Monday, January 29, 2007

Sam's Blog - A Look Back - Jan. 29

Sam’s Blog will be a weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. Sam Snow is the Director of Coaching Education for US Youth Soccer

This past weekend I attended the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association AGM (Annual General Meeting). On Saturday evening a banquet was held for their soccer hall of fame. Seven folks were inducted and many past inductees were in attendance. Some of the hall of famers include Brian Bliss, Joe Marrone, Tony DiCicco, Charlie Kadupski, Bob Dikranian, Sunil Gulati, David Socha, Dan Woog, Ray Reid, Dan Gaspar, Joe Machnik, Curt Onalfo, and Andrea Duffy and now add David Vaudreuil among others.

These are names many of you will recognize and there are many others in the state’s hall of fame that you likely would not recognize unless you have been involved in soccer in that state for years.

However, those other folks have made equally important contributions to the game. The event highlighted for me the rich and long history of soccer in the United States. We tend to look back only a few years and think of ourselves as a newcomer to the sport of soccer.

This is far from the truth. Soccer is the second oldest professional sport in our country after baseball. The first intercollegiate game, between Princeton and Rutgers, was in 1869. Our football association was an early member of FIFA joining in 1913. We played in the inaugural World Cup in 1930. To learn more about our soccer past, present and possible future take a look at Soccerhead by Jim Haner.

The hall of fame dinner in Connecticut reminded me that our sport has deep roots in many of our states and cities. We must not forget the many contributions that generations of Americans have made to soccer on these shores. We must celebrate our soccer history and bring it more into the consciousness of the current generation.

By looking back we can also see some of the paths we must take now and in the future to continue the growth of our game as well as seeing some of the pitfalls to avoid. We are now at the beginning of a new chapter in the story of soccer in the USA. We must revive our missionary work of bringing the game to new segments of our society. We have managed the soccer boom and once again need to grow the game. We have a 147 year old history of modern football (soccer) in our country and in the last 30 years we have made impressive strides forward. We can grow the game on reservations, the inner city and rural communities.

We have the chance NOW to begin the next soccer boom.

1 comment:

Geoff Brown said...

As someone working to develop soccer in a rural area of Northwestern Connecticut -- yes, America, there really are still rural areas in Connecticut -- I was really glad to see this post.

It is also great to see mention of the history of soccer in the US. Someplace in the history of soccer in the US are the reasons that the Super Bowl this Sunday will not be played with a round ball. We need to learn the lessons of the history of soccer in the US so that we do not repeat the mistakes that led to the eclipse of soccer and the rise of American football.