Friday, July 18, 2008

Gaining respect (from teams, at least)

My latest effort for SI.com is on Mexican soccer players' and coaches' levels of respect towards MLS and SuperLiga. I was able to get quite a few people's thoughts on both, from Mexican players and Argentine players as well as a veteran coach and a young coach and they all had overwhelmingly positive things to say about MLS.

I don't think that means more Mexicans will follow MLS or even respect it any more than they already do but at least the sentiment that MLS is inferior that seems to run rampant south of the border is limited to fans and media, not necessarily players and coaches.

Now, you might say 'Oh, they were just saying nice things because they were in the tournament.' Well, I've interviewed plenty of coaches and players over the years about MLS and responses before haven't been very kind. The first time I remember asking a coach of a Mexican team about MLS was Tuca Ferreti back in 99 when the Galaxy played Chivas in a friendly, and Tuca and Ricardo Pelaez, then a forward with Chivas, each pretty much bashed the league. Don't remember the specific words they said but they bashed the style of play and the physicality of the league.

But now, even players like Matias Vuoso who has nothing to gain or lose by calling MLS out gave the league a positive review.

3 comments:

PennXanner said...

Excellent article.

Anonymous said...

Ultimately it's good for both countries to have strong leagues, it helps them strengthen and develop their national teams.

The Hammer said...

I think one factor that's very telling of how important these international competitions are to MLS sides is the constant reference to pace.

I've always thought that FMF had quite a bit more pace than MLS. However, MLS has superb athletes, and I've noted that for SuperLiga games MLS teams up their tempo. When confronted with the pace of FMF teams, MLS teams will pick up the pace and play at FMF's pace (and sometimes at an even faster pace) to match their rivals.

Isn't that what these competitions are supposed to do? Make you want to improve your game?