By: Bill McAllister
Every couple of years or so, someone spouts off that soccer is becoming a HUGE sport and Americans will soon be clamoring to see grown men play Hot Potato with their feet. To quote Dana Carvey as President George H.W. Bush, “Uh, not gon’ happen”. The latest sage is Chris Canetti. He’s the team president of the Houston Dynamo of the MLS (Major League Soccer). He made the following comments in the Houston Chronicle this past Saturday at the new BBVA Compass Stadium, “This stadium provides more than stability. It provides an incredible future for growth,” he said. “MLS is going to become the second most popular sport in this country at some point, behind the NFL. People don’t believe me. They don’t want to accept it. But I’m in the middle of it. I’m seeing what happens. We’re thinking big here. We’re not happy just being stable.”
I can’t speak for other cities in the MLS but here in Detroit, it will never catch on. “MLS Fever, Catch It”…Nope, won’t work, especially since you can’t use your hands. Doesn’t matter what the slogan is. Doesn’t matter what special offers they make. You get the hottest cheerleaders on the planet and you wouldn’t get people in Detroit to attend games. (Well, let me think that one through and I’ll get back to you.). They’ve tried before in the Motor City and sure you got some people to go to the games but those were sports geeks and soccer junkies. The Detroit Express played at the Silverdome back in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
And sure there were some championships; The Detroit Rockers won it all in the NPSL Indoor Soccer League. The Detroit Ignition won one, too. Then there was the Detroit Safari (originally The Neon and also indoor) who played their games at The Palace back in the 90’s for a half a minute. Point being, none of it really ever took off.
We like home runs, long yardage runs from scrimmage and game winning shots at the buzzer. Not fake falling every two minutes and “1-nil” matches. Sorry, Mr. Canetti, but not in my country!