Major League Soccer is making news again for reasons that have become frustratingly familiar for any of us outside its existing markets. For those in locations that have been whispered about or shouted at as potential landing spots for the current division 1 soccer league on this continent, the frustration can sometimes reach a fever pitch.
Please, stop worrying about it.
Life experience can be divided into two categories: those things we can control, and those things that we can not control. When it comes to pro soccer in this country, there are a few things you can control, and everything else should be put out of your mind lest it drive you insane. The things you can control include, but are not limited to:
- Support soccer at every level available in your area, whether it's pee-wee, or West Cotton High School, so be it; get out there and cheer
- Travel to games outside your area
- Watch games on TV
- Blog and/or be active on social media (mission accomplished, folks)
- Network with top people in your area and bring the gospel of soccer to some decision makers
- Give your time and treasure to starting something yourself (FWIW, a friend of mine started a youth soccer club a few years ago to fill a gap here in Phoenix, and they already have trophies in the case)
Among the things you can not control, are the decisions of a private corporation that is looking for the most profitable locations to place its franchises.
"But Kepner, my city is doing everything right, and we're being passed over by Miami! That's WRONG!" Perhaps, but it looks right to the people who stand to benefit financially, and it's their money at stake if they're wrong. If this is unsettling to you, see number 4 above, but remember, you'll win no backers with name-calling and bad attitudes.
I used this example with a friend recently and I'll put it here. I was very happy when Qdoba came to our area. I'm even more happy now that one of their direct competitors has scared me away for a bit, but I digress. I can tell you that Qdoba makes delicious food, and you should definitely try it.
If you live somewhere that Qdoba doesn't currently operate, you may be surprised and dismayed. "What's wrong with my city?" you'll ask. "Lots of people live here, and lots of them eat Mexican. Why should Phoenix enjoy tasty Qdoba Queso when I don't?"
The answer is money. Qdoba doesn't know your city as well as you do, and right now, they haven't found the right situation for them to make a bet on it. They prioritized Phoenix over your city, and one day they may decide to stop growing altogether. Or they'll buy another company, or whatever. It's their decision, because crass as it sounds, it's their business.
I beg you. Don't let them beat you (talking about soccer again, but the principle is good anywhere). Don't let your passion and excitement be eroded by something that largely, you can not control. Go out and do all you can, and be happy that you did.