As a soccer fan, it really makes me happy to see the way the level of soccer is improving in the US. Our women's national soccer team is ranked #1 worldwide, and our men's team has qualified for the last 6 FIFA World Cup tournaments in a row, making it to the 2nd round in 1994 and 2010, and to the quarterfinals in 2006. Frankly, Alfie and I think it's only a matter of time before the US wins the World Cup.
I know, that's a bold statement. Admittedly, soccer is far behind American football, baseball, and basketball in terms of popularity. I've heard all the arguments. People say it's boring. It's low scoring. Americans only like to watch sports where the US is #1. Networks won't devote airtime to it because it's not commercial-friendly.
But we've got demographics on our side. As more and more immigrants enter the US borders, they will bring their love for the beautiful game with them. More and more people are watching -- on cable tv, it's true, but soccer has moved from dedicated soccer channels to ESPN, and hopefully one day we'll see soccer games on ABC, CBS and NBC.
We've got youth on our side. More and more kids are playing soccer, and they're not growing up with the "soccer is boring" mentality.
We've got numbers on our side -- with such a huge population, there's a wealth of potential talent!
We've even got a thriving professional league -- the MLS -- that's getting more and more popular every year. Here in Silicon Valley, we get to watch the San Jose Earthquakes play (Click here to read my recap of their season opening game and thoughts on supporting a local team, on Silicon Valley Mamas) other MLS teams, as well as with teams from abroad. The standard of play is rising rapidly with the arrival of international soccer superstars like David Beckham, Thierry Henri and Robbie Keane. Americans who previously played in foreign leagues are bringing their talents and expertise to enrich the game back home (case in point: Landon Donovan, who played in for Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Everton, and now plays for the LA Galaxy).
Slowly but surely, Americans are improving their game. American stars like Brad Friedl and Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey are at the top of their game in the English Premiere League, and they're paving the way for other American soccer players abroad -- raising the level of play for the US men's national team.
As I said, it's only a matter of time before that FIFA World Cup Trophy comes to the US. I just hope I'm still alive to see it when it happens.