As someone who was involved in soccer for 23 years (1984-2007), I can tell you the sport is light years ahead of when I first started. Light years in terms of leagues, competition, play, participation, and hell, parents/coaches knowledge. Traveling soccer is a big deal, and it made me jealous of what these kids get. There was also no national team (or one that couldn't qualify for the World Cup), or a division one out door league when I played. While the league and team isn't up to par with the rest of the world, these did not exist growing up. So year, it has grown. A lot, actually. However, I don't expect the non-fan or hater to even get this part.
The reason for that? Because, as a pro sport, it will never be big. The MLS has only been around since 1996. There is no big history. Kids also pick up to what their father is a fan of at an early age. Even though there are more dads that played today then during my childhood (my father was the only one that played soccer of all the parents), it's still not even close to being enough. There were plenty of kids in my generation who didn't care for the sport. Sure, it's way ahead of what it is, but the reality is, it's not up to par. And, nor will it ever in my life time. Another factor is that there are a decent amount of soccer fans here. A good amount of them follow other leagues because the quality of play is much better.
Soccer was a victim of instant gratification. The NY Cosmos drew monster crowds in the 70s. They had Warner Brothers check book and they could buy top stars. Since they did that, the whole league and general public went crazy. They failed to realize there were very little American born players playing and the rest of the league wasn't doing quite so hot. Hell, Elmhurst is a pretty good soccer town with an AYSO league and plenty of traveling leagues. The AYSO league wasn't even founded until 1984. Even then, since there are more opportunities with the other top sports, the best athletes aren't going to keep playing one they reach high school. I don't see that changing, and it's the reality of life.
People can think what they want to think. I'm not going to try and change their minds. I don't promote the sport, and I honestly don't really care if it becomes popular nationally or not. I think I'm qualified to give a fair and honest assessment on the topic. I'm not into sports like I used to, and I barely watch these days as it is.
But, going back to the topic of the WBC, as a country, we don't take international competition seriously. The days of the Soviet Union and other communists countries are long over. Another problem is that, as I said before, it's hard for a guy like myself to take this tourny seriously. The tourny forces American players who have zero ties to a country play for the country. The play itself isn't bad, I will watch it if I have nothing else on. But, I'm not going to have any emotional investment in it. Hell, both the White Sox and Bears faltered down the stretch last season, and even then, I didn't get too worked up over it.
4-time WSI NFL Pick 'em vs Spread Champion
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