What happened to US football - Golden Generation

TheReligion

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This isn't about the MLS in particular, although I'm sure part of the explanation will dovetail to that, but why hasn't US football really kicked on from hosting the World Cup in 1994 to present day?

In the present day it feels we are no further along in the development of the sport despite having small peaks and troughs in between. Some time ago the US were tipped for potential greatness given the investment in grass roots football and the rise in popularity in comparison to traditional household sports such as baseball, basketball and the NFL. That, along with a huge population, top quality facilities and sports science is still yet to yield a batch of truly world class talent and international "golden era". Why? Will it ever come?

In my opinion the MLS could be responsible for this given the desperation for bringing over older pros from around the world in the twilight years of their careers. Initially I can see why this was done; to attract the world to the MLS, but now does it need a different approach and does this hinder the development of home grown American talent?

The contrast between the men's and women's team is again quite interesting. It's likely men would sooner play a traditional American man's sport as touched on above however the women's game does show they do have something so why have they not been able to transfer it to the men's game to a degree in terms of development?
 

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From a southerners perspective... Soccer is still well down the totem pole in American sport.

Take for instance the high school sports season... Soccer is a spring sport. So is track and baseball. Football coaches are going to push their skill players to do track and baseball is a traditional pastime that most Americans know and understand.

There’s also a serious negative stereotype issue across America that soccer is “communist football” and “for sissies”.

Finally there’s a coaching problem. Most traditional American sports have plenty of people ready and willing to coach. Soccer still doesn’t yet. A lot of the youth coaches and even high school coaches aren’t really knowledgeable about the sport, which leads to poor development at the most crucial ages to produce a “golden generation”.
 

RedDevilCanuck

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If the NCAA gets serious about top soccer facilities, coaches and development US soccer will grow exponentially faster.

Gifted players here in North America have to go straight to Europe around 16 to get coaching that will make them better. If they dont they wont get much better. There are exceptions and you can make a good living as an average MLS player but as previously stated most money goes to over the hill European players.

I have heard many accounts of Canadian and American soccer clubs aged 12 to 14 or around there going to European tournaments and doing well. We have loads of players and excellent athletes but they just dont get better after 15 or 16.

The football, baseball, basketball and hockey models are just so much easier for gifted athletes. You play high school and then get recruited to a big school and if you are great you make it pro. Hockey and baseball are not so popular in colleges but have excellent minor leagues that develop and get players ready for the pros.

Most kids dont want to move to Europe to pursue their dream.
 

limerickcitykid

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This isn't about the MLS in particular, although I'm sure part of the explanation will dovetail to that, but why hasn't US football really kicked on from hosting the World Cup in 1994 to present day?

In the present day it feels we are no further along in the development of the sport despite having small peaks and troughs in between. Some time ago the US were tipped for potential greatness given the investment in grass roots football and the rise in popularity in comparison to traditional household sports such as baseball, basketball and the NFL. That, along with a huge population, top quality facilities and sports science is still yet to yield a batch of truly world class talent and international "golden era". Why? Will it ever come?

In my opinion the MLS could be responsible for this given the desperation for bringing over older pros from around the world in the twilight years of their careers. Initially I can see why this was done; to attract the world to the MLS, but now does it need a different approach and does this hinder the development of home grown American talent?

The contrast between the men's and women's team is again quite interesting. It's likely men would sooner play a traditional American man's sport as touched on above however the women's game does show they do have something so why have they not been able to transfer it to the men's game to a degree in terms of development?
What investment in grass roots football? Free and affordable football is extremely recent in the US and extends to pretty much only the MLS academies.

MLS has old and young players, just like every other league in the world.

The contrast between the men and women is incomparable. Soccer is the biggest sport for the women and more importantly they have virtually zero competition. Men’s football is massively invested in 50+ countries. Women’s football has only even recently started to be taken serious in footballing countries like England. The competition in women’s football is incredibly weak.
 

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If the NCAA gets serious about top soccer facilities, coaches and development US soccer will grow exponentially faster.

Gifted players here in North America have to go straight to Europe around 16 to get coaching that will make them better. If they dont they wont get much better. There are exceptions and you can make a good living as an average MLS player but as previously stated most money goes to over the hill European players.

I have heard many accounts of Canadian and American soccer clubs aged 12 to 14 or around there going to European tournaments and doing well. We have loads of players and excellent athletes but they just dont get better after 15 or 16.

