A View from Afar / Commentary

The Northeast’s professional soccer malaise

Photo: Paul Rudderow

As fans of the New York Red Bulls hurled expletives and anger at their team’s corporate overlords this past weekend, fans throughout MLS sat back and applauded.

Throughout the northeastern U.S., however, there may have been something more. Sympathy. Nodding of heads. Agreement. A sense of, “We totally get it, and though we’re not at that point yet, we might eventually have to do the same thing with our club.”

Because right now, the state of the professional sport in the Northeast is pretty weak compared to what it could and should be. And that owes itself more to off-field flaws than anything else.

The recent dysfunction of the New York clubs prompts this observation. NYC FC’s signing of Mix Diskerud may silence some of the critics, but the club still feels like Manchester City’s minor league affiliate, something that should annoy any New York soccer fan. Red Bull’s firing of Mike Petke laid clear just how out of touch the former Metrostars’ corporate overlords are with the fan base.

But it isn’t just New York.

Professional soccer in the northeastern U.S. has fallen behind

Professional soccer in the Northeast has been lagging behind the rest of the league for some time.

The last two teams in the league playing in mostly empty American football stadiums? New England and D.C. United.

The most out-of-touch owners in the league? Red Bull, New England, and possibly NYC FC.

Want a dysfunctional wild card? We offer Philadelphia.

Each case differs slightly.

On the field, it’s a mix. Things change season to season in a league that creates parity through its player acquisition rules and salary cap. New England, D.C. and the Red Bulls all had good seasons on the field, for example.

Off the field, you can see the clear trends showing the poor health of these franchises, financially and otherwise. They still don’t fill their stadiums. Fans still have negative views toward ownership. And so on.*

  • D.C. United: Yes, D.C. United just (finally) got approval for construction of a new stadium and produced a worst-to-first turnaround in 2014. But that stadium isn’t built yet. The stands are still entirely too empty.
  • New England: Team owner Robert Kraft has demonstrated no credible moves toward building a soccer stadium for his club, and the stadium atmosphere in Foxborough continues to be one of the league’s worst.
  • NYC FC: City could be a historic failure or massive success. Nobody knows. But we know they need different uniforms (light blue with Yankee pinstripes, guys; it’s not that hard!) and an actual soccer stadium, that’s for sure.
  • New York Red Bulls: This team needs new owners who acquire the right to rename the team the New York Cosmos. Red Bull has proved incapable of taking the next step to make this club more relevant.
  • Philadelphia: Two months after team chairman Jay Sugarman emerged from Dick Cheney’s underground bunker to outline a vision that sparked some optimism, the Union still have everyone likes Jim Curtin.
What explains the trend? 

When we evaluate Major League Soccer’s progress, rarely do we look at the health of the league within broader regions or groups. Even with “Cascadia,” most focus on the Seattle-Portland rivalry and phenomenon.

Instead, we tend to look at the league as a whole, or we focus on individual clubs. The Los Angeles Galaxy superclub, for example. Toronto FC and its big-spending futility. The Seattle phenomenon. Portland and Kansas City and their small market successes. Or just the concepts of MLS 2.0 or even MLS 3.0.

So let’s try a different approach. Look at the region.

Why is the professional sport’s health in the Northeast so poor?

There are various factors, notably the challenge of cracking a crowded pro sports marketplace. But on the whole, it comes down to ownership, their view of MLS and their investments, and their priorities.

You can demonstrate the Northeast trend best by looking at contrasts with other regions and groupings of clubs around MLS.

Contrast: Pacific Northwest

Start with the Pacific Northwest. Some may point to their long histories of professional soccer in the region as being significant. It helped, but as a smaller factor.

More significant is the nature of the Cascadia markets and owners themselves.

  1. Each city is generally regarded as culturally liberal, opening them up more to a professional league other than the traditional big four (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL).
  2. Portland and Vancouver each have only one team represented in the big four, and the Sounders arrived immediately after the NBA’s Supersonics moved to Oklahoma and while the NFL’s Seahawks and MLB’s Mariners were mired in miserable stretches spanning several seasons. The competition for the professional sports dollar is less.
  3. The Cascadia team owners are among the most engaged in MLS, and they have capitalized on their cities’ potential by putting out good products.
Contrast: Successful small market clubs

Now move on to the successful small market clubs in Kansas City, Salt Lake and Portland. (Yes, Portland overlaps.)

