Today's interview is brought to you by MeritFit. MeritFit.co is a Kansas City based fitness and nutrition blog run by one of my good friends and certified Personal Trainer, Dustin Duewel. He played soccer for 12 years, inspiring his passion for fitness and nutrition. Check out his blog for all kinds of useful information to up your game and get ahead of the competition.
Watching football in America from the other side of the Atlantic can sometimes be a confusing pastime. It seems strange that people actually argue over whether promotion and relegation is a good or bad thing – not in practice, but the very idea of it.
Have American fans become so accustomed to having a closed shop at the elite level of a sport that they cannot entertain the idea that rewarding clubs for doing well is a good idea? Of course leagues will fold if the best clubs involved are not allowed into the executive bathroom of MLS. There are various reasons why the Cosmos’ second coming has taken some backwards steps but one of those is that whatever they did they would never be allowed to play in the top league in the land because Don Garber didn’t want three teams in ‘New York’.
As exciting as the football world is in the US – the newness and enthusiasm of it all can be inspirational – the big money side of the game that is the bane of the sport the world over seems firmly entrenched in the way the top brass at MLS go about things.
The never ending stream of ‘MLS2…’ campaigns that once sounded like football becoming increasingly popular in America now just looks like the arrival of the same kind of money men that have torn up tradition and history all over Europe.
But the increase in, what over here would be called non-league clubs formed by American football fans, inspired by supporter owned clubs in other parts of the world, is where the real hope and future lies. These are the kind of football fans who realise the game is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter what level it is being played at as long as the club is run in a positive way.
Clubs like Minneapolis City and Bearfight FC have been set up in a time in America’s football history when there is a chance to believe that anything can happen and that you can stick to your beliefs and ideals without selling out to a suit and a smile from the big league.
I am not anti-MLS, as any nation needs a top division of football that shows off the best clubs in the country attempting to attract the top players in the world as well as bringing through their own home grown youth players. But that top division needs to be part of a bigger entity where smaller clubs can climb up a structured hierarchy.
I am not naïve enough to believe that all football clubs will be run in the way that includes its fans and puts the game before the pursuit of money, but surely it should be something to work towards? As it stands the smaller ‘non-league’ sides that have sprung up over the past few years – and the fans that follow them – are what interests and inspires me as a fan of football.