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Soccer Trying to Make it in the Football World
In most countries the name of the game is the same. Words like soccer, foosball, soccer, football…not only sound the same, they are the same game. But in the US it’s called football. Major League Soccer (MLS) has been around for some time as a professional American soccer league.
Unlike other major league sports in America, MLS does not dominate the attention of the sports community on a global scale, and its champion is not crowned as the “Champion of the World”. MLS is constantly evolving. Has it attracted significant public and media attention in world football? No!
It doesn’t make much difference if soccer is the 2nd, 7th or 10th most popular sport in the US, the American public will still follow the NFL, MLB, NHL or NBA. The global community follows these leagues with the same interest as they are the most popular sports leagues in the world.
In recent years, with the globalization of mass media, the world sports scene has begun to change; In the process, the English Premier League bills itself as “The Greatest Show on Earth” and is indeed the most popular and watched sports league in the world, with a current global audience of half a billion people and media revenues of between 2007 and 2010. more than 5 billion dollars. If the world watches soccer leagues like the English Premier League or Spain’s La Liga, who but domestic viewers will watch the American top league games? Does a part of the American public also turn to watching foreign football leagues? Such questions have made soccer an issue in US sports.
Every now and then, MLS officials wake up from their slumber in the shadow of America’s top 4 leagues during the World Cup and realize just how big the game of soccer is in terms of global public interest. , media attention, sponsors.
As the buzz swirls around the World Cup, MLS returns to slumber. After the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when the international community got a clear idea of modern European football stadiums, multi-million player contracts… the world’s sports attention fell on football.
This time it’s not MLS that should be taking the initiative to promote MLS, it’s the entire American professional sports entertainment industry. This is an economic opportunity that the money circulating around the world was too great to miss or throw away.
In the summer of 2007, US Soccer attempted to take over world soccer by offering David Beckham a $250 million contract, the most expensive soccer contract in the history of the sport. It is believed to be the greatest in the history of sports. MLS sent a message to the world.
In the middle of the summer, when European leagues were in between seasons and the waters were calm, MLS was dominated by news stories dominated by the Beckham family’s move to Los Angeles. Have the stories yet captured the world’s soccer media and public interest in favor of MLS? No!
Will $250 million have a long-term impact? Time will tell. Autumn is here, European and international leagues are in full swing, world sports news is publishing less articles about Beckham, LA Galaxy and MLS. To make matters worse, LA barely makes the playoffs, giving the media even less to write about.
In a league that lost a total of over $350 million in its first 8 years of existence (BusinessWeek report from 2004), only two teams, LA Galaxy and FC Dallas, are currently profitable with 3 extra games. With teams expected to be profitable within a year, investing $250 million per player is like a gamble. If so, what are the odds?
In recent years, several famous players have decided to leave the major leagues of Europe and South America to sign good financial contracts with teams in the Persian Gulf countries. Headlines reported rich transfer deals, although there was no follow-up in media coverage of these leagues.
Let’s not forget that before the arrival of David Beckham, MLS tried to get exposure with Freddy Adu, an under-16 player who was crowned as the next Pel e. Adu received significant media attention, the world knew he was playing for DC United of the MLS.
Many may or may not know that Adu signed for Benfica FC – Portugal last summer at the age of 18 in Europe. Before joining Benfica, Adu spent some time at Man Utd’s training camp in the summer, with Alex Ferguson giving him no reason to stay.
Benfica paid the Salt Lake City club $2 million for the player’s release clause, and Adu earns $1.2 million a year, but not the best contract. Adu was not in the squad for Benfica’s Champions League match against Milan on September 18, compared to a player like Messi at his current age, Adu was already among the first 11 of FC Barcelona. The MLS didn’t seem to take a serious interest in the sport with Adu, contributing to his development into a dominant player in the world as expected. Throughout history, some of the greatest players of all time have played soccer in the United States, including Pel E, Beckenbauer, Eusebio…
After decades of efforts that have not yielded promising results for the success of US Soccer, what difference could Beckham’s game (now 6 weeks out due to injury) make? Let’s take a brief look at MLS, a professional soccer league that started in 1996 with more than 10 seasons of experience.
