MLS eclipsed by European behemoths
Showing support — Sophomore quarterback Jeffery Anderson (right) discusses techniques with freshman running back Joshua Covington during practice Monday on the football field. George Morin / The Advocate
Major League Soccer has been growing rapidly ever since its first season in 1996.
However, many soccer fans in the United States focus more on European leagues instead. The MLS is exciting because teams are more evenly matched and the outcome of a season cannot be predicted easily.
Real Madrid lost to Barcelona over the weekend 4-3 in the Classico. Was it exciting to watch Leo Messi creep in another hat trick off two penalty kicks and a close range goal? I suppose. Should we care? No. Why does the result of this game matter to you unless you live in Spain? Chances are you live in the Bay Area if you're reading this.
The weekend prior, the San Jose Earthquakes played at Toluca, a team from La Liga MX, in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions leagues. The CCL tournament is comprised of the top 24 teams in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean leagues.
The score was 1-1 at the 90-minute mark to send both teams into overtime. When they could not score, the game was determined by a penalty shootout. The Earthquakes scored each penalty except their last one. Toluca scored each one to send the visiting team back to the Bay Area with a 1(5)-1(4) loss fresh in the players' minds as the MLS season starts up.
The perception of soccer for many is not based on the unpredictability of games but the amount of money a team can pour into purchasing the overpaid superstars. How balanced is a league that has the same two teams take first and second for more than 50 seasons combined?
Money is the driving force behind these teams. I would not be surprised if FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have more money than the entire bankrupt country of Spain.
The MLS is still an infant in comparison to La Liga (Spanish), Serie A (Italian) or any other league that is about 100 years old. These leagues don't deserve our attention as much as ours does. In order for the MLS to evolve into a league that has the respect of people across the world, those living in the cities that are host to MLS teams have to show support first.
More ticket sales mean more money to spend on purchasing players.
The rise in popularity of soccer in the U.S does not rest on the players, but on the fans. If we are too preoccupied following teams that have no relevance to your everyday life, then progress within the MLS will slow.
Why watch two teams halfway across the world play each other when you could instead watch a derby between the San Jose Earthquakes and the L.A. Galaxy? The Cali-Classico is just as, if not more, exciting as watching two overrated teams play for a bigger spending cap.
If you are a soccer fan and you're not paying attention to the MLS, you should. We live in the Bay Area, not Barcelona. Act like it.
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