Your Questions Answered (Part 1 of 4)

Victoryposter

Good afternoon all (and Good Morning in the West Coast). It is time for me to start answering questions from the most recent Q&A session. As you may know, I opened questions up to non-soccer topics in pop culture and the result is plenty of movie questions.

Among them were questions about soccer movies (like the all-time classic soccer film, Victory) and movies in general, along with the usual MLS and U.S. national team subjects.

Now, without further delay, here is the first portion of your most recent questions answered:

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ALEX- Ives, Thanks for answering questions again. So the Red Bulls looked pretty good for a stretch there, and perhaps Cichero’s mistakes were a one-time deal. That said, what are the chances New York wins the title this year?

IVES- Well, as we learned this weekend, Cichero’s mistakes weren’t a one-time deal. That said, I don’t like the Red Bulls chances to win at all. I think the best-case scenario is a first-round playoff exit. As troubling as that is for Red Bulls fans who have endured a dozen plus years of mediocrity, I think there are positive signs about the future, what with some really good young prospects and a designated player slot to use in 2009.

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AJ- I hadn’t seen Bakary Soumare before the recent Fire-Galaxy match up, and I was very impressed.

When he becomes a US Citizen according to your recent report, where do you see him with the US National Team? I know he was playing central defense and at 6-4, he definitely fits there, but I have read that he can play defensive midfield and he looked very strong on the ball and made a decent run with it at one point as well.

IVES- I think Soumare could one day be an option as a defensive midfielder on the national team. Right now he’s a center back for the Fire because they need him there, but I think he could flourish as a defensive midfielder if given the opportunity. Would he start for the U.S. team? That’s a tough one, but he’s young, has great tools and is passionate about the game. It wouldn’t shock me if he were starting in 2014.

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LOUIS- Any updates on how ESPN feels MLS Primetime is doing? Are they considering expanding or removing it? What about adding a MLS news show? Thanks

IVES- I think ESPN is committed to it, which is very important in helping MLS Primetime develop. I don’t think the ratings are where ESPN would like them but I think it has improved. As for the MLS show, that needs to happen. The only question is whether ESPN will commit to it or if MLS will have to put up some serious money to make that happen.

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ISAAC- two questions and a comment. first Thanks so much for making this website. you’ve given me something to look forward to when i get back from school.
1.Why are the LA galaxy-NYRB games always so heated, or why have they become heated and entertaining recently?Should they be rivals?
2.Taylor Twellman. If Eddie Johnson doesn’t pull himself back into form does it seem likely that TT will take over? Taylor missed 2006 so he has to be motivated to make the 2010 roster.

IVES- Thanks a lot Isaac.

I think you have two teams that like to play attacking soccer and you’ve got some fiery personalities that excited about the match-up. That said, I hardly think it has a rivalry feel to it. Yes, David Beckham and Dave Van Den Bergh have created their own little Clash of the Daves war, but aside from that I think it’s pretty tame.

It’s tough to tell which direction Twellman is headed. I know he wasn’t happy about not getting to move to England and I think that has affected his play. Is he pulling a Manny (Ramirez)? I’m not sure about that. I think he’s still talented, and will be on the radar once he gets back to his goal-scoring ways, but I think the next generation of forwards (Altidore and Davies) are the players I would be looking at to step in pretty soon.

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ALEX- Two questions: I am a huge Chelsea supporter and I am wondering since Drogba went down, Anelka has been on and off and they didn’t get Robinho, who will be their targets in January?

Second: What is a good american or english based magazine for Soccer fans that isn’t all speculation or solely focused on MLS you know similar to what Ives Galarcep does for ESPN…lol ha!

IVES- For my money, 4-4-2, World Soccer and Champion (The UEFA Champions League magazine) are the ones to get. Of course buying all three will set you back $25 or so a month (unless you go to the Barnes & Noble and read them there like I do), but it’s great reading.