All three clubs have become successes due to engaged ownership, smart marketing, first class facilities, and positive club cultures in which high standards and clear visions were established in the ownership suite, enacted by successful coaches, and locked into place by quality players who created continuity by not shuffling between teams.

Players like Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Javier Morales, Alvaro Saborio and others stayed in Salt Lake for a reason: It was a quality organization. (It’s losing its luster under new owner Dell Loy Hansen, but the dip in quality under a new owner only proves the point of how important ownership is.) Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, and Roger Espinoza prove the point in Kansas City. Portland is getting there.

Contrast: The gold standard in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Galaxy are the best club in MLS because they possess all the same traits as the successful small market teams — and they’re in Los Angeles. If not for the fact that they were the league’s top club off the field just a bit too soon, their stadium might be in downtown Los Angeles instead of Carson, and the gap between them and the rest of the league would be larger.

The Northeast clubs lack all this

The clubs in the Northeast have none of these traits, however.

  • Their ownership groups are remarkably disengaged, and their fans know it, hate it, and reflect it by disengaging from the clubs sooner than they might if they maintained hope that ownership was up to par in a competitive environment.
  • The teams lack continuity on the field. None of them has a sizable nucleus of players that can reasonably be traced back more than two years. (New England may be getting there though.)
  • They compete in crowded sports markets where fans can easily check out and spend their time and money on teams in the other four major sports.

The stadium situations faced by New England, D.C., and now NYC FC are part of the problem, but the other two northeastern clubs show that’s not the only problem.

Just when the Red Bulls started to overcome their corporate identity and name by forging a successful identity under Mike Petke that felt more like working class New York/north New Jersey and less like foreign billionaires’ playthings, Red Bull went and tore out the heart of the club by firing Petke. Now they’re back to dysfunctional square one.

Despite the Union’s own gem of a stadium, they keep teasing their fans that they’re about to become something special — typical Philly sports, right? — before finding some strange off-the-field means of mucking it up.

Three of the four northeastern clubs (that have played a game) are MLS 1.0 clubs, and they have problems that linger from the league’s earliest era. The fourth club, Philadelphia, entered the league under the presumption that they were entering a type of league that no longer has the same expectations it once did. Seattle (and Toronto, to an extent) changed the game, but they did it after the ball was already rolling on the Union’s expansion effort.

Solutions: Start off the field

The solutions to the region’s professional soccer malaise begin off the field, and most of them are fairly self-evident.

  1. Stadiums: New England, D.C. and NYC FC need soccer-specific stadiums housing 25,000 to 30,000 fans. Without that, they will not create the great stadium atmospheres found in Kansas City, Portland and elsewhere.
  2. Engaged ownership: Owners need to act and look like they care about their teams and their fans. It’s not enough to care privately, as the Union’s Jay Sugarman appears to have done. It’s also not enough to merely act like you care, like the Krafts have done unconvincingly for years. You must prove it to your fans.
  3. Continuity: These teams must retain talent once they find it. Los Angeles, Kansas City and Salt Lake have demonstrated how much this matters for the quality of play but also for the connection fans have with players. Kansas City paid what was necessary to retain Zusi and Besler, and it demonstrated to the soccer world just how serious a club they were. Bruce Arena and AEG do it over and over again. Salt Lake showed before those two did how important it was to build and retain a nucleus.

It’s not easy to crack a crowded sports marketplace, and the northeastern clubs aren’t the only ones struggling to do it. Dallas, Chicago and Colorado have similar challenges.

But only in the Northeast is it a region-wide malaise. These clubs should be the foundation of the league. Instead, they’re the negative counterpoint to Cascadia.


  1. Kent Brockman says:

    Well I, for one, welcome our new Western Conference overlords.

  2. Great article.

    My sense is that youth development in the Northeast is also behind (and that to the extent there are strong players at the academies in the region, the boys are often originally from somewhere else). I wonder if there’s a way to explore that.

    • It’s sad for the Northeast that the rest of the country has passed it in youth soccer development. In 1994, four of the players on the World Cup team grew up in New Jersey, the most from any state except California. And all four were top players (Tony Meola, Tab Ramos, Claudio Reyna, and John Harkes). So there was a time when youth development in the Northeast was top notch.

