It has been a dark road, it has been a long road, but it appears after the “Dos A Cero” game that soccer has arrived in the US. Nobody more than me is glad that it appears that soccer has finally come out of the shadows of a third tier sport and is gaining media attention.
Certain spots has accepted the sport as a first tier sport for many years (Seattle and Portland), but clearly with the national attention and filled stands that US soccer and the established leagues are now here to stay. With the prolonged run of qualifying for the World Cup has brought to the attention to many people that this game is no longer the punch line of jokes/
For some, soccer will always be hated especially for the baby boomers but who can fault them? They were raised in a era in which soccer was a “fourth tier” sport only played by kids until 7 or 8 when they switched to Football (American) or Baseball. The game was treated as a joke by the soccer federation and it showed on the field by not qualifying for the World Cup between 1950 and 1990. My dad is a classic example of this theory, to this day, he continue to mock the game when I have it on TV, he mocks me for getting up at 6:45am on most Saturdays to start watching the EPL games on NBC. My Dad and other people of his generation say that they do not understand the game and say that soccer is not a sport (but isn’t soccer just over-sized hockey?).
But for all the dislike of soccer for the people raised in the 40 years after the 1950 World Cup appearance, soccer has found it mark with the younger generation. While American Football is still the preferred sport, soccer has hit its mark and the attendance figures in MLS show it. With the upcoming investments coming from Dave Beckham and Manchester City/New York Yankees this further enhances this as the fifth sport.
It is said that “it takes years to win a customer, and seconds to lose one”, this saying no more than true with the MLS and the US men’s national team. The house has been set up perfectly with good media coverage, good teams, top players coming overseas to play here along with good fans. I hope that we do not screw this up because nobody will be more disappointed than me.