Sunday, August 9, 2009

8-9-09: European Soccer in America

I've been reading a lot of the EPL Talk blog recently, especially in the last few weeks while major European soccer squads have been touring around the United States, including Chelsea, Barcelona, and Real Madrid (not to mention Internazionale and AC Milan). One thing that I really agree with the author of that blog is that soccer is picking up in this country. More and more soccer is being shown on major channels, and I'm really happy that ESPN is going to start showing EPL games on a regular basis. With the season less than a week away, I'm excited. Here are the games I'm really looking forward to:

Saturday, August 15:

* Chelsea v Hull City, 7:45am, ESPN2

Saturday, October 17:

* Aston Villa v Chelsea, 7:45am, ESPN2

Saturday, October 24:

* Wolves v Aston Villa, 7:45am, ESPN2

Saturday, October 31:

* Arsenal v Tottenham, 6:45am, ESPN2

Saturday, November 21:

* Liverpool v Manchester City, 7:45am, ESPN2

When I talk soccer with my friends and co-workers, it is usually about either the English game, or other European teams, and, with one co-worker in particular, the Brazilian game. I almost never talk about MLS. I think it's pretty obvious, and well-known throughout the country, that the American game is inferior to the elite games of Europe and South America. Just look at the World Football Challenge: it had two Italian giants in Internazionale and AC Milan, the world famous Chelsea FC, and Club America from Mexico. No American teams. Perhaps it's because MLS is in the middle of it's season, so it'd be far too taxing on teams. But still: no American teams. And look at the attendance at each game. It was outstanding.

I think it's OK, though. I'm not worried about soccer and its following in a country with an inferior domestic game. It's not hurting the national team, which now has mostly foreign based players. I think it's better that we have our own game, and at least recognize that there are great teams in highly entertaining leagues in other continents. I'm glad that more people are watching; there are soccer clubs all over the place (I belong to one in New Haven). I hope it's a nice and steady growth. It's going to be interesting.

On a separate note: congrats to Scott and Taylor for completing 24 Hours at Great Glen in fine style. Great job!

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