A soccer diary from across the pond

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sporting KC and why soccer is more than an immigrant sport

So I have these friends from Edmonton, Alberta, and when I told them about my interest in North American soccer, they rejected any interest any interest in soccer in North America outside of groups of recent immigrants and their kids.

I've heard this many times and in different versions and I've never been able to fit it to my impression of North American soccer fandom.

That is why the outburst of passion that we have witnessed around Sporting Kansas City. This isn't New York or Chicago. This isn't a multicultural metropolis that attracts people from all the world every day. This is heartland America. And they love soccer.

Surveys show that soccer, not MLS, but soccer in general has surpassed hockey in popularity in the US, and what we see in KC is that it is not just because of recent immigration, but a general embrace of soccer by Americans.

It is however also clear, that it is not enough, just offering soccer. You new to have a strategy that shows the local community that the organization is a passionate part of it and that it is committed to creating a winning team.

Americans are soccer fans, but what it takes for American soccer to capitalize on that is a commitment to the community and the fan experience.

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