There is seemingly a soccer black-hole over the Southeastern United States. Over the next few months, I will be looking at football culture in the Southeastern United States.
I would suggest that what’s holding us back is our inferiority complex.
It all ties together in the end. The words of Will Kuhns, the communication director of MLS, were spoken to Eric Wynalda during Wynalda’s panel at the NCSAA. It works as a definition for American soccer in general, but it can also be specifically applied to the conditions of footballing in the land of football.
There is seemingly a soccer black-hole over the Southeastern United States. Over the next few month, I will be looking at football culture in the Southeastern United States. There will be a strong focus on Alabama, but I hope to pull in more writers to look at their states as well.
I live in Alabama. A land of pigskin and field goals. A place where every child plays soccer until he is eight or nine, before his father or grandfather tells him he has to quit because it is “gay.” A place where people scream war cries of “War Eagle” and “Roll Tide” while expecting a BCS “championship” every year. A part of the country where, despite the crackdown on illegal immigration, the best soccer is played in trailer parks by the children of illegal immigrants.
I’m among the few who football in the land of football.
No one starts something new and says to himself, “gee, I hope I’m really average at this.” In America everyone wants to be exceptional. As a teacher, I know that several of my students are told early on by their parents that a “C” is a failing grade. A “C” is not failing, it just means that you are average. And honestly, what is so wrong with being average?
David Beckham could be the most divisive figure in the short history of MLS. When David Beckham came to MLS, it was supposed to be as a holly savior for soccer in America. And while soccer has a long way to travel to even get to NASCAR levels in this country (I’d say it’s the fourth most popular professional team sport, and then ranks behind MMA, NASCAR, PGA, and tennis for overall sports) it has grown immensely.
Like everything in MLS, the advertising has evolved. History has shown us that past MLS advertisements have been cringe-worthy. Since then, MLS commercials have greatly improved. As America has grown more comfortable with the sport, as cultural styles and tastes have changed, the advertising of MLS has also grown up.
When a week or so ago it was written that Don Garber took less money from NBC than he was offered by Fox Soccer, no one complained. A big part of this is how NBC/NBC Sports is handling the advertisements for –and featuring– MLS. The changing of how the league is sold to the public has given everyone hope for not just the league but also the sport as a whole.
From the early horrific, to the cult-like middle group, to the modern classics, MLS advertisements have almost turned into an art form.
I certainly picked the wrong week to go on a hiatus from blogging about American soccer. However, with two huge research papers due in the next week, and my family gathering for thanksgiving, I figured that I needed a moment away from soccer. I, of course, forgot that as soon as the MLS Cup is won, MLS’s stupid season begins. Of course you wouldn’t know this if you were tuned into ESPN.
Major League Soccer released its Best XI on Thursday. Of all the post seasons awards that MLS gives out, this is generally the most highly regarded pat on the back outside of the MVP award.
Here again we see Major League Soccer trying its best to appeal to both the casual American sports fan and the traditional soccer fans from around the world. Some people complain about the plethora of awards MLS gives out at season’s end, but most world-wide leagues do have a Best XI.