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"In any language, the whole world is united by a ball." --- Steve Amoia, World Football Commentaries

Monday, August 13, 2007

Get Rid of those Gridiron Football Stripes

Yesterday, at Giants Stadium (emphasis on Giants), the New York Red Bulls defeated Toronto FC, 3 x 0. But the bigger issue was the playing surface. Another MLS game was played with fully visible American football gridiron stripes.

I have said it before and will state it again. MLS and American soccer will not be taken seriously, both domestically and internationally, until this practice ends. I don't want to hear the arguments that mixed-used facilities can't be "turned-over" in time to meet the demands of their respective teams. This is America. We get things done. Get rid of those damn gridiron stripes.

The Beckham Tour (if he is not called up by England for the friendly with Germany on the 22nd) arrives at Giants Stadium next weekend. Since the whole world is watching his every move, what will the field surface look like? He was asked how to improve the MLS, and he said to remove FieldTurf. Then he was forced to apologize. I hope that he makes a comment if gridiron stripes are on that pitch next week. Why don't more players complain about this?

The MLS spends millions on marketing the sport to new fans, but they don't respect the tradition of the game. No other professional sport in this country would tolerate such playing conditions. The message is very clear. "Soccer isn't good enough yet to merit an official playing surface." Or "New fans like to see a reminder of American football."

Let me throw an idea back from the time capsule of the 1970s and 80s. Spray the field with green paint to cover the gridiron. Totallysoccer.com sells a spray paint machine for about $600. That includes the machine, paint, and UPS shipping. Roughly, the cost of 4 scalped tickets to see Beckham play. ;-) To borrow a line from a popular credit card ad: Price of tickets: $150. Parking: $20. Popcorn: $5. Beer: $10. Beckham replica shirt: $100. Spray paint machine: $600. The experience? Priceless.

To view highlights of Juan Pablo Angel's first goal, please click here.

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