I was talking to a guy in a bar the other day and soccer was on TV. I asked him if he was a Seattle Sounders fan and his answer was quite surprising.
"The MLS is garbage. I'll go to a Sounders game if I want to entertain my 14 year old daughter, but to be honest with you, my over 40 team would destroy the Sounders. We're all a bunch of guys that played overseas and the Sounders would be no competition. Me watching an MLS game is like Michael Jordan watching a D League basketball game. The level of play is way below what the real stars are doing."
I understand the MLS doesn't have the world's best players, but I thought the league was gaining momentum. With the success of the US in the World Cup and a discernible effort by the USSA to promote the game it only makes sense that the caliber of players would get better. Using this logical train of thought I delved further into the subject.
"If the MLS is garbage will the US ever get good at soccer?"
"The US won't become relevant on the world stage until inner city kids start playing the game. In Europe Wayne Rooney comes from the slums. Soccer is their ticket out of the ghetto like basketball and football is here. When you start getting guys that would normally play cornerback, free safety, wide receiver, or point guard to play soccer then you have a chance. Until you start getting guys like Chad Johnson. Darelle Revis, Chris Paul, and Derrick Rose playing soccer full time and committing to it, the US will always lag behind Europe, South America, and Africa. It's just the way it is."
I honestly don't see that happening anytime soon. It will be generations (if ever) before soccer rivals the big 3 in this country. There is too much history, time, and money invested in baseball, football, and basketball to think that the premiere athletes will resort to soccer first. Although it is the world's most popular sport it has become apparent after my conversation with "Mr. Soccer" that the US will never be an elite team in the grand scheme of things. How does that make you feel?