The football, baseball, basketball and hockey models are just so much easier for gifted athletes. You play high school and then get recruited to a big school and if you are great you make it pro. Hockey and baseball are not so popular in colleges but have excellent minor leagues that develop and get players ready for the pros.

Most kids dont want to move to Europe to pursue their dream.
Good post
 

utdalltheway

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I can’t see it ever developing much beyond what it is now.
“It’s a girls game” and attitudes like that will continue to hinder it’s development so
it’ll remain a niche sport in a crowded field.

Pity, as the athletes are there, they’re just not being directed towards soccer.
 

Offside

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No rawness it’s a middle class sport over there where they have top facilities from a young age. Kids learn best on the streets and with their mates in the park. That’s my bollocks theory.
 

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How is the MLS doing in terms of TV ratings these days? I always thought that was a major area for improvement. Of course the fact that the MLS isn't even the best league in the CONCACAF region with the Liga MX clearly superior, while the NFL, MLB and NBA are the best leagues in the world in their respective sports (in basketball which i think is probably the second biggest sport in the world, many people would back the worst NBA team to beat the best Euroleague team in a 7 game series), is a pretty big factor.

In the doomed 2018 qualification campaign, I do think that the US team displayed a lot of arrogance, and thought they would get through just because of who they were. The US soccer federation through their official twitter account displayed similar arrogance, with some disparaging tweets enraging and geeing-up Trinidad & Tobago (who had 1 draw and 8 defeats from their previous 9 games) ahead of that final game.
 

edcunited1878

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Where to start, where to start.

1) US Soccer Federation, the governing body of soccer in the US, is for a lack of a better term...shit. They speak a good game and know how to generate revenue and increase their financial assets (stocks and bonds), but they are not dedicated in any way, shape or form, to the development of soccer men or women. As said, grassroots is not something they truly invest in. Not enough quality coaches, no facilities dedicated to USSF developmental programs or kids year-round, no centralized program that puts soccer in parallel with a basic education.

2) Mass participation at youth levels generate money, but pay to play and winning over development discourages too many kids and families to continue playing as they get older. From 12 to 18, the ages where players begin to really learn how to play the game at a more competitive level that relies on tactics, technique, and team is the big drop off.

There aren't nearly enough random kick abouts or street games where kids can develop or just play. If you aren't playing in club or travel teams, which gets expensive and time consuming, you're not going to get the proper look in. There aren't enough youth teams or academies that can just snatch a player then sign them to the academy because first of all, the US only has 24/26 MLS clubs. Not 125+ clubs of various levels spread across neighborhoods, towns, and larger cities like in England. And the collegiate soccer system, IMG Academy, and whatever the lame MLS adidas sponsored youth development program for MLS draft picks, all stunts the development of an American soccer player because the coaches are not focused on developing the player for the top of soccer (i.e. Europe).

All the best young American players who do not go to Europe in this developmental age bracket are funneled to the MLS. The majority of American players aren't good enough to be transferred to a European club and instead of fighting for a place or going to a league that offers a better chance at playing even if it's not England, Spain, or Germany, etc. most American players will go back to MLS because they are guaranteed a bigger wage, playing time, and are familiar with the culture. They live a better life, but aren't necessarily a better player which doesn't help the national team.

3) The powers that be in USSF and MLS are much more focused at making money instead of having a competent soccer structure full of competent soccer personnel that is diverse and educated from around the world.
 

edcunited1878

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How is the MLS doing in terms of TV ratings these days? I always thought that was a major area for improvement. Of course the fact that the MLS isn't even the best league in the CONCACAF region with the Liga MX clearly superior, while the NFL, MLB and NBA are the best leagues in the world in their respective sports (in basketball which i think is probably the second biggest sport in the world, many people would back the worst NBA team to beat the best Euroleague team in a 7 game series), is a pretty big factor.

In the doomed 2018 qualification campaign, I do think that the US team displayed a lot of arrogance, and thought they would get through just because of who they were. The US soccer federation through their official twitter account displayed similar arrogance, with some disparaging tweets enraging and geeing-up Trinidad & Tobago (who had 1 draw and 8 defeats from their previous 9 games) ahead of that final game.
MLS TV ratings are horrible. Spanish broadcasts are a saving grace. Local broadcasts of most games are in thousands to tens of thousands of viewers. The MLS has one of the worst broadcast deals in all of North American sports well behind NBA, NFL, MLB, College Football/Basketball, and NHL (although they aren't good themselves). To that, MLS is the only major American sport that does not have a dedicated league broadcast TV channel.

