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Leagues: MLS

Changing attitudes

It is fair to say that US football is not seen in a very positive light on the British side of the pond. There are years of prejudice to overcome, but the national team’s impressive display at the Confederations Cup are helping to change the attitudes of British football fans who cannot help but notice the increasing number of American imports into their leagues.

Snobbery in football has traditionally been the preserve of the English and this characteristic has never been more apparent than when US football is under consideration.

This reached its peak when David Beckham joined Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007. The former England captain was deemed to be throwing his international career away, leaving the bright lights of the European football scene behind for a footballing ‘backwater’. That was the most generous English press assessment of his high-profile move.

Beckham’s most notable English predecessors in MLS – top flight journeymen nearing the end of their career – had established the view that the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star was taking a serious step down in his career.

The by-product of Beckham’s move was that MLS suddenly got more exposure in UK – major channels made documentaries on a league that many fans expected to be little more than a circus thanks to their knowledge of a predecessor, the NASL. Live matches and highlights became more accessible, albeit late at night.

This has enabled British football supporters to see the reality of MLS, although attitudes have been changed most by the national team – a regular, if slightly unadventurous presence at World Cups – and individuals who ply their trade in England and Scotland.

Many of the leading names of the national team in recent years – Claudio Reyna, DaMarcus Beasley, Clint Dempsey and Brian McBride – have had successful top flight British careers, whilst others have excelled in Europe, particularly in the Bundesliga. Many of the American goalkeepers to grace the Premier League would challenge for a place in the England national team.

The Red, White and Blues’ run in the Confederations Cup suggests they can be more than just bit part players in South Africa next year. By then Brits might just be giving US football the respect it deserves.

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  1. Fan

    June 26, 2009 at 5:42 am

    I admit that the US National Team is far from the worsts, in fact, they are a very good team which is maybe on a par with Senegal and just a little bit lower than Australia, but not too far away. is a huge mistake to mirror the success of the US National Team as a success for MLS too..coz 90% of the US players are currently playing in Europe, not MLS! This shows that MLS is still very, very low in quality, and the quantity of the goods players, that the USMNT has to rely to their European players to win things! Only Landon Donovan seems to worth a permanent place in the team, even though he failed to make it in Europe, coz he is by far way better than those in MLS, but again slightly lower than the European standard. If anything..MLS should be more than thankful to DAVID BECKHAM for finally putting them in the World Football MAP, and making the world recognized that there is a decent football league in America that is SOMETIME worth watching. However..beating Spain means NOTHING if they lose to Brazil 3-0 in the final this Sunday, as Brazil, like Spain, have been playing half-heartedly throughout the whole tournament. I believe the US Team still has a long way to go, but maybe not too long, we will see what’ll happen in the 2010 WC. Perhaps they can produce some miracle like Senegal did in the 2002 WC and reach the semi-final while doing it. Good luck!

  2. Demko

    June 25, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Who could possible care if the Brits “respect” us?

  3. Howiespot

    June 25, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I’m surprised at this article. To be honest american players have done well in the Premier league in recent years and especially the goal keepers that seem to have a longer shelf life than english goal keepers and certainly get the respect they deserve (Kellor, Friedel and Howard). During the world cup campaigns it is always good to watch USA and at times I wish they performed better. Infact it’s the only other shirt I would consider buying (in a discount sale of course). Against Spain they showed that they can perform against champions and beat them so who knows what might happen in South Africa. Given that most of the players play a sport that is in the shadow of American Football, Baseball and Basket Ball it is amazing that people choose to play and support football over there. Speaking from an englishmans perspective, I really don’t think we veiw it the way you think we do. If England get knocked out and USA get through then you will be surprised how many of us will be rooting for the Yanks if there is a free Budwieser promotion on during their game.

  4. LS

    June 25, 2009 at 9:51 am

    You gotta let this Eurosnob thing go. I like a lot of your insights but you are ceaselessly picking at that wound to no good end.

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