Op-Ed: If It’s Not The Fan, Is It The Opponent?

A logo redesign may be in order.

Ghost written….sort of

Illegal…not according to FIFA Statutes (pg 17).

Inconceivable…nope; ask the Socceroos, though they had different reasons.

Improbable…yes.

Incredibly risky…absolutely.

If the Olympics prove anything it is that once every four years, Americans like rooting for their athletes in random sports. How many friends of yours became luge or bobsled “experts” during the recent Winter Olympics?

So why does that spirit not transfer directly to the USMNT, the only big team sport that plays international competition throughout the year? Is soccer more fringe than ice dancing, skeleton, curling or even hockey? Even the most ardent soccer un-enthusiast wouldn’t agree with that.

One of the great things about being a fan of the USMNT is the opportunity to wear the colors and root for the flag. That can’t be done in basketball, baseball, football or hockey more than one time a year if at all.

If the lack of sustained support for the USMNT cannot be attributed  the team, their performance or the sport itself. Could it be the opponent?

Perhaps Americans, on average, just don’t care about the US beating up on the likes of Honduras, El Salvador, Granada and Canada. And it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that most Americans don’t view Mexico as the enemy in sports either. (For proof, consider that Giants Stadium turned into Azteca North for the Gold Cup Final less than 8 months ago, complete with the throwing of projectiles at Americans taking corner kicks.)

Would support be different if the US squared-off with any sort of regularity against the likes of the big UEFA countries like Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia and England. I think so.

Though garnering more public support may have been the impetus for this idea, there is far bigger payoff should the USSF withdraw from CONCACAF and shack up with UEFA.

The quality of American soccer will improve with more games against high quality opponents. and and entry into the World Cup finals going from near “sure thing” to “in the mix.”

The added benefit is that you get the US in the second biggest soccer tournament in the middle years between World Cups.

This would eliminate the “we get no respect from playing on CONCACAF” crap AND force the USSF to work harder at developing the program because qualifying for the WC just got a little harder. All the U-programs would play in bettercompetitions and kids would get exposure in Europe. Hell…MLS could even join the Champions League and get a taste of how far away the talent level really is.

With more US players based in Europe and the availability of East Coasts stadiums for home games, the travel isn’t too much of an issue. The US could still play friendlies with MLSers and train with the B team in Carson during January and February. Then, throw in a yearly December friendly against Mexico with the big boy club to maintain the rivalry.

Money is of course the big issue, but it ain’t like the US is filling stadiums anyway.

So how about it?

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43 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/09 at 8:33 AM

    I think one massive aspect has to be the fans themselves. One thing I have noticed in my 6 years in the States is that when people identify themselves, it’s always “Irish-American”, or “Italian-American”, basically “hyphenated-American”, so when it comes to the World Cup, it’s a chance for these people to try and attach themselves to their great-grandparent’s nationality, but supporting XYZ etc., because in my opinion, that makes them feel a more legit XYZ, even though they’re probably only 1/128 XYZ.

    For example, I was living in Boston during the 2006 World Cup and I must have been one of the few people to be supporting the USA over Italy – I found it astonishing that these Jersey Shore-esque types, draped in the Italian tricolour to boot, would not support the USA – the country of their birth. Until people feel more American than XYZ, I think this will continue to happen. Also, I think there is an image problem with USA football – as people think that the USA aren’t a decent team, and perhaps this is why people default to their ancestor’s European teams.

    I would have thought that this would have been diluted enough by now, but obviously not. I don’t think that America if far away from breaking into the top 10 and staying there – perhaps then, the American *general* public will get behind the USA. I, for one, hope they do.

    Reply

    • Excellent insight, as someone who’s spent most of their life in the middle of the country, I don’t see that as much. Sure I root for England, but never at the expense of the US.

      As far as the Jersey Shore types, they tend to be douchenozzles (at least that’s the way they’re protrayed in all the garbage TV Series that they star in…) anyway so I don’t know that we should worry about them feeling more American than XYZ, since they only feel “Abercrombie” “Pink” “Banana Republic” “Hollister” etc.

      Reply

    • I was in Italy during the 2006 World Cup and I was also the only one supporting the USA.