NFL - NFL Network, ESPN, FOX, NBC, Amazon and CBS
NBA - NBA TV, ESPN, ABC, TNT
MLB - MLB Network, FOX, local TV affiliates rake in a lot of money
College Football/Basketball - Many major conferences have their own channel now, in addition to coverage by ESPN, CBS, FOX.
NHL - NHL Network, NBC
MLS - ESPN and FOX
 

NinjaZombie

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If you are a young promising American athlete who is serious about being a professional sportsman, why would you choose football over the other more mainstream American sports? You'd stand to make better money as an average NBA player than a top MLS player for one.

It's similar to how Phillip Neville chose football over cricket, despite being, by all accounts, a more promising cricket player than a footballer.

He's made more money and is more famouse as a middling Premier League player than he would have made and been if he was a top cricket player.
 

GodlovesUnited

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I think the biggest issues are the size of the country and the cost of playing youth soccer. The fees for joining a top level club team are about $5000 per season, and there are typically two seasons each year (in the spring and fall) for club teams. Then, you have to cover expenses for traveling across the 3rd largest country in the world, including flights, road trips, hotel stays, and eating at restaurants during these trips. This can easily add another $10-20k each year. Traveling so much also means that parents would have to miss work if they have a blue collar job and want to attend their child's games. A select few players will get scholarships to cover some of those costs, but for the most part, only upper class children will even be exposed to the top level of American soccer.

This excludes a large portion of the population, especially immigrants, who are the most likely group of Americans to have played soccer from a young age.

Having a more developed pyramid of local professional and semi-pro clubs like England would help, but the cost of traveling would always be a factor.
 

GodlovesUnited

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If you are a young promising American athlete who is serious about being a professional sportsman, why would you choose football over the other more mainstream American sports? You'd stand to make better money as an average NBA player than a top MLS player for one.

It's similar to how Phillip Neville chose football over cricket, despite being, by all accounts, a more promising cricket player than a footballer.

He's made more money and is more famouse as a middling Premier League player than he would have made and been if he was a top cricket player.
I disagree. Young, talented players in the US don't think they're going to play in the MLS. They're aiming for the Premier League, La Liga, or another top flight league in Europe. We don't produce many players who reach that standard, but there's obviously lots of money in soccer.
 

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I think the biggest issues are the size of the country and the cost of playing youth soccer. The fees for joining a top level club team are about $5000 per season, and there are typically two seasons each year (in the spring and fall) for club teams. Then, you have to cover expenses for traveling across the 3rd largest country in the world, including flights, road trips, hotel stays, and eating at restaurants during these trips. This can easily add another $10-20k each year. Traveling so much also means that parents would have to miss work if they have a blue collar job and want to attend their child's games. A select few players will get scholarships to cover some of those costs, but for the most part, only upper class children will even be exposed to the top level of American soccer.

This excludes a large portion of the population, especially immigrants, who are the most likely group of Americans to have played soccer from a young age.

Having a more developed pyramid of local professional and semi-pro clubs like England would help, but the cost of traveling would always be a factor.
Why does it cost youth players so much to join a club? $5000.00 is crazy.
 

limerickcitykid

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If you are a young promising American athlete who is serious about being a professional sportsman, why would you choose football over the other more mainstream American sports? You'd stand to make better money as an average NBA player than a top MLS player for one.

It's similar to how Phillip Neville chose football over cricket, despite being, by all accounts, a more promising cricket player than a footballer.

He's made more money and is more famouse as a middling Premier League player than he would have made and been if he was a top cricket player.
That’s a false comparison though.

An average NBA player is in no way comparable to an upper MLS player. An average NBA player is in the top 100-200 basketball players in the world. An upper MLS player is in the 2000+ player in the world. It’s a hell of a lot easier to become an upper MLS player than it is to make the NBA.
 

GodlovesUnited

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Why does it cost youth players so much to join a club? $5000.00 is crazy.
Yeah, when I was a youth player myself, I had to play in a lower division (which cost almost $1000 per season in 2008) because my family couldn't afford the top flight fees, and I felt guilty even asking.

