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Why It’s Time For Some Soccer Fans in the US To Grow Up

Photo by Jason Staples

I’m not sure whether it’s the heat or the timing of Premier League clubs playing in the United States every summer, but whenever the teams cover over to this country to play Major League Soccer clubs in friendlies, many insecure soccer fans come out of the woodwork to preach about how people who support Premier League clubs are ruining the fabric of the sport in this country. And they often question the loyalty and authenticity of fans who support a team despite that club’s home ground often being several thousand miles away.

I get it. And I agree that local soccer fans, no matter where they live, should support their local team. But it’s a free country, and if someone wants to support Manchester United instead of DC United or some other team, it’s their choice. Ideally, that soccer fan will have room in his life for both clubs (one local and one or more overseas). But for soccer fans in this country to come out with rambling holier-than-thou proclamations, it’s time for them to grow up and move on with their lives.

With U.S. soccer, there’s a lot to be proud of but there’s also a lot of frustration regarding where the quality level is right now. Each of us, no matter where we live, dwell in homes where we have access to games from anywhere around the world on our TV sets or computers, so the window of opportunity to watch games has increased significantly. It’s like the difference between the time when there was a ton of local music on in town, where we could listen to a local band jamming out their licks — and then comparing that to a service like Spotify where you have access at your fingertips to tons of songs from some of the best and most gifted artists from around the world. You don’t care as much where that band comes from. You just fall in love with their music, which is often more creative and gifted than the local variety.

For soccer fans in the United States, we have to realize that the popularity of Premier League clubs is here to stay. Major League Soccer has come to grips with it. Rather than complaining about how Manchester United is the biggest soccer story in the United States right now, dwarfing MLS games being played mid-season, MLS is gearing up for its All-Star Game with Manchester United as the opponent for the second year running. Besides, Major League Soccer is generating plenty of revenue from Premier League clubs playing against MLS opposition both this season and previous summers. Rather than trying to “beat them,” it’s far better to “join them” and hope that some of these fans who attend the games or watch them on television will end up becoming a MLS fan and coming to watch their local team on a regular basis.

If Major League Soccer is going to continue in this country, it’s not going to be by U.S. soccer fans coming on a blog about Premier League soccer and criticizing people for supporting an EPL side. It’s going to take time, but it’ll come from many different ways such as local stars playing for the U.S. national team. But more importantly, it’ll come from a better standard of play on the pitch where the tactics and technical abilities are superior to what they are now. It also needs to come from improved TV coverage from US networks where hosts, pundits and commentators need to be more genuine and need to passionately communicate what they’re seeing on television. The bottom line is that the standards need to be raised.

Those standards need to be raised at the U.S. national team level too. Coach Bob Bradley is in a position where the bar to measure his team’s success is set too low. The disparity between where Mexico is right now compared to the United States is massive. Not only did Mexico convincingly beat the U.S. 4-2 in the Gold Cup Final, but Mexico’s under-17 team won the World Cup, while most of the members of the under-22 squad performed in the 2011 Copa America where, despite losing each of their games, they played well and earned some valuable experience.

Why is it important for the U.S. national team to do well in context with the growth of Major League Soccer? Simply because it gives the U.S. game more credibility. If the United States does well, more fans are likely to go watch their local MLS club and vice-versa. Just as it’s vital that the playing standards of MLS grows, so too is it imperative that the U.S. national team improves. And right now, the national team led by Bradley is at a standstill while its neighbor to the south is quickly surpassing it both in terms of technical and tactical ability.

So rather than badgering US residents who are fans of Premier League clubs on a Premier League blog, these MLS fans need to be complaining to USSF for their poor decision making in keeping a coach in charge who doesn’t have the vision or skill to take the United States to the next level. These fans need to improve the game on the national and local level, and not worry about European soccer. And not resort to name-calling when they run out of intelligent things to say.

I want the sport to continue to succeed in the United States, but I’m not going to ignore the wonderful games we can watch on television that feature many of the best players in the world. There’s enough room in people’s lives – if they so choose – to watch Major League Soccer as well as Premier League soccer and other leagues around the world. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

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  1. Joe R

    August 27, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Why support your local club? because Gillingham is a town of just under 100,000 people, League Two Gillingham FC got an average attendance of 5,000 last season. So where have the 95,000 people of Gillingham gone, ok some will be Gillingham fans but don’t want to/can’t afford to go to matches. but not 95,000, most will be people who think I ain’t going to support GIllingham, they never win anything, they only have an 11,000 capacity stadium, they play in league two, so instead i’ll support Man U, or Chelsea, or Arsenal ect. If Gillingham got only 5,000 or so more fans they’d sell out pretty much every game, that’s why you should support your local club, if you don’t have a local club (which I doubt that there are NO soccer clubs in your town/city) then support the closet one, or start a new local club.

  2. Phillip

    July 29, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Very good

    Manchester united are the best team to go there to do this

  3. Mike

    July 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Please people. MLS VS EPL is not even a debate we need to have. There is no comparison between the two leagues and it is evident in the tour the premier league teams are having. Here in US the people just have too much pride no, too much arrogance to like something that is not there’s.

    • harry

      July 26, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      “theirs”….right…so much for much for that US arrogance

  4. Patrick

    July 26, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    I support two sides: one MLS, the other EPL. I lived in Norwich and became a City fan while living there. Saturday afternoons at Carrow Road got me into soccer. I’m from (and live in) Philadelphia, so I became a Union fan when they came into existence.

    It’s nice because I get soccer all year round. Of course, the MLS is a lower quality than the EPL, but that’s okay. I still enjoy it.

    • harry

      July 26, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      patrick…this is the shortest and best way to sum up this whole thing. You like what you like despite the ‘quality’ of what you get. if in the end you are satisfied with who you root for, that should be the end of it.

  5. tim32123

    July 26, 2011 at 12:13 am

    When MLS catches up to EPL (in maybe 30 years if the money keeps flowing) then I’d love to see all the fans that “always supported MAN U” because “they are my team”. They won’t exist and all the original MLS fans will be laughing at them

  6. MNUfan1991

    July 25, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Support my local club, the New York (New Jersey) Red Bulls? Heck no! Not when le Cheat is in the team. Not when the same energy drink company is beating my beloved McLaren in Formula 1.
    When King Eric gets his outfit up and running, we’ll talk about supporting this local team business again.

    • MulletIBC

      July 26, 2011 at 9:24 am

      MNUFAN1991? really? is that supposed to be to show that you have been a fan for a long time and not some dude that just got into them after the world cup last year? was the year you started supporting the team really necessary ?
      in that case here are my two handles: Yosoccatalai cule1983 and 1996Newyork.

      cool huh?

  7. Mad_Andy

    July 25, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    I have lived in the USA for 20+ years now, but was born and bred in London. I am a Spurs fan, first, last and always will be.

    I live in Virginia about 45 minutes drive from DC and wouldn’t even think about wasting my money to go up there and watch the second-rate DC United play, any more than I would have gone to watch a third division team play when I lived in London. I’m quite happy to leave MLS to Americans and continue to watch the world class players of the EPL on the TV and Internet play in games that have some meaning to me.