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MIGHTY- Great site!! First why don’t we see Americans going to play down in Argentina, do you see any national team player that would be able to compete in the Argentina soccer league? Second why are we so scared of losing our players to other leagues, do we lack the soccer knowledge to understand that it happens all over the world?

IVES- Well Mighty, I think Argentina has plenty of talent to stock its own league so I’m not sure how many foreign players in general are stocking the Argentine league. I also think Argentine clubs are more inclined to shop for players in Latin America. I’m also not sure how many current Americans play a style that is suited for the Argentine league. There are some, but not many.

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JLH- What do you think, Ives: Ride the bench at Man Utd and hope to be a strategic sub, or be a lock starter at Newcastle or Fulham?

Obviously, the answer will vary based on whether you’re a young player or an old player, and whether you want to win championships or play and whether you need some seasoning or not. I guess the question really come downs to whether you want to go to Fulham and sit on the bench with Deuce, or do you want to go to Holland and score some serious playing time with a mid-table team?

And yes, I know the answer seems obvious to most people, but don’t you think it really should be something that all players who want to go to play in Europe consider, especially Lando. I know there are all the rumors about him going to Bayern, but really, is going to a top-table or top-flight team the best?

IVES- JLH, you change your question twice here. First it’s Man U bench or Fulham lock starter, then you mention Dempsey’s situation, which seems to be Fulham bench or starter in a smaller league. I would argue that it really is up to the make-up of a player. You can’t be afraid of competition and if you are on the bench somewhere you can either fight for the place or just look for transfers any time things aren’t going well.

As for Donovan’s potential Bayern Munich move, I think it’s a great chance for him to elevate his game. He would be going to a top club with a coach who knows him and respects his game. You can’t ask for more than that. Now, if it doesn’t work out, he can always come back to MLS in 2010.

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CONTRADICTION- In your opinion, which MLS team is best poised to have a big offseason?

IVES- Toronto FC has to get the nod, with its more than $1 million in allocation money, three first-round picks and a Designated Player slot to use.

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JUSTIN- What leagues in the world would you compare MLS to? I’ve heard League Championship comparisons, but what other major leagues are at a similar level?

Also, I’m a big fan of the Kansas City Wizards. What are your thoughts on Chance Meyers? He was the #1 overall pick, but hardly played and got less playing time than players taken after him such as Roger Espinoza and Jonathan Leathers.

IVES- That’s a tough on Justin. I think the MLS could be ranked with the bottom half of the League Championship in terms of talent level as a whole. Now, teams like Houston, New England and Columbus would obviously be ranked higher, and I think could fall in the 5-10 range (just my opinion), but overall, that’s where I’d put the league in terms of talent.

As for Myers, he started out getting a pretty good amount of playing time before coming down with mononucleosis, which really ravaged his rookie season. I think he still has the best upside of the thre rookies you mentioned, but Espinoza has been better than I thought he would be and i’ve liked Leathers since the MLS Combine.

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CHRIS M- What is the average (or range) of salaries in the USL Div 1? Given the choice of playing for a USL team or playing for the MLS reserves on a developmental salary, what would be in the player’s best interest short & long term?
Thanks

IVES- I think the better bet depends on where you are in your career and what you could handle financially. I think if you’re 24 or younger then going the MLS developmental route is a sacrifice worth making, but if you’re an older player, and a senior minimum salary just isn’t that appealing, then you’re probably better off playing for more money in USL and being a more valuable player in that league. I know a young player can impress in USL and look to make the move up, but my preference would be getting the foot in the MLS door as quickly as possible.

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MODIBO- Thanks for taking the Qs again Ives.
1) It hasn’t happened as I am writing this, but by the time you respond we’ll know the composition of the US roster vs Cuba and T&T. What do you think of it?
2) Pop culture question: what do you think about the flak Luis Arroyave is getting for announcing that he’s going to devote one blog post a week to bands he likes? Should he stick 100% to soccer?

