MLS Potential

coys200

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Thread starter #1
Been following MLS a bit more this year. Every game I watch the stadiums are packed with a great atmosphere. Atlanta United(in existence 4 years) broke the attendance record with 72k this weekend. Seems almost like the potential is limitless. With the World Cup coming as well could “soccer” ever really challenge NFL and baseball. I know we have quite a few Yanks here so interesting to get what the potential might be. I have a feeling in 20 years MLS will be a serious football league and a serious option for top players in their prime.

 

'O Zio

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#2
Been following MLS a bit more this year. Every game I watch the stadiums are packed with a great atmosphere. Atlanta United(in existence 4 years) broke the attendance record with 72k this weekend. Seems almost like the potential is limitless. With the World Cup coming as well could “soccer” ever really challenge NFL and baseball. I know we have quite a few Yanks here so interesting to get what the potential might be. I have a feeling in 20 years MLS will be a serious football league and a serious option for top players in their prime.

It's already challenging baseball to be honest and has almost overtaken it in terms of popularity. In most polls of "What's your favorite sport?" etc. the order of popularity in the US for fans (i.e. not playing but watching) is:
  1. American Football/NFL
  2. Basketball
  3. Baseball
  4. Football (soccer)
  5. Ice hockey
And by all accounts football will overtake baseball within a couple of years because baseball suffers from having the oldest average age of fans while football and basketball have the youngest. At current growth rates they're projecting that within 5-10 years football will be almost on par with basketball in terms of popularity while baseball and hockey will fall behind.
 

Trix

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#3
Been following MLS a bit more this year. Every game I watch the stadiums are packed with a great atmosphere. Atlanta United(in existence 4 years) broke the attendance record with 72k this weekend. Seems almost like the potential is limitless. With the World Cup coming as well could “soccer” ever really challenge NFL and baseball. I know we have quite a few Yanks here so interesting to get what the potential might be. I have a feeling in 20 years MLS will be a serious football league and a serious option for top players in their prime.

I can't see it while the CL is what it is. If that were to die a death somehow then maybe it would have a chance.
 

WalkerboyUK

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#5
Been following MLS a bit more this year. Every game I watch the stadiums are packed with a great atmosphere. Atlanta United(in existence 4 years) broke the attendance record with 72k this weekend. Seems almost like the potential is limitless. With the World Cup coming as well could “soccer” ever really challenge NFL and baseball. I know we have quite a few Yanks here so interesting to get what the potential might be. I have a feeling in 20 years MLS will be a serious football league and a serious option for top players in their prime.

My brother's a season ticket holder at Atlanta United. It's crazy that they can draw those attendances considering the standard played isn't much better than League One/Championship (our own fomer player, Anton Walkes ended up at Portsmouth after spending a season with Atlanta).
 

coys200

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Thread starter #7
I can't see it while the CL is what it is. If that were to die a death somehow then maybe it would have a chance.
You have to way that up against salary and lifestyle. And the superstar status players may start obtaining if it really takes off over there and the commercial opportunities that may present. There will also be the Club World Cup being taken more seriously. Also wouldn’t be surprised if in time the South American teams and north form one tournament like the CL. Anyways it would be very interesting if the MLS did become a major force. You know what FIFA and UEFA are like when it comes to bending the rules for commercial gain. They’ll probably wrangle someway for US teams to join CL lol.
 

Trix

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#8
You have to way that up against salary and lifestyle. And the superstar status players may start obtaining if it really takes off over there and the commercial opportunities that may present. There will also be the Club World Cup being taken more seriously. Also wouldn’t be surprised if in time the South American teams and north form one tournament like the CL. Anyways it would be very interesting if the MLS did become a major force. You know what FIFA and UEFA are like when it comes to bending the rules for commercial gain. They’ll probably wrangle someway for US teams to join CL lol.
An awful lot of If's in there mate. Anyway there already is a S.American version of the CL and it doesn't have the world wide appeal of the European version, because all their best players are here.
 
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#9
I think the best the MLS can hope for is that it ends up like how the various European basketball leagues are to the NBA, or the Japanese baseball league is to Major League Baseball: able to put together an entertaining and sustainable product, though not the "best," with the ability to occasionally develop young superstars that then make it in the bigger European leagues.

However, development in the US is a mess, and the success of Pulisic at Dortmund, Timothy Weah at PSG, etc. means that for the foreseeable future our young talent will be going overseas to develop if given the opportunity.
 

cwy21

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#10
I think the best the MLS can hope for is that it ends up like how the various European basketball leagues are to the NBA, or the Japanese baseball league is to Major League Baseball: able to put together an entertaining and sustainable product, though not the "best," with the ability to occasionally develop young superstars that then make it in the bigger European leagues.

However, development in the US is a mess, and the success of Pulisic at Dortmund, Timothy Weah at PSG, etc. means that for the foreseeable future our young talent will be going overseas to develop if given the opportunity.
I feel like the target keeps moving for MLS. 20 years ago it was criticized for being League 2 standard. 10 years ago it was criticized for being League 1 standard. Now it's criticized for being Championship standard. The idea of being an entertaining and sustainable product that produces some young superstars for Europe would have been seen as an incredible success a decade ago. Now it gets called the best it can hope for. Maybe in 10 years people will rip on MLS by saying "these teams would struggle to survive in the Premier League".
 