    Oh and I support the English national team and fly the Union Jack (and cross of St. George on the appropriate day) outside my house and could care less when the US National Team is playing – and that covers the men’s and the womens team.

    • MulletIBC

      July 26, 2011 at 9:28 am

      good for you. Its cool that you support your country, but did you need to make it a point that you COULD CARE LESS when the US plays? haha no one is gonna criticize you for supporting you own country’s club and national team. you are missing the point that people are complaining of AMERICANS (learn to read) who refuse to support the MLS and/or the USMNT. we ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT expats like yourself. so next time, read, analyse, and process so that you dont look like an idiot. okie mate?

  8. Nick

    July 25, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I live in chicago but i am a die hard Man United fan and Ireland fan. The MLS is still in its early stages. It will be another 10 years at least before it even gets remotley close to the standard that they have in England, and not just in the Premier league, but even the Championship Divison. I went to see Man United vs Chicago Fire on July 23. I could name maybe two of the Fire players, where as i could name every player on the field, even the reserve players, for United. The standard of play in the US is just not good enough..skillwise. One thing that i must say is that every player in the MLS is extremely fit..which is why they National team is able to compete with the world superpowers like brazil, spain italy and england. With Henry and Beckham coming to the U.S it brought more attention to the MLS which i liked to see because i want football to become as big a sport in the US as it is in the rest of the world.
    As much as i want soccer to be promoted here, id rather have people support teams like United, West Ham, Spurs, Chelsea or Arsenal because they are exciting teams to watch with world class players. If people are going to get interested in soccer it will be through european leagues such as the English premier league. This is because of the level of play in the US. Every other sport in the US it is not ok to lose at, with soccer, for some reason, americans are quite happy with second best. IT NEEDS TO CHANGE. And it doesnt start with the teams in the MLS. starts with the kids/coaches

    • MulletIBC

      July 26, 2011 at 9:20 am

      really? you’d rather have people follow other teams in Europe? How will the MLS get better when people like you prefer making people follow some EPL team than both. why cant it just be both… why does it have to be one or the other?

  9. MG

    July 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I don’t know about other people, but I live in NY and follow both the NYRB and Arsenal. It’s not very difficult… haha.

    I don’t know what the fuss is about, if there even IS a fuss.. and if there is, there shouldn’t be one.

    • Gillian

      July 25, 2011 at 10:50 pm

      There is no fuss. I support my local MLS side (Chicago Fire), but enjoy watching the EPL, Serie A, La Liga & Bundesliga. And I manage to do it all w/out having my head explode. Go figure.

      I’m also not sure why MLS needs to be constantly compared to European leagues. Does the world start & end in Europe? When I’m watching an EPL match, I’m not sitting there saying, “Too bad this isn’t like La Liga.” Each league has its own character and positives (as well as negatives). And I enjoy each league for what it is. MLS is an American sports league. Why it is constantly compared to EPL is beyond me.

  10. kathy

    July 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    my son & husband both are huge soccer fans, they play, ref, coach everything, and love to watch Man U and the rest of the premier teams. they also support our local team the galaxy, so get over it, idiots, it just good soccer that they are enjoying.

  11. MulletIBC

    July 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Well when the spurs played NY last year, we had an incident where three American guys (spurs fans) came into our pub (where we go every single home match and to watch away matches at) and pretty much made fun of us. The first thing that came out of their mouths was: “really guys, the MLS? Really? you could do better than that.” and they just kept saying stupid comments. We said nothing to them until they were on the outs and just kept pushing. i’m gonna say this, the group of guys i support my team with, we are VERY passionate about our club. WE WILL FIGHT for our club and even though we support European teams as well, our MLS club comes first. lets just say those guys walked away pissing themselves. Anyone is free to support any team they want, but let me give you people a fair warning, the more and more the MLS grows, the more passionate the fan base will become and these types of people who come to mock will be made examples of. live and let live or… you wont. =)

    • Matt

      July 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm

      As someone who supports my premier league club more than anyone in the domestic league, I am sincerely sorry for what they did. Not all of us feel this way about MLS supporters. They should be ashamed.

      Good for you for actually organizing with fellow followers in a manner that would be fitting anywhere in the world. If I was in a market with one MLS franchise, I hope i would be as passionate as you. But sadly, it doesn’t seem like Milwaukee will have one in the next two decades.

      • Mongo

        July 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm

        Milwaukee’s window for MLS has long since passed. But Chicago Fire are only about 100 miles down the road. Less than a 2 hr drive on most match days. And there are many Supporters that make the trip. If I’m not mistaken, there is actually a Milwaukee based Supporter’s Group. Maybe you could hook up with them a few times per season.

        Watch your EPL club on Saturday morning, then stand with the supporters and watch a live match in the evening. That’s what I’m talking about.

  12. Zonker

    July 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    First a couple of comments on previous posts:
    The cap is low and the contracts are held by the league because the MLS is and always has been operating on the brink of bankrupcy. I can go on, but the league operates on a shoe string, in hopes that the fan base will build to the point of being operable. Many owners routinely run in the red and fund the teams because of the love of the game. Hence the cap, preventing one rich team (such as in MLB) buying up all the talent and preventing competitive play.
    For you who feel like you don’t get warm and fuzzies from your favorite, albeit, foreign team: Wow. I never experienced that. When I was stationed in various places in Europe in the 80’s, I would go to lots of local team games. Whether “premiere” level or just local, the fans always treated me fantastic. In fact, I recently went to a Rangers game when over for business. As soon as I sat down, and people found out I used to live near there and go to games, I was instantly included in the group.
    I grew up in the American Soccer Dark Ages. I even went to as many NASL games as I could as a kid. And I will swear that most of the fans there were from other countries. They had their home teams and their teams from home. There was no mention or care that these contradicted. And they don’t.
    And you should see the stadiums in the U.K. when the NFL plays an exhibition game there. Or Japan when the MLB played a game there a few years ago. Or, as above, when the NBA does some sort of Europe swing. Full of fans, and no one that I have seen upset about the local teams. In fact, they see it as an opportunity to advertise them to people who would normally not attend.
    I have been to several of my local MLS team games. I don’t care for them much. Mostly because D.C. United is not a very fan friendly organization. I would buy season tickets just to support them, but they don’t make it easy. But also because the level of play is poor, comparatively. Which I don’t understand. Granted, a lot of the top athletic talent in this country gravitate towards the money sports,but still after 40+ years of a vibrant youth program in this country, we should be overflowing with talented players. Why not? I don’t know.
    Okay, I am not a big Bradley fan. But you are correct in that it seemed like this was just a set up to attack him. Off point and off putting. And what does support for an other-than-local team have to do with supporting the national team? Apples and Oranges. I grew up in Florida, went to college in Maryland, and live in D.C. I support the Jaguars, Terps and Orioles (Hey, they were here first.) That doesn’t make me a traitor to my home state or my current home.

  13. Chris

    July 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    The New England Revolution need to get out of Foxboro and play somewhere in or near Boston, but it’s unlikely because the Revs are basically a date filler in an NFL stadium. Having the atmosphere of Seattle or a facility like Philly Union is a pipe dream up here.