IVES- Modibo, I really like the group Bob Bradley called up. I know there are some popular names who missed the cut, but I don’t think you can call an entire group of young players.

As for Luis, I like the idea of non-soccer posts being mixed in his blog. He’s good at writing about pop culture subjects such as music and I don’t think he’d be adding more of it if readers hadn’t been responding to it in the past.

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KAHLVA- Is the Red Bull Training facility dead? What’s next year’s solution to scheduling conflicts with MLS, tournaments, World Cup qualifying? Roster expansion? Avoiding international dates? Higher cap (to buy more players)? Is anything possible pre-CBA?

IVES- The last I heard the facility was on schedule, but I will hopefully get an answer on that this week. As for a solution to MLS scheduling conflicts, I know the league is trying to find some solutions, but that there are too many dates next year to avoid some messy situations.

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RS- I know this has been beaten up quite a bit in the past, but please fill-in-the-blanks: MLS will make a move to a single table in the year ______. After the USL’s recent success, promotion/relegation will be installed in the year ______.

IVES- Never and Never.

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TONY T- I’m not trying to be a hater, but why has Guarda been starting for FC DALLAS when you have Dax and Avila on the bench, because as soon as Dax steps on the pitch, he makes an impact right away, and same goes for Avila.If you want to give a player more time on the pitch why not Avila, he shows a lot more talent then Guarda. I have front row season tickets and Guarda makes no difference during the game.

IVES- Last time I checked FC Dallas was putting together a nice little run so it doesn’t seem like there’s a problem with Schellads Hyndman’s selections. Obviously Hyndman has a better relationship with Guarda and, like most coaches, Hyndman will favor "his guys" and probably because he thinks he’s better than the alternatives.

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STEVE- Do you think HSG believes in Schellad Hyndman enough to actually spend some real money this winter to upgrade FCD’s roster? Yes or no, how major do expect the roster overhaul to be?

IVES- I think Hyndman has as much job security as any coach in MLS and I think Dallas’ owners are going to give him the resources to build the team the way he wants to build it. That means we can expect some good roster turnover.

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Should they be modeled after traditional American sports team names, like the San Jose Earthquakes or Colorado Rapids?

OR

Should they be more traditional football club names like FC Dallas or Toronto FC?

Also if Miami gets an MLS franchise what is the first team name that pops in your head as to what they should be called?

IVES- I prefer nicknames, but if a club is going to go by United or FC, it should have a pre-determined nickname, like Chelsea is the Blues and Newcastle are the Magpies.

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BRANT- This might be a longer post, but…

Based on who’s under contract, and projected roster moves (expected retirements, transfers to Europe, etc) which teams are well-positioned for several years of high-level play like the past 5 we’ve seen from the Revs and Dynamo, and used to see from DC?

IVES- Columbus fits that description very well. Plenty of lower priced overachivers and room for upgrades and a designated player. The Crew will be good for a while.

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ADAM- I have a question regarding something I read recently in an ESPN article on Joseph Gyau. It said that after the U-17 World Cup, he was heading to Germany to play for one of Bayern Munich’s youth teams. From what I understand, he cannot be signed by Bayern until he is 18, so what exactly is the situation with players going overseas to play in teams youth systems?

IVES- Adam, a player younger than 18 can play and train anywhere in the world. What a player younger than 18 can’t do is sign a professional countract outside of their country of citizenship.

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Will there be tickets set aside for American fans in the azteca during the hex?

Where do you see Espn’s soccer coverage going in the near and far future?

IVES- Thanks Austin, glad you’re enjoying SBI.

I’m pretty sure tickets will be available for the Mexico qualifier in Mexico. I remember being in Azteca for the 2005 qualifier and there was a section for American fans then. I doubt that will change.

As for ESPN, the network is definitely committed to soccer. Having attending a recent event designed to help the network better understand how to approach soccer, I can tell you the network is serious about trying to get better at its coverage and presentation of soccer. The success of Euro 2008 certainly helped boost that commitment even further.

