Wednesday, February 11, 2009
It is Official! Soccer will NEVER catch on in America
This is the first ever Sully Baseball post about soccer and I can't imagine there will be many more.
Let me say this again.
Soccer will NEVER EVER be a popular professional spectator sport in America.
I know it is the most popular sport in the rest of the world. The rest of the world should be a wonderful consolation prize for soccer.
It's not happening here.
They've tried everything.
They brought Pele here in the 1970s.
They tried a league in the 1970s and 1980s that folded.
They tried an indoor league.
The brought the World Cup to America.
They formed another league in the 1990s.
They introduced Alexi Lalas, an actual American soccer star.
Brandi Chastain took her SHIRT OFF!
Bringing David Beckham to Los Angeles was the last chance... and while there was a fascination at first, I think most of the gawkers thought he was a good looking dude who is married to a Spice Girl who just happens to play a little sport.
In his first exhibition game, Beckham was on the sideline in a suit and tie nursing an injury.
The General Manager of the LA Galaxy said "We didn't sign Beckham for this exhibition game."
Au contraire! He needed to be playing that day because it was the only game maybe in our lifetime that America was watching an American soccer game.
He needed to bend it like... well... Beckham, not look dashing in a nice suit.
It was like the second season premiere of Twin Peaks. Everyone watched expecting to find out who killed Laura Palmer. And when the episode ended and the killer wasn't revealed, everyone stopped watching the show.
Well guess what? I live in Los Angeles and the LA Galaxy have absolutely zero buzz in the LA Sport scene.
And now Beckham is leaving LA and leaving millions of dollars on the table.
Can you blame him?
He's a major league talent playing in a minor league.
Just calling this league "Major League Soccer" doesn't make it a major league... just like calling the Angels "Los Angeles" doesn't change the fact they play in Anaheim.
American sport fans like to see the best compete.
The best baseball players in the world come to play in the MLB.
The best basketball players come to the NBA.
The best football players go to the NFL.
The best hockey players go to the NHL.
The best golfers are in the PGA.
The best tennis players play the US Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, etc.
If you are a great soccer player, are you thinking "Man, some day I'll play for Real Salt Lake?"
If you were in Spain and you saw they had a baseball league, would you expect the quality of play to be very high?
So no... it will never happen here.
Every four years, people in America will get interested in the World Cup.
But every four years people in America get interested in track and field, figure skating and curling.
And don't believe the "Kids of America are playing it and they'll grow up big soccer fans" theory.
Kids don't play soccer because they love the sport.
Kids play soccer because it is a hell of a lot cheaper to get a ball and a big open field and start a league than it is to start a baseball league, a football league or a hockey league.
In our town in Massachusetts, we played a variation of Dodgeball called "Crackabout." We played it almost every day.
Would I watch Crackabout on ESPN if it were on?
Well, if I knew they were the BEST Crackabout players in the world, then probably yes!
I'd watch that before I watch a bunch of soccer players who weren't good enough to play in Europe.