  14. Tony

    July 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    As an ex-pat who loves living here in the USA, I will never lose my roots and so I support Man. Utd at every opportunity. That doesn’t stop me waving the flag when the USA are playing – I was on the edge of my seat when the women played such an exciting game in the recent world cup final. There’s room in my heart to support both.
    I have noticed and been impressed by how much the beautiful game has progressed here but I would make a couple of suggestions so the USA can go to the next level.
    1. Better TV coverage. This includes advertising the games with the same passion given to baseball or American football. It also includes better commentary. If the commentators are not knowledgeable about the game, the atmosphere they generate is flat. Too often they are looking to make excuses for their team when things go wrong instead of looking for why it went wrong.
    2. Teams need a vibrant youth policy. The great teams around the world have incredible youth programs to help develop the technical skills at an early age. It is far easier to teach a player tactics once they have the ball skills than the other way around.
    The USA has the potential to be a world force in soccer, but it needs the drive and the passion. Let’s hope it happens.

  15. Stephen

    July 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I don’t get it. As an Irish ex-pat and I’d love to have an MLS team to support. As it is, I’m 4 hours+ from DC (Hampton Roads, VA) and have gone to 1 United game. It’s too much of a haul at 8-9 hours return and it’s hard to ‘invest’ in a team that you can’t really watch.

    Interestingly Virginia is the largest state without a major league franchise in any sport. Each of the leagues puts teams in DC and N. Carolina and assumes Virginians will just support one or the other, but you can’t really ‘support’ someone without being able to go to their games.

    Oh well, you guys in MLS markets should really count your blessings.

  16. Dave

    July 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    This is about the quality of writing I expect to find from a blog that has to churn out so many articles on the regular. I find much good here as a follower of the EPL and a supporter of Fulham in the US, but this is one of those articles where the title and the opening completely hide the fact that the writer clearly wanted to take cheap shots at Bob Bradley. Regardless of whether you like him or not, that shouldn’t be the focus of the article.

    Second note, any MLS fans coming here telling US citizens to support local clubs over EPL based clubs are wasting their time. I personally feel people should always support their local clubs first, but there’s too many excuses out there for those who don’t want to (originally from England, don’t like the quality, blah blah, etc.).

    But if you want my personal opinion, here it is. I support Fulham because I enjoy watching the EPL. I’ve lived in London for a bit and that was my club for sure since then. But I was born in the US and I live in the US now. Based in New York at the moment and therefore will always follow my local club and league first. I know the situation in the US is precarious because of ex-pats and whatnot, but if you live here, you should make a valiant effort to support the league. I’m sure many do here, but I’m sure many here don’t as well. The MLS fans that go to these football challenge or friendly games get heated I’m sure because the league puts them into a lose lose situation. They win, and it’s because United is in preseason. They lose, and it’s because they suck and that’s their way of explaining to themselves why they don’t watch their local league.

    Very frustrating.

  17. adam

    July 25, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Soccer here (read: MLS) suffers from what a lot of 2nd tier sports do (MMA, NHL, etc). A large number of fans enjoy the sport b/c it makes them feel part of an exclusive community – one that is not always welcoming to newcomers or those who share their beliefs. My guess is that the Sounders crazies love their community but couldn’t have any sort of substantiated discussion about stylistic differences or formation pros/cons (not to mention any historical knowledge of this game).

    If you are a fan of US Soccer, you should want the game to expand and grow as much as possible (anything else is completely self-serving).

    The game here needs variety and that includes people who are fans of the EPL, Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga, the Eredivisie, etc. Growth also requires a domestic operation and in that vein, the MLS and their supporters do a great job of generating interest and passion.

    To think that the MLS is the answer to America’s soccer deficiency is way off though. We need to expand our knowledge and exposure to the wildly different styles and systems that influence the sport, otherwise we will be stuck with a similarly stubborn (and unwilling to evolve) system that has plagued England for large parts of their history.

  18. Dave C

    July 25, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Not sure what Bob Bradley has to do with any of this.

    • Dave

      July 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm


  19. M.Garcia

    July 25, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I understand the point of the piece but I question its necessity. I wish you would have moved on to another subject to stimulate conversation. This is one of those “let’s talk about the debt ceiling”, or religion discussions. It just ends in name calling and “red asses”.
    The biggest indicator in the evolution of “soccer” here in the states is the number of “soccer” specific stadia. Livestrong Park is damn near the finest facility you’ll see in North America and the more these types of places spring up, the health of the league grows in quality as well as profile.
    The next step is academy structure. Once that happens and thrives, you’ll see another jump in quality. Yes, it is acceptable that Henry, Frings, Ljungberg, and even Beckham come over in the twilight of a career, but only to supplement and teach. Not to take top billing.
    We’re a good ten years away from real credibility and acknowledgment from the European based establishment. But dammit we’re well on our way and it’s definitely alright to support any club outside the continental 48. To suggest otherwise just shows our insecurity.

  20. Gillian

    July 25, 2011 at 9:39 am

    “But for soccer fans in this country to come out with rambling holier-than-thou proclamations, it’s time for them to grow up and move on with their lives.”

    I think someone needs to take his own advice.

    • Dave

      July 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      Haha, great post. Says the guy who sits down all day to write about them.

  21. Harry

    July 25, 2011 at 7:56 am

    I am feeling some of the same sentiment that everyone else is feeling, the article starts off telling people that fans need to appreciate the MLS a little more and then ends on a Bob Bradley attack. Gaffer, please make up your mind where this article is going. And as I have said before, there are 4 reasons why the MLS isn’t supported: NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL….and acually if you count college football, 5. Those sports are the big money makers in the US and it’s really hard to do that and also support a worldwide sport. If going by the beginning of your article, that is part of the reason why it’s difficult for people to get behind the MLS right now but the other issue too is that as long as there is a lockout with the NFL and NBA, there may be an opportunity for people to get behind another sport and some have already chosen to do so. Also I think that regardless of how well the national team does, it’s hard to get people to support when it’s buried in the back of the sports pages. The Everton and DC United game that was played this weekend barely made the local news. Also as someone else poited out, you really need a quality package if you are going to sell the sport…good facilities, good advertising and other issues that need to be solved if you plan on getting fans out.

    The women’s team playing against Japan was probably about the biggest blip that was made on the radar this year and win or lose, it’s still being buried by lockout news. So, to summarize until the four reasons somehow disappear, you can only ask for so much out of fans here in the US.

  22. English Premier League

    July 25, 2011 at 2:51 am

    Your article does seem a bit biased against Bradley. And with regard to Mexico, I believe the Mexican national team does have more technical ability than the US team.

  23. Taimur

    July 24, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    You cannot stop us from watching European football, you cannot deprive us ever of our right to watch top-notch football. So you can take your xenophobic mentality and shove it, OK? this goes to both MLS fans and English people who call us Euro-snobs and tell us what we should do. Goodbye.

