Seattle Sounders an Excellent Reason to Follow the MLS

Michael ThomasCorrespondent IIINovember 3, 2011

Here's to wishing Colombian sensation Freddy Montero was a Yank...
Here's to wishing Colombian sensation Freddy Montero was a Yank...Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Being an avid English Premier League and Champions League fan over the past decade, I found myself entirely unable to even casually follow Major League Soccer

How could I possibly appreciate the English inspired hit-and-run tactics employed by many MLS teams after watching Barcelona link together 15 passes before scoring easily?  Did I really want to invest my precious time watching washed out stars such as David Beckham and Thierry Henry when I could instead watch current stars Wayne Rooney and Lionel Messi?

Perceiving the MLS as essentially a developmental league solely existing to launch a small number of exceptionally talented Americans into top European leagues and the United States Men's National Team, I decided the league was entirely unworthy of my attention.

While my judgment may have been warranted 10 years ago, this is certainly not the case anymore.

Beginning with 10 teams in the 1996 inaugural season and surviving the dissolution of two teams in 2001, the MLS now features 18 teams with plans to expand to over 20 teams in the near future.

With enough teams to form a respectable premier league, entry into the increasingly important CONCACAF Champions League, and a lucrative deal with NBC Sports Network, the MLS now has all the ingredients for a successful football league.

Yet, despite the MLS' meteoric rise to legitimacy, I wasn't entirely convinced.  Why settle for watching decent football when I could instead watch all of the great football played in Spain, England, Germany, Italy, and at the international level?

After a tad bit of searching, I found my answer in the Seattle Sounders.

Recently devastated by the loss of the Supersonics, Seattle was left with the loathsome Seahawks and Mariners.  Rightfully dissatisfied with either horrendous franchise, Seattle residents have seemingly instead dedicated themselves to the Sounders.  As a result, crowds of often over 40,000 cheer loudly for their team throughout the contest, so you could be forgiven for mistaking CenturyLink Field with the Britannia Stadium.

In other words, Seattle is the United States' first major football (soccer) town.

As a loyal Yank who has supported the United States Men's National Team since 2002, I'm eager to join this legion of Americans who genuinely and primarily support their city's football (soccer) club.

And if I could manage to support the less-than-stellar USMNT for the past decade, I suppose I could open up some space in my life for the MLS.


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