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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.


“The Invisible Foot, A Culture of Competition.”

By Corey Bennet / “Church of Soccer”

Irony shadows “American soccer.” How is it that those socialists across The Pond have embraced The Invisible Foot of the Free Footy Market, while Americans – we poster-children of free market capitalism – have never had our promotion/relegation cherry popped? If resistance is futile, then soccer will inevitably crumble under the weight of hypocrisy and the Blasphemous will forever watch the “pure” beautiful game from a distance. We will marvel at that spectacular status quo and wonder what could have been had we only taken the blue pill.

And yet our heretical brand persists and, yes, grows. It does so in a competitive landscape, where predators have mere seconds to feast before the hyenas and vultures arrive to scavenge for scraps of market share. American soccer patiently circles overhead, and then perches nearby, waiting its turn, angling and scheming its way to the carcass of our collective sporting consciousness.

This is not the case elsewhere, where football is more than the main course; it is the meal. Exceptions aside, football does not have to compete with “other sports” for top billing in Europe and South America. Much like Chopin need not compete with Adele. In the United States, with the NFL and NCAA football behemoths, NBA, NHL, March Madness, golf, tennis, NASCAR, and the rest, soccer is forced to be optimally resourceful just to survive, let alone command attention and advertising.

Nonetheless, that is a good thing. This culture of competition is open to new, thoughtful, ingenious ideas for developing and marketing the sport. It is what should keep fans and leaders hungry to innovate and excel. Nevermind the many reasons we have to be frustrated. Those unbearable commentators will always find work somewhere, but eventually they'll get pushed aside for better talent. The pecking order will change and soccer programming will slowly gain priority over the Little League World Series and PBA Tour. The MLS playoffs will emerge from under a pile of “more interesting” sporting events in October and November.

Or maybe not. Perhaps soccer will evolve too slowly, too quickly, or too oddly for mass consumption. Perhaps soccer fans, bloggers, journalists, business partners, professional staff, investors and owners will fail to stay competitive – relegating the beautiful game to the deep rough of American sports. If that is the case, it won't be for a lack of opportunity.

Why American soccer? Because we have opportunities to grow and experience the sport in ways that exist nowhere else. We have the freedom to imagine, create, destroy and try it all over again. We can merge, eliminate, contract and expand leagues. We can exploit multiculturalism, import high definition and cross-market with global sports and pop culture icons. we can tinker and experiment to our hearts' content. We can invent whatever it is we envision the modern game to be, for better or worse. se puede.

Is there another place where this is possible?

We don't have to paint by numbers. For all the risks and growing pains associated with such latitude, there is reason to be optimistic. Even if we continue to reject promotion/relegation in our leagues, the prevailing culture of competition is as likely as any other to make substantial contributions to the beautiful game in the 21st Century and beyond. Thus, we forge ahead with tools to succeed and the knowledge that The Invisible Foot will guide us.

If you really have to ask, “Why American soccer?” I'm afraid you just don't get it. 

Corey is Co-Founder of Church of Soccer – a creator, curator, and collaborator that serves a global congregation of faithful footy followers.TwitterFacebookEmail. Amen.

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