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Currently the Chicago Blackhawks remain undefeated after the first 24 games of the NHL season. But you all knew that right?

Yeah… you watch SportsCenter. You know the Canadians with the Indian on their bloody jerseys have not lost to any of the other Canadians.

You also know that the Heat are undefeated after their last 16 games.

You know how well LeBron and D-Wade have been playing… and you know about LeBron’s dunk contest he’s been doing during the pre-game… and you know about the Heat’s Harlem Shake… AND about Chris Bosh’s recent problems with Lil Wayne…

Let’s face it. You know way too much about NBA teams, their players, and their beef.

You know nothing about the NHL.

It’s okay.

I didn’t either.

Let’s take a look at the win streaks and learn us some stuff

Here’s the Heat’s win streak:

Heat

And here’s the Blackhawks’ win streak:

Blackhawks

Wait a minute…

There are losses on there. In fact… there’s 3.

Why yes, welcome to hockey. No one ever said “win streak”… they said “undefeated streak.”

Wait. That makes no sense. They did get defeated. How can you even call it an “undefeated streak”?

Because. That’s hockey.

In hockey, you get a point if you lose in overtime (or a shootout). Thus, it’s not a true loss unless you lose in regulation. A loss in overtime isn’t really a loss in overtime.

To their credit, they have won 11 straight games. That’s incredibly impressive. But they haven’t won 24 straight. Don’t let their Canadian tomfoolery deceive you. The Heat’s win streak is longer.

In closing, here’s a general sentiment of most American sports fans:

hockey

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By: Tyler Raborn

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The tennis season is now well under way, and here are a few tipped players who look set to have impressive seasons both on the ATP tour and the WTA tour.

1. Grigor Dimitrov (rank 34, age 21):

Many pundits highlighted Dimitrov last year as the player to watch in 2013, and he has already made a phenomenal start to the new year. He began the year at the Brisbane International where he reached his first singles final sadly losing to Andy Murray. Shockingly he was dumped out of the Australian Open in the first round after losing in straight sets to Frenchman Jullien Benneteau. Despite this set back in the major, Grigor has come back into form in the past week after putting up a great display during the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam, making it to the semi finals before losing to Del Potro who went on to win the tournament. Interestingly, Dimitrov is referred to as ‘baby fed’ due to his brilliant brain which he uses to produce some superb shots and he has a great array of different plays to chose from. Just look at this shot he made at the ATP 500 event in Basel last year! (‘Absolutely outrageous!’)

2. Bernard Tomic (rank 46, age 20):

This young Aussie just can’t stay out of the spot light! If he’s not out on a wild night out, he’s underestimating the power of his elite opponents, as we heard at the Australian Open earlier this year. Federer proved in Melbourne that the joey has a long way to go if he’s to emulate the heights of the national idol Lleyton Hewitt. Still, Tomic is a brilliant player to watch as he knows how to outwit his opponent with the killer shot and he has the charisma which provides great entertainment. Earlier this year he beat Novak Djokovic at the Hopman Cup + he won his first singles title in Sydney against Kevin Anderson at the beginning of the year. He aspires to reach the top ten by the end of the year which looks improbable however when he is at his best he has the ability to outplay many of the top ten players.

3. Jerzy Janowicz (rank 26, age 22):

Many think that being ‘lanky’ would leave you at a disadvantage in tennis as your supposed to be quick and nimble across the court like Nadal and Federer however, height has become a great weapon. Standing at 6ft 8, Janowicz is one of the tallest players on the tour along with Raonic, Karlovic and Del Potro and what they all have in common is power. Janowicz is a powerful pole who can hit a sizzling serve which assists his game nicely. Despite failing to win a singles title, Jerzy has the makings of a great tennis player with his powerful baseline shots and an effective first serve.

4. Kei Nishikori (rank 23, age 23) and Martin Klizan (rank 28, age 23):

Firstly, Nishikori has become the sole force of Asia in the men’s singles and he has started this year well with 6 wins and 2 defeats. Last year Kei reached the world number 15 and won 2 titles doing this, in Tokyo and Delray beach which are both hard courts, an area where he excels. This year he reached the semi finals in Brisbane and the last 16 of the Australian Open, both fairly decent results. Klizan is a powerful Slovakian who too shows great promise. He is at his highest ranking of his career at the moment and has been very active already this season playing in Brisbane, Auckland  Melbourne, Zagreb and Rotterdam. Most recently in Rotterdam he reached the quarter finals but was forced to retire against Gilles Simon. Klizan has experienced several injuries in the past 5 years which has inhibited his game however if he is able to avoid serious damage then he could rise even further up the rankings.

