IS MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY?

The MLS has done the hard yards. In one of the few places on earth where far too few were supposed to give a hoot about soccer, 20 years of labor has brought the sport, which the rest of the world has long been gaga over, to the verge of credibility in the US. After decades of mouthful upon mouthful of humble pie, North American soccer investors are under the impression their bet might just be about to pay off. Those who’ve toiled behind the US soccer bandwagon want to believe the sport’s professional circumstances at last bask beneath a fresh, positive light.

Delve beyond the rhetoric and the swagger and focus on what can be measured, weighed and accounted for and the MLS’s place within the scheme of things remains as precarious as ever. The MLS continues to cherry pick the data and information it uses to publically justify the value of the league and the projected growth of North American soccer. The inconvenient information it is all too happy to omit, consciously or otherwise, will in time undermine the worth and integrity of their brand.

Soccer here and everywhere else on the planet is first and foremost a business and as such is bound to the same economic influences as any other enterprise who exchanges goods and/or services for the coin of the realm. The continued portrayal of popular opinion as fact is a sure fire way to rack and ruin. The rapid fire growth of soccer in the region is a fairytale with a nightmare ending for North American soccer supporters.

This is where US professional soccer lives:
International soccer and the BIG 4 of US sports are two separate markets. Each is a behemoth within the sports entertainment industry and each controls their own destiny separate from the other. In contrast, the MLS has long been a minnow on both the domestic and international sports entertainment scene and continues to struggle in several critical areas when compared to its better supported antagonists. Read More

PICK YOUR POISON

New World soccer appears to have chosen to see out its current course to its ultimate conclusion. Whether or not soccer in nations like the US and Australia will succeed or fail is uncertain. It will either be nothing but gravy for New World soccer or there’ll be quite the mess to clean up. What is known, given enough time, it will do one or the other. As things stand, New World soccer’s future is a zero-sum game.

The prevalence of success indicators will be undeniable. The dissenters will be struck dumb by the abundance. Packed domestic soccer stadiums will litter the land, conveyor belts will spill out locally grown players of a world class caliber, truckloads of cash from an array of sources and sustained international success will be dumped at New World soccer’s feet. The tilt of the scales of soccer affluence in the New World’s favor will be blatant.

If the alternative should arise, and soccer in the US and Australia fails to deliver on the hype, the bubble will burst and take a huge swath of professional men’s soccer in the New World out with it. Soccer organizations will spend more than they can afford to build a brand unable to garner a level of interest profitable enough to keep the doors open and the lights on. The expectations will outweigh the reality and the rush for the door by club owners and investors will undermine New World soccer’s true value. Only the maddest and most devoted will go anywhere near the remnants with a barge pole. Read More

“WHAT WOULD PEP GUARDIOLA DO?”

In New World soccer, we tend to ask ourselves a derivative of this question whenever doubts are raised about the coaching standards on the domestic front. We have long suffered beneath the stigma of a severe and sustained inferiority complex in terms of the perceived standard of New World coaches when compared to their Old World compatriots. For all the help it’s been.

It’s all well and good to seek out sage advice when confronted by complicated challenges. It’s another matter all together to accept their counsel as doctrine. Some lucky bastard manages to navigate his team’s way to an Old World trophy or two and the subsequent public adulation showered upon him for his undeniable tactical nous sparks the next global emulation soccer machine into life. Before the ref has exhaled the fourth blast of the whistle at game’s end, the search for soccer’s finest coaching counterfeiters capable of an affordable forgery of the latest Old World masterpiece has already begun with gusto.

Pick your Maestro. From Señor Guardiola back, soccer’s history has been defined by a lineage of tactical genius. All undeniably brilliant in their own right, however before they stormed the ramparts where soccer’s most cherished artifacts are housed, and led their band of merry men off to happily ever after with the spoils of war clasped firm in their clutches, there’s a couple of chapters most tend to skim over. Read More