Oct 16, 2010

Anybody out there?

By Matt Mariconi

Just throwing it out there to all those who care to listen. Becoming addicted to the game of football in the United States is hard. Snow will soon be falling and I’ll be forced away from playing outdoors. Fortunately entertainment will be found through FSC and streams online. I find the flow of the game to be much more enjoyable than other sports. I’ve come to love it in a way not like those around me. I constantly find myself bashing American based critics and wishing I could attend big matches. Occasionally I have to fight off the non believers when a game is on. Some are more willing to watch a half but aren’t prepared to give up their time to enjoy the game regularly.

Very few people I know or play with have any knowledge of foreign players and clubs. The few foreign students I’ve met have a much better understanding. They seem to have one club they love and follow. However it seems domestic people around me only support Manchester United and Liverpool. I wonder sometimes if they have any idea as to the club’s roster. Sure you can say Fernando Torres is great, but what are your thoughts on the Brazilian Lucas. I guess I can thank great players that stand out for bringing attention to the game. It’s good to see once in a while that ESPN airs a Messi hat trick. The frustrating part is that it takes such an unlikely feat to reach the airwaves.

I don’t fully appreciate the MLS and the USMNT is frustrating to watch. The two fall to the bottom of the pecking order on my preferred viewing. Instead I get a rush just thinking of derby matches in foreign lands. My dream of supporting a European club with a section of brothers seems so far away. I may be late to the party though as hooliganism is becoming frowned upon. My bootleg copy of The Real Football Factories (International) is all I know of what it’s like to be a die-hard fan. I don’t approve fan violence and the recent display by Serbia I thought was extinct. However I look at MLS club supporters and ponder what their trying to be. I can’t ever see the day when they get into a scrum with another supporter section. It just won’t happen, mainly because of the way we treat the game. We are trying to be different from the rest of the world it seems yet copy at the same time.

I do appreciate what the MLS is trying to do though. Maybe if I had a club near me I would have a different opinion. I don’t love soccer though, I love football. I’m not really sure what my point is or if I even have one. Maybe those who love football aren’t meant to live here. Maybe we are better off shipping out to a place that makes the game priority number one. Until then I’ll be forced to weed through those who like soccer and those who like football.

I’d like to think in some sense I’m ahead of the curve. I’m happy with what I have discovered. The question is will there be an army of people who follow. Or will the game as I’ve come to know it spiral off in another direction here. My hopes are one day being able to pick-a-part a Champions League match with a group of friends. Instead for the time being I’m forced to explain what the clock is doing and why players tumble out of control. I can’t find the logic behind the U.S. hosting a World Cup anytime soon. I’d be a greedy man if I thought we were deserving of it. Our economy is a mess and the real fans probably wouldn’t be able to afford the cost of travel, let alone ticket fees. If I was to attend I’d probably have to be inebriated to ignore the uninformed attendees trying to figure out the game. Who knows though, maybe in twelve years things will have improved.

As for now I’m forced to have discussions via twitter and with the few people I’ve met like myself. I’m just saying to those who care, there are a few informed and we are doing our best to not tarnish your game.

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Gavin Dobson said...

Excellent piece Matt.

It must be very difficult and I suppose a little akin to a NFL fan (me) in Britain - we are very much a minority.

I have heard reports that when the US held the WC in 1994, a lot of Americans didn't even know it was happening!

Obviously the arrival of DB23 has helped to raise the MLS profile a little. However, when I visited LA in 2008 and saw the Galaxy play, the crowd was half full of screaming girls, who were only there for a glimpse of Becks & his tattoos.

I do watch a little MLS over here and the quality does seem to be improving, although with 'Football', Baseball, Basketball and even Ice Hockey ahead of 'soccer' in the US, raising the games profile is very difficult - keep plugging away!

Gavin (twitter: @gav_dobson)

Matt Mariconi said...

Thanks Gavin,

It is to say the least. Here it's not so bad though getting a game put on at the bar, such as Champions League match during the middle of the day!

I wouldn't doubt it, I'm 22 so I was a bit young for that one. The only article I have from it is a McDonald's soccer ball.

I agree DB23 is quite a surprise act over here. I feel he's looked at as a bum by most because of his off the field lifestyle. Many people don't know of his great play over seas.

Yes It's improved a lot it seems. I think it could grow a lot more with the development of some serious attacking players. Le Toux has been one standout for me this season.

Thanks for the comment.

Will do!