      • James Lockerbie says:

        sometime in the late 90’s something went terribly wrong at the local clubs. It swithed to pay to play travel teams becoming exclusive not inclusive! Imo

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Yeah I grew up playing in the early to mid 90s and playing for the travel team or elite team, was never an option (for me at least – I’m also not saying I was a superstar – but I could play), due to costs. That excludes WAY too many people, and it definitely excludes the people who should probably be included. A real shame.

  3. Interesting stuff, as always Dan. What’s interesting about this is that the sport is more popular in the Northeast than anywhere else in the country. I recall reading the he biggest World Cup audiences were in New England and the Mid Atlantic, where immigrant populations certainly helped.

    The problem on the “upper East Coast” is really, like you said, that the traditions of other sports teams is really solid. In New England, The Red Sox were always huge. Now with the Patriots playing they way they are, it’s hard to get any attention for a local soccer club, even one that looks as good as the Revs did this year.

    In Philadelphia, even the Flyers have a hard time muscling into the 24-7 Chip Kelly /Nick Foals chatathon that passes for local sports talk radio. If it ain’t the Eagles in Philly, forget it. Phillies had to win a WS to get some fans, most of which they’ve now lost until they manage to reach the playoffs again.

    That said, I’m bullish on the Union. I think having a Philly coach in this market counts. Curtin will help gain fans in this city more than signing Jozy Altidore would do. Of course, the team needs to win to grow. I think they can do it. Not the conference, but I fully expect them to land a playoff spot and be competitive. I very much like what I’ve heard about a smart “moneyball” approach to signing players. Lets see if the results match the promises.

    • No kidding about Eagles talk. It is the incessant chatter of useless bullshit. How many times can 5 different daytime radio talk shows come up with to discuss the EXACT same thing over and over. I’m all for discernment but this? My God can the NFL draft come already so we can move on.

      • Honestly dude, thats why I found it so funny how they crashed and burned this year……could have cared less! Now, don’t get me started on the Flyers!

      • I’ve considered calling them or emailing them,to ask if they could take a break every so often to talk about, you know, sports, but realize it’s a waste of my efforts. They completely stopped talking about baseball last season in August.

        It’s a real uphill battle there. The on-air guys really don’t know anything about the game, so they’re not even going to try.

        It’s not just Philly, though. I was chatting with some friends in the Boston area who were all pumped up about the Patriots. They had no idea the Revs went to the MLS cup final. These were guys in their 30s. Paid no attention to the Revs. I said, “Hey, you guys have a pretty good soccer team.” “Oh yeah?” :/

      • They talk about football all the time because people still listen. I can’t stand the constant chatter about teams not in the playoffs and 4 months of draft talk, but the ratings show that people love football. It’s not too different during the World Cup, when people who don’t care about soccer don’t watch ESPN or read the sports page. MLS will never get to that point, but I’m ok with that. I like that soccer hangs under the radar, I can enjoy it in peace.

      • your right dude, there is nothing more annoying than a soccer “fan” who doesn’t know what the hell their talking about…..they usually come out of the woodwork every four years at the local pubs!

      • that’s sad isn’t it? I have a cousin in Portland, ME. He said the only support they get in New England is from your die hards who have been with them from the outset and your immigrants who are footy nuts from the countries they come from…….

      • The thing I like about being a soccer and Union fan is that we have become viable enough to support and sustain soccer on our own we don’t need the crossover hardcore Eagle fans. I think it really ticks off irrational soccer haters that the sport is here to stay and is making inroads on its on merit and we don’t need to wholesale support from fans of NFL etc… I get a kick out of football fans complaining about all the soccer of TV!

      • Sorry about the typing errors. I’m walking on 9th ave in Hells Kitchen and it’s packed.

      • Sports radio is almost exclusively NFL in cities that have teams, unless they are truly awful (though even then, the shows are probably filled with people complaining about how bad the teams are).

        Here in Seattle, the Seahawks take up about 95 of the airtime these days, but even in the off season it’s probably still around 65-75%.

        The Sounders just this year got a weekly radio show for an hour at night, and aside from a weekly interview, don’t get much airtime at all.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Doesn’t matter about the NFL draft… remember their is offseason workouts, training camp, preseason… IT NEVER STOPS… BLECH!
        I too LOVE the people who have the irrational hate / fear of soccer and how much it is growing. LOVE. IT.