5. Heather Watson (rank 41, age 20) and Laura Robson (rank 43, age 19):

These two are the youngest players in the top 50 of the WTA rankings and these ladies look certain to reset the image of British women’s tennis. Both of them had reasons to celebrate in 2012 with Watson winning her first title in the Japan Open, ending Britain’s 24 year wait for a singles title, whilst Robson reached the Guangzhou open final as well as winning a medal at the Olympics with Murray in the doubles. At the Australian open both of them reached the final 32 with Watson bravely losing out to Radwanska whilst Robson was beaten by Sloanne Stephens who we’ll get on to shortly. Watson has shown that she has the never say die attitude, for example in her round of 64 match in Melbourne saving several match points to turn the game around. Robson on the other hand has proved herself as a threatening player since the Olympics showing good defence and moments of brilliance with her double handed backhand. Hopefully these two will have as much attention as Murray does come the end of 2013.

6. Sloanne Stephens (rank 18, age 20): 

Stephens has burst on to the scene this season as she looks to carry the American torch from Serena and Venus once they retire. At just only 20 years of age, Stephens made her first appearance in the semi final of the Australian Open after beating Serena Williams (she was injured) before losing out to world number one and eventual champion Victoria Azarenka. She has gained loads of ranking points after great performances in Hobart and Brisbane, carrying on her fantastic form which she displayed last year even despite the long break after the US Open. Watch out for her in the French Open and I’m sure she’ll be a feature in top 10 come the end of November.

7. Petra Kvitova (rank 8, age 22):

Kvitova failed to find any consistency last season but she is still very young for a tennis player and this year she could really threaten for a place in the top 5.The Czech has already won 9 singles titles including a Wimbledon title in 2011 which helped her leap up to number 2 spot in the rankings. Last year she started the season well carrying on from her form in 2011 getting to the semi-finals of both the Australian open and the French open. She only reached the quarter finals at Wimbledon and the Olympics and only the fourth round at Flushing meadows. She is currently on a slippy slope after losing in the second round of the Aus open to Robson. If she wants to get back into the top 5 she will have to bounce back and she has the capability to do so with a great variety of shots and that powerful left hand!

8. Mona Barthel (rank 27, age 22):

Barthel looks to be an exciting prospect for 2013 and her form this season has been brilliant so far, she’s personal favourite of mine! The young German is an aggressive player who can hit a variety of shots and she has the power and the movement to accompany her game. This year Barthel won her second career singles title in Paris against the first seed Sara Erani after beating Marion Bartoli in the quarters as well. Unfortunately she failed to get going in the Australian Open after dropping out in the first round however she did exceptionally well in the tournaments in Hobart and Auckland before hand which still featured many top players. Depending on how threatening she can become in the major’s will determine whether she goes on to become a top ten player.

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By: Rich Waterhouse

Read more of Rich’s articles here.

Conference realignment has been a huge topic in the college sports world over the past few years, and the reshuffling isn’t over yet. Yes, another major domino may be ready to fall, and it doesn’t involve the schools you may be thinking about.

There have been a recent swell of rumors that the Big Ten is about to add a 15th university. No, not Notre Dame. And not Virginia or North Carolina either. You guessed it…

Johns Hopkins University.

What?

I said Johns Hopkins University. You know, that tiny private school in Baltimore. The national football, basketball, baseball, lacrosse powerhouse. Of all schools, they have caught the eye of the Big Ten. The blog Inside MD Sports first reported the rumors about two weeks ago, stating that “a few people” have revealed assimilation to the Big Ten “may be done soon.” Hopkins lacrosse coach Dave Pietramala also recently confirmed they are considering options to abandon independent status.

Let’s assume the rumors are true. Why would the Big Ten take on a school without any top division sports other than lacrosse? And what does this mean for the larger realignment picture?

First, the addition of Hopkins would allow the Big Ten to form a lacrosse league with the requisite number of teams to achieve an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, as Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, and Michigan also sponsor the sport. While nobody will confuse televised lacrosse with the financial impact of televised football and basketball, it’s important to note that Hopkins has been able to sign a TV deal with ESPNU guaranteeing national TV coverage of their home games, proving some value. The lacrosse league will also help the Big Ten Network fill their still weak programming schedule, especially in the spring, and add value to the venture.

