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October 27, 2011 / benwolfson08

Why Soccer isn’t popular in the United States…

The cover of Sports Illustrated when it was announced David Beckham was joining the LA Galaxy

Despite being the most popular sport in the world, soccer is still struggling as a whole in the United States. Major League Soccer is developing and the teams now have very passionate fan bases, however we never hear about soccer at all.

I believe soccer isn’t popular for a couple reasons. The best leagues and players are all in Europe and with at least a six-hour time difference no one who isn’t a die-hard fan will get up at 6 AM on a Saturday or Sunday morning to watch.

ESPN2 has started showing the Barclays Premier League on Saturday mornings, which is nice, but that is the only time soccer is ever seen or heard from unless a play is on “Top Ten”.

With the NFL, NBA, MLB and even NHL, the sport of soccer is left in the dust, despite it being the most popular and having players with the highest salaries.

I believe soccer is on the right steps to become huge in America. Major League Soccer has something called the designated player rule.

“Presently, the rule allows each team to sign up to three designated players, with only the first $335,000 of their contracts counting toward the team’s salary cap ($2.675 million in 2011).

“[The DP rule] allowed us to very strategically bring in some higher profile players,” MLS commissioner Dan Garber said.

This is why we’ve seen stars such as David Beckham and Thierry Henry come to the MLS and play. Even though Becks and Henry were at more of the twilight of their careers in Europe they have brought incredible exposure and enjoyed success in the MLS.

It would be huge for the MLS if they were able to get a superstar from the European game to play in America.

The designated player rule is a great step to make the MLS more popular, it just needs more exposure to casual fans. Once ESPN starts talking up the MLS and soccer as a whole I think we’ll see the next big sport in America.

 

 

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