Growing up in an urban community can offer many obstacles that can hinder a person’s growth and affect their world view. In other words, urban areas can greatly affect the things you like and don’t like. Two recreational activities that are almost universally disliked by people who come from urban environments are soccer and golf. The reasons why may vary, but the most common are that they are both “boring” and “slow” sports and more importantly, don’t have many African-American players who are superstars that younger kids can identify with and look up to. The fact the soccer hasn’t picked up in America in general is particularly astounding because it is known as the “world’s sport”. In urban areas in Brazil, Mexico, England and Spain children live and breathe soccer. The same can be said for the sport of golf. Golf is played around the world and an African-American golfer (Tiger Woods) was at one point the best golfer on the planet. The real reasons behind why black children aren’t playing soccer and golf include financial and political issues that can work against people coming from urban communities.
The sport of soccer, or futbol as it is called in the rest of the world, is the most popular sport in the world that up to 240 million people play worldwide (Spires, 2008). The average viewership for the World Cup in 2006 was 93 million people during any given match (Spires, 2008), and the World Cup final in 2010 drew 700 million viewers around the world (Roxborough, 2010). The first professional soccer league was formed in England in 1863 but the roots of soccer can be traced over 3000 years to Ancient China and Greece (Spires, 2008). The game has grown exponentially since then and now most countries have some form of a professional soccer league (Spires, 2008). Despite having a rich history around the world it wasn’t until 1968 that America formed a professional league that was of any prominence. The North American Soccer League (NASL) combined two leagues (the United Soccer Association and the National Professional Soccer League) and was able to attract some of the greatest players around the world to play for them. These players included Franz Beckenbauer, Johann Cruyff, and Bobby Moore. The league started off slow and 5 out of the original 17 teams had to fold after the first season. It wasn’t until 1975 when the New York Cosmos signed Brazilian soccer legend Pele to a $4.5 million contract that the league took off (Litterer, 2008). Pele attracted a “galaxy” of other international players that took the league to the next level. The Cosmos regularly attracted crowds of up to 70,000 people and based on its growing popularity the league was able to create teams in Los Angeles, San Antonio and Toronto (Litterer, 2008). Unfortunately, because of financial reasons many teams who didn’t have the draw of a Pele had to fold and the league as a whole went under in 1985. After the NASL collapse, the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body for soccer in America, did what they could to promote the game too little effect. In 1994, the United States hosted the FIFA World Cup and the attention and excitement for soccer in America was high once again. This led to the creation of Major League Soccer (MLS), the first professional soccer league in the United States since the aforementioned National American Soccer League. The MLS did advance the game but soccer in the United States was still not as important as basketball or football to everyday Americans. It wasn’t until 2007 when David Beckham transferred from AC Milan to the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer had a legitimate buzz in America once again (similar to when Pele signed with the Cosmos 32 years earlier)(Spires, 2008). Since its creation, the MLS has developed white-American players such as Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Carlos Bocanegra who have been able to go abroad to different countries and compete with higher levels of talent. Development...
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