Professional Soccer Finally Arrives In America This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Ever since the festival that was World Cup '94, there has been a craving by soccer fans across the country for a premier soccer league. This has finally been fulfilled with the start of Major League Soccer. There are ten teams playing in two divisions, eight of which compete in playoffs to reach the championship game in Foxboro, Massachusetts, home of the New England Revolution. The four teams in the Eastern Division who compete against the Revolution are the Columbus Crew, Washington DC United, New York/New Jersey Metrostars, and the Tampa Bay Mutiny. The Western Division will consist of the Dallas Burn, Colorado Rapids, Kansas City Wiz, Los Angeles Galaxy and the San Jos" Clash.

This league has been bashed by soccer critics who feel that the American populous will not catch onto this great game which is nearly a worldwide religion. These critics have been silenced for the time being with the average attendance at the MLS home-openers at 31,000. Another crack by critics is that there is not enough home-grown talent to support a professional league. These critics refer to the demise in the early '80s of the North American Soccer League which depended almost entirely on imported talent. The critics have again been proven wrong with Brian McBride (Columbus Crew) and Rob Ukrop (New England Revolution), both of whom have a two-goal game this season and are American-born.

Besides these stars, there are many international players including Roberto Donadonai of Italy (and NY/NJ), and just recently of AC Milan of Italy's Serie A, Carlos Valderrama of Colombia (and Tampa Bay), and the ecstatic Mexican and Los Angeles goalkeeper/forward Jorge Campos. There are also many American National team players who now play in their homeland, including Alexi Lalas and Mike Burns (New England), Tab Ramos (NY/NJ), John Harkes and Jeff Agoos (Washington DC.), and a number of others.

With rising stars and experienced international players, this league is clearly headed in the right direction at the right time. If it continues on this path, it could become as big as the premier leagues of Italy, Spain, and England. Whatever happens, this league is truly a breath of fresh air. l


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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