How US Soccer can keep its fans and gain some new ones
With the US missing out on the World Cup, discontent with US Soccer among the fans has reached an all-time high. The recent US Soccer presidential election did little to change that. In fact, it really only served to fan the flames of the legions of angry fans. With the MNT not having another competitive game until June or July of 2019 at the Gold Cup, the immediate future looks very bleak. US Soccer need to take some steps to prevent this from happening. They are varied and some are vast and some are minor. Here are some things US Soccer needs to do to keep the fans (and possibly gain some new ones) in no particular order.
Stop Being So Tone Deaf
US Soccer has long been tone deaf, especially on their social media pages. When the team is winning the Gold Cup and qualifying for the World Cup, it’s not an issue. But when you miss the World Cup and then start showing highlights of games that year or give out year-end awards to players who many fans feel were to blame for this failure (Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley primarily), it doesn’t tend to sit well with many folks. So for the immediate future US Soccer, please just use your social media pages to break news, promote upcoming games and show how American players fared in club soccer. Do not put together a look back at 2017, do not give out awards to anybody, do not try to be cute and do not try to be funny. You missed the World Cup. Put your head down and quietly soldier on.
Slash Ticket Prices
This one is key. Even before the US failed to qualify for the World Cup, ticket prices had been a sticking point with many fans. From October of 2015 to October of 2016, every single USMNT friendly drew under 10,000 fans. A part of that was the performance of the team but the biggest reason was US Soccer trying to fleece fans $90 for games against teams like Iceland, Bolivia and New Zealand. You can get away with that when the team is good but again, missing the World Cup means fans aren’t going to spend that kind of money for these kinds of games. Even the upcoming friendly at the end of March against Paraguay in a 10,000 seat stadium has exorbitant ticket prices (the cheapest seats, before fees, are $52). So for the immediate future US Soccer, scale back the ticket prices. Do not price gouge people to watch a team that just missed the World Cup play meaningless friendlies against low quality opposition.