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The identity of being a United States soccer fan is at a crossroads. It’s been 19 years since America hosted the World Cup, the biggest global tournament on the planet. We were hopeful in our bid to become the host nation for 2018, or even 2022, but those hopes were dashed by Russia and Qatar, respectively. So what does the American soccer fan do? Cry that life, or rather FIFA, is unfair? Many are, but if we hope to gain respect as a soccer nation and progress as a footballing power, we’d do better to dust ourselves off and realize that US soccer is still in it’s infantile stage.
The American soccer fan is evolving. Our favorite teams and players reside in the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, and League 1. But as our knowledge increases of the goings on abroad, have we forgotten about the soccer being played in our own backyards? Major League Soccer’s first season came in 1996, and featured 10 teams. Since then the league has evolved into a somewhat respectable top division, featuring homegrown talent and international players, thanks to the Designated Player Rule. MLS teams now play in international competitions, a sign of the growing talent and commitment to expansion. The league also gave rise to many US national team players who started their careers domestically, but have since moved abroad. FIFA currently ranks the US men’s national team at 33rd in the world. If you ask us, we’ve got a lot of ground to make up if we hope to prove we belong among the world’s elite. But does success abroad start at home? Here us out as we put it Up For Debate: Should American Sports Fans Support MLS?