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Has Soccer in the US Reached The Turning Point?

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Has Soccer in the US Reached The Turning Point?

Post by finish1 on 8/4/2017, 11:56 am

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal recently where Target announced they were no longer sponsoring NASCAR and have instead allocated those funds to soccer in the US. I have said for many years that I believe it will be the kids of our kids that start that dramatic shift in the US regarding soccer. But, now I look around and see a bunch of local millennials that have turned pro and sponsors that are heaping cash into the sport.

Could it be that with all the negative attention tackle football is getting and with the decline in other traditional sports, like NASCAR, the prime time for US soccer is right here, right now?


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Re: Has Soccer in the US Reached The Turning Point?

Post by davito on 8/4/2017, 12:43 pm

I see it happening too. Participation at the youth levels is huge in the US and we are starting to produce better players. More players are prospering overseas. MLS is growing. NBCSN success with EPL.

We still have some problems: No league pyramid with promotion and relegation. Not enough Pro opportunities in the US leagues. Pay to play and very expensive. College vs Pro. Immigration obstacles to getting US players into foreign leagues. Poor TV coverage of MLS (US commentators are dire).

Despite the problems I see the progress.
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Re: Has Soccer in the US Reached The Turning Point?

Post by Uncleof05AP on 8/4/2017, 12:51 pm

It is interesting to see all of the different EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, and Serie A jerseys being worn everywhere, not just Dallas.   Plus, so many more people appear to be following those leagues.   I think you would see a more drastic change if you could get people that invested in professional soccer  teams in the United States.  That way, you could build a culture of socccer, which is generally missing in the United States.  How do you do that?    You have pro/rel in the United States.  I know it will never happen but imagine how invested people would become in their teams, especially in smaller markets, and how that would affect the growth of soccer in the United States.

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Re: Has Soccer in the US Reached The Turning Point?

Post by AFC-E-Rules on 8/8/2017, 8:08 am

I would agree that times are a changing. One thing I have noticed recently as my 2nd son enters middleschool this year, is Soccer at a competitive "club" level is difficult once you enter Middle School. In my case, both sons were or are playing at a D1/D2 level at the time they entered 7th grade. A lot of peer pressure to go play football and be in athletics, but practice schedule does not allow it. I wonder if this is where we end up losing good players in our system where soccer is the 5th sport at best?
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Re: Has Soccer in the US Reached The Turning Point?

Post by bigtex75081 on 8/8/2017, 11:10 am

By my perception, there's been a dramatic shift across the USA around the mentality that soccer is socially acceptable.  

My first coach (my dad) had never seen soccer before he took over that team.  He read a book about soccer the night before our first practice.

I was made fun of for playing soccer when I was growing up.  Classmates... adults... were always happy to tell me that soccer isn't a real sport.  I even heard it in college from my fraternity brothers.  That negativity still exists but it's not anything like it was.

My son has never once told me that he gets teased about playing soccer.  If anything, many of his classmates have played with him.  When he speaks to adults, they actually talk to him about soccer and have competent discussions with him.  No adults have ever said to him, "I've never seen a soccer game."

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Re: Has Soccer in the US Reached The Turning Point?

Post by allen04 on 8/8/2017, 1:25 pm

In my case, both sons were or are playing at a D1/D2 level at the time they entered 7th grade. A lot of peer pressure to go play football and be in athletics, but practice schedule does not allow it. I wonder if this is where we end up losing good players in our system where soccer is the 5th sport at best?

Peer pressure and perception; some other mother told my wife it was too bad our son wasn't athletic. She assumed that was the only reason he wasn't playing football. In some circles (ones I avoid unless they have free booze) select soccer is still an unknown.
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Re: Has Soccer in the US Reached The Turning Point?

Post by Bears on 8/8/2017, 4:04 pm

I think the next big step in the growth/popularity of American soccer will occur in the expansion of Div I men's soccer programs. I think Title IX has been wrongfully blamed for the demise of Div I men's soccer programs. In my opinion, it's American football that is to blame for the decline.

College football programs are ridiculously expensive to fund and with the dramatic decline in youth football players, there will not be the available talent or interest to maintain glorified high school football at the collegiate level.

The blog post below includes a list of new college soccer programs.

http://thegrowthblog.blogspot.com/p/new-varsity-college-programs.html?m=1

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Re: Has Soccer in the US Reached The Turning Point?

Post by Socceropath on 8/8/2017, 4:28 pm

Pretty sure that link is for Lacrosse, not soccer. But you bring up a good point, it's all about the money.

I think we have made strides in the US, not sure if we've turned the corner because I'm not sure how we are defining the destination. The most positive sign to me though is the access to soccer on TV. I can catch the MLS on regional Fox, Premier League on NBC, La Liga on Bien Sports, Bundesliga on FS 1&2, and even Mexican league on Deportes (yes I will watch a game in Spanish even though I don't understand a word they're saying). TV money moving forward is the key. To me a true "turning point" would be for the MLS to sign a legit money contract with one of the major networks. Until that time, the youth and even college ranks will continue to be largely self-funded.

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Re: Has Soccer in the US Reached The Turning Point?

Post by Bears on 8/8/2017, 4:36 pm

Thanks. I've removed it.

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Re: Has Soccer in the US Reached The Turning Point?

Post by finish1 on 8/8/2017, 4:59 pm

Thanks everyone for sharing their personal stories and insights.

I was really excited to see Target make the move toward sponsoring professional soccer in the US. I agree their logo is a natural fit for our sport. After all is all about finishing and shooting on target!

Now, can they run merchandise through their stores and draw our buying power through the registers? The opportunities are limitless.

Are there any other seemingly perfect sponsors that aren't currently on board and driving television ad revenue?

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Re: Has Soccer in the US Reached The Turning Point?

Post by Number13 on 8/8/2017, 5:45 pm

allen04 wrote:

Peer pressure and perception; some other mother told my wife it was too bad our son wasn't athletic.  She assumed that was the only reason he wasn't playing football.

The old very nonPC joke goes something like:
Q: What's the hardest part about playing soccer?
A: Telling your parents that you're gay

There are some good athletes playing soccer. Some. There are a lot more good athletes who never try.

It's gaining ground.
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Re: Has Soccer in the US Reached The Turning Point?

Post by KOSoccer92 on 8/9/2017, 2:34 pm

Socceropath wrote:Pretty sure that link is for Lacrosse, not soccer.  But you bring up a good point, it's all about the money.  

I think we have made strides in the US, not sure if we've turned the corner because I'm not sure how we are defining the destination.  The most positive sign to me though is the access to soccer on TV.  I can catch the MLS on regional Fox, Premier League on NBC, La Liga on Bien Sports, Bundesliga on FS 1&2, and even Mexican league on Deportes (yes I will watch a game in Spanish even though I don't understand a word they're saying).  TV money moving forward is the key.  To me a true "turning point" would be for the MLS to sign a legit money contract with one of the major networks.  Until that time, the youth and even college ranks will continue to be largely self-funded.

You took the words right out of my mouth. The turning point will be when soccer starts receiving huge TV contracts that compete with the likes of the NFL, MLB, NBA. Those contracts will give the owners the financial capability of attempting to sign big name players in their prime.

I think it was a smart move for the MLS, not so much for the players, to bring over guys like the Dos Santos brothers and Carlos Vela. 3 players that can appeal to millions of fans in the U.S, as well as possibly create new MLS fans across the border.

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Re: Has Soccer in the US Reached The Turning Point?

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