US Soccer, both the MLS and the National Team, has long seemed like the stepchildren of US sports. But, steadily, year over year, the US has improved. Now, before the next World Cup, is the time to give the US soccer another look. At least so you don't look like an idiot over the water cooler next June.
Here are some of the Highlights.
1. The USMNT Made it Look Easy Earning Their Spot in the World Cup
MNT vs. Mexico: Highlights - Sept. 10, 2013
The US, for the most part, stomped all in their path to earn a spot in the 2014 World Cup. And, with some sense of authority the US can say they are one of the dominant forces in soccer on this side of the globe. That still seems weird to say. I still feel like I'm going to be pelted with rocks and small bricks just for making that statement. But, it's true. And, it's never been a better time to be a fan.
2. The MLS Is Growing.
In 2015 the MLS will add 2 new teams to its roster bringing the total up to 21 (a rather awkward number, but whatever).
"Who cares?" You may say. Well, apparently Orlando cares, apparently they care quite a lot. The turnout for the announcement was large and boisterous. Which is something that Orlando has in common with every other town that takes their sports seriously.
3. The MLS Is Signing World Renowned Players
No longer do you have to go overseas, or south of the border to see world class players. With the likes of Thierry Henry, Robbie Kean, Clint Dempsey, and with the signing of Orlando SC possibly even the Brazilian wonder Kaka; you can see some of the best in the world play the game they love, and it's damn crazy to watch.
Just look at the video below to see what I mean.
That is NUTS. You can hear the ball smack against the back of the net. Just pure craziness.
4. Match Attendance is Growing
This is a bit of a misnomer I suppose as 2013 took a small dip in numbers. This however seems to be only a small hiccup in the current trend. In fact, within the US the MLS now out paces hockey for attendance. Clearly, this is not the case in Canada. Nor would any sane person expect it to be.
And, "how do we stack up internationally?" you might ask. Well, surprisingly the MLS is in the top 10 for attendance in professional soccer leagues. That's not too shabby, kids.
And, the fans themselves are damn passionate. From chants, to artistic tifo, and even fan made trophies for local rivalry derbies. They've made it clear that the MLS is here to stay. Also, you talk to these guys about soccer long enough, and most of them will buy you a beer or three. That's a good enough reason to be interested in anything.
5. The MLS Finals are NOW!
Kansas City vs Houston
Portland vs Salt Lake City
The end of the MLS season is near with just 4 games left you can watch the best teams in the league duke it out .
Here's a handy schedule! KC vs HOU: Nov 23rd 7:30pm ET
POR vs RSL Nov 24th 9pm ET
FINAL: ? vs ? Dec 7th 4pm ET