Friday, October 10, 2008

Bring MLS To Detroit!

The MLS is starting to accept bids for potential franchises #17 and #18 from a number of different cities. Cities that are rumored to be in the running for a new MLS franchise include Vancouver, Portland, St. Louis, Miami, Montreal, Atlanta, Ottawa and a second New York-area team (more likely in the city). There is one city that I feel needs to be attached to this list very soon: Detroit. Sure, a lot of my desire for a soccer team in the Motor City surround the fact that I’m from the area. That’s no secret. But also, I think that the market is excellent for a top-flight soccer team in Detroit, far surpassing the potential for success that several of the cities mentioned above have.

First, Detroit is an international city, with the metro area including 2 states as well as Canada. We’re talking well over 6 million people. Detroit has a Greektown, a Mexicantown, a huge Polish population, a huge Belgian population, a huge Jewish population and the largest Arab population outside of the Middle East. They also have a lot of German tourists as well as Chinese and Japanese tourists due to the automotive industry. All of them are crazy about soccer. This is not to mention the decently large Asian population across the river in Windsor, Ontario. Soccer really is the world’s game, and in a city that caters to the international community, a soccer team would be great there.

Second, soccer is HUGE in Michigan. I played soccer from about the age of 6 until high school. There are tons of kids that are playing soccer in the Detroit area, with hundreds of soccer moms to tote them around to their various matches. This is a decent fanbase that will come out to games regularly and give them something to strive for. Some of the best soccer players in America have grown up in Michigan. It would be great for some of those players to eventually come full circle and put on the kit of the hometown Detroit team.

Finally, Detroit is a sports-crazy town. We’re crazy about the Red Wings. We’re crazy about our Tigers and Pistons. We’re even crazy about our Lions, even though they haven’t given us much reason to care about them for the last 10-50 years. We are crazy about Michigan and Michigan State football, and we’re absolutely united in our hatred for all things Ohio State and Notre Dame. Other teams that call the Motor City area home also get lots of support, from the Plymouth Whalers (minor league hockey team) to the Michigan Bucks (U-23 soccer team). People who think that an MLS team won’t get the same kind of love that is shown to the other big 4 teams are sorely mistaken.

Luckily, there are a group of fans who agree with me. I am happy to be one of the people involved in the planning talks that has led to the creation of the Motor City Supporters. This group of people is committed to showing the soccer world, as well as those local big-time investors, that MLS in Detroit is a winning combination. The people are great people to talk up soccer, and they’re always looking for people who are also interested in doing what they can to increase interest in a MLS team in the Motor City. Check out their blog for more information by clicking here or looking for the Motor City Supporters link on the right side of this page.

So Don Garber, wake up and realize that the potential for professional soccer in Detroit is off the charts. In tough economic times, one of the only things that never wavers is loyalty. Detroit fans are loyal fans, and I know that with the help of the Motor City Supporters, you’ll never have to worry about the viability of soccer in Detroit. We love MLS, and a Detroit franchise would make me one of the happiest soccer fans in the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a Toronto FC supporter, I would love to see MLS add a team in Detroit. The derby between these two would be intense. And travelling back and forth would be done in one day. Detroit would easily replace Columbus in the Trillium Cup.

I know growing up around the southwestern Ontario area that Detroiters support their teams through good times and bad. It would make far more sense than adding a team in Miami or Atlanta or Ottawa.

Toronto FC vs. Detroit Motor City FC. Make this rivalry so!