      Reply

    • Posted by Dylan on 2010/04/09 at 9:12 AM

      Absolutely, great post. I think that it is breed into American culture to be from somewhere else. The question “What nationality are you?” to an American will get you the answer to “What nationality where your forefathers?” Two of my Grandparents came over from Wales and two of my Grandparents came over from Ireland. Now I am very proud of my country and even though I may disagree with some of the things my country does, I will always stand by it. However, I still associate with my grandparents nationalities and culture and am proud of them. I even had the Welsh dragon tattooed on my back when I was visiting family over there. I think most Americans (at least on the east coast where I am from) are hesitant to grasp onto being proud to be an American. One thing I can say though is everyone likes a winner. You’ll find Brazil fans all over the world regardless of backround, and that’s because they win and win with style, the day the U.S. shocks the world, (which will be on June 12) you’ll see an influx of U.S. patriotism. Just like in the Olympics this year when the U.S. was in the hockey final. Or the infamous miracle Olympics when we beat Russia. Hockey isn’t very popular in the U.S. despite what Detroit thinks, but people get behind good stories and prenneiall winners. I’m starting to rant so I’ll cut it here. Welsh/Irish/American-Out!

      Reply

      • I completely agree with this sentiment. Part of who my family is (especially personality wise) stems from being 80% English with a little Scottish, French, German, and a miniscule amount of Native American to boot.

        We are, and will forever be, a country of people from other places which is what makes us who we are. Sure globalization of everything these days means you see more people immigrating to other countries. But we are still considered the melting pot of all melting pots.

        Reply

        • Posted by Swa on 2010/04/09 at 10:32 AM

          I was actually just thinking about this the other day when watching the video of the US winning the World Cup video game style. Watching that obviously gave me visions of the day when the miraculous happens and we win the whole thing, but I found myself wondering what the reaction would be. I’m not entirely sure how many people would care. Contrast that with Italy winning the Cup in ’06 and the almost riotous atmosphere that resulted in some of the heavily Italian towns near where I live in North Jersey and GeorgeCross’ original point could not be more true. Fittingly, this is the precise area where Giuseppi Rossi grew up, but it’s just sad to see people ignore the country of their birth because Grandma and Grandpa came from a land that wins more trophies.

          Reply

      • Posted by Marcos on 2010/04/09 at 11:20 AM

        im glad that you guys are giving us the euro perspective and the exact same thing happens with the latin american communities in the southwest. As a mexican amercian myself i found it quite difficult to be the only one rooting for the states while everyone else is with el tri. If the fans dont come to you then you must go to the fans. US soccer and national team must make an effort to gain these pottential fans instead of loosing them to the rest of the world.

        Reply

  2. Posted by Sinn Fein on 2010/04/09 at 8:59 AM

    UEFA is interesting, but I have long thought a confederation of the Americas would best serve both CONCACAF and CONMEBOL. Basically, it would be a simple combination CONCACAF and CONMEBOL. I imagine the objections to this would come largely from the smaller fish in CONCACAF and from CONMEBOL (as their qualifying system has a long and storied history).

    I could be wrong (and I am certainly not going to do the research), but I think Article 2 of the Confederation section was written for Israel. It is apparent though that countries like Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Australia have taken advantage of the rule. The question for me is this, ‘should the US or even Canada pursue entry into UEFA?’ Both have strong European ties, but I think as both countries become more representative of all world cultures, it feels slightly racist or at least anachronistically ethnocentric. I also think politically that it would be a disaster. I believe when regional issues would spring up, nations would try to margainize (maybe not successfully) US influence by claiming that the US doesn’t really even want to be part of the region and quickly point to soccer. This is something the average citizen can understand. And the US certainly doesn’t need to antagonize more people into anti-US stances.

    Of course, there are positives. Level of football, games against traditional powers, exposure for young American players, short travel for European-based US players. I am sure there are more. Money?

    Other negatives I can think of…we won’t get to play Mexico in meaningful games (I would desperately miss this), all qualifiers will probably have to be on the East Coast.

    Anyway, liked the article as it got me thinking.

    Reply

    • Totally agree that we need to play fewer matches against CONCACAF teams but I agree with Sinn Fein that South America is the better answer.

      CONCACAF and CONMEBOL need to agree an “Americas” tournament that combines the regions in the same year as the Euros. Each confederation can do a separate championship needed to determine who goes to the Confederations cup in other years – probably the year after the Big Cup, rather than the year before. The year before the world cup is the Confederations Cup and could also see whichever of US/Mexico don’t qualify invite some teams for US Cup mini-tournament. To blood new players, US Soccer can put together an MLS-based US selection to take on some top clubs later in the summer during the European pre-season, or work with Mexico to put together a money-spinning 8-team invitational tournament that is not ANOTHER continental cup.