    • Harlan

      July 24, 2011 at 11:38 pm

      Bro…chill out. You’ve said your last piece about twelve times already. No one is telling you that you can’t watch your teams. And calling people who support the MLS or those who disagree with you xenophobic is ridiculous. I support both domestic and European leagues, and am perfectly secure with that. Obviously you’re not if you feel like your rights are being infringed upon by some guys on a forum who don’t agree with you. Grow up.

      • Matthew

        July 24, 2011 at 11:46 pm

        I agree, people chill out. My God this is the internet, the internet, relax.

  24. Jason Gatties

    July 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    While I agree with the article (I consider myself a supporter of Fulham FC and a casual Chicago Fire fan), taking a cheap shot at Bob Bradley was a bit much and sort of took away from what was a pretty decent article.

    Americans who support European clubs as our “main” or “only” clubs, we face crap from both sides (especially from Brits). An example would be, Fulham supporters in England assume all Americans who support Fulham FC do so because “Dempsey is there” and once Dempsey leaves, we will all follow him to his next club. I’ve supporter Fulham from the United States since the 2000-2001 season, when I discovered the club when I visited the UK. I had my girlfriend (current wife) mail me VHS tapes of games or highlights just so I could follow, cause remember, we didn’t have many options back then. I even bought a multi-region VCR so I could play the tapes in order to follow Fulham from 5000 miles away. Yet, I’m not looked at by many as being a “real supporter” since I’m American.

    MLS fans call me a Eurosnob & many Fulham supporters refer to me as a “plastic supporter”. I can’t win either way.

    • Mongo

      July 25, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      It’s too bad the Fulham supporters call you “plastic”. You seem pretty dedicated to me. And if you are attending some Chicago Fire matches, and supporting MLS in general. Even in a casual manner…….I wouldn’t call you a Eurosnob. It’s the people that don’t show up AND put down MLS that I have a problem with.

      • Jason Gatties

        July 25, 2011 at 8:05 pm

        I don’t have a MLS team local to me. I live in Michigan, about 3+ hours from Chicago. So I don’t get to many Fire games, but I’ve followed the Fire since they joined MLS cause they were the closest thing I had to a “local” team.

        • Mongo

          July 25, 2011 at 11:38 pm

          I live in Michigan also. Lansing area to be exact. So I understand what you are saying. I support DC United. Which means as many matches as I can make……usually one or two in DC, and the Columbus and Chicago away matches. Everything else via MLS Matchday Live. And EPL matches on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

          • Aaron

            December 3, 2011 at 1:53 pm

            Hi Mongo –

            I hope you’ll forgive me for commenting on a thread that’s five months out of date, but I wanted to tip you toward Mid-Michigan United, a new group for soccer fans in Greater Lansing (and throughout mid-Michigan). We’re online at, and we’re having our first event next Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Claddagh in Lansing for Real Madrid v. Barcelona. I hope you’ll check out our Facebook page and “Like” us. My hope is that MMU can be a place for soccer fans in East Lansing to come together to enjoy some footie, regardless of what team or league you support.


  25. Guy

    July 24, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Arguing about sports “fandom” is about as useful as arguing about music. One man’s fancy is another man’s trash.

    I prefer NCAA football over NFL; EPL soccer over MLS; Rugby Union over League. Does anyone really give a rat’s ass? Wait……….

    • Jason Gatties

      July 24, 2011 at 9:53 pm

      Thanks guy, you triggered another response from me.

      It’s mainly a “soccer” thing…the dissing of fandom back and forth. I’m also a rugby union fan and you know who are the coolest people I interact with? Rugby fans, whether they be from the U.S., Europe or the Southern Hemisphere. There’s no hate back and forth…some banter sure, but no hate. Europeans I’ve encountered are impressed by American rugby fans, as they see it as growth of the sport.

      • Guy

        July 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm

        Agree with you completely, Jason. Any time I have met another rugby fan, from anywhere, it has been a great, “You, too?” conversation. Team and country were superfluous. My only disappointing experience was meeting a Kiwi who didn’t care a thing about rugby or the Silver Fern. Talk about being bummed out! 🙂

  26. gary

    July 24, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    by not supporting Houston Dynamo (my local team) and MLS, it says that I’m a supporter of QUALITY football. I’m not some moron who says “it says Houston on the front of their shirt, therefore I MUST root for them! The MLS is the domestic league in the US, therefore I MUST support it!” Give me a quality product and I’ll support it, plain and simple.

    • Gaz Hunt

      July 24, 2011 at 11:00 pm

      I’d just say to give Houston, a club in a league that is less than twenty years old a chance.

      In England, football supporters keep an eye on their local club (from Championship all the way down to non-league) even if they also watch, or even support, a club in the Premier League.

      While you may not think that Houston’s quality is up to top, European standards, I think that the passion that only a live game by a club representing your city / area more than makes up for it.

      That’s what football supporting is about, right? Passion and pride for a club without requites such as “quality”.

      You’re also saying that, if for some reason, the “quality” of the Premier League went down (say to the Spanish league), you would stop watching whatever club you like in England. That doesn’t sit right with me.

    • Dave C

      July 25, 2011 at 11:01 am

      It’s a chicken-and-egg situation though. How are Houston Dynamo ever going to get a quality end-product without the big money that comes from attracting fans?

      p.s. I’m not saying this is unique to the US. In England too, struggling teams generally don’t have as many fans (the occasional exception like Man City in their Div 2 days aside), and thus continue to struggle. Thankfully a sugar daddy can come along and throw some money into the team, which usually re-invigorates the fan base.

      • Dave C

        July 25, 2011 at 11:05 am

        Also, I have to say that although I can empathize with the opinion “I won’t go see team X because they’re not top-class”, I don’t quite agree with it.

        I mean I think the Beatles are the greatest band of all time. No one around right now holds a candle to them. But it doesn’t mean I say “Oh I won’t go see a band/buy a CD/download a track by anyone else, because they’re just not on the same level as the Beatles.”

  27. michael1256

    July 24, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    What a joke of an article, i hope you convinced yourself that your not a euro snob after taking the time to write this article.

  28. Gaz Hunt

    July 24, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I think someone above had a very good point about this – and I’ll reiterate it.

    There’s nothing wrong with supporting an elite, European club and casting off your domestic club as inferior. That’s your right and no one can tell you you’re wrong. Who knows, you could even be considered as much of a supporter as someone that grew up in that club’s geographic area.

    But by casting off your local, a club that is right here, part of your community, and, despite the quality of football on display, is representing your city or area, it doesn’t make you much of a supporter of football, does it?

  29. Mike Perez

    July 24, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Very Nice article Gaffer and i totally agree the standard in USMNT and MLS needs get better i think if MLS turns into really good league to play in more fans will support there local club

  30. Taimur

    July 24, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    last thing I want to say I’m sick of all the MLS fans and some English football fans telling us we should support teams that are walking distance from us. We have every right to be a part of the best of the best. It’s nobody’s business to tell us whether we should find joy in watching a shit team play live because it’s “local” to us or sitting in front of the TV and watching a world-class team play.

  31. mike

    July 24, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    i also didn’t know that its against the law to cheer for any sports team thats not local to you…DAM!!!

