Sunday, September 20, 2015

Chp 16) Political/Economical Factors Favor MLS

The world's instability can only be a good thing for MLS.  Right now, the United States is the most attractive, safe place to play professional soccer in the world.  The simple fact of the matter is that the U.S. has fewer political problems with more money to pay players than all other countries.

In 2015, I wrote about how radical Islam in Europe could be a major factor to the future reigning soccer league powers.  The instability that radical Islam brings to Europe may end up destabilizing these soccer leagues that dominate the soccer world with the best paid and greatest goal-scoring players.  The article is titled, "Will Muslim Strife in Europe Cause Defections to MLS?"

The horrors of what happened in Paris to the satirical Charlie Hebdo newspaper illustrate how taxing it has become for European society to deal with Islam on a daily basis.

The incident in Paris two days ago is very different than what happened during 2013's Boston Marathon.  There are similarities in that it appears to be lone terrorists acting out, but the big difference is the assault on freedom of speech that Charlie Hebdo represents. This act of violence represents a much larger problem that is pervasive in Europe now and not pervasive at all in the U.S.

The situation is reminiscent of the London riots a few years ago that put England in the spotlight.

There is a much bigger Muslim population in Europe than in the U.S. This fact alone is what is driving a lot of fear and disruption to the way of life in Europe.  Freedom of speech, arguably, is the most important fundamental right that human beings have in the world.  If people have to constantly watch what they're saying than there is an obvious level of discomfort.

Soccer players want to play in the best leagues and want to play without irritation off the field.  If events in Europe continue to spread negatively regarding the Islamic situation, than players may end up deciding that they would rather play in the U.S.

MLS offers decent skill challenges and the money is ripe for the taking.  Outside of playing in MLS, living in the U.S. offers all the comforts and glory that Europe has, but without all the lingering conflict brought about by Islamic tension.  In the U.S., life is pretty easy and carefree.

Obviously, the best players in European leagues are not going to start walking out of their contracts because of what happened a couple days ago in Paris.  But, when the next contract negotiations come around, they may end up considering cutting a year or two down from the amount of years they had thought about playing in Europe before the Muslim strife became so hostile.

Most of these well-known players are coming to MLS or the New York Cosmos in their mid-thirties. It may be that this 'Muslim strife' factor has them coming a couple years earlier than planned.  The decision-making to come to MLS sooner rather than later may mean that U.S. soccer fans see great international players while they are still in dominating form on the field.

Crime levels and how countries address organized crime has to be a factor to be considered for the future of great soccer leagues.  No other worldly power counteracts crime and terrorism as well as the U.S.  Great soccer players will continue to be attracted to stable countries where the politics and economics don't threaten their training regimens and way of life.

There is great income inequality in the U.S., but it doesn't compare to other countries of the world. And, while there is plenty of gang violence in the U.S., it doesn't compare to how gang violence in other countries is carried out in such ostentatious ways.  In 2011, I wrote "Will England Riots Put EPL At Risk?"

London, Manchester, Tottenham, and Birmingham are synonymous as classic Soccer locations, but this week they are recognized as places of disturbance and uncertainty.

Riots in England have reached an alarming level.  They are a culmination of events and circumstances.  Groups of young people are rebelling because they are angry with the disequilibrium of lifestyles.  Unemployment and major cuts to education in the middle of a major economical recession have put lives in jeopardy and created discord in urban areas.

These riots are a message to all of England.  Everyone there is being affected.  England is on shaky ground.  



England is very different than the U.S. when it comes to dealing with disenchantment and the disenfranchised.  The main difference is a question of space.

The U.S. is a massive country in comparison to England.  The same kind of problems may be happening in the U.S., but they will never seem as immediate and severe in the short term.  If too many people are feeling hopelessness, than those problems that come along with those feelings impact the infrastructure of society more quickly in a smaller-sized country than a bigger one.

English Premier League is a symbol of society's engagement and disenfranchisement in England.  For the people who are able to make ends meet more easily, EPL provides entertainment and a means for forgetting about the daily grind and problems within society.  For those who may not be as fortunate, EPL represents the powerful and the elite, the ones who are the cause of the problems.

Many players from EPL give back tremendously to communities and will be especially gracious in coming days and weeks with donations and public statements to bring about calm, but the message from these riots may be a lasting one for the league and difficult to overcome.

It's hard to imagine the EPL maintaining the same levels of payroll and carrying on the same reputation as the world's best.  The world's financial insecurity was going to have big effects on the league, but the rioting may produce additional worries that were not foreseen.  Players may not want to play there for safety reasons and maybe the cascade of worship for the league will drop so much that the entire league's worth drops as well. 

The world's richest league won't be able to function at maximum level if its scheduled within panic and insecurity.  These riots may mark the beginning to the end of EPL being the 'Premier League.'  Soccer's world landscape may change completely.

MLS will continue to be a viable option for great goal-scorers simply because the U.S. has a more secure environment for players to live a happy-go-lucky life without the pressures of political and economic factors or upheaval.  Also, in 2011, I wrote "Will Gang Violence Become a Bigger Disruption to Mexico's First Division?"

Around the world, the Mexican First Division is respected as a talented league with tough competition from top to bottom.  Soccer is Mexico's pasttime.  Kicking Soccer balls is practiced from inside the bellies through puberty and adolescence for much of the country.  Mexico loves its Soccer and takes great pride in its League.

What happened this past weekend at a game between Santos Laguna and Morelia  in Torreon was an anomaly inside the daily tragedy of Cartel-related violence that has ripped the country apart over the last several years.  The question is, will it stay an anomaly.  The video is startling.  Players ran off the field, fans ran on and total chaos ensued.  



Though drug-gang mafia violence is a daily part of living in Mexico now, it hadn't infiltrated the Soccer world until this past Saturday.  A shootout took place outside the stadium, close by.  It happened during live game action.

Unfortunately, what happened Saturday will leave indelible prints in the minds of many Mexican Soccer fans.  But, expect the fans to come back to the bleachers in a resounding way.  The resilient people of Mexico will send a stark message to the criminal faction that Soccer is off limits.  The Mexican government must act, as well.  They must send additional police and troops to all of their stadiums. 

The importance of the League can not be underestimated.  If violence gives the citizenry too much reason to stay home instead of attending in person, than the drug gangs are winning.  This is a time for action by all of Mexico.  Soccer matches are now a symbol of solidarity.

The events of the past weekend put pressure on Mexico's First Division.  It's a public relations nightmare.  The reality is that more violence during games could put the League in jeopardy.
An image problem can be hard to overcome.  The problems can compound and end up impacting the skill level of the league.  Players may determine it is best to seek contracts with leagues from other countries, like an MLS. 

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