Monday, July 26, 2010
Golden Age for US Soccer?
For the last twenty years there has been a natural order in which every kid plays soccer growing up then promptly at around high school age they forget they ever cared about the sport and place their interests in "legitimate" sporting events. It seems impossible to watch ESPN for an hour without a passing reference to the US's disinterest in "the beautiful game." The 2010 World Cup has however challenged this order and brought the possibility of soccer fever here in the United States. All of a sudden the States has a legitimate superstar in Landon Donovan, thousands traveled to South Africa to watch the US Men's National Team, and millions more watched across the country as the US's never say die attitude created some of the most exciting moments in the tournament's opening rounds. This is US Soccer's chance to assert itself as a force in the international football community and the trends seem to be in their favor. It is little secret that the USA is currently bidding to host either the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup and are the alternate site for the 2014 cup currently slated to be hosted in Brazil. Coupled with the prospect of American players entering the Premier leagues of Europe and recent victories by US teams over major players in the international soccer community, soccer could finally take root in the US of A.
Personally I hope we do embrace the game of soccer both because it is an international tradition and because we have the demographics to dominate. Given the cultural diversity and size of the United States full engagement in the sport of soccer will likely yield incredibly successful national and MLS teams. Only time will tell is these are lasting or temporary trends but I think soccer just may be here to stay.