Let’s Cut the Bull: US Soccer Is Boring

It is probably important for me to confess to you all that I have been to one professional soccer game before in my life. The year was 1994 and the World Cup was being hosted by the United States. I went to the Rose Bowl and watched Romania beat Columbia 3 to 1, and although I was 9 at the time, I still remember Carlos Valderrama’s hairstyle which was identifiable from anywhere in the massive stadium. Since then, I’ve been known to catch the occasional international match (like the Germany-Poland match played earlier today) or Premier League game as I have grown in great admiration for the sport as a whole. That is, until I went to Wednesday night’s Kansas City Wizards game.

If you haven’t noticed, I do not write about Major League Soccer unless it deals with superstars who decide to play out the twilight of their career in the U.S. (like Beckham) or when the occasional U.S. player makes the jump to the Premier League. This is for two reasons, the first being that the MLS doesn’t receive press even in its own country, and the second being that the only channel that plays MLS games is HDNet which is problematic since I usually don’t flip up to the 1500’s on my channel guide. So I was rather intrigued to finally see an MLS game in person when a friend of mine invited me along to watch the Wizards take on the Rapids in a U.S. Open Cup play-in game.

Now, I should have realized I was in for a different soccer experience than the one I’ve come accustomed to on television when I found out the game was slated to be played at the local high school, but it wasn’t until we were about 10 minutes into the game that it hit me:

U.S. soccer is boring.

There, I’ve said it. And anyone who disagrees just needs to flip to one of the Euro 2008 Cup games that will be going on for the rest of the month (which I highly recommend regardless) and then try and find an MLS game on TV and compare. It becomes obvious rather quickly that the MLS is a second-rate soccer league that makes watching minor-league baseball a delight. And this is coming from a guy who actually enjoys soccer.

I’ve been saying all along that one day soccer will catch on here in the U.S. like our other major sports, but not until the national team does well in the World Cup. And Wednesday night’s game only gave more support to my theory. The MLS is in no shape to be convincing fans that soccer is a legitimately exciting sport, and as long as that is true, most of America will steer clear of the MLS pitch along with any legitimate player. Bummer.

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8 thoughts on “Let’s Cut the Bull: US Soccer Is Boring

  1. Agreed!After attending a European soccer match while a student on tour, and getting having my face firmly planted into/through the 7′ fence and still carrying the scars of said fence on my right cheek, Your observation is spot on!!!anon

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  2. Perhaps you’ve mistitled your blog….“This is for two reasons, the first being that the MLS doesn’t receive press even in its own country, and the second being that the only channel that plays MLS games is HDNet which is problematic since I usually don’t flip up to the 1500’s on my channel guide.”First point – fail. From your own hometown paper you can find the occasional article, from < HREF="http://www.kansascity.com/sports/wizards/story/653399.html" REL="nofollow">game previews<> and < HREF="http://www.kansascity.com/sports/wizards/story/650246.html" REL="nofollow">recaps<> to feature articles on players, both < HREF="http://www.kansascity.com/sports/wizards/story/648548.html" REL="nofollow">local<> and < HREF="http://www.kansascity.com/sports/wizards/story/646092.html" REL="nofollow">far-flung<>.Second point – fail. Perhaps you don’t get Metro Sports (who televise every Kansas City Wizards game that is not covered by an exclusive rights package) on whatever television package you subscribe to, but I’m sure you get ESPN. Check out the Thursday night schedule and you’ll see MLS. There are also weekly games on Fox Soccer Channel and Telefutura. While you may not necessarily get either of those channels, it’s not as difficult to find MLS on TV as you say.“Now, I should have realized I was in for a different soccer experience…. And anyone who disagrees just needs to flip to one of the Euro 2008 Cup games.”Third point – fail. You’re trying to compare a tournament that is one step down from the World Cup to a play-in game for a domestic cup? You’re right in the first part of your statement, it is a different soccer experience. But if you compare apples to apples – pick any early-round game in a domestic cup competition (any one, I dare say even in the FA Cup) – I would imagine that the speed and style of play would be more similar than not.“<>I’ve been saying all along that one day soccer will catch on here in the U.S. like our other major sports, but not until the national team does well in the World Cup.<> And Wednesday night’s game only gave more support to my theory. The MLS is in no shape to be convincing fans that soccer is a legitimately exciting sport, and as long as that is true, most of America will steer clear of the MLS pitch along with any legitimate player. Bummer.”I actually agree with the bolded part of your statement. But the rest of your commentary is well off the tracks.Open up your mind and take off the eurosnob glasses and maybe you’ll be able to appreciate the MLS game for what it is: good steps toward recovering from the setbacks of the NASL in American soccer, an entertaining local product, and a promise for the future.It’s American soccer for American fans – and I’m damn proud to say that.

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  3. roush,umkc called, the kangaroo needs its diaper cleaned again. go get em boy!MLS is 13 years old and still can’t hold a candle to the european level. Keep enjoying the long ball offense at your local high school. BTW, did that USOC game sell out? Didn’t think so. “It’s American soccer for American fans – and I’m damn proud to say that.”That’s rich, WTF? Been watching too many Bill Murray movies?MLS Kansas City… The world’s game adapted to American standards for uninformed american fans.move along…

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  4. While I will admit that the Kansas City Wizards are a pretty poor team for me to be making such comments, the MLS is still a second-rate league. And the “long ball offense” to which anonymous refers to is pretty irritating. This is not how soccer should be played.

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  5. Euro 2008 is exciting but so is MLS. Keep in mind that Euro 2008 are the top qualifying teams in Europe. They are being broadcast in HD on ESPN. HD games are always better due to the quality of the picture. Watch some Superliga games later in the summer. I lived in Europe for 11 years. Saw some exciting football but I’ve seen just just as exciting games in the MLS. MLS games are available on more than HD Net (although it’s my favore). There is a game on ESPN every Thursday on one of the ESPN channels (often in HD). MSL games are also available on Fox Soccer Channel and Direct Kicks (available on Dish Network and Direct TV). Many games are broadcast in English and Spanish by local broadcasters.

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