Major League Soccer is coming to San Diego.
After years of shutting its eyes, crossing its fingers and hoping to be chosen the way a desperately eager bachelorette dreams of being “The One”, San Diego has finally landed a Tier 1 professional soccer club.
There was a time when the news would have been greeted in this space with more gusto, more of a full-throated ‘Yes!”
But now the level of excitement is about the same as if Taco Bell CEO Mark King announced the fast food chain would be opening its 5,000th U.S. franchise here.
In the 30 years since it was first introduced—and San Diego was bypassed time and time and time again—we’ve see the league and its product evolve.
Don’t be shamed or embarrassed into feeling as if you’re wrong-headed for saying the quality of other professional leagues in Europe and South, Central America is superior to the U.S. game. Watch and compare a month’s worth of MLS games versus a month’s worth of games in the Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), Bundesliga (Germany), Serie A (Italy), Liga MX (Mexico) and a handful of others and you’ll see the technical skills and acumen of the players surpasses that of the U.S. futboler. The gap may have closed in some regards, but the gap remains.
The league makes up rules as it rolls along collecting franchise fees. From player distribution—the league ultimately decides where marquee players will ply their craft—to criteria for deciding which city or town will get to run a franchise.
MLS maintains its aversion to promotion/relegation, a concept that may be financially risky for the multibillionaires who run the teams and league but adds drama and hope to a wider spectrum of fans.
But most notably, The Xolos happened. San Diego Wave FC happened. The San Diego Loyal happened. Streaming soccer networks happened. The choices for watching the home team, including the one from Tijuana, as well as watching games from oversees are abundant. And often times tastier.
Taco Bell serves a purpose and on occasion it fills a craving. But when the budget is limited and a burrito is needed, why would you go there when you could go to Lolita’s or any number of mama and pop taco shops and have something more flavorful?