      We have 2 Gold Cups every cycle in addition to all the CONCACAF qualifiers we play. It’s simply too much!

      Australia switched regions because they had to defeat the last placed South American team in a playoff to get to the World Cup. They wanted an easier route to qualification. I don’t really know why US Soccer would want to go from qualifying for every World Cup to possibly getting through UEFA qualifying at this stage in its development.

      Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/09 at 9:35 AM

      I think having a combined North and South American WCQ might be worth looking into as it would provide better competition for USA and Mexico and surely that can only fo positive things for quality, right?

      I feel with the former USSR countries and Israel belonging to UEFA is more political, whereas Australia moving to Asia was strategic as it’s easier to qualify from that region (more automatic places in Asia vs the Oceana play-offs etc).

      As a football fan, I don’t really care where the teams come from, I just want the best teams at the World Cup…

      Dylan – Wales haven’t qualified for a major tournament since 1958… tee hee!

      Reply

      • Would the tournament be as fun to watch if it was 24 European sides and 8 from the rest of the world though?

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/09 at 9:58 AM

          It’s a tricky one as I am obviously biased because England will (probably) always be in the top 32. But like you mentioned, the Kiwis aren’t expected to get one point in South Africa – where’s the fun in that?

          It’s a bit like some of the UEFA WCQ, where you have Germany caning Liechtenstein or England thrashing Andorra, or for you guys, USA slaughtering Barbados – it’s a pointless exercise.

          Reply

        • It’s pointless for the bigger teams, but I think some of the minnows are starting to become slightly better for it. I was watching France vs. the Faroes and for the first 20 minutes or so the Faroes hung tough and were (for those 20 minutes) hanging with the big boys. Which means that in the next WCQ cycle they may hang with a big fish for an entire half or more…

          Reply

  3. Posted by Dylan on 2010/04/09 at 9:15 AM

    Switching to UEFA would make away qualifying fixtures harder to attend.?
    Just an observation and in no way is my opinion one way or the other.

    Reply

  4. This is an excellent topic for discussion and I am completely torn. As stated the heightened competition would be an excellent measuring stick and cause the USSF to get better in all aspects, not just on the field. However, the problem with this idea is that if we go, Mexico will go elsewhere (most likely CONMEBOL) and all of the other nations in this region will either move or capitulate completely. Essentially it would turn this area into the next OCEANIA, though New Zealand made into this year’s tournament, they’re still not expected to gain a point in South Africa.

    Plus adding the US to UEFA would give them 52 or 53 countries, which is a huge number for qualifying for tournaments so how often would we be in a group with the “sexy names” of UEFA footie? And the travel would be hell on the domestic based players and MLS if they made it into the Champion’s League (which I don’t believe the League’s current structure would allow for us to actually hang with the teams that make the Champions and Europa League). Can you imagine Arsene and SAF ranting about having to fly all the way to Columbus?

    Also, if this happens or is allowed to happen, would it get us one step closer to a more global qualifying scheme, or hemispheric? George and I had a side discussion about this in a previous post, and it would be hell on the players and in the end I think it would strip some of the allure from the actual tournament. The African teams may not be great compared to some of their European Counterparts or compared to Brazil and Argentina, but they got to the World Cup because they beat the rest of Africa to get there. Same with CONCACAF, the US and Mexico are almost a lock for each World Cup given our current qualifying format and relative strength, but when we step on the field in South Africa, Brazil in 2014, the US in 2018, etc. we represent this part of the world, the good, the bad, and the ugly portions of it.

    On the other hand the heightened competition would force us to get better and it would create more exposure for our youth national teams, and make it easier for players to transfer to any of the European leagues. The better competition angle is about the only positive that I can see in this, but it’s a huge positive, enormous.

    As a side note: Going to UEFA would pit us against better competition, but it’s similar competition. Putting us in CONMEBOL would pit us against competition that is radically different from ourselves.

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/09 at 9:43 AM

      “USA 2018″ – not so fast young man!!

      Reply

      • We are forever a land of dreamers as well.

        Do you know why England is pushing so hard for 2018 but don’t seem to be in the running at all for 2022? I thought FIFA mandated that bdding for 2018 meant you had to bid for 2022 as well (with an exception for one of the bidding nations).

