I’m a season ticket holder in Atlanta. AUFC just won the MLS Cup. We had 73,000 at the match, sold out every game and averaged about 55k on the season (the upper deck is closed for most games for a capacity of about 48k for most matches)
Soccer (pardon, but I’m going to use that term for the purposes of this thread), has always been huge in this town. I grew up playing with thousands of others, and now we’ve all grown up and have kids that we take to games.
I appreciate the way that AUFC built the team with young appreciating assets rather than older depreciating assets on the downside of their career. It only makes sense financially as well. Miguel Almiron was bought for about 7M and will sell for about 30M.
We’re a relatively football savvy crew here and we understand that getting young exciting talents for a couple of years before they move on to bigger leagues is just fine.
we can have a much better conversation about this later if you’re interested, but the oldest generation of USMNT players (think Tim Howard) grew up in an era where there was very little exposure to good training and international football. I was a decent player (relatively speaking) and I never had a coach who actually played the game. That’s what the latest generation of footballers faced.
The level of exposure to proper training and the highest level of play (we watch EPL every week) coupled with increased participation and the idea that one can actually make a living as a professional footballer is already working to produce better players. The U17s and U20s are both very good squads.
I see 8-9 year olds all over the area doing moves every day in games that I’d never even heard of until I was a teenager.
We have the scale of over 300 million people that even a small increase in exposure and participation among the nations best athletes should pay dividends on the international level.
To sum up... no, the MLS isn’t on the same level as the best leagues in Europe... we know, and we don’t care. We love the game and we love our team.
With the time change, Chelsea is my morning team and Atlanta United my night Team. Works out well