Seattle deserves more respect from US Soccer Federation

Congratulations Seattle.

For two years you’ve been the most dedicated soccer fan base in the country.

You’ve averaged over 32,000 fans a match during each of the Sounders FC home matches. During friendlies against world powers such as Chelsea and Barcelona over 65,000 packed the Qwest Field stands, every bit as much that packed the stands for the Seahawks playoff victory over the New Orleans Saints.

During the World Cup ESPN took a gamble on sending out camera crews to a small bar in North Seattle, and loved the atmosphere so much that they were featured during the United States’ match against Algeria.

When the United States Soccer Federation tried to win over the FIFA board to quite possibly host the 2018 or 2022 World Cups, Seattle was featured. They pointed out the rabid success of the Sounders franchise and the fan support and tradition such as the marches and singing. They showcased both Qwest Field and Husky Stadium.

Surely, this community has done enough to vie for some real matches from US Soccer so that this community can see some of the American heroes that they had to root for from afar this summer. After all, Grenada, a country that nobody can even locate on a map, is the last showcased match that these fans got to see, and that was an early Gold Cup match.

What’s that? You’re giving us Argentina? Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez will face off against Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey? On the same field, in Seattle?

Finally, this city got the respect and recognition it deserved.

All that was left to do was to finalize the agreement with First and Goal, the company that runs Qwest Field and works with Seattle Sounders FC on all stadium and field matters.

Argentina’s Football Federation announced the match to their fans that it’d be in Seattle. Even FIFA made it official, the match was in Seattle.

And then the news waves went silent. US Soccer was mum on the agreement. FIFA and Argentina weren’t sure what was going on.

And finally, we got this doozy

New Jersey. Great. And let’s give Paraguay to…Tennessee? And what does US Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati have to say about it?

New Jersey is a great opportunity to showcase the sport to their fans.

I’m sorry, I thought the point of these type of friendlies was to expand and grow your product to areas of the country that need it.

What has New York proved? You put a game against Brazil there the month following the World Cup and US fans were easily over shadowed by those sporting yellow and green. Awesome. You furthered the notion that Americans could care less about US Soccer when it’s not the World Cup.

But that’s what it’s about to the Federation. Money. Large crowds are preferred, but they could care less what color those fans are sporting.

That’s why friendlies against Mexico are hosted in Los Angeles and Phoenix. Why a friendly against Chile was hosted in Carson, California.

Nothing will be furthered by hosting this game in New York. I would be willing to bet that Argentina fans outnumber US fans 60/40, at least.

In the most uninteresting period of US Soccer’s cycle towards the next World Cup why don’t you set the seeds of fandom going towards Brazil and try to garner in new fans and new areas of support for a US Soccer product that needs to capitalize on the success of this last World Cup.

While Seattle is easily noticed as ‘Soccercity, USA’, those who have been around the town’s soccer community can note that the club atmosphere of Sounders FC is much more important than US Soccer. Not to say that the Sounders community are not US fans, but it’s easy to tell that the soccer community is becoming alienated from US Soccer because of just this. Our best matches are against, Grenanda. And, this year, we’ve been snubbed from hosting a Gold Cup match altogether.

Sorry, something doesn’t add up here.

But hey, if Sunil is worried about not being able to capitalize on the dollars of Argentinians living in the United States, it should be noted that 40,000 came to Qwest Field during a 2010 friendly against Boca Juniors, Argentina’s premeir club team. To think that 67,000 wouldn’t come to see Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez is a ridiculous notion. The biggest difference here is that there would be much more support for the United States.

But, I guess packing a facility that sits over 80,000, full of Argentina fans, is more important to Gulati, than re-connecting with fans that need it.

Of course, our beloved Sounders FC are not innocent in this tragic betrayal of loyalty to the fans in Seattle. So wipe that smug ass smirk off your face, Adrian Hanauer.

The man who promised Sounders faithful epic friendlies in 2010 delivered the grand finale of…..Chivas De Guadalejara? Even the casual soccer fan knows that that of the Mexican variety is far from World class, and Sounders fans reacted with outrage.

So, when an oppurtunity to bring in the largest collection of talent on a single field that this city has ever seen, surely, the part owner of the most fiscally succesful team in MLS history, will take advantage of this opportunity to thank and reward the fans that have made him a much wealthier man, right?

Guess not.

It’s rumored that the biggest reason that the deal fell apart had more to do with the Sounders FC being stubborn. Obviously, the field turf would have had to be covered up with temporary grass. Qwest Field has done that many times before, including twice in 2009 for Chelsea and Barcelona. Cost shouldn’t have been a huge issue, as both of those games were profitable successes.

The Sounders apparently had a problem picking up the tab for US Soccer, who dangled this game in front of them like it was more of an obligation than an opportunity. So Gulati moved it back to a US Soccer breadbasket in the New Meadowlands stadium.

For soccer fans in Seattle, this is not fair. We deserve better than this. We are the ones who have made the Seattle Sounders the success they are. We are the ones who have made this franchise a worldwide phenomenon. We are the ones who have made Hanauer’s bank account grow a little bit.

We are also the ones who have put this sport on the map, representing this country, when it comes to the way the United States is perceived around the world. So when it comes to the national team that represents our country, Seattle doesn’t receive any credit or any thanks from them?

It’s fine. I guess money talks to Gulati. After all, if he wasn’t so cheap maybe he could’ve bought the World Cup bid away from Qatar.