World Cup.
          If our clubs have a chance of making it all the way from MLS to the FIFA world Club Cup because of the same principle. Dont you think that it only makes sense we practice the same principle on our internal soccer system?!

          Dont you think we kind of have a moral and ethical obligation to do so?

          • CoconutMonkey says:

            To Charles: You do make a good point about static-ness of the Premier League. And you’re not alone, the biggest fan fear when they created the EPL was that it would create a permanent upper class of clubs. If you look at the history of the old English 1st Division, the league used to be a lot more competitive and there was a lot more movement between divisions (although, Liverpool still kicked loads of ass).

            While I don’t want anything like that to happen, I think MLS has a good opportunity to create a bit of a hybrid system, that combines the meritocracy of promotion and relegation, and the financial fair play of the American leagues.

    • MarylandBill says:

      I agree with some of what you say. I would love the MLS to be integrated with the other levels of Soccer in this country such that the worst teams in the league could be demoted. The problem is that the second division is a mess.

      As for the East/West conference and having half the league qualify for the championship, I mostly agree with you, but lets remember the MLS essentially borrowed that from most other American Leagues — so most Americans shouldn’t see it as that odd.

      As for the salary cap, I think it is rather necessary at this point. Otherwise, one over rich owner could put together a team that no other team could afford to compete against. I don’t think the League needs the equivalent of Manchester United or Chelsea… at least not yet. It in fact could drive the league out of business. So I personally support the salary cap.

      • Roger says:

        MarylandBill. I disagree with your point about a salary cap being necessary.

        “one over rich owner could put together a team that no other team could afford to compete against”

        That argument is one of the most popular anti pro/rel manipulations.
        Lets take a serious look at it.

        1. Soccer leagues are a reflection of countries realities.Some countries have only one or two strong markets, where the population concentration is higher,and on those cases their leagues is going to reflect that.
        North America, however has a few big markets, so it is very unlikely that just one “runner” gets away from the pack. There is NY,LA,Chicago,Boston,DC,South Florida,Seattle,Toronto,Montreal.

        2. Even if it happened,it will be a good thing.
        Do you remember the first 5 European Champions(it had a diferent name),they were all won by one club Real Madrid. That did not kill the tournament but quite the oposit, it gave it prestige, a sense of quality and credibility.
        There has been dinasties on all the mayor leagues around the world,wheather the Gullit,Rijkard,Van Vasten Milan or the Di Stefano,Puskas Madrid and others;none of those leagues have been “put out of bussiness”
        Soccer is all about clubs working trying to become those kind of dinasties; not about rules preventing then to acomplish that level of excellence.
        North American soccer has to compete not only with other international leagues in terms of tv ratings, but against NFL,MLB,NBA.Those kind of soccer dinasties are axactly what north american soccer needs.Have you notice the attendances every time the Milans and the Chelseas come?!?!

        3. It is a very narrow view of the issue to focus on the top of the piramid. The real power of a pro/rel system lies at the base.
        If you really want to understand why soccer is the most popular game on the planet,dont look at the Premiership,Brasileirao,Calcio,La liga etc,that is just the tip of the iceberg. Look at their 3rd,4th,5th and even lower divisions.We are talking about literally hundreds,even thousands of clubs. That is what makes our game a magnificent phenomenon.

        4. Having a league very much on the same markets than most american
        sports, but with a lower on the field produt is the wrong aprouch.

        NFL,MLB,NBA and their american “franchise system” leaves a lot of ground uncover. Promotion and relegation is the perfect system to take advantage of that weakness. Hit them where they are weak,not where they are strong( ART OF WAR )

        But there is even more than that about pro/rel,we are sold the idea that is not a big deal, it is just a choice we may make or not. NOT TRUE!! Promotion and relegation is an important part of soccer culture and history. Without it we are missing a real soccer league flavor and feeling.

        • MarylandBill says:

          Roger, to try to answer your points… To start with, I am not arguing against relegation. Indeed I would welcome it. I would love to see Soccer in the United States organized such that teams belong to a multi tiered league system. Its just at the moment, the US 2nd division exists in limbo.

          1. I understand that there are a number of different markets that can theoretically support first rate soccer teams in the USA. Its also true that in certain sports, dynasties have formed anyway. No one can deny that the NY Yankees cast a shadow over baseball, and that the Celtics and the Lakers do the same for Basketball. Its also true that the NFL has managed through salary caps and its draft system to make sure that few teams are able to stay on top for more than say 10 years. And which league makes the most money in the world?

          Now I am not saying that having a dynasty or two forming in say 10 years would be a problem, but having it happen right now.. when the MLS is still building itself.. that would be bad.

          2. Yes, having 50 million dollar per team payrolls would allow the MLS to build some first rate teams.. it would also bankrupt the league. Having a tournament, in a sport that is already very popular dominated by one team is a very different thing than having a sport that is still building its audience. Cubs fans are Cubs fans because they were born Cubs fans…. but how many people do you see jumping on the Cubs band wagon? Now how many Boston Celtics or LA Lakers fans became fans because of how well those teams do? The basic issue here is the MLS needs Cubs fans.. fans who will root for their teams no matter how bad they are. Before they get to that point, they need to believe that their clubs can compete… at least for a while.

          3.No doubt, about having multiple levels in Soccer Leagues. I am a big fan of relegation. I sincerely hope America moves in that direction in the near term. I think it would be great if say Crystal Palace Baltimore could work its way up to the MLS or even if Real Maryland F.C. could do it. but a fully developed league structure does not develop over night. Remember my reference to Cub Fans.

          4. I agree that having franchises leaves too much power in individual leagues. Anyone in the Baltimore/DC area can tell you how both the NFL and MLB kept a football team out of Baltimore and a baseball team out of DC for years because owners of franchises in those cities didn’t want competition 40 miles away. But I honestly believe that MLS needs to have a decent fan base before it starts relegating teams.

          • CoconutMonkey says:

            My head nods both in agreement, and sadness regarding your Chicago Cubs analogy.

          • Roger says:

            MarylandBill. Thaks for the reply. this is a good debate.

            Just to coment on a couple of points.

            “Its just at the moment, the US 2nd division exists in limbo.”
            That is another of the arguments used against promotion and relegation that we need to take a closer look at.It is what i call reversed logic. Using the actual situation of our lower leagues to justify not implementing the changes that would give those clubs an incentive to grow.
            First and foremost,they are in limbo because the USSF,wich is in bed with MLS didnt sanction them.They look an an emerging league with a traditional name in US soccer as a threat and wanted to protect MLS.
            With a promotion and relegation system our lower divisions would be something completly diferent to what thjey are now.They would have a substantial incentive and a potential to increase their earnings.
            Promotion and relegation would be a great spark for north american lower divisions.
            “they are not ready, so we can not do pro/rel” is reversed logic. They will never be ready playing on a meaningless league that is completly unatached to the soccer world structure.
            Also ,all the teams on a lower div dont get promoted ,just the top ones.As long as a couple of clubs are ready pro/rel is viable.

            “Before they get to that point, they need to believe that their clubs can compete… at least for a while.”
            Come on! Look at Seattle wich was basically a promotion.Look at Vancouver and Portland next year.PR and Montreal run at the CCL.NY and Chicago knocked down by USL2 clubs. I think we are ready now.

            “But I honestly believe that MLS needs to have a decent fan base before it starts relegating teams.”
            Thats the equivalent of saying “Our chef sucks, but when our restaurant bussiness is very suscessfull,we will hire an excellent chef!”

