Why American Soccer Fans Should Be Supporting MLS

(By Chris, Editor in Chief of MyBriefs.com and the adult writer of the Gab Four. Originally published May 11, 2011, sponsored by 3 Spoons Yogurt)

"You're all here because we're looking for the best of the best."

If one didn't know better, one would believe that Men in Black Chief Zed was responsible for training soccer fans in the United States what club to hold up scarves for.

Living in a country that purchased the most World Cup tickets, attended the most World Cup games and potentially attempted the most "Minute to Win It" stunts involving vuvuzelas, one would think our country's domestic soccer league would be exactly what brings Zed pleasure.

Rather, 15-year-old Major League Soccer is looked at as a minor league by many American soccer fans, intent on following teams in England, Spain, Italy and Antarctica.

The reasoning behind this logic is that the best soccer in the world is played in foreign countries. And since Americans are only used to seeing the best of the best, MLS will be ignored until the league supernaturally becomes one of the premier leagues on the planet on its own, without any outside help or support.

And so American soccer fans proceed to go about selecting one of the absolute best foreign clubs in the world to root for, and through natural selection, Stoke City or Preston North End wind up being the team of choice.

In general, Americans prefer not to cheer for Manchester United or Chelsea, because this is akin to hitchhiking on a bandwagon and/or tattooing Microsoft's logo across one's back. So instead, a middling team is adopted.

This is not an unethical strategy, as I shake pompoms for Colchester United and Northampton Town because I have ancestors from those locales. But if foreign clubs are the only clubs one roots for, then that may draw looks of askance.

To recap, Americans don't support American clubs because they're not among the best, but they do support average foreign clubs. Such a quandary makes one feel patriotic to the point of joining the French Foreign Legion.

After examining this situation through a microscopic lens, I have decided to use ratiocination (I just said "ratiocination") and declare shenanigans.

In most cases American sports fans don't support the best of the best. Not when it comes to soccer. And--unless one refuses to support high school or college teams and only supports professional teams who hoisted a trophy last season--not when it comes to baseball, basketball, football or any other sport.

One may have adopted Tottenham, shun the Los Angeles Galaxy but still root for the Los Angeles Clippers.

One may root for Everton, never attend a Sporting Kansas City game but also have season tickets to the Kansas City Royals.

One may watch Newcastle United play, and one may not have a problem watching Houston, just as long as it's the Texans and not the Dynamo.

Unless one lacks the decency to be ashamed of amalgamating with front-runners, then it is perpetually confusing why Americans would avoid English bandwagons yet discard MLS until it becomes one.

Despite revered traditions of mediocrity, the Clippers, Royals, Texans and countless other franchises still attract fans by giving away bobbleheads and selling delicious concessions, some of which have been prepared using clean utensils. And their fans remain supportive, in the hopes that "Sports Illustrated" will one day have reason to produce a new subscriber gift package, commemorating their team's unforgettable championship season.

The reason Cub fans don't become Yankee fans is because when the Cubs win a World Series, it will be apocalyptically euphoric for the fans who had been rooting for the Cubs all along, as opposed to those who became fans during the championship parade.

Likewise, when MLS is considered one of the world's best leagues, those fans who support the league now will feel all the more proud and be somewhat inclined to place bumper stickers on their automobiles indicating said support, as opposed to those who became fans when newspapers in Iran began respecting the league.

Granted, MLS may not have Zed as a fan just yet. But unless one's favorite club changes each year to coincide with the club that wins the UEFA Champions League, then American soccer fans should be supporting MLS.

Chris is a Waco, Texas, resident, Editor in Chief of MyBriefs.com, author of the book "Sports Briefs" and the adult writer for the Gab Four. Read more of Chris' solo columns here.
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