Tag Archives: Fabio Capello

The Emerging of a Sport.

By William Johnson

The U.S. national soccer team disproved a number of preconceptions about them at the 2010 World Cup. The U.S. team led it’s group for the first time in 80 years, went undefeated during the group stage, and Landon Donovan broke the U.S. record for most goals scored in World Cup play. The most interesting fact, however, is that the American people cared enough to watch it all.

The broadcast of the U.S. team’s 1-0 win over Algeria broke ESPN ratings records as the largest audience for a soccer game in network history, reaching a reported 4,582,000 households and 6 million viewers. the online broadcast at espn.com became the highest watched online sporting event stream in the site’s history. logging over 1 million viewers. Two U.S. presidents voiced their support for the teams as President Barack Obama called the team to congratulate them after their win over Algeria and President Clinton could be seen in the stands of every U.S. game.

Even after the crushing loss to Ghana on Saturday, fans are supporting a petition to get a U.S. bid as the host of the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. Landon Donovan is appearing on everything from Good Morning America to The Daily Show and Late night with David Letterman. Fans who had never watched a full soccer game before this World Cup are reciting player bios and fact, myself included. Facebook updates, news headlines, and television networks flooded with information about every goal and bad call. The nation became interested in soccer.

America isn’t known for being particularly keen on soccer. The lack of interest in U.S. soccer in the past is evident in the compensation the players receive. According to a chart recently released by a players union for Major League Soccer, Some players make as little as $20,000 a year to play the sport. Landon Donovan, who has been hailed as the greatest player in U.S. history, is paid $900,000. While this isn’t a meager amount by any means, in the NFL or NBA this would be considered completely unacceptable for any starting player, much less one of his caliber. Another example is the salary of the U.S. team’s head coach, Bob Bradley. Bradley receives $500,000 a year to coach the team, while Britain’s head coach, Fabio Capello makes a reported $7.3 million. With more national attention comes sponsorships and bigger advertisers. If this trend of increasing popularity continues, we may see a raise is pay and talent is U.S. game play.

Hopefully, the spike in U.S. support will carry over to the regular season. After a season long stint in Everton with national teammate Tim Howard, U.S. football poster boy Landon Donovan will be playing for the L.A. Galaxy this season. With any luck, he’ll bring his new found fans along with him.

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