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Kickoff for a Babel of booters
Tex Maule
April 24, 1967
Televised professional soccer was unveiled nationally last weekend and, despite awkward moments, showed signs of future health
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April 24, 1967

Kickoff For A Babel Of Booters

Televised professional soccer was unveiled nationally last weekend and, despite awkward moments, showed signs of future health

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The class of play in the nontelevised league is likely to be better than that in the National Professional Soccer League, since the United Soccer Association, with the blessing of the FIFA, imports entire teams to represent its cities, rather than a m´┐Żlange of over-or under-age players. Not too long from now the two leagues are expected to merge. When they do, and when the brand of soccer offered the American public on the field and on television begins to approach the caliber of the soccer played in Europe and South America, then the game in the U.S. may become a real threat to baseball, with which it presently competes. Opening day in Philadelphia saw 14,163 people on hand (admittedly many of them American hyphenates) as the Spartans beat Toronto 2-0. The same day the baseball Phillies drew only 9,213 and the 76ers 9,426.

Of course, the sport must develop local players, too. An encouraging note in a bleak opening day at Chicago Soldier Field was the fact that the hero of Chicago's 2-1 victory over St. Louis was a player who came up from the Hansa team in Chicago. He was Willie Roy, an immigrant to the U.S. from Germany when he was 6. Roy scored both Chicago goals, and the meager crowd of 4,725 roared its approval.

The advent of soccer in the U.S. was a bit shaky. But with a Danny Blanch-flower to lend spice to the TV broadcasts, a bit more intelligent presentation of the stars on the teams and a leavening of local talent, the game may yet develop into an attraction.

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