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/09 at 10:04 AM

          We are technically bidding for both, but I think FIFA want the 2018 WC to be in Europe for economic reasons. I feel that the USA and Australia are also concentrating more on 2022 for this reason. Did you read the article about FIFA trying to outlaw ‘arrangements’ between Confederations (apparently, England have agreed to vote for USA in 22 for USA’s vote for 18). Why do you think England played in T&T, and Doha recently – and have scheduled a match against Egypt? One word: politics.

          Sorry for going off topic fellas.

          Reply

        • I was thinking the same thing about the T&T game, in Jack Warner’s backyard…politics will always be around unfortunately.

          Reply

  5. World Cup. What Sepp Blatter wears to protect his balls.

    Reply

  6. Posted by robbie on 2010/04/09 at 10:48 AM

    Very, very cool post and ideas. I completely agree that the level of competition is the main reason that most of the country hasn’t caught on. The other would be that this is a NFL country and if you like football you should naturally hate futbol. I disagree but it is what it is.

    Qualifying with UEFA is a bad idea on many levels. We would face an uphill battle qualifying and not qualifying for a few cups might kill the sport in this country.

    Qualifying with South America is a good option, though. I like that idea.

    I also like a World Qualification. Put every country in a random pot and go that route. Thatd be fun.

    I don’t have too much to add but keep the discussion coming. Very cool.

    Reply

    • Posted by Shane on 2010/04/09 at 12:40 PM

      I strongly believe that the reason for soccer not growing in the states is pure and simple..

      Coverage of the game is limited due to the networks not being able to slide a commercial in every 2 minutes or less… Look at the NFL, you cant even get through 4 downs without seeing a viagra commercial or something of the like…

      It’s a shame, but i do hold onto hope for this reason..
      – I grew up a NFL fan, the shit ran through my vains, i hated soccer, thought it was a sport for kids, however, 4 years ago i watched a US friendly and something in my head said wow, this game is skillful and beautiful… personally i dont see why this dont happen to hundred of Americans a day like it did me 4 years ago…

      Reply

      • It’s because not enough people are exposed to the beautiful game. Or if they happen upon it by chance they give it two seconds and give up. This is where the Free Beer Movement comes in (www.thefreebeermovement.com). Get your non-soccer fanatic friends together to watch a match between two good teams with your soccer loving friends, or better yet take them to a live match. The atmosphere plus a knowledgable fan who is interested in explaining things, like yourself, will at least give them a better frame of reference if not an appreciation of the sport. Plus the Free Beer Movement promotes the use of free beer to entice said fans to partake in a game, and I don’t know many people that turn free beer down.

        Glad to hear you overcame the preconceived notions that many in this country, especially NFL fans, have about soccer.

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/09 at 1:29 PM

          Talking about ‘lack’ of exposure, this is the thing I do not understand – isn’t soccer participation is the USA really high from the age of 5 – 15? Hence the term, “soccer moms”…

          Reply

        • It is, but the biggest problem is when boys hit 15 being part of the cool kids matters more than soccer so they pick a sport that they won’t be called a pussy for playing. Funny story I was called a pussy by a guy because I’m a soccer player. I found out that this guy, who’s nothing to look at as an athletic specimen, played volleyball in high school. Not sure what he was on when he started tossing unmasculine names out there…

          There’s other factors that drum kids out of the sport, and it’s getting to be quite an (sporting) issue in this country.

          Reply

        • Posted by Len on 2010/04/09 at 2:27 PM

          Agreed, I can remember playing a kid when I was younger who insisted on wearing his Nike basketball shorts that went well past his knees to play soccer. He wouldn’t stop calling me a pussy for wearing traditional soccer shorts. I don’t think there’s a lack of exposure here either. Top clubs are coming to play during the summer, and pack stadiums. Sportscenter is actually sneaking in soccer highlights, and ESPN is certainly making an effort to promote soccer, even if they don’t do it so well sometimes. I think there’s still a conception in the US that this is not the world’s game, but the rest of the world’s game. It’s that soccer isn’t pervasive enough, but that baseball, basketball, football, (and even volleyball I guess) are preferred. Until the US does consistently well against the best and MLS garners more respect I think this conception will continue to rule. I will try my best to counter this with free beer.

          Reply

    • Posted by Len on 2010/04/09 at 2:31 PM

      correction – *It’s not that soccer isn’t pervasive enough

      Reply

  7. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/09 at 11:31 AM

    Maybe, maybe one day, when most people support the USA over XYZ, there can be a soccer specific national stadium, which would be one of THE global venues!