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#11
I don't mean to rip on MLS. My point was that MLS can be a great success even if it isn't a top tier league, just as the japanese baseball league and the european basketball leagues are "successful" even though they aren't on par with MLB and the NBA. It feels kind of un-American to say it, but we don't really have to be the best at everything...
 

cwy21

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#12
I don't think anyone has had the expectation that MLS would be a league on par with the top European leagues in the near future (or ever). My point is that things they are doing now (massive crowds, growing support, quickly improving youth academies) would have been viewed as massive successes a decade ago. No matter how quickly MLS improves or how good the league becomes, those who want to make fun of MLS will find the way to criticize.
 

C0YS

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#13
I don't think anyone has had the expectation that MLS would be a league on par with the top European leagues in the near future (or ever). My point is that things they are doing now (massive crowds, growing support, quickly improving youth academies) would have been viewed as massive successes a decade ago. No matter how quickly MLS improves or how good the league becomes, those who want to make fun of MLS will find the way to criticize.
Is its youth system actually improving though? I'm not convinced that current levels of players being produced in the US is better than it was 10-15 years ago, with most of the exciting talent being developed abroad. I might be wrong on that but what I do know about the youth system there is it appears like a complete shambles, and until thats sorted I'm not convinced the MLS can match the level of even some of the less popular European leagues. Right now the MLS is competing with trying to match the latin American league systems. I'd say quality wise its on par with the SPL or there abouts, so somewhere inbetween League 1 and the championship.

It is beginning to pull some decent not 'past it' players. Giovinco being a good example, him being a talented player on the fringes of the national team who never really fulfilled his talent in Serie A was a very good example of the players the MLS should be attracting. But until a player like giovinco becomes regarded as only decent, and someone like Bradly Wright-Phillips as simply not good enough it really has a long way to go.

Popularity and engagement will help it as a product. But just like the PL is Europe's most successful product it probably isn't its best league. To take the step up its reputation among European players needs to improve, commercial potential is one thing but if players just view it as a place to pick up a decent pay check it can actually count against it as well.

Tbh I don't think most people view the MLS as a joke league or anything, and people don't really make fun of it. People do sometimes criticize players choices in joining an MLS team because frankly it feels like a waste of talent and it also feels like the motivation isn't a footballing one. Its the same situation when Notts County found a pot of money and players, such as Sol Campbell, decided to give league two a try!

I don't think saying that the quality of MLS isn't that good is putting it down, its just true. It also has improved a lot and there are big successes, though within its own context that few really care that much about outside of that. But, lets just say I do now check up on the MLS on occasion I never used to do that. Its on the up. On that I agree.
 

wirE

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#14
If I remember correctly, WC 94 had or still has the highest attendence in history of the WC.
 

'O Zio

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#16
You have to way that up against salary and lifestyle. And the superstar status players may start obtaining if it really takes off over there and the commercial opportunities that may present. There will also be the Club World Cup being taken more seriously. Also wouldn’t be surprised if in time the South American teams and north form one tournament like the CL. Anyways it would be very interesting if the MLS did become a major force. You know what FIFA and UEFA are like when it comes to bending the rules for commercial gain. They’ll probably wrangle someway for US teams to join CL lol.
I don't think the club world cup will ever be taken seriously by the European teams to be honest. It's basically just another opportunity for Real Madrid etc. to market themselves in Asia or whatever.

As for a combined North and South American CL that's not going to happen any time soon. People throw the idea around as if it makes perfect sense but it's absolutely ludicrous from a logistical standpoint if anyone bothered to take more than a cursory glance at the practicalities of it. The Copa Libertadores is already sometimes a struggle for teams not from the big "rich" leagues in Brazil or Argentina and the expense and distances involved in traveling to North America would be completely unrealistic. People suggest this as some great masterplan as if it's like traveling around Europe but the distances involved are astronomical if you actually look into it.

English teams moan about having to travel to South-Eastern Europe which is less than 1000 miles away, and that's the furthest they have to travel. Let's look at a few examples in the Americas. The biggest and best teams in SA are typically from Brazil and Argentina, while the biggest and best teams from NA are typically from Mexico or the US. For the usual suspects such as teams from Buenos Aires e.g. Boca, River etc. to travel to Mexico City to play Club America that's over 4500 miles away, and it's even further from Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paolo in Brazil.

To put that in perspective, that's much further than the distance from London to New York, it's roughly the same as London to Dallas, Texas, or in the other direction London to North-Eastern India or Central China, or London to Rwanda!!!

And that's still only travelling to the southern part of North America! For the Buenos Aires or Rio/Sao Paolo teams to travel to Seattle to play the Sounders, it's just a shade under 7000 miles, which is 1000 miles FURTHER than flying London to Tokyo. In fact, Buenos Aires to Seattle is almost exactly the same distance as Buenos Aires to London!!!