Logistics and facilities:
As of this writing, September 27, 2007, Beckham’s LA Galaxy are playing against the KC Wizards. SPORTiana.com, as the author of this text, had insight into MLS through the KC Wizards in the summer of 2006, a year before Beckham arrived in MLS. At the time, the KC Wizard head coach complained about having himself and two other assistant coaches at team practices, forcing him to bench several of the 26 players because they couldn’t keep them all on the court during practice. At the same time.
Training facilities included an outdoor field and an indoor field with a gymnasium used by the NFL team KC Chiefs within the Arrowhead Stadium complex. The Wizards training ground was located next to the fence at the edge of the KC Chiefs training grounds.
The grass on the Wizards field almost separated the hard stones of the ground, a field where many players train to avoid injuries. A head coach, 2 assistant coaches, a fitness trainer… NFL stadium and facilities… a small office room in the corner of the stadium… this is completely different from the clubs in the leagues Beckham used to play for.
Most MLS players come into the league as trained college players. College football usually means playing a player for a full scholarship with their first professional contract at age 22. In other countries, the first professional contracts are usually signed at the age of 18, at the age of 22, the player is out of a 4-year contract and the managers have a better understanding of the player’s ability in professional football.
That means college players are 4 years behind. Signing his first professional contract at the age of 22, they were coming off a 4-year contract at the age of 26, at which time the biggest clubs in world football would invest their money in a 22-year-old who was also their owner. 4 years of professional football experience. College players rarely transition from playing in the MLS (the first professional contract for players) on their way to better paying leagues, as most foreign clubs will not sign a college league player at age 22 who has no professional soccer experience.
Famous American players like DeMarcus Beasley ($2 million to PSV – Netherlands, currently at £700,000 with Rangers – Scotland) or Tim Howard ($4 million to “Manchester United” – England, now at Everton after loan) , joined the MLS straight out of high school. without playing college football like Freddie Adu.
For a simple football fan with the choice of watching different matches, for example, the giants playing in domestic leagues, like last weekend when it was Manchester United and Chelsea in England, Barcelona and Sevilla in Spain, Roma and Juventus in Italy, PSV – Feyenoord in the Netherlands… Boca Juniors games in Argentina, Lyon in France… there is little room for MLS.
A soccer fan wants competitiveness, passionate fans, intense decades-long rivalry between clubs, tradition, the best players in the world, established players with reputations playing in prestigious clubs, ultra-modern soccer stadiums, most of which MLS does not offer. MLS needs to gain the attention of the American public and media in order to have the same interest as the international community. Hard-working and attractive all-round players like Eddie Johnson of KC Wizards or Jaime Moreno of DC United, who proved their quality in this summer’s Copa America 2007, are the prototype players of a successful competitive league.
The state-of-the-art soccer-specific stadiums offered by MLS are a step forward for all clubs. The German Bundesliga witnessed a huge increase in public interest and media attention both domestically and internationally prior to the 2006 World Cup and following a legacy of new and renovated old stadiums. MLS needs to become as international as possible, the English Premier League did it, when foreign billionaires started buying clubs, world class players even came in large numbers to make it the most watched and most profitable soccer league in the world. Many writers have speculated as to why soccer is not as popular in the US as it is in some other countries, and most of them point to the fact that the game does not have enough points. Changing the rules of the game in favor of having more goals per game could be beneficial this time.
Soccer is a powerful force, it has already changed the sports philosophy of the top league in North America, MLS clubs compete in the Super League and Copa Sudamericana, the New York Red Bulls’ new stadium will have a full “European style” roof, in 2007 MLS after the experience International soccer began selling advertising space on the front of the shirt (a $500,000 floor for shirt sponsorship).
As Latin American immigration increases in the US, so does interest in soccer. Since soccer is the most popular recreational sport for both boys and girls, MLS has potential. In 2006, MLS Commissioner Don Garber stated that he expected the league’s clubs to be profitable by 2010. LA Galaxy’s merchandise sales over Beckham’s next 4 years with the club may not exceed $600 million, as it was during his time at Real Madrid, still an MLS player on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine and a crowd of 66,000. Giants Stadium.
In the words of David Beckham on his move to MLS: “I’m coming there to play… I’m not saying that coming to the United States will make soccer the biggest sport in America.” It is about taking a step in the moment if football is to have its purpose in the world of football.
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