    Reply

  8. Posted by Dave on 2010/04/09 at 11:31 AM

    Well, let’s see. UEFA is too big and it would be very diificult for the US to travel. Plus the very real prospect of missing the Cup pretty often wouldn’t seem to be the best way to get the “could-be” US fan up for the sport.
    CONMEBOL is interesting. Tell me again how the US likes hostile stadiums at altitude, enormous amounts of travel and a very real prospect of not qualifying pretty often…
    With Concacaf we get to qualify often, maybe most of the time. from a region more in keeping with the US level of footie, make money off the Mexican and Central American diaspora here in the USA, and help keep the smaller countries of the region afloat. Plus it keeps the World Cup more diverse geographically, which I personally like.
    For me, make the same bet Nery Castillo made and stick with Concacaf. If we’re capable of not acting like selfish spoiled brats it will work out better for us than it has for Nery.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Brad on 2010/04/09 at 3:50 PM

    I would be all for an “Americas” confederation. Still keep the same number of WC spots (which would now be 8 instead of 5/3 or 4/4.) I’m not a huge fan of those last chance playoff things… just let everyone play it out together. Same would go for Combining OFC with AFC… I don’t think it’s fair that the winner of the OFC has to play off for a spot, no matter how bad we think they are. That would simplify things – four confederations: America, Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific.

    I just don’t think USA in UEFA would work. Just a case of geography working against us.

    I also do not think I would like an all-world qualifying system. I guess I’d have to see the specifics of it to decide for sure though.

    Reply

  10. Posted by Bob on 2010/04/09 at 6:23 PM

    I think one problem in the U.S. for the casual fans is understanding the difference between the WC and the regional cups (Gold Cup etc). This is what Colin Cowherd and other radio hosts were trying to understand last summer. Here we have the Confederations Cup which most casual U.S. fans do not know about, but did know it was a big deal to beat Spain. Then, we have a U.S. team get crushed by Mexico 5-0 a few weeks later. Casual U.S. fan is saying to himself “WTF? We beat Spain but can’t beat Mexico?” While knowledgeable U.S. fan says “Oh, that was our B team playing a meaningless game in a meaningless Gold Cup year … no worries.” Then, a few weeks later, a U.S. team goes to Azteca and loses 2-1 providing more confusion for casual fan who now is saying to himself “The U.S. sucks at soccer oh when is the first NFL preseason game!”

    I think for U.S. fans to grab onto the USMNT in a meaningful way we need to keep an A team playing at all tournaments and win on a consistent basis. We need to dominate just like the way our Men’s BB team dominates. This will generate more interest as everyone wants to follow winners. I really can’t see an interest being generated by the casual fan if the USMNT joins UEFA and trys to promote games against say Romania and the Ukraine. Then, in the next rounds, games against say Wales and Cyprus.

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/09 at 8:29 PM

      Not meaning to be antagonistic, but the clue is in the word “confederation”.

      Reply

      • Posted by Bob on 2010/04/09 at 8:58 PM

        Right. You and I and everyone on this site knows what the competition is, but the typical American fan who only watches the USMNT when they play in the WC has no idea about the six confederations etc. When the Confederations Cup took place last summer, radio djs like Cowherd kept dissing the competition bc they didn’t understand it, the reason for it, and bc it was not the WC.

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/10 at 7:34 AM

          I was more referring to the word in isolation, in the English language, rather than in a footballing sense…

          Reply

    • I agree that we need to try to win everything we can, what’s the point in playing otherwise. But sending the ‘A’ at all times just doesn’t fly these days. If Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey had gone from South Africa to Seattle for the Gold Cup game that was a day or two later, their bodies would’ve been in shambles and their clubs would not have been happy. Especially Lando’s since LA was in the middle of their season at the time.

      While it’s frustrating to watch the US trot out a B or C squad in the Gold Cup or Copa America, I would have to say that Bob Bradley has done an exceptional job in putting his eggs into the right baskets when faced with these types of decisions. PLus the B squad at the Gold Cup gave some of the guys a shot to show what they can do on the CONCACAF international level.

