Friday, July 25, 2008

Whaddayathink?

Someone is working on a U.S. Soccer project (it's not the federation, it's a scholarly venture), focusing on the men's team and sent me a list of questions, wanting my perspective. I know what I think, and usually people don't have to ask twice for my opinion, but I'm well aware that there's a world of different thoughts out there.
With that in mind, how would you answer these questions?

# Is U.S. Soccer on the right track in attracting potential fans?
# Are they alienating current fans by playing in less traditional soccer cities?
# Is U.S. Soccer hurting themselves by playing games in cities where the visiting team is the “home team”? (i.e. playing Mexico in Phoenix)
# What does U.S. Soccer need to do to fill the stadiums with U.S. fans, not just soccer fans or fans of the visiting teams?
# How many U.S. Soccer games have you attended?
# Of those games, do you find more U.S. fans or more fans for the visitors?
# Should U.S. Soccer have a “home base” where they play their games, or should they continually move them?
# Should they play in MLS cities? Should they use MLS games and staff to promote U.S. Soccer games? Should they do double headers?
# Do you think players like Donovan, Bocanegra, Howard, etc have an impact on fans coming to the game or do fans not care as long as they are seeing the U.S. National Team?
# What does U.S. Soccer need to do to sell out friendlies (besides playing teams like Argentina and Brazil)?
# With a World Cup on the horizon, what needs to be done to promote the team and support?
# Do you find the atmosphere of games to be a problem?
# Do you think U.S. Soccer will have more success attracting soccer fans or American sports fans.
# Do you think that the U.S.'s results in events such as the World Cup affects attendance?
# Who is the most recognizable U.S. player?
# Is it better for U.S. players to play for the domestic league or go overseas?
# What suggestions would you make to U.S. Soccer?

7 comments:

argaen said...

# Is U.S. Soccer on the right track in attracting potential fans?
No. They need to do more in all aspects of the US federation.
# Are they alienating current fans by playing in less traditional soccer cities?
No. They need to play wherever they can fill the stadium.
# Is U.S. Soccer hurting themselves by playing games in cities where the visiting team is the “home team”? (i.e. playing Mexico in Phoenix)
Only if those games played are in world cup qualification. Otherwise, play where the people will come, regardless of who they will support.
# What does U.S. Soccer need to do to fill the stadiums with U.S. fans, not just soccer fans or fans of the visiting teams?
They need to rebrand themselves and build a base soccer culture that everyone can start getting into. By rebrand, I mean they need to do things like pick a color jersey, red, blue or white and stick to it. Its a lot easier to market teams like Brazil, Italy, Netherlands, because you can recognize their shirt color immediately. This also goes a long way to solving what fans should wear to games to improve atmosphere. Currently its a mishmash of mostly white, red and blue.
# How many U.S. Soccer games have you attended?
1, phoenix last year.
# Of those games, do you find more U.S. fans or more fans for the visitors?
There were more Mexican team fans.
# Should U.S. Soccer have a “home base” where they play their games, or should they continually move them?
Continue to play only in the cities with soccer specific stadiums.
# Should they play in MLS cities? Should they use MLS games and staff to promote U.S. Soccer games? Should they do double headers?
They should have a priority to play in cities with soccer specific stadiums, with a secondary objective of playing wherever will fill the most seats.
# Do you think players like Donovan, Bocanegra, Howard, etc have an impact on fans coming to the game or do fans not care as long as they are seeing the U.S. National Team?
At least most of the people who I know who go to games just go because its the US national team. But I do know some girls who went to womens national team games just to see Mia Hamm. So I'm not sure how many people are coming because of Freddy, Josy or Landon.
# What does U.S. Soccer need to do to sell out friendlies (besides playing teams like Argentina and Brazil)?
Play a better style of ball. Get a better coach to instill tactics of possession that are similar to south american style. The better the product on the field, the more people will want to come see it.
# With a World Cup on the horizon, what needs to be done to promote the team and support?
Get players of other sports like Kobe, Garnett etc involved in marketing the team and soccer in general. Have Freddy Adu date Paris Hilton.
# Do you find the atmosphere of games to be a problem?
Not really. The game I went to was fun. Its not like a european game but its getting better I think.
# Do you think U.S. Soccer will have more success attracting soccer fans or American sports fans.
Both. Don't limit your scope.
# Do you think that the U.S.'s results in events such as the World Cup affects attendance?
This is a loaded question. The results on the field are directly related to style of play which is dictated by coaching and player skill. The better our coaching becomes and the better the players get, the better the team will do. Once the team starts to play the right way, it will go a long way to getting people in the seats.
# Who is the most recognizable U.S. player?
Freddy Adu
# Is it better for U.S. players to play for the domestic league or go overseas?
In what sense? Its always better for the players development to go to a more tactical league to better develop their skill. Its also better for their wallets. Overall, the european based players are farther ahead technically than those based in MLS.
# What suggestions would you make to U.S. Soccer?
Mostly I would just like to see us stick with a color of jersey other than white. I prefer red but blue is ok too. I'd just like to be able to look upon a sea of red in the stands just like the Dutch see orange.