    • Looks like Pete is taking this “Philly coach” obsession to a new level. (“Curtin will help gain fans in this city more than signing Jozy Altidore would do.”)

      Do you know what all of the coaches for Dan’s model teams have in common? NONE of them is a “local guy” to the area where he’s now coaching.

      Bruce Arena (LA) is a native New Yorker. Jeff Cassar (RSL) grew up in Michigan. Caleb Porter’s (Portland) roots are firmly in the midwest. Carl Robinson (Vancouver) is originally from Wales. Sigi Schmid (Seattle) moved from Germany to California in his youth. And Peter Vermes (KC), as we all know, is a South Jersey boy.

      Be honest, would anyone here have complained if the Union somehow managed to get Bruce Arena or Sigi Schmid as the new head coach last fall?

      The “Philly coach” angle will be a nice side story if Curtin proves to be a success leading the Union. If he doesn’t, his local ties won’t mean a thing.

      • Sir you are correct sir.

      • MSG, I’m talking about casual Philly fans, and to them the story does matter. When you talk with people who aren’t soccer people about the Union, the Jim Curtin local angle is interesting to them. They don’t know who Altidore is. They don’t know who Bruce Arena is. And that’s all I’m saying. It’s a story. Of course winning matters. If Curtin can’t win, the local angle is wasted. But if he does win, that local story will be a big deal to people here.

      • Pete: If I were running the Union, I wouldn’t waste my time worrying about sports fans who don’t recognize a name like Altidore or Arena. Such individuals are never going to be a major part of my team’s fan base. I would focus my efforts on attracting people who are already fans of the sport to root for the Union, and the best way to accomplish that goal is by putting a quality product on the field.

        Outside of his immediate family and friends, no one is going to buy Union season tickets just because Jim Curtin is from the Philly area.

        On the other hand, if the Union are playing well, the season ticket base will grow, whether the head coach is from Philly or from Mars.

      • Yeah, I agree with that. I would always take Sigi over Curtin if given the chance and the budget, but I think Curtin’s story is a bonus. And I’m willing to attract anyone who wants to pay attention for a little bit.

      • Absolutely. It doesn’t matter what draws people to PPL Park, as long as they cheer on the Union when they get there.

  4. The trend is starting to effect the local youth setting too. California and Texas have been soccer hotbeds for the last 20 years……so has the mid-atlantic region from Virginia up to New York, lots of talent, BNT, and national champions from the area. But if you look now at rankings, BNT call ups, and national champions….we are not as prevalent as we were 15-20 years ago. I think part of it has been the south and midwest have really come along during that time, the west coast has continued to develop on all levels and is just spitting out players, what happened to the northeast of 15 years ago? Coaching problem? Complacency? Good questions…….

    • St. Louis too……….forgot about them!

    • This is all sports — 20 years ago you could take the best HS football players from PA, NJ and Ohio and field a top ten division 1 team. Today, Big 10 football schools (Michigan, Penn St.) that can’t recruit in Florida and Texas suffer. Population shifts and the ability to practice/play 365 days a year are a huge factor. All that being said, your point is correct and it is disappointing.

      • yup, completely true about all sports……look at the SEC now! Whats unfortunate is that the ground work was already here to further develop soccer in our region. Like I said, 20 years ago FC DELCO was one of the top 5 clubs in the country……now look at CFC and whats happened there. PA’s ODP teams were nasty and some of the best around. I think part of it is still the DA. The DA changed the landscape……..SoCal has 9 academies in the area……..New Jersey still has 3-4 academies, whether you count Matchfit or not. PA has 3…..and I would venture to say, its not enough. Texas and California have a total of 23 academies in both states……PA and NJ have 6-7. And then the coaching and training….thats a whole other issue to expound on……

      • In your opinion where does a kid go for high end footy around here? Who do you matriculate them through?

      • outside of the DA when they are young, it seems Penn Fusion, Lower Merion, and CFC have the best curriculum, progressions, and coaching. I honestly would try to get my kid into PDA or PA Classics….they seem to be the best DA’s in the area outside of the MLS, basically the Union DA. PDA and PA Classics have some real top notch coaching and training and they seem to produce more talent at the next level than anything local……..including our fledgling Union DA. That will change with the Union over time.

      • I say this because in 2016….the DA is adding under 12’s. Eventually, you figure U-10’s will be added….as they should be!