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Here’s my question:
Do you watch college soccer? I am a Wake Forest alum, and our college soccer team is absolutely dominant this year. I think several of our players (Ike Opara and Corben Bone to name a couple) have the ability to play abroad. Do European clubs scout the college soccer pitches? You would think that some of the United State’s best young talent would be found through the college ranks.

Thanks Ives, keep up the good work.

IVES- Thanks Will. I catch the Fox Soccer Channel Friday night games. I do think European scouts are taking more notice of college players and it wouldn’t shock me if scouts are at many of Wake’s games considering all the talent on that squad. I raved about Opara during last year’s NCAA Tournament. Marcus Tracey is also a high-level prospect who will have some great options after this season.

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IVES- Excellent Adventure.

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CHUCK- Do you see any "surprise" inclusions in the upcoming WC Qualifier roster? I’m thinking we’ll see Charlie Davies or Jeremiah White

IVES- Well, as you know, we had several surprises, though Jeremiah White wasn’t one of them.

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Thanks
Ives love the site. Keep up the hard work

IVES- Coop, seriously? That’s a great idea for a story but I don’t generally write full-length features as Q&A answers. I’ll get on that though for a future story so thanks for the idea.

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BRANT- What’s it going to take for soccer to finally become part of the sports radio conversation in America? I know it’ll never compare to the "big 4" of NFL, MLB, NBA, and college football (trust me, the NHL is waaaaaaay behind on talk radio, except local markets). Could soccer at least pull even with NASCAR, or even MMA, on sports talk radio? And outside of being celebrity-driven (ie, Beckham) how can it happen?

IVES- I think NHL is in serious trouble and fading fast, which is good for soccer. As for when soccer will be in the Big Four, I’m not sure we will see that for a long time, maybe 20 years, if ever. I do think soccer can surpass the likes of NASCAR and MMA eventually, though MMA is climbing rapidly.

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1) What do you think of the NFC East (I know you said you are a ‘Skins fan). As a Giants fan, obviously I’m happy with their start.

2) Top 3 movies. (Mine are Shawshank, Braveheart & Field of Dreams).

IVES- 1. The Giants look very tough right now and riding a lot of confidence. I would have said the Cowboys before the start of the season but they’re seriously underachieving. As for my Redskins, they’re showing a lot of heart right now and Jim Zorn is looking like an upgrade from Gibbs. I think all three make the playoffs but the Giants are the most likely to win the division and possibly another Super Bowl.

2. Top three movies is tough. The funny thing is I used to keep a list of my favorites. Haven’t done it in a while. i’ll give a Top 20 (flicks I’ve sen over and over):

Usual Suspects, Godfather 1 and 2, Goodfellas, Good Will Hunting, Hunt for Red October, Untouchables, Trading Places, Snatch, Warriors, Silence of the Lambs, Halloween, The Firm, Training Day, We Are Marshall, Rounders, Swingers, Midnight Run, Die Hard, Pulp Fiction, Coming to America.

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IVES- I’ll go with ‘Victory’ for the cameos and for Stallone playing a goalkeeper (which had amazing comedy value), ‘Mean Machine’ becuase Vinnie Jones is great and ‘Fever Pitch’ because it’s a classic.

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IVES- Brett, your idea seems like simple match but there are plenty of other expenses besides player salaries that teams have to deal with.

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Is that something we want? Do you think any of these kids can deliver?

IVES- I only think it can help for there to be quality U.S. national team players who are first-generation Latinos. Along with giving young Latinos in this country role models, they would give U.S. soccer players

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JOE G.- I know that this might seem a little early to call, but do you see Matt Mbuta challenging Dane Richards for the starting winger job? They are both fast players that open up the offense, but I think that Mbuta looks like more of a complete player. So what do you think?