            I think the logic should be: We implement a system that is interesting,logical and that put us in tune with the soccer world , and the fans will come for sure.

            It is not that complicated! Soccer is a product that sells itself. Let us have it in its REAL version and everything else will happen naturally.

          • Roger says:

            “Yes, having 50 million dollar per team payrolls would allow the MLS to build some first rate teams.. it would also bankrupt the league.”

            This is a traditional , a classic.It is what I call “the old dirty trick” The most popular anti promotion relegation argument ever.

            This is just not true! On a promotion and relegation system if a club mismanage its finances in any way; a club will suffer the consecuences, NOT THE WHOLE LEAGUE. Please MarylandBill,dont buy into that cheap old treak.It makes no sense at all.
            There are many examples of that.Portsmouth last seasson. Sevilla and Betis a few years ago on La Liga;and many many others.

            The irony is that ,that argument is a very good one in favor of pro/rel.For example:
            Portsmouth had all kind of troubles last seasson.They ended up being relegated,they got punished for their troubles; but the club did not disapear like the Fusion or the Mutiny. The fans still have a club to suport and fight their way back.

            Not a single Promotion and Relegation soccer league have EVER been bankrupted because of clubs overspending.NOT ONE!

          • Charles says:

            Roger,

            After Seattle ( the only team with REAL fan support ) wins it all trading off sometimes with LA for the 20th time, you think Dallas and others cities survive ?

            IF you answer is yes, I think you are crazy. This is the US, they are not going to settle for finishing 17th and being happy.

          • MarylandBill says:

            Roger,
            I want to be clear, that I very much want relegation in the MLS. I just want the second division (NASL or USL1) to get stabalized (Which hopefully it will after this year) and I would like the MLS to expand a bit more.. to 18, or 20 teams first).

            I think we need to keep in mind that I was arguing two things.. one of which I do believe is necessary which is for the league to maintain salary caps. Having a group of teams, whether because of accidents of ownership or fan base become so powerful as to dominate the league can only harm its growth at this particular point.

            The other point was about promotion/relegation. My personal belief is that the MLS is not quite there and that lower two divisions, USL/NASL needs to be stabilized before relegation becomes a serious possibility. Roger you used the analogy of a restaurant with mediocre food waiting to hire a top chef until they could afford him. Just remember, most restaurants, regardless of chef fail. And many businesses fail because they spend too much money trying to improve the product before they start making money. Good enough and a positive cash flow will do more for long term MLS viability than the best Soccer in the world if its not producing the revenue stream necessary to support it.

            I respect the opinions that others are expressing, but I see them as the expressions of fans, either of the MLS, or would be fans of the MLS who rightfully want the game to improve. The problem is that it has to make solid business sense if it is going to work.

          • MarylandBill says:

            Oh right… just reread your post Roger. You are right, 50 million dollar pay rolls won’t bankrupt the league… it will just drive every team in the league to bankruptcy. It won’t be much of a league with no teams in it (or, I am sorry, they will promote USL1, NASL and USL2 teams (Since USL1 and NASL together only have 12 teams) to fill the gap… but play will be at a lower level than it is now because most of those teams can’t even come close to the current MLS team salaries.

    • Matunos says:

      Roger,

      They tried to bring to North America (by which I assume you mean US and Canada, as soccer seems to be popular enough in Mexico) the “real” product. It was called the NASL. In fact, preceding the formation of the NASL was the United Soccer Association, which consisted of foreign teams brought wholesale to the US. Can’t get much more literal than that! Average attendence: about 14,000 (with the New York Cosmos playing the part of today’s Sounders FC bringing in over 30k.. but they had Pelé).

      The NASL no doubt set the groundwork for the MLS, introducing soccer as a sport (it’s now the most popular youth sport in America… which was certainly not the case in 1968), arguably scoring the 1994 World Cup. But most of the team rosters were filled with old European players who most Americans had never heard of. They had basically no TV presence. And clearly, they weren’t going to bring over European players in their prime from scratch. The MLS can’t even do that.

      MLS has picked up where the NASL left off, almost literally in terms of attendance. Most of the players are North American natives, but with a sprinkling of foreign players mostly chosen for abilities (I mean, who here knew who Montero was), obviously keeping cost as a consideration, especially with the salary cap. I think the salary cap is a good idea, at least until the foundation can be set. Most MLS teams are not yet profitable. If you removed the salary cap, you’d have a couple teams (Galaxy, Sounders) able to dominate the league by just buying the best players. That’s great, until even fewer people want to watch the other teams. The league can’t survive with two clubs.

      As for relegation/promotion, I’d like to see this one day too. Of course, the USL (or now the re-formed NASL, or whatever they’re calling themselves next year) needs to get its act together. However, the timing has to be right. It’s hard enough getting all the existing MLS teams into soccer-specific stadiums that are even fit to show on TV. Many USL/NASL teams don’t even have their own stadium, they share with baseball fields (have you seen the Timbers games? Ugh! Thankfully, they’re getting a new stadium for the MLS). Some of them have to switch among a couple of fields based on when other sports are playing.

      The FA has enough clubs that this isn’t really a problem- you’re not going to see a semi-pro club reach the EPL. And in fact, the FA’s promotion/delegation has its own problems- such as dominance in the EPL by the big four. Most teams that get promoted to the EPL are demoted in the next year. One wonders if the prestige of promotion is quickly dissipated by a long, dreadful season playing in the top league. (In fact, I think the MLS would have an advantage here, as MLS teams and the USL/NASL teams are not that far separated in ability.)

      Anyway, I would like to see promotion/relegation introduced at some point. But both the MLS and the lower tiers need to be more stabilized before you could start making the structural changes necessary (e.g. MLS teams are franchises… many USL/NASL teams couldn’t afford the franchise fee if they wanted to). One day.

      • Roger says:

        Matunos, Thanks for sharing your view with us!
        However.We disagree on a few points,but that is healthy thing.

        The NASL is another of the examples used over and over, against going the promotion and relegation/no salary cap way.

        – “…if we have no salary cap , the league would implode,and big salaries will make clubs go bankrupt right and left”

        I think I’ve heard that argument a zillion times! The old NASL got some things right , and others wrong. The idea was to take advantage of the 1970 FIFA WC(probably the most exiting WC ever) high, and profit on it.

        WHAT THEY GOT RIGHT:
        they knew that in order for soccer to make it North america, it had to find a way to bring the biggest stars on the planet.The traditional american sports are very well stablished ,specially on the bigger markets.They have a huge media machinery behind them,plus a logical “seniority ” advantage.

        WHAT THEY GOT WRONG
        They created a show, but did not made a base that would stablish the game for the future.No promotion and relegation.No lower divisions structure.
        They created a central office with too much power,wich started handing out millionaire contracts like it was candy.
        They basically lacked visiion.

        Ironically, the old NASL would make a very good example against single entity. Had they had promotion and relegation and real clubs instead of such strong “central office” ,i think they would had made it.

        Also,my personal opinion,they were very naive letting too many NFL interest to mingle into it.

        Another point. You rightly mention how soccer is the most popular youth sport in america. What does that observation tell us? There is a missing link in the north american soccer structure, that popularity at the early ages is not been harvest properly.

        After collegue,what choices do players have? The number of MLS clubs do not keep a logical relationship to the size of our nation, so it only offers a meaningfull future to a very small porcentage of those players. They are not ready to go to the top european leagues, so what are they left with?