      • Agreed. good insight. thank you. I have looked around and see LMSC at the 6, 7,8,9 range to be high quality. HEll there 7’s play up a year and routinely steamroll teams but do it with futbolling purpose and not haphazard. the kids are unite good and well coached.

  5. Bottom Line…….the west coast and pacific northwest got it right….from the way they treat their supporters to the final product they put out on the pitch. There is also a huge footy culture that has taken hold out on the WC that hasn’t taken hold the same way here on the EC.

  6. Not sure which is more insulting to US Soccer– MLS teams playing in american football stadiums with goals 4 guys can carry from SSG to SSG or NYCFC koping replicas of ManCity uniforms. Hoops people. Sky blues hoops.
    How is it I know this and I don’t know shit about marketing. How?

    • What about MLS teams playing in baseball stadiums? You don’t think there are 1 or 2 angry, cynical, soccer-hating NY sports writers who can’t wait for a Yankee outfielder to misplay a ball so they can go an anti-soccer screed do you? I think I read on here that the conversion of the Yankee Stadium field will take 3 days. I have no idea how they are going to work that schedule, and it will be another big item for writers to stir the pot.

      I believe NYCFC are claiming they will be at Yankee Stadium for 3 years, but I don’t think they are even close to choosing a location for their own soccer stadium, let alone have all the permitting, let alone have the final design, etc, etc. They have to be at least 5 years out, and even that sounds unrealistic. My prediction is this next off-season, NYCFC will be frantically searching for a new temp stadium because the Yankee Stadium experience was a flop. That won’t help the state of soccer in the Northeast.

  7. The funny thing is…..you have all these grassroots NASL teams trying to create a league that is much more footy savvy than the MLS. Its like England 100 years ago. Local teams made up of mostly local players, a relegation/promotion system. It will be interesting to see where this league is at in another 5 to 10 years. The MLS will have to deal with them sooner or later. I bring this up because I think somewhere in the article it said that NYCFC needs to buy out the Cosmos. Last I checked, they are still buying players themselves and are continuing to expand their brand and fan base. I see more teenagers in the Philly area with NY Cosmos swag on than I do any other NY footy team.

    • Bang. The future of the game in this country rides in NASL IMO. they are the change agents for the true direction we need to go.
      I’ve been writing just about this exact stuff lately.
      My kids included regarding the Cosmos swag but nobody knows that, shhh……..wink wink.

      • My kids are all Gooner/Union/Flyers ( in that order!)……….except for the damn LFC tracksuit my father ( he’s a Red!) got one of them for Christmas!!!!!!!! I will admit….the Cosmos do put out some nice swag! I’ve been tempted…….

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Yeah really agree about the NASL. They will be the ones to push and threaten MLS. They will be the ones who spark the real change in how soccer is watched, viewed, promoted (and relegated – see what I did there), and financed. I’m glad I’m only 33, because I really hope to be around when this whole thing comes together.

      • I see what you did there. I agree, until there is one down from the western and eastern divisions and two up from the nasl,mls owners will never have a real incentive to improve what’s on offer.

  8. Excellent work as usual, Dan. Thanks for this.

  9. And yet, Dan, you’ve offered no convincing rationale for why this is a regional phenomenon. Suppose I just said that we happen to have several crappy ownership groups that, by coincidence, are located in proximity to each other?

    The only rationale you made that would apply, specifically, to the Northeast region, is the intense competition with established teams in all of the Big 4 sports leagues. And if that were the reason, then it should apply to other cities in which there is equally intense and longstanding sports competition. Like Chicago. And Toronto. Pretty good examples of dysfunctional and drifting ownership groups, n’est-ce pas?

    So I think the latter is likely the true factor at play here, and not the region per se. Perhaps something about intense inter-city competition breeds lousy ownership groups.

    • I threw a few ideas out there, but I’m not saying it’s caused specifically by the region. It’s caused by ownership. The markets in the Northeast also make it tougher.

  10. Thanks for the compliments, everyone.

    I should add one caveat in all this: This column deals in broad brushstrokes. There are exceptions to various statements made in this column. Some clubs are doing better than others. Some are closer to being in good shape than others — notably the Union, to be honest. For example, if the Union win the conference championship in 2015, they have a very different narrative.

