Hard as it might be to believe, Americans like soccer.
This summer I saw it in full effect.
At home, World Cup fever. At work, World Cup fever. At school (so I hear), World Cup fever.
But even with all the hubbub, I think it’s safe to say that Major League Soccer won’t be winning the ratings war anytime soon.
I’ve always been a big proponent of the MLS, even though many people believe that an American soccer league will never catch on.
What they forget, though, is that, for a short time, soccer and America connected in a perfect storm of events.
And it can happen again.
On Aug. 27, 1978, 73,064 people packed into Giants Stadium. It wasn’t for a football game or a Bruce Springsteen concert. Nope, thousands of fans came to cheer on the hometown Cosmos, who celebrated a second straight North American Soccer League Soccer Bowl championship victory with a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
ESPN2 recently debuted the documentary “Once in a Lifetime,” based on a book and released in theaters this summer, that highlighted the Cosmos’ popularity.
If you didn’t know it before, the movie made one thing clear: These guys were big.
The team’s owners, Warner Communications, put plenty of resources (including tons of money) behind them. During the season, people couldn’t get enough of them. Offseason, the team flew first class all over the world playing the finest clubs across the globe.