        A) Our lower division club system, wich is totally un-link to the soccer world.It have been totally neglected by the USSF,wich only cares about MLS,

        B) they could go to something like Norway. That’s it!

        result: a big potential lost by our lack of vision.

        So I ask,what should be more important? To wait until we have soccer specific stadiums all around and them do promotion and relegation and a logical top to bottom structure, or to start harvesting that potential that we loose every year as soon as posible?
        What is this USSF doing to take us in the right direction?

        To use the “soccer specific stadiums” issue, as an argument not to implement promotion and relegation and a logical pyramidal structure is absurd. Specially since it is a very easy hurdle to overcome!
        On a promotion and relegation system,, the clubs need to meet some criteria in order to be elegible for promotion. We would only need to set the standards and make an announcement, that is ALL IT TAKES!

        We will start practicing promotion and relegation in 2 years(example), in order for a club to be elegible, it would need to meet this criteria:
        – A soccer specific stadium minimum capacity 20 000(example)
        -some kind of bank sheet proving such institution is financially stable.
        -ext.

        In other words,something substantial.What they are feeding us now is just: we will see, maybe, not yet, not yet, maybe latter, not now , that would be so bad.

        they are fooling us! basically.

        • MarylandBill says:

          Roger,
          With respect, in some cases you are arguing against yourself. You say that the NASL got it right be recruiting big name talent, but then criticize it for spending too much on big salaries. You can’t have it both ways. If we want to attract the best talent from Europe and South America, we are going to have to pay more than most teams in the top National Divisions such as the EPL or La Ligua.

          In addition, your argument about the MLS being too small for the size of our country really does not bear close scrutiny. Yes the league is still relatively small, but it is at least half the size of any of the major league sports in the USA. The NBA has 30 teams; and each team is a fair bit smaller than a soccer team. By your argument the NBA and the NFL should both be in trouble (Baseball and Hockey both have minor leagues).

          The biggest problem with soccer in this country is not how the MLS is run. Run like an American sport, or run it like soccer is run in England, it would still have the same basic problem. That basic problem is a rather limited audience when compared to other major league sports in America. If the MLS could start getting several million people watching its games on Television, most of the rest would fall into place pretty quickly.

          • Roger says:

            MarilandBill.

            My point is that they got the WHAT right,but not the HOW.You are leaving a piece of my argument out, wich is the all powerfull central office that they had.
            My point is that the old NASL as well as MLS are getting the logical order of things wrong.
            Their first priority should be to put in place a club structure(not just a top division) that :

            – capture the essense of our game

            – incentivate the creation of clubs

            – fill the gap thats in between the youth and the top professional level,so that we take advantage of the popularity of our game at the younger ages.

            – link us to the international soccer community.

            The stadiums and the big stars will come as a result of the popularity that such structure will bring.They will come as a result of real clubs competing on an open market for getting to the top of the pyramid.They will come as a logical result of us having a bigger economy than England,or Spain ,or Italy.

            Look at what we have now.We have young players that are migrating to third tier european leagues because we have not created the top to bottom structure that we should have, while we are bringing Henry, and american millionaires own top European clubs. What we have is a nonsense!

            The argument about the number of MLS clubs no keeping a logical proportion with the size of our country can not be denied. Your comparison with american sports ignores a very important fact. The philosofy that has made our game the greatest sport on earth , is the complete oposit that what american sports use.

            14 years and 4 World Cups later, MLS grew to equal the Wales first division(18).So we will compare to something like Belgium or Portugal by 2087 or something like that.To get to the level of the best leagues in the world ,by that time interstelar traveling may even be posible. I know some of our soccer “fans” are happy with MLS “growth”. I doubt they are really soccer fans!

            Your last paragraf, I can not disagree more.If we present the american public the real product, the authentic version of our game,the passion that the meaningfull symbols bring,the close link between fans and clubs,then like you said….” the rest would fall into place pretty quickly”.

          • MarylandBill says:

            Roger,

            I didn’t include the argument about the strong central office, because it was irrelevant. To attract star talent, you have to pay star salaries. Thats why the best players from Argentina and Brazil are playing in Europe, not in Argentina and Brazil.

            Us having a larger economy means nothing until soccer starts consistently drawing the ratings, licensing and ticket prices that are necessary to sustain the salaries that are necessary to draw the talent that will provide the game you want from the MLS.

            Also, I think here we need a distinction made. Despite your claims to the contrary, the promotion and relegation based league system is not core to Soccer. Now, I like that system, and I think once soccer reaches a critical mass in this country, it might be adapted successfully.

            Here is another point to consider. The FA League system developed in a top down fashion as well. The ancestor of the EPL, started off about 7 years before the creation of the ancestor of the League Championship and automatic promotion and relegation was introduced for another 7 years.

            Ultimately, to put the product you want to see on the field takes money, more money than the MLS can afford right now. Believe it or not, soccer specific stadiums are helping revenues and the league is slowly growing in visibility and popularity. The number of teams is less important than how successful the league is over all, and how successful soccer is.

            Here is a final thought. I think you know, we both agree on where we want American soccer to go, we mostly disagree on how we think it needs to get there. But let me ask you to consider the following. Lets say 30 years from now, the MLS still does not have promotion and relegation, but has grown to a league of 32 team, and has become the most popular sport in the United States — the MLS Championship game can draw upwards of 150 million domestic viewers. As a result it can draw the best players in the world. EPL, and the other top tier European leagues are now viewed as feeder leagues for the MLs…. would we still say that the MLS was not succeeding?

      • Roger says:

        matunos.
        We have been fed so much manipulation that is not even funny.

        Let me start by saying that the old NASL was not the real product.They did rights and wrongs. But it was basically a show league.

        Ironically,they keep trying to sell us the idea(I call it the old dirty trick)that one of the main reasons we should not get rid of the salary cap is bacause what happened to the old NASL. “teams would go bankrupted right and left and the whole league will go down the drain” they say over and over and over.A highly manipulaitve argument with NO PRECEDENTS for more than a century ,on any soccer league on the planet. NEVER , EVER!!

        I dont know why is it so tough to see what is going on with here?!?!
        The system that we have been imposed makes a lot of sense for the people that imposed it! It gives them total control of our game in america. THINK ABOUT IT!!
        They own more than 50% of every franchise.They decide wich owner/city gets in. Something with no precedent in any other respectable soccer league in the world,called CBA,gives them control over player salaries and contracts.The comissioner makes more money than a franchise is allowed to pay players.
        Why would they ever get rid of single entity?!?! They never ever will do it voluntarily!
        Did you know that a club like Burnley a little more than 10 years ago was not even semi-pro, but was actually on the amateur ranks of the english soccer pyramid system?

        Why would a club like the Rhinos could not be promoted? They have their own stadium! They average 6000 playing of a phantom league! They won an Open Cup defeating MLS clubs on their way!

        the only reason stoping us from practicing promotion and relegation is single entity. Is is up to the fans to get rid of single entity!

        They will never do it! On a place like Marina Park, Rochester NY, there should be a HUGE Promotion and Relegation Banner EVERY time the Rhinos play. Also on Tampa, and Austin,and Charleston, and so on!

        In a way, we(the fans) are the problem.Until we wake up and make ourselfs noticed, these american sport speculators and lawyers will keep running the show.

