Enjoying the MLS Season?
If you don't know about the MLS Confidential blog, you should learn about it. It is run by Soccer America, the longest serving American Soccer media outlet I know of. The blog features the thoughts of Ridge Mahoney, a great soccer journalist. In his most recent post Mahoney talks about young American players moving to Europe.
I find the following quote particularity interesting.
MLS, and U.S. Soccer, regularly take broadside hits for their efforts to find, develop and groom players, but ours is not a soccer culture, where being steeped in the game nurtures understandings and appreciations most American players need to be taught. Just about every player who heads overseas talks about feeling out of place, surrounded by so many teammates for whom so much about the game is second nature, learned by absorption as much as instruction.
That is the truth, isn't it? American kids who have lived soccer for their first 18 years are living in a "new" soccer nation if you listen to MLS. However, this isn't a soccer nation. MLS is still the outsider to the American sports landscape. Maybe in 50 years people won't remember a time when there wasn't professional soccer on our shores but even then there will not be the history the sport has in Europe. Will American kids ever grow up with the sport at a level where it is "learned by absorption as much as instruction?" That is really the difference between our young players and the rest of the world.
I hope that will change someday. I hope my kids grow up with an understanding and appreciation of the beautiful game. Anyway, be sure to subscribe through Google Reader or a similar service to MLS Confidential. It is one of the best blogs out there.