Sunday, November 25, 2007

Headline 2014: USA in the World Cup final

It is a bold prediction: USA, the country of baseball, NBA basketball and NFL fatsos, will play semi-final or final of 2014 world cup, if not earlier. Major League Soccer (MLS) is the poor brother of many of bigger sports leagues in the US. Television ratings are so and so. Stadium attendance is up but not like the other sports. And the sports is still mentioned in the same sentence as yawn. The fact that David Beckham and Cuauhtemoc Blanco joined respectively the L.A. Galaxy and Chicago Fire brought some excitement to the game. Even the arrival of old Ruud (Gullit) as the coach for the LA Galaxy brings in hope for the league.

Team USA has been a strong performer in recent world cups. In Germany 2006, except for the first game against the Czech Republic, the US showed great attacking soccer (although the score did not reflect this). During Korea/Japan 2002, the US made it to the round of 16th and lost against Mexico.

However, neither the star power of the MLS, nor the games during previous world cups, show what goes on at the many community parks in the evenings. Impromptu goals are being set up, coaches are fighting for a patch of green to train the many many youth soccer teams. It reminds me a bit of the green parks or along the freeways to Buenos Aires. Everywhere do you see the next Messi or Maradona score his goal. It is a little bit like that in the Bay Area. My son plays soccer for the South Bay soccer league. The excitement at the games is in true American fashion. They are not kidding around. The kids are getting excellent soccer skills. And the believe they can take anyone on in soccer. Soon you will see a US soccer team which will rival the traditional soccer world powers.


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