Michigan Deserves True Professional Soccer

When we think about regional youth soccer dominance, the states that come to mind are California, Texas, Illinois, Florida, and most definitely Michigan. California and Texas have been known to create powerhouse youth clubs to college cup contenders, while Illinois, Florida, and Michigan all have strong US Academy youth clubs and when ODP mattered, at least two or three teams from each state was represented every year at the regional tournament.

In 2011 there will be 19 MLS teams –

California – 3 teams with The Earthquakes, Galaxy, and Chivas USA

Texas – 2 teams with the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas

Illinois – Chicago Fire.

Florida has two USL teams with Miami FC and The Tampa Bay Rowdies. Neither clubs have a large enough following nor a venue to hold a proper crowd, which leaves them out of subject. The final state to question is Michigan, which recently held a preseason exhibition match between historic AC Milan and Panathinaikos. The match was held in front of a crowd of 30,000+ fans at the Pontiac Silverdome, the old home of the Detroit Lions. From what I know, the only form of advertisement for the match was word-of-mouth and a postcard size ad. Knowing this, we can only wonder what the crowd could have been like if the media were involved.

Before the match, the stadium owner had already put out the idea of raising the stadium to the upper level for future soccer matches, as well as removing the roof for a true football-like environment.

Recently, the US Development Academy 2010 national champs were crowned, with Vardar of Michigan taking the U17/18s and Derby County Wolves of Michigan placing 2 players in the US Academy best XI for the U15/16 and U17/18 age groups.

With great youth teams to pick from, a large following with a passionate owner, and venue fully dedicated to the sport, it’s no longer a question of if, but when Michigan will be given a true professional soccer team.

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3 Responses to Michigan Deserves True Professional Soccer

  1. BSX says:

    Good Post. Traffic was a mess and all fans didn’t care, they just wanted to see the game proving that michigan has a serious soccer following

  2. ocelotsoccer says:

    I am with you all the way. The only thing Michigan lacked was a real venue. It now looks like someone wants to make/build one. For years we have said that this state could handle and support a MLS or USL top level team. Now it’s time to greenlight it and see if we are right.
    1. Someone wants to use the Silverdome. That’s a lot better than letting it sit there empty.
    2. Call the team the Michigan Express. The old logo of the car heading a soccer ball needs to be revived!

  3. The Treble says:

    Getting the venue was massive. I was happy to hear who the bid went to and expect to see great things to come for the sport in Michigan. I don’t know about the Express, but anything would be better than the Bucks.

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