I was a youth coach for a while, and I was always told that the fees were based on how much the club had to pay in entry fees for tournaments that the team competed in. But youth clubs are run as a business here. They charge as much as people can pay. If rich families can afford $5k, then they have no incentive to reduce costs. Also, producing players who play professionally doesn't impact their bottom line because American youth labor laws prevent clubs from receiving transfer fees or even compensatory fees from pro clubs who sign their academy graduates.
 

paraguayo

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Soccer absolutely kicked on in America. You will be mad at how big it getting here, comfortably on path to be the 3rd sport.

Amonst the youth its not even close compared to baseball (meaning its more popular). I work with 13 year olds so I know.
 

Dave Smith

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Yeah, when I was a youth player myself, I had to play in a lower division (which cost almost $1000 per season in 2008) because my family couldn't afford the top flight fees, and I felt guilty even asking.

I was a youth coach for a while, and I was always told that the fees were based on how much the club had to pay in entry fees for tournaments that the team competed in. But youth clubs are run as a business here. They charge as much as people can pay. If rich families can afford $5k, then they have no incentive to reduce costs. Also, producing players who play professionally doesn't impact their bottom line because American youth labor laws prevent clubs from receiving transfer fees or even compensatory fees from pro clubs who sign their academy graduates.
I see and from my own experiences of working/travelling to the US I am not actually that surprised.

I have always said, the two reasons I could not live in the US is because of: 1) the gun laws on automatic weapons and 2) it takes capitalism too far (and I say this a Tory).
 

NinjaZombie

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That’s a false comparison though.

An average NBA player is in no way comparable to an upper MLS player. An average NBA player is in the top 100-200 basketball players in the world. An upper MLS player is in the 2000+ player in the world. It’s a hell of a lot easier to become an upper MLS player than it is to make the NBA.
But do kids factor that difficulty when setting out their ambitions? By the time they realise they're not cut out for basketball, they've lost valuable time to develop as footballers.

I disagree. Young, talented players in the US don't think they're going to play in the MLS. They're aiming for the Premier League, La Liga, or another top flight league in Europe. We don't produce many players who reach that standard, but there's obviously lots of money in soccer.
I'm not talking about footballers. I'm talking about athletes. Kids who are naturally quick, strong, big etc would most likely sign up for other sports, won't they?

How is football viewed in America nowadays? Is it still considered a "soft" sport? Do most Americans still view it with disdain and make snide remarks/jokes about it? The Simpsons soccer episode comes to mind. :lol:
 

NinjaZombie

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Soccer absolutely kicked on in America. You will be mad at how big it getting here, comfortably on path to be the 3rd sport.

Amonst the youth its not even close compared to baseball (meaning its more popular). I work with 13 year olds so I know.
Interesting....could the shifting ethnic demographics be a factor? Maybe FIFA (the video game) plays a part? Is baseball's popularity declining?
 

sport2793

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How is football viewed in America nowadays? Is it still considered a "soft" sport? Do most Americans still view it with disdain and make snide remarks/jokes about it? The Simpsons soccer episode comes to mind. :lol:
In the younger generations (maybe up to age 35) it's considered a cool sport to be a part of these days and has increasing viewership and participation. The commie, soft labels really come from folks who are 40+. Lots of PL fans these days and the youngsters coming through (think Pulisic, McKennie, Gio Reyna) are miles better than any players the US have developed previously. Definitely a sport that is growing at a slow but steady pace and certainly will surpass baseball and hockey (probably is already passing the latter) in the next 10-15 years.
 

Art Vandelay

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They went through that phase where they were producing some excellent goalkeepers which seems to have now died off too. I wondered at the time if there was some factor involving the other sports they tend to play there that somehow helped this, but it seems now it was just a coincidence.
 

Sandikan

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I can’t see it ever developing much beyond what it is now.
“It’s a girls game” and attitudes like that will continue to hinder it’s development so
it’ll remain a niche sport in a crowded field.

Pity, as the athletes are there, they’re just not being directed towards soccer.
A girl's game? When their most physical game has them all trussed up in helmets and padding?

They just don't like sports they can't dominate.
 

paraguayo

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Interesting....could the shifting ethnic demographics be a factor? Maybe FIFA (the video game) plays a part? Is baseball's popularity declining?
FIFA, globalization, its a more social media friendly sport than baseball with the shorter games and recognizeable faces like Ronaldo. immigration etc etc

Globalization in all industries means the stronger eats the weaker. Its happening in west indies too, soccer is taking over cricket in a very fast pace
 

Man of Leisure

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Interesting....could the shifting ethnic demographics be a factor? Maybe FIFA (the video game) plays a part? Is baseball's popularity declining?
Yes, yes and yes. Still think it’s got a ways to go before it catches up to baseball, even though baseball is definitely on the decline.

