Dec 14, 2007

Friday Footie Link List, Dec. 14, 2007

The best MLS article I read this week was probably Glenn Davis' Houston Chronicle piece on what the league needs to do to connect with fans. Davis' point, that MLS suits should play to the strengths and diversity of the sport to market to media and grassroots constituents alike, is on the surface completely obvious. Yet very few teams--Davis' home town Dynamo happen to be one exception--are doing it with any kind of sincerity. (Surprisingly, the Dynamo are having sustained success at the box office and on the field. A coincidence?) The bottom line here is that the league's public and media relations efforts have been very poor. Remember how said they were going to reduce coverage next year as a result of the poor treatment they had received? That should have been a wake up call--but it probably wasn't. Will Davis' column do the trick? I'm not holding my breath on that one either. For some reason I just can't get past the impression that the league has straight-jacketed itself out of fear it will follow the North American Soccer League's descent into oblivion if it does otherwise. No doubt these concerns were warranted when the league was in its infancy, and to a certain extent they of course still hold true today (if MLS fails there's no telling when professional soccer will return to the U.S. in any kind of force. Maybe a generation or two. Maybe never). But you have to wonder when this "we're not the NASL" mantra will begin to hamper the league's growth. Maybe it's happening already. Or maybe I'm extrapolating way too much from Davis' column and should just shut up about the whole thing. Okay, fine.

I didn't know this but has something called the World Soccer Power Rankings. The most recent rendition was posted yesterday. There doesn't appear to be much rhyme or reason to it, though; they have Argentina (the country) ranked at six, with the other spots taken up by clubs (Inter Milan is #1; can't really argue with that). But didn't Argentina just lose a world cup qualifier? Hmmm... I think I like my rankings better.

MLS Underground has shifted its focus to become a resource for MLS supporters groups. The site's new mission is to "further the supporters culture in America, to enhance the game day experience, and to help grow and promote MLS supporters group membership." Now this is exactly the type of thing the league should be supporting! The site has issued a call to arms and is soliciting support--efforts I can only underline and encourage.

Finally, (not to be confused with or The Offside Rules) has a hilarious--and worthy--rant about the thumb-sucking celebration that has taken hold in soccer the last couple of years. "For the love of God, make it stop!" they beg. Yes, please do. It's stupid. The baby-holding thing was bad enough, but at least that was somewhat funny and supposedly had a connotation to what was happening on the field (the game was being put to rest like a sleeping baby...or something). But get your thumbs out of your mouths, fellas. We don't know where they've been.

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