    • Gazza

      July 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm


      It’s not against the law but neither is racing to steal a seat on a bus from a pregnant lady.

  32. tim32123

    July 24, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I just posted a 3 paragraph response on here and it didnt show up…

    Outline my points

    1)Quality does not equal passion. You may be a Man U fan but you don’t know the passion that fans FROM manchester have at games just from watching on tv and reading articles. MLS fans have that passion and connection. The players on Manchester play for MANCHESTER, that’s why their name is MANCHESTER united. Just like MLS teams representing their cities

    2)American’s care too much about being the best and have the best and not enough about their roots. Americans that have a lot of pride usually aren’t soccer fans.

    3)Other countries that have lower quality leagues that EPL and La Liga still draw passionate fans that would go to a game against Man U cheering for their city’s team.

    • Sigil

      July 25, 2011 at 9:38 am

      I always thought the Manchester fans were for City, and it was folks from London coming up for United 😉

  33. Tim321

    July 24, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    My MAJOR problem with this is that these “Eurosnobs” are being robbed of the true passion and love an experience that soccer has to offer. Just TRY going to an MLS game, if you live near DC or NE then yes i can see you would be disappointed but anywhere else, just try. One thing I hear a lot is that people “went to an MLS game 6-10 years ago” and it was a joke. Things (especially the atmosphere) have changed. There is nothing like being at a game and going crazy when your home team, a team you have a connection to (whether you wanna believe it or not) scores a goal and everyone around you has the same connection and feeling.

    Sure the quality of the game might not be that of the EPL or La Liga…so what? What about the dutch league, mexican league(which OVERALL is not much better than MLS if at all) or greek league? You think those people don’t support their local sides loyally but rather choose Man u? No other country is filled with people that support other team’s national teams like in the US. Sure we have lots of immigrants but lets be serious its not THAT much.

    The problem is that the United States is all about people’s status, whether its the fastest car or biggest house, people want the best over pride. The people that actually have pride in America usually don’t even like soccer than much so that doesn’t help.

    • Harlan

      July 24, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      I agree completely. You don’t compare a major league baseball team in America with a Japanese baseball team…but the Japanese people are passionate about their baseball too.

      I’m certainly not against being a supporter of a European side, but knocking MLS as the reason is ridiculous.

    • Taimur

      July 24, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      I think you’re going overboard with pride. Of course people here are proud of America. It’s given them their livelihoods and so they have everything to be grateful for. But we’re talking about football only. People want the best of everything. That’s why NFL Europe didn’t take off because Europeans knew only in the States could the best standard and quality of American football/gridiron be played so they said “to hell with NFL Europe”. Same with NBA. I’ve seen some Eurobasket games myself and there isn’t much good I can say about them. They just stink. That’s why NBA gets more viewers on TV than the people fill up the basketball arenas.

  34. Harlan

    July 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I think it’s unfair to compare MLS to the EPL in the first place. If MLS had ever come out and said they were one of the top-flight leagues in the world, I think people could feel free to fully bash them into oblivion. Just let MLS be what it is (and what it already thinks it is), a pretty decent league in a country whose focus is on other sports. Don’t compare MLS to the Premiership; compare it to a league of equivalent value. Just because we’re one of the biggest countries in the world, doesn’t mean we have to compare to the best in everything. How’s our cricket team doing? Soccer in America is just that, an average, maybe sometimes above average, league.

    This is all coming from a SOCCER fan, who supports Chelsea, FC Dallas, and AS Roma. I have room in my heart for all three. And though I love watching the European teams on TV, I’ll take professional soccer live in a stadium any day of the week, thanks. That’s why I’m an unashamed FC Dallas season ticket holder.


  35. DrewL

    July 24, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    I agree with The Gaffer. I immersed myself in learning about and following the EPL after the 2010 World Cup, which really elevated my interest in the game. I had never really paid more than passing attention to the EPL in the past, but my new-found interest in the game led me to really, really enjoy learning about the history and the details of the EPL. Not really having a “home side”, I decided to settle on two clubs to follow last season: Newcastle United, because my great-grandfather had been born there, and Arsenal, because my grandmother had lived nearby the present-day Emirates when she was a child. I thoroughly enjoyed following these clubs and the entire EPL both online and on TV. And this heightened interest in soccer/football led to my getting much more interested in the hometown FC Dallas of MLS. I hadn’t paid much attention to them before, but now I don’t miss a match and I read up on them as much as possible. I’ve really come to enjoy both the EPL and MLS. Sure, I grew up playing and watching baseball, hockey, American football. But now I am also a huge soccer/football fan. I love it. Can’t get enough!

  36. Phil Sandifer

    July 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Don’t look at me. I root for England in international games too.

  37. Mongo

    July 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Really? You want those of us who have been supporting domestic soccer for the last 40 years to “grow up”? Would you like a nice platter of cheese and crackers to go with that whine? Now that the tide is turning against Eurosnobbery you want to play the victim? Forgive me while I laugh out loud. Your crowd has been dishing it out for years! Usually in an extremely mocking/condescending tone.

    • Matthew

      July 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      MLS fans are the biggest whiners and cry babies when it comes to sports fans in this country. I guess it is no wonder that many Americans have such a negative view of soccer it’s not the game itself it is the immature and moaning fans. 40 years in living in the shadow of other sports be grateful you have a so-called professional league since the last one went under.

      • Victor the Crab

        July 25, 2011 at 9:34 am

        And its Eurosnob douchebags like you that give U.S. soccer a bad name.

        • Matt

          July 25, 2011 at 11:24 am

          Really? Eurosnobs give the US a bad name? Of all the things that are wrong with soccer in this country, you go with that?!?!

      • Mongo

        July 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm

        Thank you for making my point. We have a domestic league because a lot of people supported it even when it was utter crap. Self entitled douche bags like you will never get that…………I suspect you’ll be the guy that suddenly starts showing up at Houston Dynamo matches AFTER they move into the trendy new downtown stadium. Which is fine. I’m sure the local supporters will welcome you with open arms. MLS supporters tend to be very forgiving………

    • Taimur

      July 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm

      I’ve already said what I wanted it say, but the truth is that the best leagues and best teams in the world are in Europe at the moment. That’s where all the action is. The reason that Landon Donovan is not so popular outside the US is because he’s still playing for the Galaxy. He had a chance to join Everton permanently last summer but he refused. He messed up his CV big time. Anybody would’ve jumped at the opportunity to play in Europe, at least for the $$$.

      • Zonker

        July 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm

        Ummm. Donovan’s performance at Everton last year was not something to be that proud of. And he was on loan to them during the break in the MLS season. And, money aside, why would he want to be a 2nd string, sometimes starter for Everton when he can be the big fish in the tiny L.A pond? And, did I miss the part where they offered him a contract? I might have. But I was under the impression that they were not all that impressed with him.