        • Charles says:

          Roger,

          The Sounders played in a free market league the A League/USL/NASL.
          They had GREAT ownership…a billionare. A billionare who was committed to soccer and didn’t like the single entity structure ( like you ), the MLS was going after him for years. He said no.

          What happened was that they didn’t draw for that type of structure. WHY ?!?!? You seem to think that is the answer, but…..
          They joined MLS and the single entity structure and now are wildly successful. I love the Rhinos and I love Burnley (from what you told me of their story ).

          BUT this is NOT England, you have serious competition ( not cricket ) for sports dollars. Even HUGE fans of the Sounders ( FOR 30-40 YEARS NOW ) watch many other sports. It DOES matter that Rochester will only draw 10k….a lot. They will NOT be on ESPN Sportscenter with 10k. MLS teams don’t make SportsCenter right now with twice that many people caring.

          Not sure how you and millions of others in favor of pro/rel can not factor this in. The US is VERY different and not just because they don’t care as much about soccer.

          The US league will crush the Euro leagues in short order, not a doubt in my mind.

          • Roger says:

            What choice did the Sounders ownership had? They did not join MLS because they changed their mind about single entity.MLS was the only choice out of the soccer purgatory they were in;not linked to Concacaf campions league and eventually one day the Fifa World Clubs Cup.
            The Sounders are not suscessfull now because they joined MLS,They are because of their fan base is huge.
            I absolutly agree with the point that soccer in the US has serious competition from the other sports. So, what should be the right strategy? To ridicoulously imitate their system? Be very much only on the same markets that are allready saturated, and not be present on the thousands of markets in wich they are not . Not to take advantage of their weakest point?!
            How do we compete against NFL ,MLB and the NBA stars,and their huge propaganda machinery with a salary cap?
            Before MLS crush Euro leagues(like you say), we will have to crush Mexican Clubs on Concacaf Champions League. Do you know what is mexico’s cheapest roster? Queretaro’s $16 millions.How are we going to make it EVER to the Fifa World Clubs Cup, so that we can “crush euro leagues” with an absurd salary cap.???

            But most importantly,people that argues against promotion and relegation in the US forgets the most fundamental ethical points.We need leaders that understand that our game is about a lot more than just what goes on the field. We should embrace pro/rel not only because it will work,but because it is the right thing to do! Because off the rightfullness with in the merithocratic Fifa philosophy. We are a game that links the World! Not just the biggest and more profitable markets in the world! THE WORLD. Everybody is included.England and Ivory Coast. Madrid and Cochabamba. If we dont embrace that philosophy,we are heading on the wrong direction!

            Single entity is the complete oposit of Fifa’s merithocratic Universal idea.By imposing it on us,our leadership shows us their true colors,their lack of vision.They can not understand because they come from sports that have never had the vision that FIFA have.They are not soccer people!

            First we have to get rid of the people that have found a way to kidnapped our game.
            Second.We have to find out how they got there.What kind of “infuences” or “connections” they used to get themselves in positions they should had never been in, so that it would not happen again.
            We will be ok only after we accomplish that. The fans are the key. Protest on places like Seattle and Toronto are baby steps. Fan involvement needs to grow. The fans are the key.

          • Charles says:

            What do you mean Sounders didn’t have a choice ?

            They left soccer purgartory as you describe it, which is the exact system you love. No one forced them. They drew 10k in soccer purgatory and drew 40k in MLS.

            You then say pro/rel system that links the poor and the rich ?…that is so rediculous because only the rich win.
            Maybe the link is the poor lose to the rich…nice.
            See LaLiga for one of many many examples.

            Why would Sounder’s fans protest ? Have you been to a game there.
            Being a fan there is the greatest experience in all of soccer…WORLDWIDE.
            Do you honestly think I want the Sounders to go back to a free market system ? 5k in a stadium built for 67k ?

            Money did NOT follow/invest in your league for good reason, not some conspiracy like you think.

  10. derrick says:

    World cup is not gonna make people like MLS. The standard, star power, and meaning are just different. Most of the world cup players even on the U.S. national team don’t play in MLS so the people that like international soccer aren’t even gonna see the same players. MLS has to stand on it’s own. Develop it’s own stars and stories to engage people and provide it’s own quality soccer. And no matter how much success an the national team has they play maybe 7 times a year in mostly meaningless games over a 4 year period. That doesn’t work for American football, Baseball, Basketball or Hockey, why would it work for soccer? Internationals can peak peoples interest but the club game has to provide addictive entertainment to carry people for 4 years. MLS, does not yet to nearly enough people. And that it grabs some people isn’t good enough cause it’s not growing fast enough. Especially tv viewership and tv is where the money is.

  11. CoconutMonkey says:

    @Robert: I don’t think your comments are too far off the mark. After finishing up the MLS Playoffs last year, then all the European action, then back to MLS, and NOW the World Cup is almost over. I’ve watched more matches in the past 3 weeks than I usually watch in 3 months. On top of that, 2 USA matches (England, Ghana) were 3:30am kick-offs where I live. I’m feeling the fatigue.

    I don’t think it’s out of the ordinary for a fan to take a break from watching for a bit. But don’t think these ratings mean much at the moment. We really need to wait the whole season out to see if WC is good or bad for MLS attendance.

    • Lysander says:

      I agree with you there. I have worn myself out with soccer lately. During group play I was waking up at 5AM to watch the first game, going to work, coming home at lunch time to watch half a game if I could and then staying up late to watch a Tivoed game. Last night I watched the Sounders Timbers game and did not get to bed till midnight.

      All this made me a zombie at work and I think weakened my immune system. I have had a cough for two weeks now that will not go away!

      So as much as I want to watch more, I am not bothering with MLS games that are not my hometeam (seattle). I just do not have the energy!!! Later I will be trying to watch more of them again. But I just can’t right now!!!

  12. DCUDiplomat96 says:

    Alot of yall Soccer Only guys dont get it, America is not a soccer Nation, its a sports nation, HeLLO! if there is no news from the world cup ofcourse its not gonna be reported?? for what?? nothing going on. Plus Sports news cycles run so fast in cycles that every story can top the next and the next, its always been like that for years. Righ now the big story in the US and Canada is the NBA Free Angency for at least this week then after that its a toss up with Baseball, football training camp and world Cup(non usa team ) will fit in some how. Also realize that Team USA is out so World Cup attention is gonna go down alil , also most US media outside ESPN is moving on to other things, its just as it is. Soccer onlies just dont get American sports thats all.

    • MarylandBill says:

      With respect, half the time the Sports News Cycle is not reporting any news, its reporting speculation about what might happen. I have been hearing more about what LeBron James might do than any real news involving Free Agency.

      Shoot, I would think the American Sports Media would love the World Cup now.. they get days to talk about what will happen in the next games…

      • CoconutMonkey says:

        Well, if your team was in the running for LeBron James AND Dwayne Wade, you’d be interested too. ;)

        • MarylandBill says:

          Not really… of all the major American Sports, I have always been the least interested in Basketball (How am I am suppose to get interested in someone scoring if it happens every minute).

  13. sergio lima says:

    The Gaffer, sorry about all the argument. I enjoy your blogs and your efforts. I, in fact, admire your love for the game. I would like to salute you. I may not be writing as much but I will be visiting to read you. Happy holiday. Cheers.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Sergio, no need to apologize. I welcome good debate on this site, and your contributions in the comments section are appreciated. Feel free to continue speaking your mind.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • Charles says:

      Sergio,
      Please continue to write. The last thing any site like this needs is a bunch of people agreeing on every point….no matter which side or which viewpoint.

