July 5, 2014

Fightin' Words: Make yourself comfortable at the soccer table, America


I first want to say that the World Cup is, in fact, not over.

If you feel so inclined, there are quarterfinals, semifinals and the tournament's grand finale still to come. But, let's not pretend that American viewership won't go down now that our beloved Stars and Stripes are out of the tournament. That's inevitable.

In this in-between time, however, I'd like to reach out to you, the American people, one last time.

These last two or three weeks have been like a dream to me. Never before have I seen Americans so widely take to this game we call soccer, and it was almost enough to produce tears of joy. It was like a fantasy land, a place where a pastime I once had to find on the fringes was now front and center, everywhere I looked.

But I'm no idiot. I know that most of you will now return to your "American-made" treasures; the NFL, NBA, maybe even hockey and most certainly baseball. You know what? That's OK.

There's nothing wrong with loving those sports and valuing them above soccer. Because at the end of the day, this whole soccer thing is not about replacing anything Americans love. As a part of this movement I can say we're not out to get you.

The only goal for this soccer movement, the one at the forefront of executives from Major League Soccer, USL PRO, and even the NASL, is to simply become a part of the American sporting landscape. There will be no replacing anybody at the table; only a request to make a space for us.

I ask that you take some new ideas to heart after this World Cup experience; soccer is no longer foreign and it is not a game of immigrants. Red-blooded American men and women enjoy this game as much as anybody else on Earth. 

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