How can we make the United States fall in love with soccer? Buy your friends a beer and watch as a lifelong love affair with the beautiful game begins.
The Story of the Little Red Fan
Planting the Seed of Soccer Across America: Danny Beerseed
Once upon a time there was an American soccer fan who lived in a big American city. He was friends with a Manchester United supporter, a Bayern Munich fan, and a guy with a Brazil jersey.
One day he read that that a new Major League Soccer team was starting in his city. MLS guy had an idea. He, so desperately wanting to watch live, local soccer, would buy season tickets to this new team.
Knowing his friends were fans of soccer he decided to invite them along to the game. "Who will come to support this new, local team?" he asked with a hopeful heart.
"Not I," said the Manchester United supporter. "MLS doesn't have any big-name players."
"Not I," said the Bayern Munich fan. "Their stadiums aren't as full of those of Europe. How can you play in a football stadium?"
"Not I," said the guy in the Brazil jersey. "American soccer is boring."
"Suit yourself," MLS man said. For the price of a month of the add-on Fox Soccer, GolTV, and Fox Soccer Plus cable package he saw live, local soccer and was given a season-ticket holder scarf.
Soon the local team was to play a high-profile team from another continent. Being a season ticket holder MLS guy had the opportunity to buy additional tickets. His soccer friends, unlike before, were very interested in going to this game and paid three times as much to watch the continental team's second team easily defeat the MLS side.
"See how much better this continental team is?" taunted the Manchester United supporter.
"You're wasting your time with the local team," chimed in the Bayern Munich fan.
"Thanks for the free beer," said the guy in the Brazil jersey.
"Just wait and see," said the MLS man as the local club took in a big pay day and used it to fund their developmental academy.
Year in and year out the MLS man bought season tickets watching the American game improve. Luring expensive foreign players, developing local talent through their academies, and becoming the home to solid talent from Central and South America. The local side even was able to build a soccer specific stadium. With this new home, certainly his soccer-loving friends would appreciate how far the local game had come.
"It will never be Old Trafford," said the Manchester United supporter who had only seen it on television.
"The stadium isn't located near my house," complained the Bayern Munich fan.
"Check out the new Brazil jersey I got for the game!" exclaimed the guy in the new Brazil jersey.
"Suit yourself," MLS man said. His daughter had become quite attached to the local team and now he had a constant companion.
The American game grew and grew and so did the local team. They won several MLS Cups and consistently played in the CONCACAF Champions League, reaching the finals twice and winning it once. The American league was now one of the highest regarded in the region. The stadiums were packed, the supporters loud and passionate. Fans from all around the area flocked to watch high-quality, competitive soccer. The MLS man was very pleased with how well he supported the growth of the local, live game.
His friends were surprised with how far the American game had come. Last time several high-profile continental teams played in the U.S. they were soundly beat and their managers had fielded their first-teams in hopes of keeping pace with the American sides.
By now MLS man's friends were ready to come around to American soccer. They grew weary of the over-paid players in Europe, the early morning matches, the silly transfer season, the lack of a real connection....
MLS man was getting prepared for his team's appearance in the MLS Cup Final. This time his soccer-loving friends wanted to join him at the game and had bought jerseys and scarves to show their support.
"Got room for one more at the game this weekend?" asked the new supporter in the local team's colors.
"Beers are on me this time," said the new fan with the local team's scarf.
"Look what I just bought for the game!" exclaimed the guy in the local jersey.
Sorry dudes. I'm off to catch the game with my kid and 50,000 of my closest friends. I left you all a six-pack in the fridge. Enjoy the game on TV.
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