      • Roger says:

        Charles:
        I totally disagree with the points you are trying to make against promotion and relegation.

        “When a team in down 50+ points in a season that ONLY reason to discuss them is if they were going to go winless. THE ONLY reason.”

        A club on that situation is obviously out of any chance of a league title. Without promotion and relegation their final games are meaningless(MLS style), but with pro/rel most clubs are still playing for relevant things at the end of the seasson.
        2 or 3 may be fighting for the title; clubs on the middle of the table are either trying to get into Continental competition spots and trying to avoid relegation zone; and there wil be a relegation dogfight at the bottom of the table.

        At the end of the seasson , Promotion and Relegation makes games relevant in one way or another at all diferent levels of the table from top to bottom.

        There are other more subtle things about pro/rel. Football(like I call it)is a reflection of live. There are big cities and there are small cities.There are very talented people and there are not very talented people. Everybody’s life goals are different. For a club like Burnley wich was on the amateurs divisions some years ago, to survive on the Premiership one more year is as big as for Man Utd to win the Champions.Live uses a promotion and relegation system and soccer is a reflection of life.
        What makes no sense is to have a digitized system design to have all “franchises”wheather from big,medium or small markets within the same quality range so that a private club of owners keep all fans synthetically involved. All of that while keeping a huge chunk of our nation OUT.

        • Charles says:

          So rather than have a team get better and try to contend, create a competition for the perrenial losers. Nice idea for the owners. Pay no big money on salaries to win then lose, but then win at the box office. Just be sure to finish 17th.

          Not what I want for my league.

          Let’s be realistic about keeping the rest of the nation out… Only the teams with money are going to win outside of a revenue sharing agreement anyway. Like if baseball opened its doors to the minor leagues, the Everett Aquasox might beat the Mariners on their way to beating the Yankees for the title or something.

          • Roger says:

            So the wise answer our soccer gurus have found to “not have perrenial loosers” is to deny them their right to exist.

            Even if you where right.What is worse?

            How denying Rochester and Charleston and Tampa and so many others a right to compete is going to help our game to grow? HOW?

            Guess waht kind of system is in place in ALL the World Champion nations?

            Guess what kind of system is in place in this 2010 FIFA World Cup Champion’s national league. WHOEVER WINS!

            Guess what kind of system is in our neighbor Mexico? The one country clearly dominating our continental clubs championship.

            They all practice ” a competition for the perrenial losers”. Seems like that is working for them.

            Charles, respectfully. dont you realize that something in your logic is not making sense.

          • Roger says:

            Money should be just one of the issues to consider when it comes to what kind of system we should put in practice.

            It shoud not be THE ISSUE.

            I dont think that by practicing promotion and relegation we will be creating a competition for the perrenial loosers.We will be creating a competition in wich everybody will be granted a shot at wining. Just like we were granted by FIFA a shot to qualify to the WC,even when our team was made out of a bunch of amateurs that had no chance of wining the World Cup.

            By not having promotion and relegation, we are completly out of touch with our game values.Completly un-link to the international soccer community.

            By denying most of our nation a chance to be linked to the international soccer world. WE ALL LOOSE.

          • Roger says:

            Charles:you said:

            “After Seattle ( the only team with REAL fan support ) wins it all trading off sometimes with LA for the 20th time, you think Dallas and others cities survive ?

            IF you answer is yes, I think you are crazy. This is the US, they are not going to settle for finishing 17th and being happy.”

            I think I may be crazy.
            Look at Charleston,Rochester,Montreal,Carolina,Vancouver,Portland and others. They have survive a lot worse than that .Dont you think!?!? They have survive been completly excluded!
            Not only I think they will survive.I think the true potential of north american club soccer will show when we implement promotion and relegation.

            Charles ,all of your coments really show how unfamiliar you are with the promotion and relegation system. The true power of pro/rel is the top, it is a wide base of clubs at the bottom.

            It is a yin and yan thing. “IF such and such is relegated then ….blah blah….”
            For every club relegated,there is one promoted. Not only look at the frustration that comes with relegation.You should also weight the exitement of promotion. Look at the whole picture.

          • MarylandBill says:

            Roger,
            I agree that money should not be the ISSUE, but unfortunately in professional sports, it is the ISSUE. No professional league can survive if at the end of the season it is not profitable — well it might survive a few seasons but ultimately the league, and the teams in the league must start making money.

            And here is the thing.. once you do start making money, it is easier to make more money. If we want MLS payrolls in the 30-50 million range, we first have to make money with the payrolls they have.

  14. DCUDiplomat96 says:

    Does it really matter that soccer isn’t front page news in american media??? Why can’t the eurosnobs and soccer only people really. Understand the situation both USSF and MLS and othe. North american leagues have to deal with. Comparing with europe will not make u sucessful, comparing with. The. Big US leads makes better sense.

  15. Abram says:

    I want to sort of pick up on two recurring threads in this topic:

    1. Why not have a Manchester in the MLS? Get rid of the cap, let the teams that can spend and maybe eventually more owners will spend more. I get the salary cap I do, but why not let the teams with owners and fans who care spend the money to get better quality players.

    2. Sure most of the USMNT are not, but the player being billed as “the greatest player in the history of US soccer” (Landon Donovan) is. In a big market. I will be interested to see if the rating for today’s game has better/worse ratings than a typical MLS game.

    And finally:

    I watched ESPN today. 30% of the broadcast was on baseball, 20% was on Wimbleton, 5% was on the World Cup, 45% was on the NBA’s free agency, and 0% was on MLS games. Until ESPN, a network which is in bed with the MLS, can give credit to the league on their flagship show(Sportscenter) the MLS will not be able to show its product to the uninitiated.

    I’m glad they have a game of the week, but it is barely advertised. No highlights on Sportscenter, no league stories, no coverage of transfers. Are you telling me ESPN should not be covering the Landon Donovan-Man City story? If ESPN wants to “force soccer down America’s throat” as so many people complain then they need to do a better job forcing it.

  16. Roger says:

    Charles:
    You said
    “This is the US, they are not going to settle for finishing 17th and being happy”

    Another clasic argument against pro/rel.
    “We are Americans,we are different, it will not work here.”

    It is a complete nonsense,simplistic ,empty argument. Do you think any club suporter on any soccer nation in the planet is happy about finishing 17th.?? Do you think they have a looser mentality on Germany,England ,Brasil,Argentina and so on.

    Dont you realize such an argument is not only childish but also offensive?

    Soccer is a reflection of life.Life is a struggle.You get relegated, you fight back and try to get promoted again.

    • Charles says:

      Very funny that the last part of your plan was try to get promoted again.
      I think that I would have put, you lose then you try to win again….and not one game against your rival or a “good” tie ( draw ) against the powerhouse, WIN, IT ALL, AS IN WIN THE LEAGUE.

      I don’t think I am being offensive, they have a league in England where one team has finished at the top virtually every year. Americans are upset because the Yankees are too powerful. I looked it up, major league baseball had around 15 teams finish with the best record last decade ( there were some ties ). Losing works in England, it doesn’t here.

      • Roger says:

        If you want to win the league ,and you are on 2nd division ,first you have to be promoted to first ! Dont you?!

        If your club dont exist. Then you can not win anything. Can you?

        Do you know that EVERY club on the premiership has at some point been relegated.?

