First and foremost is the issue of club names. There are some guys in the MLS who can downright play the game. There are obviously solid American players (Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson) as well as foreign stars (Beckham is head and shoulders above, and then Christian Gomez, Jaime Moreno). The guys are real players, so why do the teams have Mickey Mouse names? Not all teams are guilty here, as the expansion franchises (such as Toronto FC, Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA) have done a nice job. But only one of the founding fathers of the league (DC United) has a name that is acceptable. Please, the New England Revolution? The Los Angeles Galaxy? I’m surprised Bechkam hasn’t demanded an immediate change to something manly, like “LA City”. Okay, that’s a terrible suggestion, but you get my point. Keep the good names, fix the rest. Personally, I’d go see an FC New England match, but I’m not paying money to see a team with “REVOLUTION” written in comic sans font across the front of the jersey. Speaking of which…
Post Beckham 2007 LA Galaxy Jerseys
Soccer specific stadiums, or SSS’s for short. These are vital to the success of the league. Why? I don’t know. They just are. Apparently having one has helped LA become the most profitable team in the league though, so it must help. Plus they’re just so much more logical. You don’t want a stadium 5 times bigger than you need for various reasons. First of all, it looks pathetic to have 9,000 people sitting in an NFL stadium, as is the case at Gillette when the Revs are playing or in Kansas City for Wizards games. Plus, the idea of a team having its own venue is a draw in and of itself. If New England renovated Nickerson Field to have stands on each end and a total seating capacity of around 20,000, they’d do much better. A bunch of the teams have already made the switch, some are in the process (New York, Salt Lake), but others (NE, Kansas City) still need to hop on the bandwagon.
If Major League Soccer can make some of these improvements, and I think they will, I’ll start caring. Otherwise, I’ll just continue to cheer on my favorite English teams. Those, of course, are Norwich City (yeah… I’ll explain in a moment) and Liverpool. I’m a fan of the Carlsbergs ever since I educated myself about the Hillsborough Disaster, and I’m a fan of Norwich City because some guy in Malaysia talked me into it in 2005. I was trying to figure out which jersey to buy (they were all bootleg but looked very authentic) at his shop for around 40 ringets (7 bucks), and was initially going to go with Arsenal, but was talked out of it. Malaysians have an affinity for Manchester United, so he persuaded me to go with that one, but I view Man U as being the Yankees of club soccer (though I’ve been told that Chelsea is more like the Yanks in terms of buying whomever they want, and Man U is more like the Braves, whatever that means). Needless to say, I said no thanks. Being an apparent Manchester fan, this bothered the man, and he proceeded to convince me to buy a Norwich City jersey. It was sharp enough, and the corporate sponsor was Proton, a Malaysian company, so I figured it would make a nice souvenir if nothing else. After buying it, I got an English Premier League program and educated myself about the “Canaries”. Apparently in 2004 they won the 1st Division and were promoted to the premiership. Well, I didn’t have an English Premier League jersey for long. After 2005, they were relegated back to what is now the Football League Championship. Oh well, the faux jersey is still pretty nice, even if the ironed-on logo is decomposing.
Anyway, I don’t want this to turn into a Uni Watch rant, so I’ll cut myself off. Although before doing so, I’ll enlighten you all with this fun story about the Norwich club. Nothing quite like getting the runs at a team dinner.