Their critical mistake is believing that strong support for soccer must precede pro/rel, as if, somehow, pro/rel would weaken support.
They don’t understand that pro/rel helps cause strong support for soccer. So, they block the very thing that can create the condition they require.
They will say, “oh, but relegation battles don’t make things that much more interesting.”
I agree. In this post, I wrote more about what really does drive the benefit, from the bottom-up, of pro/rel.
One thing that bugs me about soccer is how often I miss the local MLS game because I’m either busy playing soccer or had a game to coach.
It’s hard to imagine a solution. Why would adult and youth soccer teams organize their schedules around the pro team? They are all independent of each other and have no incentive to organize their schedules around each other.
What most folks miss in pro/rel is that the club becomes the organizer of the the local pro team, adult leagues and youth soccer. It connects all these up. And they have more incentive to organize their amateur youth and adult schedules around the pro team, so more people can watch the pro team, as that becomes the main event each week.
They become what is more authentically known as ‘club supporters,’ which is a marketing term in the U.S. to refer to season ticket holders.
But, it’s easy to see it has more meaning in countries where ‘supporters’ are folks that belong to a club where they play, maybe volunteer coach, and where their kids play or grew up playing.
A couple yokels on Twitter were poking fun at a pro/rel supporter who said US soccer is repressing soccer at all levels in the US.
“He thinks US soccer is repressing my weekly soccer pickup. Haha”
Jokes on them.
As the famous French economist pointed out in his Parable of the Broken Window, there are things that can and things that cannot be seen.
Rather than being persuasive, these yokels demonstrated that they lack knowledge for the things that cannot be seen.
What they can’t see here is how US Soccer’s policies have limited their pickup.
If US Soccer organized soccer by world standards set in the the guidelines of its charter organization, FIFA, chances are good that there would be land-based soccer clubs dotting cities and towns across the country where pickup soccer was just one of the many activities it hosted, making it easier to get games going more often with better facilities.