Those of you who know who I am, know I play soccer. Love it! 2003 National Club Champs with UVSC...Big Ups. You also know that I am straight up cash money, accepted everywhere, as the bomb indoor keeper. Internationally known!
I recently read some articles on espn.com where the authors were saying that the Major League Soccer (MLS) needed to try to keep the younger players from going over seas to play. The MLS is the governing body over professional soccer in America. There are 12 teams all over the country and is starting its 11th season in March. (Just as a note: Over seas has better teams, better leagues, and pays some players in the neighborhood of $300,000/game…that's like 18 mil a year…Granted you gotta be sicker than sick, like way past Robitussin, to get that kind of cash but it does happen. The top players in the MLS make about $500,000/year.)
So why would any of these younger, up and coming players want to stay in the MLS if they could go international, play better soccer, get paid more, and have a better future?
The MLS is a crap league when compared to most others. It is the only league in America that doesn’t draw the greatest players from around the world. In fact, it may be the only league where players would leave if they had the chance to play somewhere else like: England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Scotland, Argentina, or even the Mexico. The NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL do they have this problem? NEVER. You didn’t see Jerry Rice saying, “Yo, I gotta get into the Canadian Football League that is where it’s AT!” Michael Jordan wasn’t like, “I hope one day I’ll be good enough to play in Italy.”
If the MLS wants to keep its players in the U.S. this is what needs to happen. The National Media needs to back soccer. We can’t have programs like Around the Horn or PTI on ESPN, bashing the sport and saying it is stupid. Once the media starts talking about the games and building interest, the advertising will come from the corporations. Once the Ad revenues increase and the fans show up in support, the teams/league will have enough money to pay the players more. Once the pay increases the league will attract better talent from around the world. When that happens soccer in America will become the elite league in the world. Soccer in America will become a sport that isn’t a last choice. Then we would produce the talent to win the World Cup, which is the ultimate goal.
The Men’s National Team, the team that represents our country, didn’t have their most recently played game televised. No mention of it was made on any news station or sport center-like show. If the national sports media refuses to cover the games then how can the sport grow? If you can’t watch or even hear about the games, how can we build enough hype to create a fan base? How can we recruit the youth, the children, to stick with it long enough to get good? In a country where we try to be the best, why are we getting sold the short, stumpy end of the stick when it comes to soccer? It makes me sick. I want to see the USA win the World Cup. It won’t happen if the media doesn’t get behind the game. I plead that they will; that one day, the U.S. will be the Mecca of all things sport, including Soccer.