Biggest competition in the America’s…will anyone show up?
For years now, soccer enthusiasts in North America have been pleading their case for the MLS to get on the FIFA schedule, and become more like the real soccer leagues of the rest of the world.
The MLS is on the verge of adding their 20th team, and have been in negotiations with a lower division of soccer to become division two in MLS, and ultimately have a promotion/relegation league.
Now that sounds fine and dandy to this fan, and it’s preferred to me than the way we do it currently in the MLS.
Then Seattle Sounders fans the MLS would finally start to resemble the leagues of the rest of the world, and hopefully continue to get world class transfers here to America.
But the one thing that is lacking in the pacific northwest is loyalty to our Champions League.
The CONCACAF Champions League, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and even non-Premier League friendlies, have had slim showings in the stands in Seattle.
This years Community Shield match was free, and there was still about 20,000 less fans than a regular season MLS match.
Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to go down to the Clink, and watch some free football?
The UEFA Champions League is the best competition in all of the world, hands down, and if North America really wants to be on an even keel with England, we need to start supporting our teams in international competitions.
Take the Seattle Sounders next match. This is arguably the biggest match in Sounders FC history! Sure the three Open Cup finals were huge, but this is a competition that will put the Sounders on an elite list of club teams around the world, if we can win it.
The honor of the winner of this competition gets to go on to play in the FIFA Club World Cup. There is nothing bigger than that in all of soccer. And yet we still can’t get more than 15,000 to come out and support the local team.
Is it because the competitions are against the likes of Central American clubs that nobody has ever heard of?
Rivalries have to be born at some point.
We didn’t wake up one day and automatically have a hatred for the Colorado Rapids. That rivalry was born on the pitch when they decided to start playing dirty.
Sounders fans will never forget the match that ended Steve Zakuani‘s season last year.
That rivalry is not natural, it was made. Same thing can, and will happen in the Champions League. We play a home and home over the next two weeks with Santos.
Watch next week when we play down in Mexico. Their stadium will be over filled with rabid fans cheering, playing instruments, and waving banners for the entire 90 minutes.
That kind of pride is exactly what the Sounders fans have during every home game during the MLS regular season.
But it is needed during Champions League play as well.
Americans will always be thought of as wannabe soccer fans, and until we can prove as a nation that we are the real deal, why shouldn’t we.
A perfect place to start is in Seattle on Wednesday March 7th, at 7:00 local time. Let’s fill the “Hawks Nest,” let’s fill the lower bowl. Let the chants of the Emerald City Supporters show the Mexican fans that we are a force to be reckoned with.
And finally, let’s get a win for the fans of Seattle, and for the MLS.