And it's probably worth pointing out that all the distances I've mentioned are just ONE WAY. So yeah, having a combined North/South American CL makes about as much sense logistically as bringing the likes of Boca Juniors into the European CL system i.e. it makes no sense at all. In fact it would make far more sense logistically to have them play in the European CL. The whole thing is just idiotic so I don't understand why people constantly throw it out there like it's a totally logical thing to do.
 
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#17
Is its youth system actually improving though? I'm not convinced that current levels of players being produced in the US is better than it was 10-15 years ago, with most of the exciting talent being developed abroad. I might be wrong on that but what I do know about the youth system there is it appears like a complete shambles, and until thats sorted I'm not convinced the MLS can match the level of even some of the less popular European leagues.
I think it is improving, at least up until the U16-18 level. We have been producing more promising talent, that the European clubs are then plucking for the final stages of development. Fixing development in the late teenage years will be a challenge though because so much of it is tied to the entrenched university system.

That is not to say that there aren't still tremendous challenges with the younger ages, though many of the problems transcend anything US Soccer can do, We are a big and diffuse country with a cultural attachment to many different sports. Youngsters who want to play at a high level have to travel significant distances to play others of a similar caliber. Quality coaches are hard to find. So it is expensive. (Google "pay-to-play".) Also - and this just might be my experience with my 10-year-old son in my neighborhood - you just don't see many kids just playing for fun at the park. So many kids are signed up for so many activities that getting more than a few kids together for a kickaround is a challenge. And they would just as much rather play Fortnite, shoot Nerf guns, go to the pool, etc.

I doubt soccer will have (in the short to medium term) the cultural relevance on a national level that we would churn out the volume of high level talent that other footballing nations put out. But I wouldn't be surprised if pockets of subcultures develop, such as in Atlanta.
 

coys200

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Thread starter #18
I don't think the club world cup will ever be taken seriously by the European teams to be honest. It's basically just another opportunity for Real Madrid etc. to market themselves in Asia or whatever.

As for a combined North and South American CL that's not going to happen any time soon. People throw the idea around as if it makes perfect sense but it's absolutely ludicrous from a logistical standpoint if anyone bothered to take more than a cursory glance at the practicalities of it. The Copa Libertadores is already sometimes a struggle for teams not from the big "rich" leagues in Brazil or Argentina and the expense and distances involved in traveling to North America would be completely unrealistic. People suggest this as some great masterplan as if it's like traveling around Europe but the distances involved are astronomical if you actually look into it.

English teams moan about having to travel to South-Eastern Europe which is less than 1000 miles away, and that's the furthest they have to travel. Let's look at a few examples in the Americas. The biggest and best teams in SA are typically from Brazil and Argentina, while the biggest and best teams from NA are typically from Mexico or the US. For the usual suspects such as teams from Buenos Aires e.g. Boca, River etc. to travel to Mexico City to play Club America that's over 4500 miles away, and it's even further from Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paolo in Brazil.

To put that in perspective, that's much further than the distance from London to New York, it's roughly the same as London to Dallas, Texas, or in the other direction London to North-Eastern India or Central China, or London to Rwanda!!!

And that's still only travelling to the southern part of North America! For the Buenos Aires or Rio/Sao Paolo teams to travel to Seattle to play the Sounders, it's just a shade under 7000 miles, which is 1000 miles FURTHER than flying London to Tokyo. In fact, Buenos Aires to Seattle is almost exactly the same distance as Buenos Aires to London!!!

And it's probably worth pointing out that all the distances I've mentioned are just ONE WAY. So yeah, having a combined North/South American CL makes about as much sense logistically as bringing the likes of Boca Juniors into the European CL system i.e. it makes no sense at all. In fact it would make far more sense logistically to have them play in the European CL. The whole thing is just idiotic so I don't understand why people constantly throw it out there like it's a totally logical thing to do.
You know the club World Cup is changing format and will be viewed as a major trophy obviously not on a par with CL. But I’d suggest somewhere between EL and CL in value. Not sure when it’s starting but I think it’s 24 teams over 2 weeks during the season and will be a big deal.

In regard to a leagues growth. I don’t think anybody imagined the PL growth 25 years ago even the clubs themselves. As can be seen from the way they organised the overseas TV share. I’m not saying MLS will ever be as big as european football, but it may find a comfortable place in the next tier down.
 

coys200

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Thread starter #19
Sorry just had another read up on the club World Cup. Revamp is planned for 2021. As said 24 teams over 2 weeks. For a club like Atlanta if they are still top dogs then will be very much like CL is for Celtic. Be interesting to see how they got on against best in Europe.
 

'O Zio

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#20
Sorry just had another read up on the club World Cup. Revamp is planned for 2021. As said 24 teams over 2 weeks. For a club like Atlanta if they are still top dogs then will be very much like CL is for Celtic. Be interesting to see how they got on against best in Europe.
Given that a lot of teams already can't be arsed with the Europa League, I fail to see why any of them would give two shits about the club world cup regardless of how they revamp it, sorry.
 
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