The World's Game In The Heart of the Sun Belt

A long view of American soccer

Longtime American soccer executive Peter Wilt (formerly Chicago Fire and Chicago Red Stars and now with the indoor Milwaukee Wave) projects the near-term landscape of the sport in the United States, and what it may look like in 2020.

My favorite (albeit tongue-in-cheek) scenario Wilt saves for last:

“American newspapers will all have soccer beat reporters writing regular features, columns and analysis….ok, just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.  This prediction of course is a joke, because we all know that there will be no daily newspapers in ten years.”

Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

The bottom line is this: The sport’s in far better shape than the moaners claim. Wilt’s key insight — and one that should become obvious to anyone watching ESPN’s ubiquitous World Cup coverage this summer — is that:

“Media and society are mainstreaming soccer at unparalleled rates. Soccer bashing media members have been replaced with soccer knowledgeable journalists. American television and the internet have provided unprecedented forums for soccer coverage and discussion.”

This is probably the most dramatic development in American soccer in the 15 years since I first began covering the sport, and this will continue to proliferate even more rapidly in the coming years.

We’ve gone from soccer still being regarded in the mainstream as an exotic, “foreign” endeavor to one that’s getting nearly daily highlight play on “SportsCenter,” just to name one example.

(Although I don’t get why no American accents are allowed on ESPN’s World Cup announcing crews. To be sure, the Worldwide Leader is trying to impress others around the globe with its presence in South Africa, but this is a significant snub.)

As Wilt says, “the world is getting smaller.” For the growing, once-isolated world of American soccer, this is a very good thing.

1 comment

1 Soedyo { 12.19.15 at 7:19 pm }

Good advice Stephanie,An eentrxal hard drive seems like a good idea. I don’t like deleting old photos even if they are messed up too. <- I'm getting better though.And finding pic, I know, I've gone through it.

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