116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

On Eurosnobbery and New Fans

MLS is an inferior league. Call me "heinous" for saying so, tell me that my opinion is detrimental to American soccer, call me a "Eurosnob" if you'd like, but MLS' standing as an inferior league negates all such statements. Contrary to what you might think, however, MLS' inferiority does not turn me away from the league, but rather gives me all the more reason to follow it. Inferiority does not imply utter unwatchability, after all, and we here on 116th Street care a great deal about the American game, which Major League Soccer is a substantial part of. So I pose the question to all of the great fans of MLS: why all the sensitivity?
Bill Simmons chooses to follow the Premiership, and MLS fans jump all over him as if he's some kind of Benedict Arnold, choosing the foreign product over an American team. Since when did we American soccer fans suddenly become so choosy? The most popular sportswriter in the country decides to follow soccer, and all of a sudden we forget the DeFords of the world and get mad at The Sports Guy, just because he (who until about a week ago didn't know Chelsea from Chelsea Clinton) doesn't quite see the value in following Chivas USA? In light of the success of the World Cup in this country, and an upswing in national interest in soccer, we who are fans should be using this time to make ourselves accessible to outsiders, rather than drawing meaningless lines in the sand. I'm sorry to say it, but no one who got turned on to the sport by following the passion and drama of the World Cup is going to maintain their interest by getting into the Kansas City Wizards. At the same time, many who become captivated by the game, as it is played at its highest levels in other countries, may just become curious about following it right here at home.
No matter how a new fan chooses to participate in the beautiful game, the addition of new fans is only good for soccer here, and cannot be detrimental to the American game in the long run. So I say to you, MLS fan, be patient, the league will grow, just as the game itself continues to do so. The growth of the league, after all, is intrinsically linked to the growth of the game.


Blogger Rampart said...

That is a fabulous article and I guess I sort of count myself among the "Eurosnobs". I really, really try to watch the MLS. It's tough because I know what else is out there. (maybe if I was ignorant to the Euro leagues, I'd be a rabid MLS fan). I don't know if the style of play turns me off as much as the crowd noise (or lack thereof) or the lower camera shots or the empty stadiums (or the visible gridiron yard lines for some games).

I I want to watch the best players in the world, I turn to Eurpoe. The MLS is a nice summer diversion, but you are so right - the league is young and needs time to grow. 11 seasons compared to over 100; the MLS needs to take baby steps. As much as I don't religously follow the MLS (since I live in MLS-less Pittsburgh), I think that Don Garber is doing a pretty decent job and seems the be making good decisions regarding the league.

11:34 PM  
Blogger D said...

Dude, I have no problem with Simmons supporting an EPL team, it's just that I think the MLS game is deserving of fandom from its domestic base, so pick an EPL team by all means (especially my beloved Spurs) but don't neglect MLS totally. Especially Chivas.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Id hate the MLS if NY was my home team too.

11:18 PM  

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