  38. Matthew

    July 24, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I must say I agree completely with this story. MLS needs to raise the bar in their performance. Whether going to a game or watching on TV there is a very amateurish feel to the game. It is not to say the players are bad but they are just not at the level of the top leagues in the world. I recently wrote an article about changing the friendly format and was trashed by MLS fans because they didn’t want any help from England or anyone else. The other complaint was it ruins the mid season for MLS. Last time I checked the foreign clubs that come to play in the US draw massive crowds and more importantly money. My argument was to feed off that attention and money. People need to grow and stop acting like children, if someone wants to be a Manchester United fan so be it. I really don’t care. With some of the people who comment on this blog I wonder when you have time to watch a game let alone have a normal life or jobs since many spend all their time on here complaining.

  39. Taimur

    July 24, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    To each his own. You watch who you want to watch, and I’ll watch who I want to watch. Maybe once a month, we can get together and play some football on a weekend. MLS is getting better and better every year. If they have youth academies like English clubs and do away the draft, then you see the improvements in the next decade. Salary caps are ok, because the teams are franchises and the States are too big a country to have promotion/relegation. You’ll end up having like a 1,000 clubs across the country. You’ll need dozens of different leagues to accommodate them. Let’s wait and see what happens.

  40. Taimur

    July 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    @Support Your Local Team Guyz-ok dude, we get you. but this is a free world and people are free to choose which teams to root for. to each his own. back in 2004 mlb season, i was going for the new york yankees after they had got alex rodriguez. i was a young kid just getting into American sports at the time. I caught on fairly quickly. But now I support the Houston Astros because I’m from Houston and the Rockets and Texans, even if they are the worst teams in their leagues and the laughing stock of the country. but soccer is different, i want to experience the best quality and i get that in England, Spain, Germany and sometimes Italy. I have every right to watch what I want. I took out an hour to watch an MLS game not to long ago and the quality was not very good but I watched the 2nd half of the match because there was nothing else for me to do. But the point being, to each his own. If you want to continue watching your local team and local league at the expense of other teams in other leagues, that’s your choice. but you have no right to criticize those of us who prob have pretty busy lives in urban areas and when we want to watch football, we want to be invested in something of good quality. It’s no surprise that Americans watch EPL, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga, Champions League, because they want to invest their time watching quality professional football instead of mediocre quality matches. they should go at least once to experience a live game but that doesn’t mean they should give up watching watching football on TV that they like. and why just Americans are being singled out? People in Asia, Africa, Australia do the same thing by watching European teams and leagues at the expense of their own leagues. What it comes down to is, whether you want to support a team or just watch as a detached neutral fan. both are fine, as long as you stick with that one team throughout.

    • Sgc

      July 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm

      I must say, I don’t get the “it’s a free country/world” argument. If it’s so free, then certainly people are free to pass judgment on your actions. Moral judgment is the spine of a free society.

      • Taimur

        July 24, 2011 at 7:01 pm

        Yes, they are free to pass judgment on my actions. And I’m free to ignore them.

        • Victor the Crab

          July 25, 2011 at 9:31 am

          And I’m free to call you a douchebag for that.

          • R2Dad

            July 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm

            I’m curious why Taimur’s libertarian response provokes aggression in Victor. Why is a live-and-let-live attitude threatening to you, Victor? Must we all agree with moralizing blowhards lest they flame us?

      • R2Dad

        July 25, 2011 at 8:01 pm

        Moral judgment is also the spine of sharia law, which underlines a freedom-less society. So you can rationalize your moralizing, no matter which side of the argument you are on.

        • Sgc

          August 3, 2011 at 9:06 pm

          But of course that’s wrong, and you’re making the same mistake confusing moral judgment with an actual courtroom.

  41. dan

    July 24, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    1. Get a new US soccer head coach that is focused on the next world cup, not starting players that will be retired by then.

    2. Put an MLS team somewhere in Connecticut so I can go watch them, maybe New Haven? Red Bulls matches are a royal pain to get to since NYC is between me and a game. I also like the idea of integrating some of the lower leagues into the MLS, maybe first and second division with relegation?

    3. Remove MLS salary caps to attract the best of the best.

    • Sigil

      July 25, 2011 at 8:47 am

      So what’s between you and Foxboro?

  42. Support Your Local Team Guyz

    July 24, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    n. An American who is a soccer fan but refuses to support either the U.S. National Team or Major League Soccer, instead cheering for European teams they have no personal connections to, based on the perceived superiority of said teams.
    Fan 1: “Hey, you like soccer, too! Wanna check out the Dynamo game?”

    Fan 2: “I’d never watch American soccer. I’d rather watch Arsenal on TV than go to a live game down the street.”

    Fan 1: “Douchebag Eurosnob Traitor…”

    • Matthew

      July 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      You really need to get a grip or maybe seek some professional help.

      • Sgc

        July 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm

        More than a little overboard, yes. The conversation should have gone something like:

        Fan 1: “Hey, you like soccer, too! Wanna check out the Dynamo game?”

        Fan 2: “I’d never watch American soccer. I’d rather watch Arsenal on TV than go to a live game down the street.”

        Fan 1: “Oh, so you don’t actually like soccer that much.”

        Only watching the G14-type clubs is the moral equivalent of a US sports fan only watching, let’s say the NBA, for the Finals. Only, they’re also declaring themselves ‘more discriminating fans’ for it. You’d get laughed out of the room for that in any other context.

  43. fred

    July 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I understand the backlash against fans that refuse to support our local league and prefer to provide support to overseas leagues whether they’re from there or note, given the high level wherever they support. But it has to be understood that this league, MLS, is very young and is striving on a positive road towards relevancy. Yes, its salary cap and level of play are not at the top at the moment but overall its intimate stadiums and growing crowds has to speak for itself. Plus, the U.S. national team has done wonders in the past 20 years in terms of consistency, whether in tournaments or friendlies but we can’t deny the fact that more and more talent is coming out of the US. I am from South America myself and appreciate the talent all over the world, whether Europe, Africa, Asia or what have you. The U.S. producing players and a league is just a step up in the futbol world and positive news, in my opinion. I watch MLS as much as possible and respect the players and league itself and am pleasantly optimistic at its adventures and path. Cheers to all the fans all over the world!

  44. Lyle

    July 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Count me as an EPL/Euro league fan first and foremost, and not an MLS fan. I follow Fulham from Texas despite living in an MLS city where I’ve only ever been to one game and can’t tell you the players name. I know who the Fulham players though.

    I guess it’s odd, but I like what I like. Sue me.

    • Matt

      July 25, 2011 at 11:17 am


  45. mike

    July 24, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    well to be honest the MLS is pretty boring..i compare MLS and EPL to the wnba and is not really entertaining..ncaa soccer is better than mls though

  46. IanCransonsKnees

    July 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    All the above are reasons why MLS will not become a strong domestic league. Tricky’s comments about a development league make the most sense, a good way of bringing in revenue from the more monied leagues around the globve whilst developing US superstars rather than providing a retirement home for aging and fading european has beens.

  47. Kejsare

    July 24, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Summation: EPL is here to rule. MLS is disappointing. Now lets take a tangent to bash USSF and Bob Bradley.

    Well, there is a piece of writing here in search of an argument and can’t seem to pin down what the writer wants to say. Fire Bob Bradley wont change TV ratings for MLS. Talk about a red herring.

