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From my piece for CSNNE.com today (well, yesterday now):

Whenever the World Cup comes about, the talk in America is of whether or not a strong showing will spell take-off for the sport in the US. In 2010 the Yanks fulfilled expectations by escaping their group, and they probably brought on a few more fans by advancing with such dramatic flair. But let’s be honest. In order to really get the country soccer mad right now, they’d need to go deep into the tournament, at least making it to the quarterfinals.

That’s fine. I largely agree. The Revs aren’t going to suddenly start chasing the Red Sox’ sellout record and most sports fans are going to shift their attention from the World Cup to baseball and NFL training camps across the country. Again, I agree. That’s probably what’s going to happen in the short term.

But something to take note of: In 2006, most of America’s support in Germany was of the corporate variety, having secured tickets and flights through work, there primarily for the spectacle. In a substantially more difficult spot to travel to, the United States’ supporters this time around were real. They were costumed, they were loud, they were enthusiastic, they were knowledgeable, and they were proud. They were soccer fans. And perhaps most important, they were young.

I contend that while a deep run may have boosted soccer in the country in the short term, the sport  looks like it really is upcoming stateside – and yes, I know this has been said for years and years. It’s not going to be overnight. But the Yanks have young, enthusiastic support that more than ever in American soccer history really cares, not just about the team but about the game. Maybe it’s a generation coming of age having only known a global village and the Internet, wanting to be a part of it by participating in international soccer. Maybe the reason is much simpler, like that the team has become a regular Cup qualifier. But for whatever reason, the support is there. The team itself was good enough only to escape its group and capture the country’s attention on a Saturday afternoon. But these fans are many, and they’re for real. And as an American soccer fan, that’s solid enough consolation for me.

I really think we’re starting to see soccer take hold in America. It can’t just be “US DO GOOD NOW WE LIKE.” It’s been a long cultivation, and now there’s a young generation that was brought up on the game and to understand that America is just one of many countries, and that soccer is the best place to see sport on the global stage. And now that generation is coming of age, has some money, and is throwing its support. I doubt we’ll ever see soccer take over the NFL on American grounds…actually, I’m almost sure of it, though the NFL’s forthcoming labor stoppage won’t hurt such a cause. But the game has a fan base that’s wild about it, and it’s young, it’s big, it’s growing, it’s loud, and perhaps most importantly, it’s likable. And that’s more important than the difference between making the Round of 16 and the quarterfinals in 2010, in my opinion at least.

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Comcast SportsNet New England announced today that Taylor Twellman will be serving as the network’s in-studio analyst during this year’s World Cup. The injured superstar whose status for 2010 remains questionable will begin duties in the capacity on June 10.

Why is this interesting? Because it reflects well on the young relationship between CSNNE and the Revs, because it will get the Revolution more exposure, because it means CSN will be giving the World Cup some solid coverage, and because maybe, just maybe, in the role Twellman will shed some light on his status.

Or maybe not. But at least it’s a bit of Twellman news, which is more than we’ve gotten on that front all season.

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This morning, Goal.com published an interesting column. The premise of its “World Cup Team Style Guide” is to liken several World Cup contending teams to American non-soccer sporting clubs. The concept is a good one and the article is solid enough. I’m mostly interested, though, in how this article functions.

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