IVES- I don’t see Richards losing the job but the gap between the two is closer than people realize. It wouldn’t shock me if Richards were traded this off-season, especially if Mbuta looks like a viable option to replace him.

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BFBS- Thanks as always for taking the time to do this.

Questions:
1) How much could USSF conceivably spend on a USMNT head coach, and how does that compare with what other federations can spend (e.g. Australia, Argentina, Canada, England)?

2) Javier Morales: Is this someone US could conceivably and should naturalize and get on the MNT? He seems to be the only true No. 10 that’s not north of 30 in the MLS.

IVES- 1. I’m not sure what the ceiling is for national team coach’s salary but I would imagine that the USSF could offer prices competitive with what could be offered by most of the nations you listed save for England, which is paying Fabio Capello a bank-load of money.

As for Morales, he’s a good young player who could potentially be a national team pool player but it needs to be pointed out yet again that the process to becoming a U.S. citizen is much more difficult than it is for other countries. Unless Morales marries an American the chances are that he will have to wait four or more years from today to become a full citizen. In other countries the process and time is much shorter. Somehow, I don’t think the U.S. government is going to change that any time soon.

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IVES- There are no USL games for me to get to in the NY/NJ area. I haven’t been to any college games this year. I used to try and get to some Rutgers and Seton Hall games through the years while I was a newspaper reporter. As for lower level games, I don’t get to many. Between Setanta, GolTV and Fox Soccer Channel, I get my fill of soccer.

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IVES- I think Honduras is a strong team that is going to be a tough opponent in the Hexagonal while Costa Rica could be poised to cause problems. Now, if you’re asking whether CONCACAF will ever have four or five strong teams so that one or two teams could be in jeopardy of not reaching the World Cup, I don’t really see it. I think Mexico and the USA have pulled away from the pack, while Honduras is right there. Canada could be another power if it ever gets its act together, because it’s pretty embarrassing how badly the Canadians have done in qualifying considering the talent they have.

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20 Responses to Your Questions Answered (Part 1 of 4)

  1. BlueWhiteLion says:

    Ives, thanks as always for this Q/A feature. Did your response to BFBS toward the end get “cut off?” It seems your response about pay is “dangling,” as you don’t seem to finish the sentence, and there is NO answer to the question about naturalizing Javier Morales.

  2. Modibo says:

    Thanks for the responses Ives. I was also interested in the Javier Morales answer so I’ll look for it in a future post and hope you can get to it.

  3. Will says:

    Trading Spaces is Eddie Murphy at his best.

  4. Kyle says:

    I think Ives tends to send the hint that he doesn’t want people to send in 5 questions at once. It seems like he picks the best of the 2-10 questions some people ask. Keep up the good work Ives. Morales isn’t that good that we should be questioning whther or not he could play for us. He’s good but I’d rather see a real american or Adu being that central playmaker.

  5. firefan06 says:

    Thanks for the Q&A Ives. One comment about Soumare – he’s often said that he played CB in college and only took the defensive midfield role for us last year because that was where the team needed him. Moving back to CB this season was returning him to his natural position. I think that has a lot to do with why he’s done so well for us this year.

  6. BlueWhiteLion says:

    Aha! It WAS inadvertently cut off. Thanks for inserting the rest of your comments, Ives. :)

  7. kyle says:

    Ok I guess he threw it in there I apoligize maybe he missed it.

  8. eric says:

    Looks like several of the answers got cut off…

  9. Ives says:

    Eric, what are you talking about?

  10. Chase says:

    Yeah the US naturalization process is slow when you compare it to states where the central government is completely willing to unfairly expedite the process for footballers (usually Arab shiekdoms or former communist states in Eastern Europe), however, I think you are exaggerating a bit when you say the US is “much” slower.

    Look at the list of naturalized players that made an impact at Euro 2008. Marcos Senna played in Spain for five seasons in before being eligible for the Spanish NT. Deco played in Portugal for seven years before being called up to their NT. Mehmet Aurélio played in Turkey for 6 years before being called up for the Turkish team.