    • Sgc

      July 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      Or at least I hope for the sake of the world it won’t, because that’s such an incredible non sequitur, and also such unbelievable douchebaggery, that I’d lose my faith in humanity if it were true.

  48. Mirror?

    July 24, 2011 at 12:03 pm


    Tell me the part about rambling, holier-than-thou proclamations again…

  49. Efrain

    July 24, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I agree on the Bradley attack. He does not belong coaching the USMNT. I was heart broken when the USSF announced his re-signing. Did they see the same last game in the World Cup that they played? The decisions that Bradley made on who to start that game were shocking….and bad…. and unacceptable. He should have had the same line up that he used in the prior game, which they won. I forgot the details as to who he did NOT start, but I do remember thinking….. what is he thinking???!!!

    • R2Dad

      July 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

      There must be a quid pro quo between Sunil and BB. As long as Bob does as he is told re: playing MLS players, not being demanding, promoting MLS ahead of the USMNT, he gets to start MB every minute of every game. It’s the only logical answer.

  50. Seenoevil

    July 24, 2011 at 11:34 am

    You guys do know that the Brazilian top league plays through Copa America right? Brazil, the country with 5 world cups is doing exactly what MLS do by playing league games during big tournaments.

    • Matt

      July 25, 2011 at 11:16 am

      Are you honestly trying to compare the US to Brazil?

      5 world cups, free or even sponsored player development, and holding the title of the most important sport in the land beg to differ with your view.

      Brazil doesn’t need a great domestic league. They develop their players to a point where they are sold to european powers, where they become the great players that drive the Brazilian national team to play like the superpower they are.

      • Mongo

        July 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm

        This might be the dumbest, most nonsensical reply I’ve seen. The guy knocks down the criticism that MLS will “never be taken seriously until it stops playing through international tournaments”. Or some such thing. By pointing out that other leagues, including the Campeonato Brasileiro also play through international tournaments, and you change the entire context by claiming he is comparing the US to Brazil in terms of quality………

        You then suggest that Brasil “doesn’t need a domestic league”. Because they are just a feeding ground for the greatness that is Europe. Like Brazilian football fans should just be happy that Europe takes the raw material, then delivers the finished product for their National Team. Europe has ALLOWED Brasil to be a Superpower……..Unbelievable!!

  51. trickybrkn

    July 24, 2011 at 11:29 am

    “If Major League Soccer is going to continue in this country,”

    That is the most important statement in any argument. MLS fans complain that they are forced to play friendlies mid season. Philadelphia Union played Real Madrid last night. 57,305 attended. Easily 2.5 million in gates receipts. This after a cool half mil from the home friendly v Everton midweek.
    Well over 3 million in gate. I’m sure not all of that goes to the Union, but even if half, That is a nice chunk of change for the League and that from one team.
    US Soccer is presently at a precipice. They could either become comfortable with the fact they will most likely always qualify for the World Cup, 50/50 get through the group stages, and pull an upset here and there. They can continue to play friendlies v the best nations in the world and reap in tons of cash doing so…


    they could do more in player development, do more in getting home grown players out of MLS and into the top flight leagues in the world, do more in nationalizing players who want to be American and can help the USMNT. and frankly that involves getting rid of American coaches. with Bradley being the first to go. Everton get it. West Ham get it and other English teams.. Both have invested heavily in the US to weed out players. MLS should be developmental league, and leave the Beckham’s Henry’s and Angel’s to rot in Turkey. That’s what I’d do… As I’d rather see Jack McInerney or Danny Mwanga play for my local MLS club then say Henry. And then when they are ready follow them as they travel off to Europe.

  52. robert

    July 24, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I’m in virginia but born and raised in newengland. and when I heard man u. One of my favs. Were coming to meet the revs in foxboro july 13. You can bet I was there. Did the revs get beat up ? Sure they did. Just as all the other mls teams going against them. Was it a blast to see. Hell yea ! Love them both watch them both, scream for them both. And just love the game.

  53. Barry K

    July 24, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I haven’t seen the comments that were made, but from what I understand, they sound typical.

    Personally, myself, I am a fan of several teams, Man. Utd., Schalke, Rostock, and the Colorado Rapids. I think there’s more than enough opportunity for all of us.

    But, let’s face it an American soccer match is nothing like one from another league. The play is slower, the atmosphere of the stadium is way different, and the commentators don’t even have half the passion of a hockey or football commentator.

    I think that America needs the fans of other leagues just to help get things going.

  54. Gavin (London)

    July 24, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Good article – I’m from London and am a Tottenham fan

    Other countries (Thailand etc) also have the same problem where people would rather watch the EPL than their local team.

    We have a similar problem in England with American sports – for example, when Americal Basketball teams come to London the game sells out in minutes but our domestic league has very poor attendances. I am not a basketball fan but would rather the best in the world than my local team in a small sports hall.

    • trickybrkn

      July 24, 2011 at 11:08 am

      You can tell he’s a Spurs fan… 1. He compares football in the States to that of Thailand. ( Thailand has never even been in a world cup) 2. He compares the level of play of the NBA to that of England. or really to any competition anywhere in the world, closest being NCAABB.

      bless them Spurs fans… touched is a word I think of when hearing Spurs.

      • Mad_Andy

        July 24, 2011 at 9:28 pm

        I bought a Premier League toolbox in Home Depot this weekend. I knew it was the Premier League version because there were no Hammers in it.

        How come a Wet Spam fan is still posting on the EPL website? Isn’t there something somewhere that’s devoted to lower level teams? The only one round here that’s touched would appear to be trickybrkn

      • Ray

        July 26, 2011 at 7:38 pm

        West Ham idiot. The point totally flew over your heard, as you couldn’t get over the fact that he is a “spurs” fan.

    • Ray

      July 26, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      West ham idiot. the point totally flew over your heard, as you couldn’t get over the fact that he was a “spurs” fan.

  55. rej4sl

    July 24, 2011 at 10:14 am

  56. Tim Bee

    July 24, 2011 at 10:01 am

    The MLS would be taken more seriously if the wage cap was not so ridiculously low and the players’ contracts all owned by the league.

    How do they expect to be taken seriously with at wage cap of something like $2 or $3 million?

    • Prune

      July 25, 2011 at 11:55 am

      What difference does it make which filing cabinet holds player contracts?

      And MLS does NOT have a wage cap of something like $2 or $3m. If that was the case Henry and Marquez would be making $200k

      • Matt

        July 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm

        see: designated player rule.

        Even with this provision, the cap is unbelievably low.

  57. Armin

    July 24, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I dont know if I’d draw enormous conclusions from the rantings of some pack of malcontents on blogs. By that measure, I’d think the whole of the world had gone insane.

    My experience since moving to Seattle is Sounders fans dont resent the premier league fans here. Maybe Seattle is an outlier, I’m not sure. But it strikes me that sports is less parochial now in all the sports leagues. Certainly there’s Real Madrid, Barca, Boston Red Sox, Yankees, Lakers, Celtics, Patriots, Dallas Cowboys supporters in those leagues who have never lived in those towns. This is just the way things are in the the sports world today.

