By now it’s pretty clear; the Latino market does make a difference for several industries in the USA. Every year different studies and reports show the increase, Latinos have the means to consume now. These are not just Latin-American immigrants any more, we’re talking about their children and grand children; third or even fourth generations. What started one day as an aspiration habit in the newcomers trying to blend in their new home, it’s now their children’s habit; just as it is for the Americans. They are hungry for sports.
In the sports industry, there’s a union I think it must happen as soon as possible, between the MLS and young Mexican soccer players.
MLS and Latin America
The Major League Soccer (MLS) has struggled for decades searching popularity and the revenues their counterparts in other markets get (Mexico, Argentina, England, France, Spain, Germany, etc.), and also what other sports’ industries accomplish (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, etc.). It hasn’t been easy. They’ve come along way sure, but not enough. Is it really that Americans doesn’t care for soccer? Maybe, but my point is it doesn’t matter, why? Because you have a brand new audience that it does.
They have a whole socioeconomic sector avid of soccer fans; in fact they are already consuming it, mostly from Mexico. But what if they start bringing young players directly from Mexico (and South-America) offering them spots on a team in the US, and a training and athletic level they’ll never get in any professional Mexican team. The MLS can tap into a new audience and become relevant in Mexico with the arrival of fellow countrymen.
Young players, with the energy and natural Latino skills that American players don’t have, formed with university and/or professional training programs, have everything to be an outstanding players. And they’ll be idols too, because everybody here understands that. Americans love their athletes, they made heroes of them.
These Latinos are Americans, this is the reality. Their parents and grandparents are Mexicans, but they are a new kind of Americans; you have to give them a new kind of product. Otherwise they will continue to see Cruz Azul instead D.C. United, Pumas instead New York Red Bulls, Chivas instead Chivas USA. The MLS knows Latinos are core part of their business, it is already like that; and they are constantly taking action to reach them and keep them captive, they just haven’t gone further.
There are some advantages on this for everybody. The teams will get very good players at very low costs; because they will get players in basic categories, or those who didn’t get in one of the 18 professional teams in Mexico (let us remember there are more than 100 million people). There are hundreds of excellent players in minor categories, a whole market to explore. There are many more, which go to professional tryouts every season, and most of them don’t get in because of two reasons: they don’t have any contacts inside the team, or they don’t have the money to pay for them to stay, because a few number of promoters control the market. These are people without a job, with all the qualifications and nothing to lose.
Future of Mexican Soccer
In the long term, it will also help the flawed and corrupt Mexican soccer system, taken by these promoters. How? When these players become stars in here, they will be also stars in Mexico, some teams will want them, some of them are going to be called for the National Team, there for these promoters will lose control and power. Corruption will dissolve. The Mexican soccer will increase level, combining the natural Latino style with the American strength and discipline.
Right now, Mexico doesn’t go out looking for their best players in England or Spain. We go look how Chicharito is doing. That’s it, every generation is the same, we do have world class players, but they are never competing in the best leagues. Why? Because of this promoters and owners, the system works so well for them, they don’t care for the sport any more. This can be an option to help the sport and young players. We also are in need of two important things: jobs, and health. We have a very preoccupying health problem in Mexico, in need of a sports infrastructure. Obesity, respiratory problems, diabetes, etc., are some of the common medical issues and no options for the young people; zero motivation.
These are the young the MLS will hire, motivated, grateful and loyal athletes. Stop paying thousands of dollars to old Mexican stars, go and do what you know how to do: create new born stars. The soccer is not dead in this country; it was just waiting for its audience. Now that it’s here, you need to feed them.
What are your thoughts about the possibility of the MLS having young Mexican players in the league? Do you think this is good for the health of the MLS as a league? Leave us your comments below or tweet us!
*Originally published March 22nd, 2012 in Sports Networker.