Long-Range Goals: The Success Story of Major League Soccer
All over the world, soccer is known as "the Beautiful Game" and is the most popular sport. But in the United States, professional soccer still has a hard time catching on. It has had some successes here. The American Soccer League of the 1920s, Pélé and other international stars in the North American Soccer League's glamorous 1970s, the indoor soccer phenomenon of the 1980s, and the U.S. women's win in the Women's World Cup of 1999 all hinted that the American public is ready to embrace pro soccer. In its short history, Major League Soccer (MLS) has survived and even started to thrive, drawing steady crowds and loyal fans. In Long-Range Goals, Beau Dure profiles teams and players, including D.C. United, the Los Angeles Galaxy, Landon Donovan, Freddy Adu, and Coach Bruce Arena, who are all vital to MLS. Some of the triumphs include an expansion of the league and its ownership group, the contribution of MLS players to a strong U.S. World Cup showing in 2002, and the construction of soccer stadiums nationwide. At the same time, MLS has occasionally stumbled, during costly legal battles with players and seeing two teams fold, but its investors have remained strong, figured out how to make money, and support the league. From the league's formation in 1993 to the David Beckham era, this book reveals all the action on and off the pitch: the politics, the lawsuits, the management of its teams, and the savvy business deals that helped MLS rebound. It also revels in the big personalities of its stars, the grace of its utility players, and the obstacles the league faces in meeting its long-range goals.