        • Matunos says:

          Actually, 11 of the teams in the EPL have never been relegated.

          • MarylandBill says:

            Matunos,
            I think that is a question of how one looks at it. Yes, there are a number of teams that have never been relegated from the EPL, but the EPL has only existed for going on 20 years. Prior to the EPL, there was still a top level league and I think it is true that every team in the EPL has been relegated from the top league at one point.

  17. Roger says:

    MarylandBill:
    I know we have a little difference in vision but were are both for promotion and relegation.

    A couple of points.

    The salary cap is a neccesity of the “franchise” system. A “franchise” system” can not afford to have huge disparities; the system is design with money as a top priority.Having the same clubs year after year after year,such a system needs an artificial way of keeping quality within a certain range among their franchises.The american model is design as a show.Made by and for the owners.

    With a soccer system instead of a franchise system,a salary cap is no longer needed .Soccer does not need to be afraid of disparities;soccer welcomes disparity.FIFA gives Uruguay(less than 3 million hab)and Honduras the same chance it gives powerfull nations.

    The magic of our game is its capacity to reflect life. It is its pureness. Barcelona is bigger than Murcia;as Milan is bigger than Lecce;as Manchester is than York;as Sao Paulo is bigger than Curitiba;as New York is bigger than Charleston.

    The pursuit of excellence should be one of the goals of a North American soccer league, not something to be afraid of.

    A salary cap goes against soccer’s capacity to reflect live,a fundamental espect that makes our game magic, special,unique.

    What we have now(MLS) is not real soccer, it is a sadly synthetically dilluted, fake version of it!

    • CoconutMonkey says:

      To Roger: I admire your all inclusive approach to the game. And while I hate to be a naysayer without any hard data, I just can’t imagine your vision becoming a reality.

      Just do a quick search on “Premier League Financial Changes”, you’ll see that the trend is moving closer financial cooperation rather than financial competition. And that’s in addition to the way they’re already cooperating: equal distribution of TV rights, parachute payments, etc. They may not be moving towards anything like a salary cap (which would be nigh impossible in a European open market), but at the very least, they are working toward implementing standards to reverse the trend of clubs taking on dangerous levels of debt. Again, this isn’t unique, Bundesliga clubs actually have to qualify as financially healthy or risk being booted from the league.

    • MarylandBill says:

      I am not sure I agree that with your interpretation of the the purpose of a Salary cap. I think it is more designed to help keep teams profitable. otherwise, some teams, particularly those from a smaller market are able to have a chance to remain competitive in the league.

      Also, I think you might find that there are more than a few fans of mid-tier EPL teams who resent the fact that Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are able to essentially buy their positions in the league every year. In fact, if you google Salary Cap and European Soccer Leagues you will find more than a few articles discussing the idea of Salary caps on either a per league basis or even a Pan European Salary Cap.

      In fact, while I am a fan of relegation and promotion, I think the current English System is broken. The disparity in television revenue alone between an EPL team and a League Championship team (approximately 45 million pounds compared to 1 million pounds) makes it difficult to build a team in the Championship that will be a good nucleus for a successful EPL team if the team gets promoted.

      I am also not sure that the countries you mention, Uruguay and Honduras would agree that they have an equal chance with the football powers of Europe. Shoot, I wonder how they feel as their best talent is siphoned off to play in European Leagues while they have to settle for their second and third best players?

      • Roger says:

        The salary cap is like an addendum of the franchise system.It makes no sense on a soccer system.Primarily because it affects directly the capacity of soccer to mirror reality,culture,societies.

        Of course there has to be fans resenting the fact that big clubs dominate.Just like a Basco resents the spanish capital being on the kingdom of Castilla; just like an argentinian from the country side resents the arrogance of the porteños and so on. Soccer is after all a reflection of reality.

        TV revenue distribution is another issue. I agree it has to be improved.

        As for Uruguay,even though their best players play abroad,in spite the fact that they are less than 3 million, they are on the semifinals of the World Cup.Outlasting bigger nations like England,France,Italy.

        Want to know why? because FIFA guaranties EVERY nation a chance. NOT JUST A SELECTED GROUP. like MLS does.

        • Matunos says:

          Your ideal competitive soccer league is great. The problem is that, unlike in other countries whose national sport is soccer, there is simply not enough interest in the sport here to have a couple rich clubs dominate the league and a bunch of smaller clubs pick up the crumbs. Viewers in those smaller markets will turn off, those clubs will fold, and they’ll take the league with them.

          It’s not like the English are going to stop following soccer because the Big Four dominate. They’re still going to go to their Championship games (though they may not watch them on TV). There’s still going to be plenty of amateur and semi-pro clubs. But unlike in England, Americans in small markets that can’t compete in a soccer league will just watch college football, or basketball.

          The MLS is still in development mode. Yes, it’s been 20 years. It’ll probably be 20 more. As someone else pointed out, it takes time. The NFL wasn’t born in a day. The idea that the league is all about money for the owners is ridiculous. The only MLS teams turning a profit are Galaxy, Sounders, and maybe Toronto (I think they did in 2008, not sure about 2009). If the MLS franchise system is designed to make money in the short term, it’s doing about as well as a Madoff scheme. As much as I’d love to see my Sounders buy up all the fantastic players and dominate the league, realistically I know that would spell the end of the league. Plus, most of those players wouldn’t be American, so what would that do for the USMNT?

          There is a symbiotic relationship with MLS and the USMNT, in that the success of the USMNT directly feeds into interest in the MLS (if the US didn’t make the quarter finals in 1994, we probably wouldn’t even be discussing the MLS, except as a roadbump in history), and the MLS will, directly or indirectly, spurn development of better US players.

          • Roger says:

            Matunos:
            I disagree with your coment:

            “But unlike in England, Americans in small markets that can’t compete in a soccer league will just watch college football, or basketball.”

            We have a group of clubs like Rochester,Montreal,Vancouver,Portland,Charleston,Carolina etc, that make a great example against your assumption.

            When you say …”can’t compete in a soccer league”….you mean clubs that are part of a league but their inferior quality makes them a super long shots.These clubs have literaly not been able to be part of our “fist division” ,neither have they been given a chance through promotion and relegation to win first division status.Yet, their fans are not going anywhere! Still supporting their clubs in the soccer purgatory they had bben confined to!!

            My respects to Rochester’s; Portland’s;Montreal’s;Vancouver’s and other fans like that. These are the real US soccer fans!

            It makes no sense that Promotion and relegation will make those markets disapear but quite the oposit.It is reversed logic one more time.

          • Roger says:

            I see MLS and the USSF as the problem.

            The huge enphasis USSF is placing on our so called “first division”, and the very unsoccer like , NFL MLB pathetic carbon copy set of rules that we have been IMPOSED, clearly shows the mentality of our “soccer lords”.

            Their arrogance is the problem as well. Without any consultation of fans,somehow they know “how to do things better” than the rest of the world,even though soccer leagues have been around for more than a century.

            Think about it, MLS first added Seattle. Who will follow? Portland ,Vancouver and Montreal. A very smart way to weaken your competition! Don’t you think?

            If the USSF dutie is to nurture and grow our sport in north america, shouldn’t one of their most important goals be to stabilize our lower divisions. To make them bigger and better!

            When they make it so obvious that they only care about MLS, wich model is the intelectual creation of Mr Sunil Gulatis, they show us their lack of vision.

