Soccer culture seems to be completely missing in the US. Compared to Europe it seems as if the sport doesn’t even exist amongst Americans. Though how is it that every 4 years America seems to care about a sport that it otherwise has no interest in? Its great to see such enthusiasm to support ones country but where is that enthusiasm in-between world cups? Somehow 200,000 Americans were in Brazil for the world cup, largest group of fans of any visiting country. 24.5 million fans tuned in to watch the US lose to Belgium, the NBA finals averaged 15.5 million.
There are unbelievable rumors of more and more European stars making their way to the MLS. Even the MLS is starting to take itself seriously. The branding for team “names”, which is completely uncommon in soccer, is beginning to fade away. The Los Angeles Galaxy will be changing their name to Los Angeles FC. New York FC is already in motion. And hopefully soon there won’t be a New York Red Bulls or Portland Timbers, they will hopefully follow. Attendance is up 39% since 2000 and it seems to be building. And fans seem to be supporting their teams properly.
With players like David Beckham and Thierry Henry leading the trend, David Villa, Steven Gerrard, and Frank Lampard are making the move to the MLS. Rumors of Cristiano Ronaldo coming to the MLS after his contract ends in 2018 are also booming. So will this slow move of stars boost the MLS in America? Given these athletes are coming over at the end of their careers, that can not be denied, they still have strong talent amongst the American players. The sport has a lot to go before it can compete with teams from Europe. The athletes in Europe are bread for the sport, the passion for futbol runs blood deep and is unlike any sport in America. Just look at the fans…
So what will it take to get this amazing sport the support it needs in the US? Start supporting your teams, get out there and watch some games live. The atmosphere will get to you, and soon there will be more and more reason to watch the MLS.