We are blessed to have another great guest post today... one that perfectly boils it down to the essence of why somebody would subject themselves to being an advocate for change in American soccer on social media. Make sure you give Erik a follow on Twitter! Let us know how you feel about this using the #ProRelForUSA hashtag on social media.
Why I Hang Out In a Twitter Toxic Zone
By: Erik K Hart
The discussion of the governance of soccer in the United States on Twitter has been called one of the most toxic, ill-tempered spaces on the social media platform. Given the place that political discourse has gone to, that's saying something. The Beautiful Game is full of passion and emotion, though. And that passion can be on full display in the 140-character-limited conversations found on Twitter.
From the scolds who fly the #ProRelforUSA hashtag to their antagonists who are convinced that the status-quo is the best we'll get and should be grateful for, the vitriol and invective can be off-putting for someone as conflict-averse as myself. I can well imagine a new fan of the game we love stumbling into a thread and deciding they really don't want to know more. Innocent questions sometimes find curt replies followed by behavior trolling and the re-ignition of now decades-old personality conflicts that go beyond the actual subject of discussion.
It can be a really bad look for the sport in our country. Trying to be a grown-up, I can admit my part in the occassional studs-up challenge defending my viewpoint. If I have nicked your shins, or scared you away from commenting, I apologize.
That brings me to the answer promised in the headline "Why I Hang Out In a Twitter Toxic Zone". I throw my two cents in for one simple reason: I want to see the United States Mens National Team win the World Cup in my lifetime. Let me repeat that. I want to see the United States Mens National Team win the World Cup in my lifetime. That simple.
I have played soccer since falling in love with the game more than 40 years ago, before Pele landed with the Cosmos.
I have lived through two versions of Soccer Wars.
I lived in a true world soccer power as they marched to a World Cup Final, experiencing the game’s culture and structure there . I can recall all the strange places and times I have watched the USMNT and the rest of the world play out sports' greatest drama.
I am thankful to those with the means (and those who really didn't) who have taken a gamble that the game can grow and become a success here. Through my observation, participation, and research I have concluded that the way the game is currently organized in the United States will not result in my simply-stated desire.
Based on participant numbers and resources available it is inexcusable for our on-field results to remain mired in the same place we were as qualifying for France '98. We have a wasteful, overpriced player development system whose leakage enriches the few, paid for by the unknowing, at the cost of results and excluding the many. We have eschewed world-class best-practice experience for an exceptionalism that leaves us spinning our wheels.
I don't give two scoops of rooster poop about the motivations behind this stagnation. My only concern is that we move aggressively towards an alignment and system that makes winning the World Cup a truly viable dream. Anyone or anything standing in the way of that movement needs to be removed, and removed quickly. Anyone or anything willing to collaborate to bring us in line with international best-practices is welcome on my band wagon.
I want to see the United States Mens National Team win the World Cup in my lifetime. Do you?