            On soccer countries,first divisions are just one piece of a bigger puzzle. Linked by promotion and relegation, their different divisions form a giant magnificent pyramidal structure of hundreds,thousands of clubs.

            To create such a structure makes even more sense in north america. Even more sense than in England,Argentina or any other country. Because of our size!

            The focus should not be only our first division, but a whole national clubs divisional structure. Promotion and relegation is the only way to meaningfully acomplish that.
            Everything else is just a waste of time!

  18. Roger says:

    CoconutMonkey. thans for your reply.

    I like the German idea. However, a promotion and relegation system punish clubs that overspend one way or another(Portsmouth).

    Our problem in north america is not that promotion and relegation wont work. Our problem is that the people at the top of the US soccer structure have a different agenda.

    Remember Dough Logan,he used to be MLS comissioner. I saw him on tv a week ago,now he is involved with track and field. Garber used to be NFL Europe Comissioner, admitted himself not to know crab about soccer when hi was appointed. Tomorrow they could be involved with waterpolo or maybe ping pong submarino,god knows.
    This are not soccer people.Soccer people dont go from one sport to another like that.Sport speculators,businessman,lawyers, that is what they are.Grew up on american sports, thats what they are familiar with, that is what they understand. That is why we ended up with franchises,salary cap,all stars game.

    Guys lets be real.This people dont care about the growth of our game in north america. You dont bring someone like Garber if that is your purpose.

    You know what they care about?? 30/40 million franchise fees.You can’t charge that price on a pro/rel system. A pro/rel system is good for the fans,the players,the cities.Not for them!!

    You want to know what they really want?! To host the World Cup.BIG BUSINESS.Look at the enphasis on new stadiums,the need for Soccer Specific Stadiums.What do you think is the purpose of that enphasis???

    The real soccer fans know that promotion and relegation and real clubs is the way to go.Supporters groups are the key,they need to get organise and start showing meaningfull banners to games.
    As long as we have non soccer people on charge, our game is not heading any where meaningfull,any time soon.

    • DCUDiploma96 says:

      I don’t think soccer people can succeed in american sports because u have to understand the american sports land scape not the other way. Around.

    • DCUDiploma96 says:

      No real fan culture is being developed and not appealing to mainstream sports fans. A lot of these supporters groups are immitating the europe fans and not really developing on their on, cause more alienation from mainstream media, Soccer needs a more american style of presentation.

      • Charles says:

        Agree 100%, I heard a few of the chants and then realized they were stolen. Why ? A lot of them aren’t that great.

        The whole “nil, pitch, workrate” mentality is just bizzare to me. Why don’t we say it in Portaguese, German or Italian instead?

    • Charles says:

      I could not disagree with you more Roger, the best run league in the world by far is the NFL. Where The Don is from.

      I don’t know how you can say the way they are running MLS now ISN”T good for the fans. The last game of the regular season last year and almost every team could still win MLS Cup.

      IT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE EXCITING.

      I appreciate your viewpoint that you want to change that, but inspite of what you say, I don’t believe that most Americans want a league that is down to two teams half way through the season, so they can root for their team to finish in the top 17.

      • Roger says:

        Charles. Whe you say that :

        “IT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE EXCITING.”

        You show your lack of knowledge of our game.

        Yes soccer in America could be A LOT more exiting than what it is.EXITING would be a New York derby.Imagine a NY club with a strong european influence and another with a lating american one!?

        EXITING would be soccer clubs in all those cities with NO other professional sport “franchise”

        Exiting would be to enjoy high quality soccer on our league.

        Exiting would be giving a run for their money to Mexican clubs on the CCL. Exiting would be that our league would be at the level of the Mexican so that CCL games would be as interesting as European CL are.
        Exiting would be to have one MLS club go to the FIFA World Club Cup and play Milan,River or Barcelona but not in a friendly.

        Exiting would be the rebirth of the Cosmos.

        If what we have is EXITING for you.Keep up enjoying buddy.I dont even know why you post.You have the league that you wanted.

  19. Roger says:

    MarylandBill.
    yousaid:
    “Oh right… just reread your post Roger. You are right, 50 million dollar pay rolls won’t bankrupt the league… it will just drive every team in the league to bankruptcy.”

    That is what I call “the old dirty tyrick” one more time.
    Promotion and relegation has been around for more than a century,on All the important leagues in the world. How come that scenario has NEVER EVER EVER HAPPENED!!!!
    Lots of clubs have been bankrupted,not whole leagues.Not even one!

    For a fraction of Beckan salary, you go to Central and South America,or africa,and if you buy smart you could build a very decent squad.Are you telling me that none of the owners are going to figure that out!? All of them are going to be stupid and comit economical suicide?!

    ……..”… it will just drive every team in the league to bankruptcy.”

    We need to raise the level of the promotion and relegation debate please!!

    Hundreds of 3rd world countries,whose economies can not dream to compare to america’s practice promotion and relegation.How come it has not happen ONCE.!!! NOT ONCE!!!!

    With respect MarylandBill, that argument is absurd.

    • MarylandBill says:

      Roger,
      And how many of those third world countries have four other established sports leagues to compete against? And how many of them have payrolls that even come close to the payrolls of American sports or the top tier European Soccer Leagues?

      Now, you claim that a smart club will be able to build a bargain first rate team by essentially raiding the leagues of third world countries. So the question is, would such a team really be possible? Do we even have an objective standard of how good most of these players are compared to the the MLS players? And if the MLS hasn’t figured it out, why not the English League Championship teams? Or the other European second level teams?

      Ok, sure lets let American teams follow Manchester United into a 700 million in debt.

      Remember, this argument here is not against promotion and relegation, its for the salary cap in the MLS. I also think the promotion and relegation will work better, both in the USA and in Europe if the first level teams are not able to spend 10 times as much as the second level teams on players. Newcastle United, Blackpool and West Bromwich Albion have all made the EPL for 2010-2011… I wonder if they will be able to survive into 2011-2012?

      • Roger says:

        MarilandBill
        Not every club in the soccer world is/spends like Man Utd. Not every league spends like the Premiership.

        There are clubs all around the world that build a strong youth system, buy smart and manage to have very competitive squads.

        If we create the REAL soccer league that we should have, i’m sure a few owners will be stupid, they will be relegated or bankrupt. I am,however sure that other owners will be smart.

        Look at Mexico,our neighbor to the south. They dont buy Beckans. Their league is not going bankrupt. They buy good central and south american talent that they can afford. They are ,by the way,kicking our asses on the CCL.

        Just answer this question MarilanBill.

        Tell me ONE league,that practice promotion and relegation and no salary cap, that has gone bankrup as a consequence of big spending? ONE ! JUST ONE!?

  20. Your league is a mickeymouse league says:

    The EPL is better. Follow English football, not this yank rubbish

    • Charles says:

      Ironic you would make a post like this the day after the US declared independence. You are free to do as you please.

      Go ahead and follow the EPL….I did this year. It was a joke, IMO.
      You will never guess who wins next year !?!?! I will give you two guesses.

  21. DCUDiploma96 says:

    Well now the world cup is over let’s see what MLS can do to market off that. The good ole cater to soccer fans only isn’t really working. There needs to be more star power and rule changes , the game isn’t exciting enough for people to see. If MLS wants to be big league it has to follow the north american blueprint. Not the english one or european one

  22. Lysander says:

    The relegation dream I have (although is very unlikely) is for the MLS and Mexican premier league to combine and form a lower and upper league that has intermixed teams from all three countries with prmotion and relegation between them.