Second, Hopkins will solidify the mid-Atlantic corridor and the new eastern block of the Big Ten as another (partial) voting member and cultural fit for new arrivals Maryland and Rutgers. The Big Ten is making their moves in the realignment game with their eyes focused squarely on the long term. The more stable the conference, the better, and it’s best if no schools or block of schools feel like an outlier. A stronger eastern core and solid lacrosse league may help entice other mid-Atlantic schools, such as Virginia, North Carolina, and Duke, to join the conference down the road.

Finally, and most importantly, Hopkins is a major academic add. The Big Ten is probably the most academically oriented conference in the nation. Thirteen of its future 14 members are affiliates of the preeminent research-intensive organization, the American Association of Universities (AAU), which lobbies to secure government funding for its members. Nebraska had been a member when they joined the conference in 2011, but were subsequently voted out. The 14 Big Ten schools plus the University of Chicago also make up the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), an incredibly powerful and exclusive academic group that helps universities save money by collaborating on research and sharing resources.

The CIC’s total research funds increased from $8.4 billion to $9.3 billion with the recent additions of Maryland and Rutgers, one of the more important reason for their admission to the conference. Hopkins has the nation’s highest research budget, with total expenditures of around $1.9 billion. Look at that number again. That’s more than twice the amount of Maryland and Rutgers, strong research schools themselves, combined. Though research funds are far from shared equally, on a pro rata basis it would increase each of the Big Ten university’s share from $620 million to approximately $706 million.

As a conference realignment prognosticator, why do I care? Isn’t this all about football prestige and TV money? Sure, that’s part of it, but university presidents are the ones that need to sign off on any conference expansion, not athletic directors. I propose a general rule that as long as the per-school research budgets are increasing, they should provide their stamp of approval. And the hook of this whole move is that Big Ten athletic director Jim Delany has found best possible counterweight to possible additions of less than academically stellar universities, without adding a dead-weight football program.

The counterweight might even be necessary for Delany, not just a beneficial tool. Reprising the earlier per-school research dollars in the CIC, the current number sits at $620 million. Adding any school with a smaller budget than this, or any combination that averages to a smaller amount, would probably fail to pass university presidents scrutiny. Let’s make this our threshold. Targets for Big Ten expansion principally consist of AAU schools in contiguous states outside of their current footprint and in growing media markets. This first eliminates AAU school Pittsburgh for existing within Penn State’s territory. Kansas can also be eliminated due to their politically-induced grip to Kansas State, which would never be a viable conference addition. And while Notre Dame would be excepted from the rules, they have no plans to join a conference until they are forced too. Below are the remaining targets listed with their 2009 research budgets.

Duke – $805 million

North Carolina – $646 million

Georgia Tech – $562 million

Virginia – $262 million

The average of all four schools fail to meet the target, and there are only two pairs of schools that average over our threshold of $620 million.

Duke + North Carolina = $725.5 million average

Duke + Georgia Tech = $683.5 million average

Neither of these combinations fit the unofficial rules of Big Ten expansion, as a gap would exist between states represented in the conference. Delany might actually have his hands tied or options severely restricted without the addition of a research giant like Hopkins. But the math changes once that school is brought on board, and all possible combinations that do fit the unofficial conference expansion rules are now in play.

Hopkins + Virginia + Duke = $974.3 million average

Hopkins + Virginia + North Carolina = $921 million average

Hopkins + Virginia + Duke + North Carolina + Georgia Tech = $826 million average

With the addition of Hopkins to the conference, Delany can feel the power coursing through his hands. And here’s where the fun begins. Not only could the Big Ten slash into the Georgia market and SEC territory, Hopkins research dollars and academic prestige could allow them to keep going. If the ACC breaks up, there would be a highly attractive “king” football program available in a talent rich state that could add a lot of TV sets, and not just locally, but nationally. That program is Florida State.

Florida State had an inferior $195 million research budget in 2009, but is ranked as a “very high activity” research school by the Carnegie Foundation and is ranked 97th on the U.S. News undergraduate college ranking list. For comparison, Nebraska has a research budget of $235 million and is the lowest ranked Big Ten school by U.S. News at 101st. That academic profile is quite borderline compared to existing conference members, but the conference has shown willingness to overlook that in the case of certain schools that provide a national brand, such as the addition of Nebraska or the offer extended to Notre Dame in 1999. And if Florida State is entering with Hopkins and a whole other set of strong academic research universities, the math just might work out.

