Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Broken bones and football in the US of A

So two days to go to the start of the World Cup and a couple of hours in which the entire English nation, if you believe the press will hold its collective breath whilst Wazza goes for a scan on his broken toe. I have to say I hope he plays in the finals as the World Cup should have the best players from the teams that qualify so that the winners can really say they are the World Champions. Of course given the dearth of tickets made available to the normal fan by that champion of the peoples game, Splatter, the winners will celebrate in front of a bunch of corporate sponsors but hey count the dollars and screw the real fan. As I read recently Splatter is a guy who has 50 ideas a day, 51 of them bad.....

Thanks to Oz Kanka for a link to an excellent story about football in the US and the possible rise of the US to be a footballing superpower. I am not going to dissect the article but have to say that I agree with what is said in it. How will countries like Sweden, Norway etc. with their very limited populations hope to compete against a team from a country with such a huge number of people playing the game. Of course finding the best players may become the problem for the US, as finding 22 players from an overall population of over 200million will need a very good scouting network. But let me tell you football here is extremely well organized. Iwas watching a show about the South California Youth Team championships on Fox Soccer Channel the other day. Each team in each age group had a dedicated coach, and most were English, and the tactics, organization and level of talent was very impressive for an under 18's tournament. Scouts from colleges and MLS teams were there and the best will get noticed, scouted and progress. I would say that in about 10 years the US could really begin to dominate.

I agree with the article writer about the advertising campaign in the US though. The Nike soccer ads with Cantona is okay but the better one is by Gatorade showing the US team on their travels, excellent ad. Of course the NBA Championship series starts Thursday with the Dallas Mavericks and the O'Neill Heat so despite the fact that the WC kick's off Friday I still feel that overall more Americans will be watching that than the WC. One thing I notice here is that football is about participation, not watching. A lot of the parents who take their kids to soccer go home and watch Baseball or basketball, sitting through 2 x 45 minutes with no commercials is such an alien concept that they find it difficult to adjust. However once the kids who are playing today become parents the situation might change and the US media will have to start catering for their choices instead of ignoring football and hoping it will go away so they can concentrate on steroid abusers (Baseball), circus freaks, (basketball), steroid abusing circus freaks (NFL), racing cars around oval tracks interminably (Nascar) and hockey, which at least is ugly and proud of it!

Anyway time to go,......

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