The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is over as far as the United States team is concerned. The extra time defeat at the hands (actually, the feet) of Belgian squad ended the dream. It has been a remarkable few weeks for soccer among Americans with incessant media hype and an avid public response to a sport that had previously been only an afterthought for most American sports fans. Even if “I believe that we will win!” was a worthy cheer, the fine young athletes who represented our country were not able to translate faith into reality.
The more interesting issue from the perspective of the business of sports is whether the soccer entrepreneurs of this country can convert this newly-uncovered affection for the world game into a viable addition to the American menu of major team sports — football, baseball, basketball and hockey. Major League Soccer has 19 franchises spread nationwide with more on the way. While the quality of the game they play is not up to English Premier League standards, it certainly is exciting and attractive. Will MLS be able to command recognition as a major league? It will take some time for the verdict to be rendered.