Some mentioned soccer having a stereotype as a girls sport or a sissy sport and while there might be some truth to that, I’ve noticed it more as a kids sport. Many children usually start out playing AYSO but drop out as they get older and play other sports. At least that’s the way it was for my generation where I grew up.
 

Atze-Peng

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Was visiting family in the US end of last year for the first time in 6 years. Imo the football fields have increased by quite a bit. Might be the democratic change to some extent as the US has more and more latins, but I think it would grow without it - especially since it was mostly white kids I've seen playing.
Additionally the three times I was in (different) sportbars, they broadcasted all US sports + football (PL, La Liga and Bundesliga) on different screens for each sport.

I think it just takes time for a sport to go back, but football has the advantage of being international already AND it is the most easily accessible. In the end you can play it on a parking lot with a ball and 4 bottles for two goals and you are set.

By now it seems to me just a matter of time since it's a slow, but steady growth that football gets. Especially since it has many advantages over american sports. First and foremost is the mentioned easy accessibility. Also the longer playtime is a big plus when comparing it to the US sports where only Ice Hockey has somewhat of a long playtime in relation to the breaks. Further it is an international sport so the competition is international as well which gives it a very different feel to it than the more typical US sports (only Ice Hockey being international, but Baseball, Basketball and Handegg isn't really that widespread).

And last but not least it seems to me that the upcoming generation isn't as much an event fan anymore. Don't get me wrong, americans love their events. Bigger the better. But it seems to me there is a bit of a shift that they also want to enjoy the sport and not ONLY the event. I genuinely think if Fifa were to push for a WorldCup in the US, it would set off a lot quicker as well. But hey, they go for Qatar :houllier:


Of course this is all subjective from my observation.
 

limerickcitykid

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Was visiting family in the US end of last year for the first time in 6 years. Imo the football fields have increased by quite a bit. Might be the democratic change to some extent as the US has more and more latins, but I think it would grow without it - especially since it was mostly white kids I've seen playing.
Additionally the three times I was in (different) sportbars, they broadcasted all US sports + football (PL, La Liga and Bundesliga) on different screens for each sport.

I think it just takes time for a sport to go back, but football has the advantage of being international already AND it is the most easily accessible. In the end you can play it on a parking lot with a ball and 4 bottles for two goals and you are set.

By now it seems to me just a matter of time since it's a slow, but steady growth that football gets. Especially since it has many advantages over american sports. First and foremost is the mentioned easy accessibility. Also the longer playtime is a big plus when comparing it to the US sports where only Ice Hockey has somewhat of a long playtime in relation to the breaks. Further it is an international sport so the competition is international as well which gives it a very different feel to it than the more typical US sports (only Ice Hockey being international, but Baseball, Basketball and Handegg isn't really that widespread).

And last but not least it seems to me that the upcoming generation isn't as much an event fan anymore. Don't get me wrong, americans love their events. Bigger the better. But it seems to me there is a bit of a shift that they also want to enjoy the sport and not ONLY the event. I genuinely think if Fifa were to push for a WorldCup in the US, it would set off a lot quicker as well. But hey, they go for Qatar :houllier:


Of course this is all subjective from my observation.
Think you might have missed the results of the 2026 World Cup bid.
 

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What is the USA's cultural 'street game'? Presumably basketball, right? Like football, a pick up game can be virtually indistinguishable from the full form, which surely isn't true of baseball or American football?

Elsewhere in the world 'soccer' is built on the powerful foundation that working class kids are out at all hours playing pick up games with mates in the street or the local park/field. My impression is that in the USA boys in particular are more likely to be playing basketball? But maybe that is changing with the changing demographics?
 

limerickcitykid

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What is the USA's cultural 'street game'? Presumably basketball, right? Like football, a pick up game can be virtually indistinguishable from the full form, which surely isn't true of baseball or American football?

Elsewhere in the world 'soccer' is built on the powerful foundation that working class kids are out at all hours playing pick up games with mates in the street or the local park/field. My impression is that in the USA boys in particular are more likely to be playing basketball? But maybe that is changing with the changing demographics?
Millions of kids in the USA play pick up soccer. There are millions and millions of immigrants from Mexico, Europe, Africa and South America and just about all of them and all of their kids play soccer.