    • mohammed

      July 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      I agree, your article does point out the illogical approach of lambasting those who support foreign clubs. I am from Qatar, yet I’ve been supporting Manchester United since I was 6. The quality of football that they play, I was just awestruck by the magic they create on the field. Now does that mean I am not a local supporter? No it doesn’t. I have room in my life to watch both Manchester United and my local team in my country. However your article does seem a bit biased against Bradley. And with regard to Mexico, I believe the Mexican national team does have more technical ability than the US team. I think there is room for improvement in the MLS and consequently the US national team sure, but I think the US is closing that gap very rapidly and in 5-10 years US football will be top class.

      • R2Dad

        July 25, 2011 at 6:15 pm

        …that’s what we thought after WC 2002. Now, almost 10 years later, the USMNT is treading water at best.

  58. gary

    July 24, 2011 at 9:48 am

    For me, it’s exactly the opposite. Wouldn’t go watch MLS even if you gave me free tickets! Just because they call themselves Major League doesn’t mean that it is (like Fox News calling itself fair and balanced). Would much rather watch European leagues on TV.

    • trickybrkn

      July 24, 2011 at 11:02 am

      I agree on all counts… I watch the majority of Philadelphia Union matches. I enjoy watching them as my summer replacement, but MLS will never be taken seriously until, they stop playing during international breaks. Sick of watching a weakened team play because their best players are playing for their national team.. Also the level of play is no where near top flight. But I will watch, not with the same passion, its like watching Leyton Orient play… and I will say that Philadelphia has done a fantastic job creating a proper football atmosphere. But I realize that no matter what, they will never be my first team…

    • BH

      July 24, 2011 at 4:03 pm

      I agree. I hate to say it, but the MLS just isn’t appealing because the quality isn’t there. Maybe I could get into it if Atlanta had a team, but as of now I just don’t care about it. The European leagues are truly world class and full of top talent.

      • Pops Krock

        August 3, 2011 at 8:16 pm

        BH, you could go to some Silverbacks games.

  59. Leon

    July 24, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I think the idea that the solution to MLS is quality of play is off the mark. Differences in quality of play do not prevent US fans from staying local or supporting college football/basketball in big numbers. Those games don’t have pro football or basketball quality but they don’t suffer a lack of attention for it.
    It’s been said plenty but English football has more convenient schedules, a better tv presence, and a better web presence for American fans.
    I typically get 1-2 MLS games that I could possibly watch in a weekend on broadcast. They are usually Friday and Saturday night when I always have something better to do. The EPL is wall to wall during the weekend, with re-airs aplenty. I can watch 2-3 games before noon and move on with my day. I can wake up first thing in the morning and read all kinds of fresh content in the British papers.
    The MLS is a, soon to be, league of 19 teams with 3 of those in Canada (don’t care) and only 6 American teams east of the Mississippi. None of them are anywhere near me.
    For me, MLS should expand it’s brand by partnering/acquiring lower leagues to increase it’s geographic presence. Also switch to a standard weekly game time that isn’t 7-10 on a Friday or Saturday night, when most adults have plenty of better things to do.

    • adam

      July 25, 2011 at 11:15 am

      The MLS and college sport argument is misguided. College athletics (espn NCAA and NFL) maintain such a high level of interest b/c people feel a connection to a team largely due to having some personal connection to that university. Additionally, ESPN spends tons of time promoting it so you might think it is more important than it actually is. Thirdly, football in this country is wildly popular, so by shear volume there are enough fanatics to make CFB popular. Fourthly, the NCAA BBall tournament is one of the most unique sporting events in the USA.

    • TGov

      July 26, 2011 at 11:08 pm

      I really think the lack of television coverage is a big hindrance to the relative success of the MLS right now. I feel that it is more important in this country than in European countries as the distances between clubs is much greater. I am a Sporting KC fan, but I live 200 miles away, and they are by far the closest team to me. I only get to see a game or two live every year if I want to make the trek up there and I maybe get to see them play twice a year on television. Yet, I can watch every single EPL game each weekend and also watch many Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A games. If the MLS could somehow partner up with FSN to get the games shown on the local stations (ie. Fox Sports Kansas City), even if they have to be delayed due to baseball games, it would help I would think. I know some of the local networks do carry some MLS games, but not all of them to my knowledge. Having all of the games on TV would help as well, as I would try to watch all of them like I try to watch most of the EPL games each week.

      That said, I tend to be more of a Fulham fan than a Sporting KC fan as I get to watch every game. I can even download the Europa League Qualifiers if I want to……… If I got to watch every Sporting KC game it might be different, I don’t know.

      • TGov

        July 26, 2011 at 11:37 pm

        I need to respond to myself here, as I always forget about MLS Direct Kick or whatever else pay to watch package cable companies have. This is what prevents channels like FSN from carrying all of the games. I have considered MLS Direct Kick in the past, but being able to record the games on a DVR (scheduling) is a pain in the ass and I don’t really want to shell out an extra $80 a year when I am already paying more to get FSC.

        • Morgan Wick

          August 5, 2011 at 7:39 pm

          MLS Direct Kick is not the problem. The other major sports have similar pay-per-view packages and they do not prevent local regional sports networks from carrying games – in fact those packages pick up the RSN feeds. They allow people who don’t get the RSNs, usually because they live out-of-market, to watch their team’s games.

  60. jj

    July 24, 2011 at 9:33 am

    The same folks that cry about too much foreigners on their teams in ingerland. Comical.

    • trickybrkn

      July 24, 2011 at 10:55 am

      not really. the moaners are more about poseur football fans, who ‘follow’ Manchester United. Yet think Dwight Yorke is the singer from Radiohead.

  61. Steve

    July 24, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I like how this entire article is setup to be an attack on Bradley. Lame.

    • trickybrkn

      July 24, 2011 at 10:52 am

      wait, you think Bradley is good for the USMNT???

      • Deac

        July 24, 2011 at 11:25 am

        When the US sent a B team to Copa American in 2007, with the very obvious excuse of just having played (and won) the Gold Cup, the US was eviscerated for sending a less than top side into that tournament.
        Mexico does it, and’ it’s a sign they’re doing so much better?
        The US kicks Mexico around for nine years, starting with the round of 16 win in 2002, essentially losing only when they meet at Azteca, and then because Mexico produces a few elite talents, such as Hernandez, now the gulf between them is “HUUUGE”?
        What a pile of nonsense.

        • SSReporters

          July 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm

          Bob Bradley is the first coach in 4 decades to lose to Mexico 3 consecutive times.

          We’ve also lost at home to Mexico twice. Never happened under Arena.

          We bossed Mexico on the merit that we pretty much never play them anywhere except the US unless it’s qualification.

        • Robert

          July 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm

          Yes the gap is huge. Mexico has greater prestige in the world than the United States. Lets not forget about the 1950-1990 abyss United States was in on the international level. So if you want to look back only 9 years and continue dancing around because USA beat Spain than good for you but Mexico has turned its program around since Aguirre left.

      • Sgc

        July 24, 2011 at 1:08 pm

        What? Just because someone points out that Bob Bradley doesn’t have a damn thing to do with this topic, it means they think he’s good?

        Grow up.

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