Hopkins + Virginia + Duke + Georgia Tech + Florida State = $736 million average

Hopkins + Virginia + North Carolina + Georgia Tech + Florida State = $704 million average

Oh and by the way, if the Big Ten is willing to add a school like Johns Hopkins as a quasi-affiliate member, I hear the University of Toronto ($878 million research budget in 2010) and McGill University in Montreal ($470 million), both AAU members, have pretty good hockey teams…

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By: Sam Brylski

Lance. The one-ball wonder.

…Yes, I just said that.

But, I said that because he is. He is a wondrous athlete. In 1996, Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer. The cancer eventually spread to his abdomen, lungs, and brain, and doctors gave him a 40% chance of survival. But Armstrong beat the odds, and he didn’t stop there. He went on to win seven straight Tour de France titles, and encouraged millions of Americans in a movement eventually coined #LiveStrong.

That’s absolutely amazing.

Yet, his legacy has been tarnished by repeated allegations claiming Armstrong took performance-enhancing drugs (“PEDs”).

… but, who cares?

We criticize athletes for taking PEDs because it gives them an edge in comparison to their competitors. But, in the dirty sport of cycling in the 2000’s, there was no edge. Everybody was doing it. Several of the cyclists that finished 2nd and 3rd to Lance’s 1st have been tied to PED use.

So, looking at the big picture, the fact of the matter is, Lance Armstrong had no advantage over most other cyclists, but they had an advantage over him. They didn’t have cancer. They didn’t almost die. He did. Yet, he still beat them.

That’s absolutely amazing. 

But then, the hammer came down. The allegations came more frequently and with more credibility. Yet, Armstrong persistently, and vehemently, denied the use of PEDs. And, as Dan Wetzel pointed out in his article, he destroyed anyone who contradicted his claim:

Throughout Armstrong’s career, he hasn’t just denied he doped, he’s tried to destroy anyone who suggested otherwise. He and his henchmen have bullied, intimidated and threatened. They attacked reputations and fought dirty in ways that belied what he was supposed to be about. Everyone was just a jealous liar. Careers were ruined.

That’s absolutely pathetic.

And, while many other riders were admitting to the use of PEDs, Armstrong stuck to his lie. Yet, the evidence has continued to stack up against him, and in a report published on January 4th by the New York Times, Lance “is considering publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career.”

And, why, may you ask is Lance “considering” this public admittance? Because we already know.

We already know he did it. So, he’s trying to “save face.” There is no noble reason for this “admittance” to something we already believe. He is acting, as he has when he has lied for over a decade, with only his self-interests in mind. And…

That’s absolutely pathetic.

So, don’t despise Lance the athlete… despise Lance the person.

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By: Tyler Raborn

My Top 10 Sporting Events

Spencer Boothe —  Sunday, January 6, 2013 — 6 Comments

As a sports fan, there is always something on TV that I can watch. However, some of those events are more appealing to me than others. Some events I can tolerate, while others I would do anything to be able to watch (I thought about inserting some corny over-exaggeration here, but I’ll just let you use your imagination). So I decided to make a list of my top 10 favorite sporting events. Now I am a Mississippi State, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Team USA fan, so this list is assuming that my favorite teams are NOT involved in that event. Obviously, if my favorite teams are involved, then I would be much more interested. Also, since I am in SEC country here in Mississippi, there is a little SEC bias. So here goes:

10. SEC Baseball tournament- As a former high school baseball player, baseball was always my one true love when it came to playing sports. However, watching baseball has never been as appealing to me as actually playing. I enjoy watching the SEC tournament because I know all the teams and have watched many of them play throughout the season. As for the tournament, it is interesting for me, but it’s not something that I feel like I have to watch.

9. World Series– Along the same lines as the SEC baseball tournament, I just don’t LOVE watching the World Series. I generally do watch the majority of the series, but it is generally for an inning or two at a time.

8. World Cup Qualifying– From my previous article, it is fair to assume that I am a soccer aficionado. Well, that assumption is correct. I really enjoy the sport, but I am much more of a fan of the international game, rather than club seasons. The World Cup is the mecca that every country in the nation longs to play for and win, and every country has an opportunity to get there during qualifying. 207 national teams from around the world have the opportunity to be among the final 32 that make it to the World Cup. The World Cup takes place every four years, so qualifying is taking place in between events. I really enjoy watching the qualifiers because every team is playing to advance, or to have to sit at home during the big event.

