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Brews and Views Essay Series: Why American Soccer?

We continue our new series on the Free Beer Movement. It's called “Brews and Views” and we pose a question or topic to various prominent soccer persons and, well, they give us their view on it.

We've got loads of get people that have already responded to our call for essay submissions and each week we'll feature a unique perspective on the current topic/question at hand. Kicking it off (pun intended) we're asking our respondents the question, “Why American soccer?”.

As inhabitants of the U.S. of A we've got loads of soccer viewing options and limited amount of time. We want our panel of essayists to make their case as to why the American version of the world's game is the one we should all invest in.

Regularly readers know where we stand on this issue. Buy American. It's ours. Build and shape it so it ranks as one of the premier leagues in the world.

The series will include such diverse voices as former U.S. Men's National Team player Alexi Lalas, The Shin Guardian, MatchFit USA's Jason Davis, Church of Soccer, Nutmeg Radio, FutFanatico, MLS Insider, and many, many more.

Interested in submitting your own answer to the question, “Why American soccer?”, then send us an email with your response. Please keep your submission to under 1000 words (that's like 2.5 pages typed!) and include a picture that you feel goes well with your response. Send it to freebeermovement(at)gmail(dot)com.


“American Soccer: A Dissident, A Dissident Is Here”

By Matt T / “The Shin Guardian”

A few weeks back I took a listen of Coldplay's new single “Paradise.”

With it's first release, Yellow, way back in the 1990's, Coldplay had some promise. They weren't quite Radiohead-ish in their approach and analogies to Scottish-band Travis popped up for them as they got going, but soon it was the full, near-oppressive marketing force or power or whatever that thrust them through the MTV channel on the box and into every kid's earbuds.

Before that moment, it was of course, Coldplay and it's raw music arrangements. The band had talent and even at the moment after the song “Yellow” and it's accompanying video screamed up the charts, there was a feeling that the band still could choose the path it wanted to take.

Christ Martin & friends as we know took the fortune and fame route. I don't begrudge them that at all, but the release of their second album oozed with “stadium-fillers.” What are stadium-fillers? Anthemic songs that play well to large audience in massive arenas and…stadiums.

At that moment they lost me, they choose their route and I choose mine; a route not unchoosen by many early adopters of a band. I choose the wistful, “I remember when” and thought of songs like “Sparks” whenever “Clocks” and “Green Eyes” would emanate from the ceiling speakers at my dentist's office.

Now, I take a listen of new Coldplay singles in the hopes they'll one day return to their roots, flush with cash and settle back into a more anonymous existence producing the music that I hoped they'd make. They'd backtrack and take the path not taken.

But, before I even listen to the new singles, I've already pre-determined their personal failure and listen more with amusement imagining how this song or that song will be tweaked at the O2 in London or at Red Rocks in Colorado. My predetermined expectations have never been bucked.

Pearl Jam turned 20 years old recently and they may as well have choosen Frank Sinatra's “We Did It Our Way” as their anthem.

Igniting out of Seattle as “The Grunge Scene” was taking grabbing a foothold in the early 1990's, Pearl Jam's “Ten” was strong, nay, it was fierce, flush with musical accomplishment.

The band's follow-up “Vs.” only hit harder, ironic in that it was acoustic piece “Daughter” that resonated the best. The album sold the most copies at the time of any album in it's first week.

Then the band hiccuped. It went toe-to-toe with Ticketmaster who had marked up tickets for shows on their tour. The band in-fought and the product suffered. The next releases underwhelming into the late 1990's–the album “Yield” had every Pearl Jam fan scratching their heads wondering if the tombstone had already been etched for the Seattle crew fronted by Eddie Vedder and backed up by Stone Gossard.

The previous album No Code had been experimental but Yield was supposed to illicit the pleasures of yesteryear. It didn't. But Pearl Jam kept toiling and kept toiling.

The band overcame the loss of band members and the Rokilde tragedy (when a compressed crowd led to 9 deaths at a show in Denmark). They perservered…and in hindsight now appear better for it.

They did things their way–releasing recordings of what felt like all of their live shows to keep fans engaged as well as make some coin.

Lead singer Eddie Vedder explored the depths of himself as did the band, staying true to their landscaping sweeping rifts while introducing new wrinkles.

They arrive at their 20th birthday this year with a sense of class, a grizzled meaty tale of true artistic success and a brand that conjures up every antonym of the word “sellout.” Why American Soccer?

The parallels between MLS and Pearl Jam are there. With a squint, they look identical.

The difficulties in filling stadiums without adequate promotion, the cultivation of the game without losing its identity, the gradual but measured success.

Because of ambassadors like “Lalas,” “Wahl,” and “Twellman,” who remained true to the cause like Vedder and Gossard did to Pearl Jam, the US game arrives near it's 20th birthday (2013) with its own meaty tale that will resonate through the rest of my lifetime and with those that I sang “Jeremy” with at my prom (yes, um, that unfortunately did happen.)

With Coldplay I'll reminesce about what could have been. With Pearl Jam, 20 years in and I'm still rocking and believing in something meaningful. I'm sure I'll feel the same in 2013.


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