L.B. said...

# Is U.S. Soccer on the right track in attracting potential fans?
> No.

# Are they alienating current fans by playing in less traditional soccer cities?
> No. They should play in different venues instead of the usual RFK/Columbus/etc. sites.

# Is U.S. Soccer hurting themselves by playing games in cities where the visiting team is the “home team”? (i.e. playing Mexico in Phoenix)
> No way. Those games are financial windfalls.

# What does U.S. Soccer need to do to fill the stadiums with U.S. fans, not just soccer fans or fans of the visiting teams?
> Win the World Cup.

# How many U.S. Soccer games have you attended?
> Between 15-20

# Of those games, do you find more U.S. fans or more fans for the visitors?
> US fans for most of them.

# Should U.S. Soccer have a “home base” where they play their games, or should they continually move them?
> No home base.

# Should they play in MLS cities? Should they use MLS games and staff to promote U.S. Soccer games? Should they do double headers?
> They should absolutely play in MLS cities, especially in those with new or newer stadiums (Frisco, Texas; Bridgeview, Ill.; Commerce City, Colo.; Sandy, Utah when it opesn). Doubleheaders... no.

# Do you think players like Donovan, Bocanegra, Howard, etc have an impact on fans coming to the game or do fans not care as long as they are seeing the U.S. National Team?
> Yes, they can have an impact but not a substantial one.

# What does U.S. Soccer need to do to sell out friendlies (besides playing teams like Argentina and Brazil)?
> Play in tiny venues.

# With a World Cup on the horizon, what needs to be done to promote the team and support?
> Play - and BEAT - high-profile teams

# Do you find the atmosphere of games to be a problem?
> Not usually.

# Do you think U.S. Soccer will have more success attracting soccer fans or American sports fans?
> Soccer fans.

# Do you think that the U.S.'s results in events such as the World Cup affects attendance?
> Yes.

# Who is the most recognizable U.S. player?
> Landon Donovan.

# Is it better for U.S. players to play for the domestic league or go overseas?
> Overseas.

# What suggestions would you make to U.S. Soccer?
> Invest heavily in scouting so you can find the young Mexican-American talent that we all know are out there.

Rudy said...

# Is U.S. Soccer on the right track in attracting potential fans?
No. Need better soccer people at the top of the hierarchy.


# Are they alienating current fans by playing in less traditional soccer cities?
No.

# Is U.S. Soccer hurting themselves by playing games in cities where the visiting team is the “home team”? (i.e. playing Mexico in Phoenix)
Not a problem as long as the games don't matter.

# What does U.S. Soccer need to do to fill the stadiums with U.S. fans, not just soccer fans or fans of the visiting teams?

Play more attractive football, win against world powers.

# How many U.S. Soccer games have you attended?

5-ish

# Of those games, do you find more U.S. fans or more fans for the visitors?

U.S. mostly

# Should U.S. Soccer have a “home base” where they play their games, or should they continually move them?

Maybe?

# Should they play in MLS cities? Should they use MLS games and staff to promote U.S. Soccer games? Should they do double headers?

Soccer specific stadiums only, please. Yes. No double headers.

# Do you think players like Donovan, Bocanegra, Howard, etc have an impact on fans coming to the game or do fans not care as long as they are seeing the U.S. National Team?