7. SEC Basketball Tournament– I am a big college sports fan, in general. Much more so than professional sports because in college players are playing to win rather than for their paychecks (I know that is debatable, especially here in SEC country). The SEC tournament is the end of the basketball season, and it is one last chance for teams to increase their seeding in the Big Dance, push themselves to the right side of the bubble, or steal a bid from someone else by winning the tournament. There is so much emotion during the tournament because for seniors it may be the last game they ever play. Every team wants to go to the NCAA tournament, and the SEC tournament is the last chance to impress the selection committee, or to win an automatic bid.

6. SEC championship game (football) – In recent years, SEC champion=BCS national champion. So, basically, watching this game is like watching the national championship game. It is always fun to watch the best team from the West play the best from the East for their shot to play for the BCS title. Even when it is not a de facto semifinal match, the game still determines the SEC winner and who will go to, at worst, the Sugar Bowl.

5. BCS National Championship– Now for the actual national championship game. As I just said, the winner of the SEC championship game usually wins this one, as well. But that is not always the case, and one of these days it will change (maybe Notre Dame this year. Probably not, though.) The national championship game is usually a hard-hitting affair for all the marbles, and it is a game that I always enjoy watching. Another thing I like about the broadcast is that they always show a “Year in Review” montage of all the big plays from the college season. It is also the last chance we get to watch football for roughly 8 months, so it is something that I cherish.

4. Bowl Season– You’re asking, ‘how can this guy like all the bowl games more than the actual championship game itself?’ Well, I do. I’m one of the people who actually enjoy watching all of the bowl games. As a huge college football fan, I enjoy watching as many games as possible. So you think that an Arizona vs Nevada matchup is boring? Well, I think that it could be awesome, and I’m going to watch it because you never know what’s going to happen. Some of the best plays of the season come in the small bowls that no one is watching. I’m watching, and I always will.

3. Super Bowl– I’ve already said that I like college sports much more than professional sports, and that is true. However, the Super Bowl is the exception. The talent in the NFL is so much better than it is in college football, and the game is so much faster. I am absolutely amazed by the freak athletes that play in the NFL, and the two teams in the Super Bowl are the best of the best. This is the last football action that we have until the preseason for the next year, so it is one last time for the guys to get together, grill out, and watch some football. Oh, and the commercials involved don’t hurt either.

2. World Cup– Yep, soccer again. I told you I love it. The World Cup is the only event in the world that the best players from each country play against each other to see whose country is superior (other than the Olympics, which I don’t care about, and other small sports that the USA doesn’t take part it). I love watching from the group stages to the knockout rounds to the finals while 32 countries battle to find out who is the world’s best. The fact that it is a tournament consisting of nations rather than professional teams is a huge reason why I am such a fan of the World Cup. Also, the fact that it takes place only every 4 years makes it that much more prestigious to me.

1. March Madness (NCAA Basketball Tournament)– And last but not least, as if there was any doubt, March Madness is my favorite sporting event. From flipping the channel between 4 games at one time on the first weekend, to the final buzzer of the championship game, I love every minute of it. The win or go home mentality makes every game as intense as possible, and who doesn’t love an upset? The first weekend of the tournament is as fast paced and unpredictable as anything else in sports (sorry NASCAR, you aren’t a sport). Does the best team in the nation always win the tournament? No, but 68 teams have a chance to win it. And whichever one of those teams actually does hoist the trophy will absolutely deserve it. I love watching every game of the tournament, and I always make sure my schedule is empty come March.

What say ye?

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By: Spencer Boothe

[A Response to MLS vs The World, by: Spencer Boothe]

I’d like to offer an American solution to problems with an American league playing an un-American sport as discussed in “MLS vs The World.”

“Repetitively, I have heard people saying that Major League Soccer can become one of the most dominant leagues in the world, but the United States mentality will not allow that. This is due to the MLS foundation. As is the way with every sports league in America, the MLS is built on fairness and equal competition opportunities, such as:

1. Major League Soccer has an annual draft each year where the worst team in the league gets the first draft pick.

2. In the USA, kids are pushed to go to college and get an education.

3. In MLS soccer, teams have a salary cap limit, as well as a cap limit for each player, except for 3 possible designated players.”

The NBA operates with roughly the same rules to maintain competitive balance as MLS and yet they still manage to drag even momma’s boys like Ricky Rubio across the Atlantic and into stardom (if thats what you call being featured in an Adidas commercial with backyard wrestling scenes rather than highlights).

