There’s been a lot of discussion about my colleague’s Q & A column in Sunday’s RSL special section. I’m not going to bad mouth Brad Rock’s opinions, but in today’s blog I offer a different perspective to soccer fans.
Question: Soccer giant Real Madrid is coming to town again this August. Will the new stadium be finished by then?
Answer: No, the new stadium won’t be ready until early October. The match will be played at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Aug. 9.
Question: Why has RSL been so pathetic so far?
Answer: In a nutshell, it was limited by expansion restrictions in the beginning, made too many poor personnel decisions all three years, and the coaching staff couldn’t get the players to perform at their highest level. Basically, copy and paste three years worth of BigSoccer entries in here for your answer.
Question: They call it Major League Soccer, but is it really major league?
Answer: It’s not the EPL, but it’s a gigantic leap from anything we’ve seen in Utah and it gets better every year.
Question: Are Larry H. Miller and Dave Checketts finished feuding?
Answer: Larry H. Miller’s peeps at Jordan Commons told RSL staff members they could use the office building on the other side of State Street whenever they wanted to take photos of the stadium construction progress, so relations can’t be all that bad.
Question: Is soccer really the “world sport?”
Answer: By some accounts upwards of a billion people watched Arsenal vs. Manchester United play at the Emirates Stadium last November. The Super Bowl was watched by over 93 million. Both are very impressive, but the numbers don’t lie.
Question: I’ve only been to one RSL match, and there was a guy banging on a drum the entire afternoon. What’s up with that?
Answer: Atmosphere. Some like it, some don’t. I personally love it. Back in my college years, my buddy Tony and I would bring his bongos to U. women’s soccer games and play them behind the East goal. Those were awesome times.
Question: Injuries kept David Beckham from coming to Salt Lake last year. Will we see him again?
Answer: He’s healthy now.
Question: Will soccer ever be America’s favorite sport?
Answer: No. But I believe it’s a generation away from being more mainstream. Basically when my minus-5 month old kid is in his early-20s, I think sell-outs will be much more common in the U.S. Most of the soccer naysayers I encouter are a generation or two older than me, and were never exposed to soccer until only recently.
Question: But isn’t soccer supposed to someday dominate sports in this country?
Answer: No, there are too many options. It doesn’t need to dominate to be successful.
Question: Why do people wear RSL scarves to games in the summer?
Answer: It’s a European tradition to wear scarves to matches, primarily because it’s freezing cold at a ton of those winter matches. Does it work here? Whatever. Soccer people get it, and that’s all that matters.
Question: How did Sandy lure a Major League Soccer team to the ‘burbs?
Answer: This question has been analyzed for two years by every media outlet in the state. I don’t really have any new insight, but I will say that as someone who’s made the drive from DFW to Frisco to watch an FC Dallas match, let me reiterate how lucky were are that the 9000 S. exit is only a 12-minute drive from downtown.
Question: Is Sandy honestly the best place for soccer?
Answer: Beggars can’t be choosers. If I had it my way the stadium would be in the heart of downtown Salt Lake, easily accessible via the tube which would pick fans up all over the valley and funnel them to the city via the Piccadilly, Jubilee, District and Circle lines. We aren’t that type of city. We make due with what we have. Trax baby!
Question: Is RSL, as some experts say, a dark-horse team?
Answer: I’ve covered three straight losing teams for the Deseret Morning News, so I’m going to reserve judgement, but this team looks stronger in the preseason than any before.
Question: What will the stadium be used for when RSL’s not playing?
Answer: I’m not really interested in concerts and such, but I’m thrilled that high school championship games might finally have a legitimate venue to play their games. High school football has Rice-Eccles Stadium, high school basketball has the Dee Events Center, and now soccer will have (Insert Name) Stadium.
Question: Is there anything to do in Sandy before or after the games?
Answer: I live in Sandy, and I personally love the Wendy’s on 9400 S. and 2000 E.
So there you have it, thoughts from a guy with Fox Soccer Channel. I’d like to hear some feedback to some of these questions from our readers.