Unprofessional Foul


August 9, 2010

MLS Fans: All For One and None for Euros?

US fans

An interesting question: In these summer friendlies, should MLS fans root for the MLS team every time?

Now, we’re not going crazy and saying that I should root for Kansas City when they played Manchester United, or that a Real Madrid player should have rooted for the Galaxy the other night.

The question is a legit one, however. Does the MLS need us all to rally to its defense and support the league overall when teams play these exhibitions or in tournaments like the CONCACAF Champions League.

The author seems to think we do. He felt that, as a Fire fan, he still should probably watch the Henry debut when RBNY played Spuds.

I think the league — and its fervent fans — are beyond that kind of jingoism. Root for your team. If you see an MLS team playing in another kind of match, you don’t have to feel compelled to root for them against the big bad Euros.

In fact, I think it’s better for the league overall if soccer fans in the States learn to take the league and the game seriously. You pick a team, you support a team, that’s your team. Beyond that, it’s up to you.

We’ve had this discussion on the blog before: Who do you root for? In college football, I root for UCLA and anyone playing USC. Simple. I don’t feel compelled to root for USC in some other game just because they’re in the Pac-10 (or 12 or whatever).

The idea that we all should support the Quakes in their battle with Spurs — that it’s somehow compulsory for us to root for the MLS on the whole — is condescending.

As the league matures, its fans have matured. I wanted the Quakes to win in that match not as some show of support for MLS but because I dislike Spurs. I rooted for Manchester United in every match of their tour, and I rooted for the Galaxy against Real Madrid.

However, I had no rooting interest in the Celtic-Sounders match last month. So I wasn’t going to magically root for Seattle because they’re the MLS side.

MLS is a real league (even if it’s not the top quality league in the world), and it’s time to treat us fans like real fans. It’s time to stop coddling the league overall and let us fans be as serious and single-minded as we choose to be.

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The Stretford End