Well, it's official. My daughter will not have the same opportunity I did, soccer-wise.
Back in 1994, at age 14, I experienced the World Cup here in the United States. This may seem like a strange statement, since I didn't attend a single game. But make no mistake- the World Cup was everywhere. And the subsequent positives that came from it- most importantly, Major League Soccer. I saw my first game in cavernous Giants Stadium years ago, just after seeing the United States battle Columbia at Rutgers Stadium.
Only later did I realize what the World Cup bid had done- it changed the conversation in this country from why soccer failed (in the guise of the NASL) to why it could succeed. MLS's subsequent, admirable stewardship of this renewal has produced the desired results already- and without another World Cup bid, the steady, incremental progress should nevertheless continue.
But the reason I thought the United States had a good chance to win the 2022 bid is that so many people like me were exposed to international soccer this way- and many of us now have families to bring to sold-out venues around the country. An MLS filled with teams as rich as the top English Premier League clubs will mean more money for the game at large.
Alas, my daughter has very little in the way of petroleum fortune. So it goes.
The World Cup here in the United States would have provided a specific focus for soccer's growth and development over the next 12 years. By 2022 in New York alone, it is generally expected that not one, but two teams will be competing in MLS. With New York's second entry expected by 2013, not only will they both exist, they will have had ample time to build up a rivalry.
In other words, New York should be a soccer town by 2022, at least in part. Arguably, the region should have three stadiums (Red Bull Arena, New Meadowlands and the prospective new grounds for the second New York team) to help host a bid.
Will that bid be 2026? I guess that is possible. My daughter will be 16 by then, and the hope is she and I can take in a few matches. Of course, the United States still won't have any oil money by then, either.
In the meantime, my family and I will be skipping Qatar 2022. Anyone who doesn't enjoy 120-degree heat will do the same.