Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bruce Arena to US fans "Put Up or Shut Up"

I got to hand it to Bruce Arena, he doesn't mince words. After growing the US side on the field, he is telling the fans that if we want soccer to get covered, we've got to watch and show up to the games. Here is his quote:

"I think it's critical. If we want this sport to grow, if we want to truly position ourselves to one day win a World Cup, we need support from the people that follow soccer in the United States."

The great thing is that he is not only talking about the national team but also MLS:

"I'm happy first of all (that the match Saturday night) is live on an English-speaking channel. I'll be honest with you, it's the job of supporters of soccer in this country to be better supporters of the game, not only U.S. games on television but MLS games, and be better consumers.

"When we demonstrate ratings, I think we will have an argument for prime time. I can see both sides of it. I understand where television is coming from. I understand where supporters are coming from. But the bottom line is television companies don't put these games on as nonprofit exercises. And I think it's time that the American public that supports the sport of soccer steps forward and supports our game by watching on television, getting ratings, by attending games in the stands and by buying soccer products -- being good consumers as we see in other sports, whether it's college football, the NBA, what have you. It's time for us to put up or shut up."

He is not the first person to point this out, but it is great for him to say it. No one should expect a world-class league to just land on our shores, it has to built from the ground up. Not to long ago, the NBA was nothing much, but they built it up. It is going to be harder for soccer due to fact that there are already great leagues around the world (something the NBA and NFL did not have to worry about), but it can be done.

Arena also thinks "...US-Mexico matches could one day rival the Brazil-Argentina and German-Dutch rivalries but added that smaller regional rivals would keep the continental qualifying a strong preparation for World Cup finals action."

We know were we want to go, now we just need to do the work to get there.

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