What distinguishes the MLS from the NBA is that the MLS cannot pay salaries competitive with the rest of the world. Is this only because of the rules? No. It’s due to a lack of interest and therefore a lack of revenue produced by the sport. If MLS changed its rules, it would still be subpar.

The MLS is not competitive in America because soccer is not American. We like sports with athletes over 6 feet tall and cheerleaders on the sidelines. We like sports with more than one or two occasions to celebrate per game. Americans spend American dollars on American sports that Americans are good at.

The MLS is not able to compete with the rest of the world despite being located in the largest consumer market in the world. Could the free market be any more clear? To look to a change in governing rules as a solution to the free market not behaving the way we wish is truly American but it is not a solution.

The true American solution to this problem is government subsidizing the MLS. Perhaps this is a platform for the 2016 Presidential Race to elicit Hispanic voters. A successful MLS franchise would create jobs and tax revenue for its host city which are two things every city in America could use more of. If we’re gonna throw money away at industries that the free market won’t support, why not make it something we can all enjoy and take pride in? I would argue that this American solution would create more American jobs, American income, American tax revenue, and American public benefit than most other American government expenditures.

Or perhaps we can all just agree to accept the mediocrity of an American league playing an un-American sport?

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By: Brandon Bolen

MLS vs the World

Spencer Boothe —  Wednesday, January 2, 2013 — Leave a comment

The beautiful game.  The World’s sport.  America’s “communist” game.  Fútbol.  Soccer.  All terms given to the game that is played only with your feet (other than goalkeepers and throw-ins that is).  The sport that the majority of countries in the world live and breathe by.  The one where countries gauge their success as a country by the results of their national soccer team.  The game where every 4 years all the countries in the world compete to see who reigns supreme as the best team in the world.  And… the sport that many Americans would love to see just go away.

Soccer is a growing sport in the United States, but it is a sport that many Americans do not understand, support, or even like.  More than any other sport in the US, soccer receives scrutiny from the public and is disregarded by many in the sports media business.  Despite its struggle for acceptance, the sport is growing in this nation.  This is evidenced not only by the recent promotion of soccer by ESPN and the new MLS/NBC TV deal, but it is shown by the increase in Major League Soccer as a league.  The MLS began in 1996 with 10 teams and has now expanded to 19 with 3 in Canada.  Also, while still not near the level of the NFL or MLB, attendance rankings show that the MLS averages more fans per game than both the NBA and NHL.  This makes MLS the 3rd most popular sport in the USA when looking at average attendance per game.

So now that the MLS has improved its stock in the United States, the next step is to improve its stock to the rest of the soccer world.  While I do not believe the MLS will ever overtake the NFL or MLB, the league has plenty of room to grow.  However, as it sits right now, the MLS is nowhere near capable of competing with the top soccer leagues in the world, and with the rules in place, they never will.  Repetitively, I have heard people saying that Major League Soccer can become one of the most dominant leagues in the world, but the United States mentality will not allow that.  This is due to the MLS foundation.  As is the way with every sports league in America, the MLS is built on fairness and equal competition opportunities, such as:

  1. Major League Soccer has an annual draft each year where the worst team in the league gets the first draft pick.  In international soccer, the teams with the most money sign whoever they want, and the worst teams get the leftovers. 
  2. In the USA, kids are pushed to go to college and get an education.  Internationally, clubs sign young players when they are pre-teens, and players play soccer rather than earn an education. 
  3. In MLS soccer, teams have a salary cap limit, as well as a cap limit for each player, except for 3 possible designated players.  In international soccer, teams can spend whatever they deem necessary on their team or on a single player- the teams with the most money spend the most on the top players.  In MLS the most expensive team based on salary per player is the LA Galaxy with an average player salary of $555,799, while the most expensive team in the world is Barcelona of the Spanish Premier League (La Liga) at $8.68m per player. Further, every team in the English Premier League pays more than the highest paying team in the MLS.

So how can one expect the MLS to compete with the top soccer clubs in the world?  Not only are the international teams paying top dollar for the best players in the world, but the MLS is playing with players in a country where most kids grow up dreaming of playing in the NFL, MLB, or NBA.  As it stands right now, the MLS has no shot of ever competing with the soccer leagues around the world.  The MLS would have to change its fundamental rules completely, and being that the USA encourages equality and fairness in sports, I honestly don’t see that happening.

… Now if the top athletes in the USA played soccer instead of football and basketball, things may change, but that’s a topic for another time.

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By: Spencer Boothe