    My point is that US naturalization laws are fairly liberal as a whole (especially when compared to states like Germany that base citizenship on blood ties), and frankly I’m happy that we don’t flaut the system to flood the NT with mediocre Brazilians/Argentines who have one decent season in MLS.

  11. Juan-John says:

    This answer is either incomplete or Ives switched his commas and periods (not a knock on you, Ives — I do it all the time):

    “As for ESPN, the network is definitely committed to soccer. Having attending a recent event designed to help the network better understand how to approach soccer,”

    Love the blog, keep up the good work!

  12. Ives says:

    Chase, what blood ties did Gerald Asamoah have to Germany?

    But seriously, the point is people need to realize that “getting someone naturalized” isn’t a two or three year process. I actually think the chances of some MLS player being naturalized are slim because if some young foreign player comes to MLS and shows enough ability to be considered for the national team the chances are that player isn’t staying in MLS.

    That goes for Morales, who looks very good and who I have to believe will make a move if he keeps playing as well as he has played this year.

  13. patrick says:

    i LOVE LOVE LOVE that he posts these so late. send em to my blackberry and read it on the subway.

  14. Ives says:

    Thanks Juan-John, I didn’t complete my thought on that one, but have now completed it.

  15. Amy says:

    Silence of the Lambs? Really?? Interesting plot point for you, Ives.

  16. Scott A says:

    eww Fever Pitch haha fine fine

  17. Mark says:

    A contact at ESPN told me that it’s very likely they’ll be working towards landing the rights to the Premiership. Good stuff, since that likely means HD broadcasts. Nothing worse than watching college football on crystal clear HD, then flipping over to the Real Madrid game and the pictures looks like crap.

    The bad news is I floated by the idea of changing ESPN Classic to ESPN3(which has been tossed around as an option for the network on this site) with the Premiership and soccer being one of the big components of the network, and he said there is no truth to that. I was told they would likely start a network similar to ESPNU, only devoted to high school sports. Plenty of soccer, just HS rather than pro…

  18. Trent says:

    Come on Ives……Mean Machine? That movie was atrocious. How did you miss these three:

    1. A Shot At Glory….with Robert Duvall as a Scottish Gaffer.

    2. Green Street Hooligans

    3. Animal Factory: English Hooligans

  19. Juan-John says:

    thanks Ives, very informative answer.

    Once UEFA switches its Champions League final game date to a weekend (in 2010 or 2011, right?), it’ll be interesting to see how ESPN markets it.

  20. Jimbo says:

    Interesting take on where soccer fits in on the U.S. sports landscape, Ives. I’m not sure MMA is going to be as overwhelmingly popular as some think it will be. It seems to be gaining many of the fans who were into boxing and WWF/WWE before both respectively went into a tailspin but its central governing body lacks organization and attempts to break into mainstream network TV have been uneven. Likewise, NASCAR seems to have cooled off a bit in the faltering economy with its massive expenses and declining sponsorship opportunities. Hockey is fading back into its natural historical position as a regional niche sport (hockey in Nashville? Miami? please…).

    Point being MLS and U.S. soccer in general is in a position to be a major sport (not in the top 3 but just outside) if it can build intelligently and ultimately produce a world-class product. Millions of kids all over the country play soccer and an increasing number are growing into soccer fans as adults. It will take a long time and signing famous Euro players like Beckham will only bring a shot in the arm and at a high price. Building the SSS’s for every team, growing the club youth academies, improving the quality of the USMNT, introducing top players to top-flight European and Latin American soccer at earlier ages, having the first MLS alums make it as starters on the top teams in the European Top 4, and negotiating for bigger TV deals and higher player salaries will accelerate that process. However, I don’t think it’s a matter of IF soccer will become a major sport in this country, it’s a matter of when.