This whole idea of playing football on the street with your shit mates is what creates professionals is complete non-sense anyway. Playing and training with the best kids in the country with the best coaches in the country is what creates the best players. Not kicking a ball at cars in the street.
 

Leroy The Red

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Soccer absolutely kicked on in America. You will be mad at how big it getting here, comfortably on path to be the 3rd sport.

Amonst the youth its not even close compared to baseball (meaning its more popular). I work with 13 year olds so I know.
Even from an outsider it looks that way. All these new MLS clubs, they start and already have a huge fanbase and interest.
what do you think has spearheaded it? Beckham? World Cup? Dissatisfaction with other sports?
 

limerickcitykid

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Even from an outsider it looks that way. All these new MLS clubs, they start and already have a huge fanbase and interest.
what do you think has spearheaded it? Beckham? World Cup? Dissatisfaction with other sports?
There has always been a base of interest there. You could see that back in the old NASL days when the cosmos were drawing 40k+ crowds. The economy crashing and the attempt at over expansion and over spending ultimately led to the demise of the NASL. This is also why MLS has always had such stringent spending limits to ensure it didn’t go bankrupt too.

It’s a combination of lots of things. USA is full of immigrants from footballing countries who continue to like football. There are plenty of people who enjoy football in the States. Liga MX and the Mexican national team are absolutely massive there. The PL is also easily accessible on tv and is very popular with young people.

Beckham was huge. He’s the biggest thing to ever happen and ever will happen to MLS. He put MLS on the map. Sports in America is typically about the top level. They have the best leagues in the world for their main sports and the MLS was looked at as minor league. Seeing Beckham come over though made people sit up and look at one of the biggest stars playing in the States. Similar in a way to Pelé at Cosmos. The obsession with being the best is still the biggest criticism from non-mls supporters who just call it shit.

Since then the demand has grown. Everyone wanted to see Beckham and wanted their city to have a team too. Then people started seeing the atmosphere of certain teams which is unique to major USA sports. The likes of the Sounders and Timbers have fantastic crowds with great atmosphere that really isn’t seen in US pro sports. Then we’ve got newer cities seeing that and trying to challenge like with Atlanta who are drawing in 80k crowds.

Then also the younger demographic. Baseball is boring to kids. FIFA is an immensely popular video game even among people who don’t watch football. Even social media has played a part. It’s so accessible to see Ronaldo and Messi doing tricks or even Griezzman and Pogba dancing and playing video games is attractive to kids playing the same game. Soccer and basketball are probably the biggest two growing sports among the younger generation.

All in all it’s just a combo of lots of things.
 

Leroy The Red

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There has always been a base of interest there. You could see that back in the old NASL days when the cosmos were drawing 40k+ crowds. The economy crashing and the attempt at over expansion and over spending ultimately led to the demise of the NASL. This is also why MLS has always had such stringent spending limits to ensure it didn’t go bankrupt too.

It’s a combination of lots of things. USA is full of immigrants from footballing countries who continue to like football. There are plenty of people who enjoy football in the States. Liga MX and the Mexican national team are absolutely massive there. The PL is also easily accessible on tv and is very popular with young people.

Beckham was huge. He’s the biggest thing to ever happen and ever will happen to MLS. He put MLS on the map. Sports in America is typically about the top level. They have the best leagues in the world for their main sports and the MLS was looked at as minor league. Seeing Beckham come over though made people sit up and look at one of the biggest stars playing in the States. Similar in a way to Pelé at Cosmos. The obsession with being the best is still the biggest criticism from non-mls supporters who just call it shit.

Since then the demand has grown. Everyone wanted to see Beckham and wanted their city to have a team too. Then people started seeing the atmosphere of certain teams which is unique to major USA sports. The likes of the Sounders and Timbers have fantastic crowds with great atmosphere that really isn’t seen in US pro sports. Then we’ve got newer cities seeing that and trying to challenge like with Atlanta who are drawing in 80k crowds.

Then also the younger demographic. Baseball is boring to kids. FIFA is an immensely popular video game even among people who don’t watch football. Even social media has played a part. It’s so accessible to see Ronaldo and Messi doing tricks or even Griezzman and Pogba dancing and playing video games is attractive to kids playing the same game. Soccer and basketball are probably the biggest two growing sports among the younger generation.

