Attending an International Game

Posted: June 13, 2011 in US Soccer

A few months ago I wrote about helping my club, and college, players fall in love with the game of soccer.  One thing I noticed living overseas that we lack here in the USA is national pride in our national sports teams.  Growing up in a different country y0u learn quickly how important national pride is, and sporting events give a country something to rally around.

I think one of the biggest challenges in the USA is how large we are geographically as a country.  We feel disconnected and distanced from each other as states.  We have major pride in our local teams, no doubt about that.  When I relocated from California to Nebraska I had never seen an entire state identify themselves with one college team, but the University of Nebraska is THE football team in the state.  I wonder sometimes if our national pride is diminished because we are such a large country with some many sports teams (college and professional) that we only recognize international competitions when one of athletes from “our team” makes the national squad.

I wanted to expose some of my club and college athletes to this national team pride.  When the Gold Cup venues and schedule were announced I jumped on the opportunity to take a group down to Kansas City, KS for the USA v. Guadeloupe game June 14th.  I thought I would be lucky to get 20 guys to go down with me.  Instead I had a huge response from not only the players, but their families as well!  We are taking a group of 48 players and families down to the USA game from South Dakota!

I really believe, given the oppotunity, that families involved with the sport of soccer would become huge fans if someone would help them connect with some of these events.  If a small soccer club with barely 100 members in a small town in South Dakota can generate enough interest for 48 people to attend an event, what could happen at some of these other associations?

I think the key is exposing players and parents to the highest level of soccer available in your area, and make an event out of it!  I know the clubs in Dallas did this a lot by having a club night at an FC Dallas game, or a college game like TCU and SMU.

If the highest level in your area is high school soccer, get all the U10-U14 players to a game.  Take the U14-U19 kids to a college game in the state that offers a high level of soccer so they have something to aspire to.  And if you’re fortunate enough to have a USL, NASL, or MLS team in the state I believe we should make a big deal of attending a game and being a fan of that team.

Pumped for the USA game!  Pumped to see the first team in action this week!

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