Yes, I think the A team draws better than the B\C team.

# What does U.S. Soccer need to do to sell out friendlies (besides playing teams like Argentina and Brazil)?

Play on the Riptide's home field.

# With a World Cup on the horizon, what needs to be done to promote the team and support?

High profile opponents + positive results

# Do you find the atmosphere of games to be a problem?

No

# Do you think U.S. Soccer will have more success attracting soccer fans or American sports fans.

Yes

# Do you think that the U.S.'s results in events such as the World Cup affects attendance?

Of course, America loves winners. (Male winners)

# Who is the most recognizable U.S. player?

Donovan

# Is it better for U.S. players to play for the domestic league or go overseas?

Overseas

# What suggestions would you make to U.S. Soccer?

I agree with picking a kit and sticking to it. Figure out a way to get the NCAA to use FIFA rules.

Dave Lifton said...

My answers.

David Harris said...

# Is U.S. Soccer on the right track in attracting potential fans?
Yes, but they could be doing more to get their faster.

# Are they alienating current fans by playing in less traditional soccer cities?
As long as they are doing their market research and playing games where they think they will attract a pro-U.S. crowd then no.

# Is U.S. Soccer hurting themselves by playing games in cities where the visiting team is the “home team”? (i.e. playing Mexico in Phoenix)
Yes, definitely.

# What does U.S. Soccer need to do to fill the stadiums with U.S. fans, not just soccer fans or fans of the visiting teams?
Play the games in places where they think they will attract the greatest number of fans. Also it would help for MLS to have more of the players from the U.S. National Team so that the fans can more easily identify with the players.

# How many U.S. Soccer games have you attended?
1

# Of those games, do you find more U.S. fans or more fans for the visitors?
More fans for the visitors, it was an away game.

# Should U.S. Soccer have a “home base” where they play their games, or should they continually move them?
I've already written about how I feel that they should have a home base.

# Should they play in MLS cities?
Yes assuming that these are the cities with the greatest support for soccer in the U.S.
Should they use MLS games and staff to promote U.S. Soccer games?
Absolutely, both organizations are interconnected and should work together as one as much as possible.
Should they do double headers?
I don't know if people are interested in sitting through 2 games.

# Do you think players like Donovan, Bocanegra, Howard, etc have an impact on fans coming to the game or do fans not care as long as they are seeing the U.S. National Team?
Again, I think they would if they got to see the players on the U.S. National Team on a regular basis. It won't happen with Bocnegrea now that he signed with a French team and the French league isn't shown consistently on TV here in the U.S.

# What does U.S. Soccer need to do to sell out friendlies (besides playing teams like Argentina and Brazil)?
Continue to play good national teams when they can field a representative squad. Its harder to do that with the European teams because of the travel involved.

# With a World Cup on the horizon, what needs to be done to promote the team and support?
Most importantly, the team needs to win and play good soccer to attract the fans, but beyond that they need to market the game as much as possible and continue to develop top young players.

# Do you find the atmosphere of games to be a problem?
When the home crowd doesn't provide the team with a home advantage I do.

# Do you think U.S. Soccer will have more success attracting soccer fans or American sports fans.
Initially soccer fans, but if they can develop and keep their top players then ultimately American sports fans, which is the ultimate goal.

# Do you think that the U.S.'s results in events such as the World Cup affects attendance?
Indirectly, it can't hurt attendance to have a successful World Cup, and it must hurt somewhat if the team isn't succeeding like everyone would hope.

# Who is the most recognizable U.S. player?
Freddy Adu

# Is it better for U.S. players to play for the domestic league or go overseas?
MLS

# What suggestions would you make to U.S. Soccer?
Always focus on the long term and the overall development of the American player. Only then will the day that the U.S. wins the World Cup occur.

Kartik said...

# Is U.S. Soccer on the right track in attracting potential fans?

NO

# Are they alienating current fans by playing in less traditional soccer cities?

MAYBE, tough to say. For example I'm based in the Miami area, a traditional soccer city and while we can get 40k + when Argentina, Haiti or Colombia play the US, when we played Holland here we only got 20k.