  11. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Always good to engage with your mind, Dan. I have been paying attention to USL PRO, partly because HCI is the Union’s farm team and partly because I went to a game there, having won a charity auction for three jerseys of Union loanees upon which no one else bid, and it was a very enjoyable experience. USL PRO is expanding considerably, from 14 teams last year to 20 or 21 this year. THere is no published plan for schedule and organization into subunits so I have been guessing. In my guessing, i broke the country down by its pattern of territorial expansion – I am an old history teacher – and noticed that predominantly the new USL PRO clubs are all in the territory taken from Mexico in the Mexican War, the so-called Mexican Cession of 1848. (That’s when Mexico officially admitted that Texas was gone.). Cascadia is the exception, the Oregon Country,” if you remember the slogan “54 40 or fight!” The only new USL PRO club from the Louisiana Purchase is St. Louis. As I noticed the relationship, I wondered if the cultural barriers to couching business appeals to Hispanics are less in the old Mexican Cession territories than they are in the NE and the MW. The Northeast are old immigrant populations more assimilated into variants of mainstream Anglo culture. The Southwest are much newer and the mainstream culture is newer and less rigid perhaps. Arizona becomes a state 108 years ago. Massachusetts is Massachusetts more than 350 years ago; Virginia is Virginia likewise. Soccer may shift its core away from the NE for cultural reasons as well.

    • I love this, for a second there I thought about gleeking on the overhead projector like I used to do to Mr. O in 10th grade just to piss him off.
      I think the NE is too frenetic to truly embrace the rhythm of the sport. I think we need instant action all the time. I think even baseball is suffering for our dwindling attention spans at a time the game is growing immensely, I still think we are 15 years away from my young children generation to grow and thereby drive viewership.
      Could be I just got a nice bag of smack and smoked it though.

  12. The Chopper says:

    Thanks for taking a big swing at this Dan. There are way too many issues on the table to even summarize why the North East lags, but there are a few that stand out.

    For me first and foremost, when you look at the Northeast United States, that is the region that most associates itself with established elite brands and top of the line goods. Broadway Shows, Tiffany, Bloomingdales, Mercedez The Yankees, The Celtics, The Red Sox, The Giants, etc. The Northeast Metro Areas do not do minor league and MLS is a minor league. It is not an elite brand of soccer. You give them Pele, Carlos Alberto, Chinaglia and Beckenbauer on the same team and they will show up, but for MLS, not so much.
    Luckily these areas have so much population the MLS clubs are capable of attracting enough of a fan base to survive, but in that marketplace even if they are the best MLS has to offer they will not capture the local hearts and minds the way Seattle and Portland have.

  13. James Lockerbie says:

    I think you have to go back to the fall of NASL. The west coast teams did not completely fold when the NASL went under. The teams dropped to lower level leagues but stayed alive keeping a base of fans that have passed onto their second/third generation of fans.

    For the Union the team is only five years in and unfortunately we went through the Nowak implosion, Hackworth firing. We need a few stable seasons of progress to gain back some of the fans we have lost already and then we can hope to start building a wider foot hold in the city and surrounding areas.

    At least that’s how I see it.

    • Your NASL point is the best one I’ve seen as to why the Northwest teams have so much more support, at least in the stands. As for the Union, the Nowak Implosion couldn’t have come at a worse time – just after a playoff appearance and a season of ACTUAL sell outs. Not very many empty seats in 2011, and it hasn’t been the same since Nowak did his thing.

      • The Nowak Implosion brought the honeymoon stage of fandom to an abrupt halt. Since then every time the interest in the team starts to gain traction something or someone sets it back a few notches.

        Let’s all start to thing positively for this upcoming season for a little luck in getting those fans back in their seats or standing in front of them.

      • Yep, you can’t underestimate the damage Nowak had on the franchise. The Union are still recovering from it.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Nor can you underestimate the damage that our front-office continues to inflict.

  14. This might be a little out of the box, by all of the trends everyone is mentioning here started in the early 90’s. That was also the dawn of the Internet and more easily-accessible information. Maybe the legitimate East Coast bias was watered down when the eastern power schools and clubs became more aware of he national players. There is a finite amount of soccer resources in this country, and when you divert from an area, you can expect decline.
    Again…far-fetched, but it’s a possible factor, in some regard.

  15. What a great article and comment session this is! Awesome job Dan. So glad this site is still here! So cool to have you reach out and touch the PSP readers from “afar”!! Thanks to everyone for making this an informative read!!

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