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For giggles, let’s talk about this article in The Atlantic

Apr 11, 2013, 1:34 PM EDT

U.S. fans

We really cannot fully blame the writer of this article we are about to discuss.

See, if the editors of some Australian magazine contracted me to write about raising kangaroo, about how the Aussies really could take a few lessons from we kangaroo experts here in America, I’d take the money, no questions asked. Heck, magazine writing generally pays well.

Seriously, what in the world were editors of The Atlantic thinking when they contracted a man who lives in Australia to write about betterment of professional soccer in the United States?

Perhaps Jean-Paul Pelosi once lived here. (His bio says “freelance writer based in Sydney.”)  If so, then less of the blame for this silly piece falls on The Atlantic; more falls on the writer for learning very little while here.

The story essentially says that America will fall in love with soccer by mimicking the “shrewd marketing” of Australia’s professional A-League.

I just don’t have the time or energy to go into everything that makes this piece wrong. Essentially, it’s a bunch of recycled ideas about marketing the game here, some of which were never correct in the first place.

Some of the advice is about initiatives that have long been part of the Major League Soccer plan, generally lifted from the files marked “Most Obvious Ideas!”

Some of this wise counsel is about establishing rivalries, like the “blossoming” rivalry between Seattle and Portland. (If it’s just “blossoming,” then we’ll need nothing short of martial law to contain the combustibles once it, uh, fully “blooms.”)

Further … oh … never mind. Nothing further. It really is a silly article. At least many of the commenters set the poor fellow straight.

  1. charliej11 - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    They have about 12k fans at their games and have been under 10k recently.

    You should write the reverse piece.

    • Steve Davis - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      I’m sure it would just look like I was trolling :-)

  2. capsfan19 - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:40 PM


  3. JP - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Thanks for the introduction Steve.

    I can see you have a history of attacking other writers in your column here on NBC, so I won’t take your comments, or your stereotypying to heart.

    I sincerely hope that others who read the article will see the good intention with which it was written. The point of it was simply to highlight some things that have worked in the A-League, which from my seat, the MLS could afford to work on. I am an MLS fan. It is a high-caliber league. And this piece was not an attempt to spark any sort of rivalry, or criticism, but rather to go back to some themes that the MLS could re-focus on to win over new fans.

    If you don’t agree – fine. I assume that’s your mode of operation here generally.

    For what it’s worth, I did live in the US, and Canada, and have covered college soccer, and watched many a game across North America. But that really doesn’t matter, because at the end of the day we’re all fans and we deserve the best product that can be provided. Period.

    JP Pelosi

    • skinnydinosaurs - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:42 AM

      I’m not going to defend the dismissive attitude the author took with your piece. I do think the basic premise of your well-polished and entertaining article is presented more for oomph than it is to educate the reader. The Atlantic is a widely read and respected publication and to see its rare soccer piece be about how the MLS needs to learn from another equally young and arguably less successful league makes me want to strangle your editor. Not for the article but for this being the soccer piece of the season, telling Americans, “American Soccer is middling and you should rediscover your roots by finding your father’s love for baseball!”.

      Your examples of A-League success versus MLS failure aren’t things that haven’t been tried:

      “drive the sport’s national TV presence”

      Fox Sports in OZ is the example. MLS has had games on ESPN at unfavorable time for as long as I can remember. MLS has to draw more viewers to earn better TV time. Better spanish language coverage has been a boon, and I think the new NBC contract will help as well.

      Bring back older stars and retain young talent:

      For the same money I think US fans would rather see a better foreign player than an old American star. Also at this stage in the league’s growth selling young players in the league can attract other young prospect. How many young stars have gone to the Netherlands to seek and attain a bigger team?

    • archlobster - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      Attacking? Don’t know about attacking so much as calling out bad work. As a journalist he simply cannot stand poorly researched “articles”. Five minutes on Google would have corrected a million mistakes and assumptions you made in your piece.

      The reason your article was infuriating is because you say you are an MLS fan, and yet SO many basic and simple notions in your article have already been tried, already exist, or clearly wouldn’t work. Basic research Mr. JP.

      Isn’t it your job to research?

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