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.
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.