Why you should be excited about West Brom v Kickers happening this weekend

by | Jul 15, 2015 | POLITICS

Soccer is a hot topic here in the U.S. as the sport’s popularity becomes more and more mainstream.

Soccer is a hot topic here in the U.S. as the sport’s popularity becomes more and more mainstream.

The US Women’s National Team dominated the formidable Japan, then defending World Champions, in the Women’s World Cup Final, which drew in over 20 million viewers. The Men’s National Team recently got a well-deserved win against World Champions Germany in an international friendly (Friendly = an exhibition game that has no bearing on league placement, but can affect FIFA rank.)

With these developments on our side of the world, the question of ‘Can soccer become popular in the U.S.? is no longer moot.

That wave of excitement about what some call ‘the most beautiful game’ has made it’s way to Richmond as the Kickers get set to face off against West Bromwich Albion FC of the English Premier League.

Following last summer’s match-up against Crystal Palace,the Kickers are ready to take on another Premier League side and here are four reasons why you should be excited about Soccer’s recent rise in popularity and seeing the Kickers take on international competition:

With the U.S. Women’s National Team’s win in the Women’s World Cup just a few weeks ago, soccer fever is still running high across the country. The Men’s National Team is currently vying for the CONCACAF Gold Cup to determine the best team in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Excitement about soccer is at an all-time high in this country as the U.S. National Teams continue to prove its worth in one of the few international sports that we are not dominant.

It’s given us a real opportunity to be excited about the possibility of winning at a sport that has been so difficult for us in the past, and we all know that there is nothing Americans love more than winning.

Major League Soccer has begun to see an influx of high profile European soccer stars making their way to the states to continue their careers. With Steven Gerrard to the LA Galaxy; Kaka to Orlando FC; and Andrea Pirlo, David Villa, and Frank Lampard all to New York City FC, MLS has seen a rise in the quality of soccer played.

Some may look at MLS as a sort of retirement league for Europeans whose spotlights are dimming and ages rising; however, the numbers are showing that, with investment, MLS is on track to becoming a more competitive league.

Summer means the end of European Leagues and the beginning of Pre-Season Friendlies. In addition to West Brom coming to Richmond to play the Kickers, the International Champions Cup will bring top clubs to U.S. soil to compete in front of American fans.

We will see Paris Saint Germain (PSG) vs Chelsea in Charlotte, NC; and Chelsea vs Barcelona in Landover, MD. In addition to these friendlies, we are still in the middle of the MLS season. With DC United at the top of the Eastern Conference table and Seattle Sounders FC number 1 in the Western Conference, MLS fans still have much to look forward to as the season continues.

Last Summer’s match against Crystal Palace drew a crowd of about 7,800 people who watched the Kickers put up a good match against the Premier League side. While the Kickers lost 3-0, that did not stop, then Palace coach and current West Brom coach, Tony Pulis from believing that playing against a team like the Kickers is good practice for his side.

See the Kickers face off against West Brom Sunday , July 19, at 5:30pm at City Stadium – you can pick up your tickets here!

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner is the former editor of GayRVA and RVAMag from 2013 - 2017. He’s now the Richmond Bureau Chief for Radio IQ, a state-wide NPR outlet based in Roanoke. You can reach him at BradKutnerNPR@gmail.com

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