All in all it’s just a combo of lots of things.
The crowds are really impressive, atmosphere at some of the games puts certain European leagues to shame, the sawing of the timber is fecking hilarious :lol:. The notion has always been the Americans don’t give a feck about it so when you see that it’s an eye opener.
 

Brightonian

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Millions of kids in the USA play pick up soccer. There are millions and millions of immigrants from Mexico, Europe, Africa and South America and just about all of them and all of their kids play soccer.

This whole idea of playing football on the street with your shit mates is what creates professionals is complete non-sense anyway. Playing and training with the best kids in the country with the best coaches in the country is what creates the best players. Not kicking a ball at cars in the street.
I think the huge starting base of an entire population kicking a ball around from an early age is very important. Obviously you also need top coaching and then everything else afterwards, but a country where 100% of young athletic kids grow up playing football is always going to create more talent than a country where, say, 50% of kids do.

I never claimed that kids in the US weren't playing pick up games. I was asking US caftards to what extent basketball was the more dominant pick up sport for kids there and whether they thought that was significant.
 

PieCrust

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Because the best athletes in America choose one of basketball, football, baseball or even hockey before soccer. And in most parts of the country, soccer is still just seen as a youth sport and maybe something you do in college as a club, or maybe not. But the fact that soccer doesn't attract the top American athletes will always be the doom of development in the US.

The MLS product is pretty garbage overall. The talent just isn't in the league. It's fun to go to matches, but the TV experience is awful.
 

RUCK4444

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It's never really got off the ground if we are being honest. Severe lack of progressive coaching and overall interest.

I think if it were going to take off it would have properly happened by now, interest would usually follow the success and the heights achieved by European clubs and still they prefer their home grown sports such as Baseball / American Football etc. I don't think they can overcome the tradition of funnelling their talented/athletic youth towards these american sports.

Shame really because it's a massive country and mathematically guaranteed to produce some world beaters if it could become one of the top sports there. Just can't see that happening.

It's a little strange that a nation would not want to compete in sports that are contested the world over such as football (I won't say soccer.) I suppose with the sheer size of the country they can keep those same sports fresh and competitive but I can't think of another country in the western world that only plays their national sports to that degree. This is the crux of the problem IMO.
 

11101

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I played with a few Americans who were good youngsters but never ended up making it, it sounded like the youth system was almost non existent there in the late 90s and 2000s. I know far less talented Europeans than them who actually did/do play professionally. MLS also screwed up any interest there was after 1994 World Cup, and Americans (no offence intended) don't tend to like things they're not very good at. NASCAR v any other motorsport being a good example of that.

It sounds like at a grassroots level it is becoming much more popular now, after all, give a bunch of kids a ball of any type and they will always end up kicking it around (as long as you don't make it a weird egg shape or so hard you have to hit it with a stick). Still, I don't see it becoming one of the main sports amongst adults due to the advertising aspect. Whether we like it or not advertising influences what we all follow, and America is the capital of advertising. It's going to be hard for TV networks to push a sport with relatively limited commercial opportunities. Football just doesn't fit the overall show that is American sport.
 

do.ob

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The football, baseball, basketball and hockey models are just so much easier for gifted athletes. You play high school and then get recruited to a big school and if you are great you make it pro. Hockey and baseball are not so popular in colleges but have excellent minor leagues that develop and get players ready for the pros.

Most kids dont want to move to Europe to pursue their dream.
That's a factor when comparing with other Sports in the US, but how does the US system compare internationally? I mean for example Bundesliga academies reach down to under 9 level, from an early age on they coach players (and their parents) on how to realize their potential and deal with life. By the time the most gifted kids in Europe are already training with the first team their counterparts in the US play for high school teams?!

If you are a young promising American athlete who is serious about being a professional sportsman, why would you choose football over the other more mainstream American sports? You'd stand to make better money as an average NBA player than a top MLS player for one.

It's similar to how Phillip Neville chose football over cricket, despite being, by all accounts, a more promising cricket player than a footballer.

He's made more money and is more famouse as a middling Premier League player than he would have made and been if he was a top cricket player.
Is there really so much fluidity between sports? I mean look at your standard dribbler/playmaker, they are basically between 170cm to around 180cm of height, the whole spectrum ends around 190cm, because at that point you lose too much agility/mobility. Meanwhile the average height in the NBA is 2 meters. And from a mental point of view I think most kids start playing and committing to a certain sport, because they think it's fun, not because 15 years down the line it may offer a two million dollar salary instead of one.
 
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