      Reply

  11. A few thoughts:
    1) I agree with “Sinn Fein” and “I like tuesday” in their analysis above.
    I would just add that no one has mentioned one important point. Would UEFA (or more correctly European fans) want the US to join? Yes the big wigs might salivate over money, but it might add to anti-American sentiment among a small amount of citizens of European countries, while most European citizens would feel this was (one more) way that America was disregarding respect for the world (read: trying to do whatever it wants without regard for others). I have the feeling that even though many complain that the US doesn’t really understand what football is all about/doesn’t play pretty, fans around the world are comforted by the thought that their country may have a (perceived) advantage over the US on the pitch. Which European country would really enjoy having the possibility of losing to the US in qualifying. All in all this move is not going to happen, would be bad for all involved, especially America, and doesn’t help attract Latino-American fans.

    2) On the “Americas” Confederation I am not sure. I see the advantages of the increased prime-time matches, but I like the idea of the smaller countries having a shot at qualifying. If you combine, then I think more South American teams will qualify rather than Honduras etc. Yes maybe the better teams will get in, but unlike GeorgeCross I would rather have a few mediocre teams in the WC if that means that it truly stays the “world” cup. The saying goes that their are two types of sports fans: those that tend to root for the underdog, and those that tend to root for excellence/the best teams. I guess I am just in the former category. Plus Canada still would have an outside shot to qualify….maybe, possibly, but unlikely….sometime soon!
    All in all though an Americas confederation wouldn’t be all that bad. I’ll admit the pros probably outweigh the cons.

    3) For the reasons in #2 above I don’t like the idea of four regional confederations (i.e. combining OFC and AFC)

    4) I am American. My ancestors were French, German, English, Scottish, Native American, and god knows what else. Sometimes the some is greater than the whole. I am proud to be an American mutt.
    When Americans say their nationality with nostalgia I think really what they are validating is the cultural roots and more importantly “journeys” that their ancestors embody in their minds. Saying I had relatives who lived in France means about as much as having a distant relative who was a Gaul. What matters is the story of the how my relatives thrived in this country and what their cumulative stories mean to telling me what being an American means for me. America is such a young country in the grand scheme of things that I think this may be our way of trying to create a more meaningful history for ourselves. We have a collective chip on our shoulders. I don’t mind if Americans choose to root for other countries, but I think they should at least root for USMNT as well.

    5) Sorry I went all philosophical there for a minute…I need to get off this site. I am read these posts everyday. It is like an addiction. Are there any shinguardian Anonymous meetings out there?

    Reply

  12. Posted by Brad on 2010/04/09 at 11:35 PM

    One of the things that every American knows is that “Brazil is really good at soccer.” In many cases, that’s it for their knowledge of the game. Just the fact that the combined Americas confederation would let us play Brazil sometimes would be good for attracting people.

    Reply

  13. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/10 at 7:31 AM

    On second thoughts, maybe an Americas confederation will cause more hyphenated-Americans to support XYZ, rather than the USA. Look at how many “Brazilians” and “Portuguese” came out of the woodwork when Santos came to NYRBs…

    Reply

  14. Posted by Chris on 2010/04/10 at 9:56 AM

    No. Stay in CONCACAF. How would we be able to join a European Confederation when we’re not in Europe anyway? Also, how would you like it if instead of qualifying for every World Cup, we only qualified for 1/3 of them? That would really REALLY suck. Sure, we would get to bow out of the European Championships in the middle rounds every 4 years, but it’s not worth it. Besides, what’s the purpose in having Confederations if you could just pick where you want to be?

    It’s fine the way it is now. I would rather build CONCACAF up over time, than jump ship and join UEFA. The USA is such a large part of CONCACAF along with Mexico that it would be horrible for this Confederation to lose one of its major countries. Imagine if Brazil joined UEFA, or Mexico joined CONMEBOL? I don’t even like how Australia joined the Asian Confederation. Now the OFC is left with New Zealand, and a bunch of uninhabited islands for a football confederation. (I bet Russia wishes it were in the Asian Football Confederation right now!)

    The USMNT can still play those big teams like Spain/Italy/England/Germany without joining UEFA, they will just be fewer matches. But the first time the USA doesn’t qualify for a World Cup as a UEFA country, heads will roll. I realize this is an Op-Ed so it’s basically just for conversation, but I hope this never ever happens. CONCACAF for life MFer’s

    Reply

  15. Posted by tnnelson on 2010/04/10 at 11:56 AM

    CONCACAF and CONMEBOL should just mix. i don’t think it would make much sense for a North American country to join UEFA. it would be cool, but not all that practical. the CONMEBOL would definitely add some difficulty to the USA schedule and raise our level of play as well in the long run

    Reply

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