# Is U.S. Soccer hurting themselves by playing games in cities where the visiting team is the “home team”? (i.e. playing Mexico in Phoenix)

NO

# What does U.S. Soccer need to do to fill the stadiums with U.S. fans, not just soccer fans or fans of the visiting teams?

Play attractive football.

# How many U.S. Soccer games have you attended?

About 30, beginning in 1990 when I got to see Eric Wynalda score his first international goal against Colombia!

# Of those games, do you find more U.S. fans or more fans for the visitors?

Usually more US fans, the exceptions being the games here in Miami against Argentina and Colombia, a game at RFK against Bolivia in 1996 and the game in Chicago against Brazil last year which was 50-50 at best for the US.

# Should U.S. Soccer have a “home base” where they play their games, or should they continually move them?

No

# Should they play in MLS cities? Should they use MLS games and staff to promote U.S. Soccer games? Should they do double headers?

No, The USSF seems to do a better job of marketing than MLS and is a much more soccer savvy and professional entity. Double headers are great but in the early days of MLS they did nothing more than to spike attendance for one match and raise doubts among the soccer centric crowd about the quality of play in MLS. MLS still from a quality standpoint isn't strong enough to expose to many fans of the international game.

# Do you think players like Donovan, Bocanegra, Howard, etc have an impact on fans coming to the game or do fans not care as long as they are seeing the U.S. National Team?

They help, but most fans I speak to are more interested in the general concept of "seeing our national team", regardless of who is playing for it.

# What does U.S. Soccer need to do to sell out friendlies (besides playing teams like Argentina and Brazil)?

Play top competition and win. If we do not win play an intense, attractive match as we did against Argentina at Giants Stadium last month.

# With a World Cup on the horizon, what needs to be done to promote the team and support?

Breeze through qualifying and build the team as a potential surprise in 2010. The last time the US did well in the World Cup which was 2002 we were actually fortunate to get through qualifying. But a successful qualifying campaign build media momentum.

# Do you find the atmosphere of games to be a problem?

No, the atmosphere is decent.

# Do you think U.S. Soccer will have more success attracting soccer fans or American sports fans.

American soccer fans. We have too many "eurosnobs" who watch soccer in this country who think it is cool to put down the US team every time they get a chance. Many of these people have more interest in the England national team than the US team. They absolutely will trash US Soccer for everything until we start using the term football and Anglicizing all our lingo. So to say the least I believe the casual sports fan is more winnable.


# Do you think that the U.S.'s results in events such as the World Cup affects attendance?

YES

# Who is the most recognizable U.S. player?

Landon Donovan by about 100 miles!

# Is it better for U.S. players to play for the domestic league or go overseas?

Depends on the case. In general if players go to Europe they should NOT go to a league in the British Isles where historically American players have had a tougher time developing than let's say Holland or Germany. Mexico is a good one also to go to, but in many cases MLS or even USL do a fine job of developing our talent.

# What suggestions would you make to U.S. Soccer?

Latino kids are the future. Wilmar Cabrerra gets this and his hiring as the U-17 coach was a sign that US Soccer finally understands this. We don't need any more Edgar Castillio's who get lost in the US setup and play for someone else.

Southeastern Soccer Fan said...

I'll just chime in on one point: the idea that US Soccer has to play "where the fans are". The reality is, we are everywhere. This is a big country and it gets annoying to some of us that Cali, NY, ChiTown, and DC dominate so often. As L.B. said, smaller venues that are full will always look and sound great. Heck, one of my most intense soccer experiences was years ago at the University of South Carolina's annual game vs. Clemson. The stands hadn't been renovated with Eugene Stone's Umbro money and the field was ringed with old aluminum bleachers only 10 rows high. People were packed in, and stood 10yards deep at the endlines. Many hung from the outer fences to get a view. Every play got a roar. I got to see a friend's video clip of that much later. The closeness and rabidness of the fans leapt from the screen. US Soccer could do that, but they refuse to go small when they should. When the US plays Denmark to a half full HDC, I know they could have done better in a sold-out Charleston, for example. There are many places across this country that deserve their shot at THEIR team. It shares the love for everyone. Why can't we seem to do something so simple?