  23. Konsistent says:

    I am a new fan to soccer. As an avid fan of many sports in america, I have constantly tried to accept soccer for many years. One reason why I have tried to understand the game is because of the passion shown throughout the world. It is a shame that we americans are so quick to look the other way when talking about a sport not born in america.

    When the world cup began, I forced myself to sit down, read about the sport, understand the rules and watch the games. I was particularly interested in the u.s team, and tried to read about the players and who they were. As I watched the game, I found myself getting totally into the game. After the u.s game was over (against england), I decided to explore further and watch the other teams and read about all the different leagues throughout the world. It seemed as If a light went off and the game became a reality. At this point in time, I can honestly say that soccer has become tied with being my second favorite sport (tied with baseball) american football being my favorite.

    When the u.s lost against ghana, I wondered if the thrill was gone. I was curious to see if I had that ole u.s arrogance and give up on soccer because our team lost. As the next day approached, I found myself waiting to see the next match (irregardless of what country was playing). Needless to say, I am pleased that my interest was not relegated only to the u.s.

    I am however very interested in the mls teams. As I have read all the previous posts, I am not sure what to thing about our league. I was so exited to keep watching soccer, I even subscribed to mls direct on direct tv!

    But after reading these posts, I wonder am I wasting my money on a poor product? As a new guy to soccer, I really hope that america will learn to embrace the sport as I have.

    • Football fan says:

      Welcome to the club. Step number 1: you must acknowledge this sport as Football. It’s the 1 and only true Football

      Step 2: Learn the World Cup and Club World Cup system. Wikipedia both terms.

      Step 3: Watch the CONCACAF Champions League

      Step 4: Choose which CONCACAF League you prefer

      Step 5. Watch Euro and South American football

      That’s it. You’re all set

      • konsistent says:

        Thanks for your response.
        I appreciate the suggestions, and will continue with my new journey of learning about Football.

        Thank you again.

    • CTBlues says:

      Konsistent, I grew up despising soccer my whole life, but after the Super Bowl in 2007 my friends and I were bored so we started flippin through the channels came to World Sport HD and a Sevilla match was on. One of my friends grew up playing soccer and jokingly I said hey will watch this for you. At first I had no idea why they were call offside and other penalties, so I would watch other La Liga matches even if my friends weren’t around and I started to understand it more and one of the things that go us hooked were the announcers Paul Giblin and Sid Lowe who were hilarious. They said it how it was unlike American announcers when they retract there statements if they by chance say anything against the league or officals.

      After a while though most of the games I was catching on WSHD were re-airs so I needed to find more soccer. I turned to the world’s leader in sports ESPN who then had the UEFA Champions League and started watching that and decided I like the English teams. Because I was interested in the English teams I had to find out where I could watch those games and I found the mother load FSC. I started to watch some EPL games and was trying to find a team to support, so I did what any person does lacking general knowledge about things today I went to wikipedia. I knew I wanted to root for a team based in London because I didn’t want to be like every other American who saw Euro Trip and become a ManU fan, so I looked up EPL teams based in London. The first team to caught my eye was Fulham because alot of players on the roster had American flags next to them so I started watching them and wow at that time they were god awful, so I moved on to the cross town neighbors Chelsea. They had been doing well the past five seasons so I kept watching them fight it out with ManU for the EPL title and the Champions League. Thus I have been blue ever since.

      Now though I have been trying to watch more MLS lately. I live in Connecticut and get MSG so we get all the Redbulls games and I also watch ESPN’s match of the week to help out with ratings. I would watch more of the MLS matches on FSC if my cable provider (Cablevision) would add FSC in HD. Instead of buying MLS Direct Kick I suggest MLS Match Day Live (mdl.mlssoccer.com/mlsmdl/secure/registerform) because it is basically the same as Direct Kick but HD quality video, DVR functionality, and it’s cheaper.

      Also, you don’t have to call it Football as Football fan has said. It depends on what version is popular in your country. In our case American football is more popular so it’s called football. In Australia Aussie rules is more popular so its called football. In New Zealand Rugby is more popular etc. If you actually look up Association football on wikipedia they tell you why we in America call it soccer and that is because soccer is an abbreviation for Association. We aren’t the only countries that call it soccer either, in Australia and Japan they call it soccer as well.

      • konsistent says:

        Thanks for the suggestions.
        I have cancelled my direct kick and switched to Match Day soccer.
        You saved me about 40 bucks extra!

        This is a new journey, and I am excited about learning more about the sport.

  24. Lysander says:

    98 Konsistent :
    I think you might have wasted your money but not for the reason you stated. I guess it really depends on how much time you have to watch the sport. I can only fit in a couple games a week of MLS so I watch the Sounders game which are all aired here in the Seattle area either on the local station or ESPN and then one other ESPN broadcast game. To pay for all games would be a waste because I do not have time to watch them.

    Is the quality the same as the world cup? No of course not. But there are definitly quality teams, players, plays, and games to watch. But all the basic elements are there to make it fun and interesting to watch. Sure there are bad games, bad plays, bad players etc… but there were in the world cup too! :)

    The only real difference is we do not have teams of superstars, but they are all still way better than anyone writing on this or any other blog! :)

    Go Sounders!!!

  25. Pelé says:

    Lysander,
    Are you sure they are better than anyone writing on this blog? :)


    Pelé (ok, just kidding… MarylandBill)

  26. Roger says:

    Charles the Sounders had no choice because the USL was and still is NOT linked to the soccer world.Wining a USL title does not qualifies you for ANYTHING.Unlike on the soccer world in wich you win a competition and that qualifies you either for promotion to a higher div. or a continental Chamionship,or the world cup.

    Yes,on soccer usually the richer and bigger clubs are the winners. They are also on the bigger cities and have the more fans.Soccer is a reflection of life, and that is a charcteristic that makes our game special.it also adquires other meanings ,sometimes religious(Celtics & Rangers),others political (Lazio & Livorno),social and many others. The universality or soccer welcomes those disparities and yes,links the rich and the poor,the cahtolic and the protestant,the fascist and the comunist making them all part of the same pasion.
    On la Liga Real and Barca dominate because those are the two bigger cities,markets,economies,they have more habitants. Barcelona should not have a club whose streng equal Badajos.New York should not have a club whose streng equals Salt Lake . It makes no sense!!
    A city like New York should have a club that compares to clubs on cities like Manchester,Milan,Barcelona,Buenos Aires,Paris.Not one that looses to a Trinitarian club on Continental championships(with all the respect for the T & T people)

    The way to deal with those disparities should no be to design a system “just for a few” ,using the justification that “the rich allways win anyways” so lets not give the little guy even a chance.

    Do you know that Fifa has 208 member associations and the UN has only 192 ?! With rare exceptions ,all of those member associations play the WC qualifiers, even thoug there have only been only 8 WC winners !! Is it so dificult for you to see that there is a bigger and nobler idea behind Fifa’s philosophy?

    The “single entity concept” completly ignores the fundamental values of our game.They have even say it a few times on enterviews, they want soccer on america to be “entertaining”.The people in charge have NO CLUE what world association football is all about.They think it is Cirque Do Soleil.
    I read the Sounders fans were organizing some games ago a protest.They were going to wear black to denounce the low quality or the referees on MLS. That is the first sign of a soccer fans conciousness starting to develop that I have seen in the US! That is what we need,that is what can change the dinamic of american soccer.

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