Layman Observations of Major League Soccer

My side hustle work, while I work on this writing stuff, consists of either staring at a soccer field or staring at a stadium wall. I check tickets, yeah, but for a majority of it I am stuck on the inside of my head, and I have to find new things to think about or else I start wandering into terrifying territory. Below is a list of observations from me, someone who knows nothing about football/soccer, but have been paid to "watch" about a dozen games now.

  • It is hard to tell which goalie is one what team.
  • Jerseys that have the sponsors name in big letters and the team name in tiny letters off in the corner suck. If I think your team is The Herbalifes, then sponsorship has gotten out of control.
  • What's great about the sport is how kid-oriented it is. They let kids parade at the beginning, they do charity work with schools, kids have a short 10 minute halftime game, and they even walk out with the players during the starting line up. There's a refreshing innocence there, something wholesome and whimsical that isn't replicated in other sports. I think building up a young, excited fan base will pay off in the future.
  • I don't know where the avid supporter groups get their energy. Home games, I understand. But every team, even visiting teams, have a small, active, insane group that comes to their away games to cheer the shit out of them. Kansas City team comes to town, and apparently, so did a couple dozen fans? They came 1500 miles to watch them score no goals?
  • The diversity is interesting, both in the teams and in the fanbase.
  • This is further proof that everything has someone that will really really love it.
  • Free tickets are everywhere. If you're working in some kind of service capacity, you actually have to know things like who's on what team and what color the home team is wearing, because these are things that people will ask. I imagine something like 70% of the audience in attendance are soccer fans. The other 30% got free tickets through some promotion at work and thought it might be a fun night out.
  • For Los Angeles Galaxy games, the music guy plays all the newest pop radio hits. For Chivas USA games, the music guy plays the same 5 fucking songs every game. "We Like To Party" by The Vengaboys is ... jesus. There's no reason to ever play that more than once.
  • I will never quite understand how soccer culture has managed to own scarves. Not that scarves a silly garment to wear; although, team-branded scarves are a little gaudy in any other context. It's just, why not carry that on to other sports? Why don't we have any Dodger scarves or Knicks scarves?
  • People really take their time when they get fouled. They like to roll around, clutch, seethe, make the entire crowd worried it's a serious injury for a few minutes. It's like they're stringing along the fans, putting on a show. Other sports guys seem to just get right up, but here...
  • It turns out, the goalie gets to use his hands!
  • I think it's fair to say that soccer players have the coolest looking uniforms of any major sport. This is in terms of style and casual wearing ability, not necessarily the logo or graphics.
  • Do the avid supporter fans take over, and the team/stadium has to accommodate them, or does the stadium make accommodations that spur fans to become hardcore supporters? There's entire sections with signs that indicate that supporters will be there, and they're a little nuts, so be careful. Meanwhile, supporters actually tape signs they printed out to benches that say, "These seats are not for sitting! Vocal support a must!" Which came first?
  • It's weird how a popular game with an audience of 30,000 can be just as exciting/unexciting as an unpopular game with an audience of 12,000. Really, you might as well go to all the games, even the shitty ones, if the score is going to be 1 to 0 either way. It's not like you're gonna see two rivals really go at it and it'll end at 12 to 13 in the last second.
  • MLS is seemingly a couple bad years away from NASCAR level advertising ridiculousness.
  • Not only is the weight of the whole LA Galaxy team on David Beckham's shoulders, but sometimes it seems like the well-being of the entire league. Not because he's a particularly excellent player, but his notoriety and ability to pierce the public mindspace brings money and spotlight to MLS. I wonder if, when Adidas is at the stadium to film a Beckham commercial, do they tell the teams in the back, "Let him get one good kick for the cameras?" They certainly would have the power to.
  • Yellow cards don't seem to be handed out all that often.
  • The announcer that switches flawlessly from perfect Spanish to straight English all in classic Buffer-esque baritone is a talent.
  • Lotttaaaa running.
It's an elegant, worldly game. The pretentious, hip 20-something in me almost wants to start to follow it, just as a fake exotic hobby, but then I realize I don't want to hate myself any more than I already do. That has nothing to do with the sport, football fans! Again. It's an elegant, worldly game. Good luck with it.