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Do you think professional soccer is a viable sport in Kansas?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on May 8, 2006

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Photo of Mike White

“Sure. I already see it being popular in Kansas City. I think the fact that kids are interested in it will keep it growing.”

Photo of Levita Bui

“I think you can find soccer fans anywhere, and it’s getting pretty popular.”

Photo of Liza Pehrson

“I don’t think it is yet. I think it will be in the future now that more people are getting into it. It just hasn’t been traditionally popular here.”

Photo of Calvin Standfield

“Yes. If you look at the bigger cities in Kansas, they have large Hispanic populations, and soccer is very popular in Mexico. I think it’s their national sport.”

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enochville 11 years, 11 months ago

Yes, if your expectations are to make about as much money as local hockey players make.

Lulu 11 years, 11 months ago

Tax the soccer mom commuters. Sports are dreadful.

I am number 2 and it feels great.

Lee Eldridge 11 years, 11 months ago

If by "viable" you mean "can it make money and survive", then not a chance.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 11 months ago

No. Where in Kansas can it receive financial support? If Kansas City does it perhaps it can work...financially.

bankboy119 11 years, 11 months ago

I heard KC has a good soccer team...but it doesn't interest me at all so I could be wrong. No it's not a good decision to get another professional team.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

Wasn't there already a soccer-themed question that demonstrated the total apathy most Americans have for soccer as a professional sport?

Shelley Bock 11 years, 11 months ago

Having attended the 1st professional soccer game in Kansas City in 1968 between the Kansas City Spurs and the Chicago team in old Municipal Stadium, I am not apathatic towards soccer.

There is quite a lot of involvement with soccer even in the Lawrnece community. For instance, as many, if not more, Lawrence community high school grads have played soccer in college as either football or baseball / softball grads. There are 20+ premier youth teams from Lawrence which play in Olathe. Ten years ago there were barely 5 - 7.

The problem with professional soccer is that fans are also involved in playing and attending their own games which are played on the weekends at the same time professionals play. I can't watch the Wizards as much because of the long drive to Jackson County, Missouri. But, if it was located in Johnson County, Kansas, it would be easier to attend.

paladin 11 years, 11 months ago

I much prefer celebrity worship, football and basketball, new car buying, and sensual pleasure to numb my consciousness. There are already plenty of ways to get my dose of Soma. But, I guess one more couldn't hurt.

neopolss 11 years, 11 months ago

I would say no. Soccer is HUGE among younger children. This may be because the sport is easy to pick up and learn, and most of the children can play it. As they get older though, the interest fades or goes into other sports - football, baseball, basketball. The only ones left are the small niche crowd. Soccer is a great sport (and bloody violent at times), but I don't see the American community getting behind it as much as the other sports around. Part of it is American mentality. Americans love good offense, high scores, home runs, and long bombs. That mentality clashes with other parts of the world, where good defense, and strong goalies are more appreciated. It's no wonder that here in the states, people get bored watching games with such low scoring. It probably explains why hockey is also a somewhat niche sport.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

Oh, there's plenty of involvement in the youth side of soccer, no doubt. That's true in many communities. But soccer here is still like American football anywhere else -- sure, it's popular somewhere, but that doesn't make it work here. Other countries love soccer and don't care much for football; the U.S. loves football and, in general, doesn't care much for soccer.

The national standard for major pro leagues is the big 3.5: the NFL, MLB, the NBA, and the NHL (the .5). Soccer is nowhere near competing on those levels. Not even the NHL, which is about as regional as it gets.

(This is not to criticize the sport itself, but to be realistic about its position in the U.S.)

bankboy119 11 years, 11 months ago


You've forgotten NASCAR...still haven't figured out why it's considered a sport or how it's even remotely interesting to watch but there are a lot of people who do.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

Ah, yes, I have conveniently forgotten NASCAR. Funny, because I live maybe an hour from one of the regular tracks (Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, MI). Race weekends are always obvious, as traffic down the main road near us (a main route to MIS) is heavy, especially with RVs and modified buses.

Although I have a hard time placing it in the same class as the other major sports, as they've been major sports for a while, whereas NASCAR's popularity is relatively recent.

Question: are there any non-white NASCAR drivers? Even hockey has non-white players.

josette_87 11 years, 11 months ago

Was that Randolph Scott? Is the question "Name old B&W Movie Stars that young people don't clap for when they die and get shown on the "In Memoriam" section of the Oscars?"

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

I had not heard of Bill Lester. It's good to know NASCAR isn't totally white. (Is he on the truck circuit? The pictures seem to show NASCAR trucks.)

josette_87 11 years, 11 months ago one point Eudora was all white. Late in life I learned one of my elder uncles refused to do business in Lawrence because of it's "open" policy. Geez. What a schocking thing to learn about one's family, having been raised by Lawrence schools to be totally non racist. I guess my family was too busy (me being last) to mention they were prejudiced LOL. I guess I got lucky, being at the end. The day I first learned my mom was racist, (I was in jr high) I was ashamed, and never has the same respect for her again. Suddenly she was a whole new person to me.

Shelley Bock 11 years, 11 months ago

Americans have only an interest in "exciting" sports like baseball and football with lots of offense?

Take baseball, Royals break out of a 12 game road losing streak by winning 1 - 0. Now that's exciting! Like my father said in his later years, "It was a great game. I was able to fall asleep by the 3rd inning."

Then, there's football. Maybe, if you're lucky you see 12 - 15 minutes of action, but the rest of the 3 hours is taken up with commericals, substitutions and hand holding in the huddle. Now, that's real excitement.

While you say the rules are simple for soccer, have you ever tried to understand the soccer "offside" rule? To those who don't know the game, it looks simple. But, for those that play, it is as complex as any football or baseball game. Soccer requires thinking instead of memorizing plays. And besides, average sized people with athletic skill play soccer; 300 pound steriod using linemen play orofesional football.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

Hepburn, bashing football in much the same way other people might have bashed soccer does not make a point. In fact, your stereotyping of football players as "300 pound steroid using linemen" reduces your credibility.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 11 months ago

Soccer? Just shoot me! I'd rather crawl across a field of broken glass and jump into a pool of lemonade. Seriously, I'd rather watch curling! (Or hurling.)

sunflower_sue 11 years, 11 months ago

Hepburn, obviously you've never been told that the breaks in football are so that you can go to the kitchen and get more food and beverage and not miss anything. Can you not appreciate a good tight end? (Maybe if soccer had better uniforms, I'd be more inclined to watch...Naaaahhhhh!)

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

Das, you're probably better off leaving NBA teams out of the defense-oriented point, as even low-scoring NBA games feature 120+ total points.

But while I'm talking about the NBA, can I vent for a second? I was watching the playoff games yesterday, and I was yet again reminded of how much I hate the fact that NBA arenas feel the need to supplement the on-court action with music and sound effects and organized cheers. Come on. The other major sports have the sense to stop the artificial noise once the action starts; why does the NBA have to keep it going? Isn't the game itself good enough?

Bad_Brad 11 years, 11 months ago

To quote Hank Hill: "Soccer was invented by European women to keep themselves busy while their husbands cook dinner."

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

I love soccer. I think it is a great game. I am stumped as to why soccer is not played more in North America. If you think that it is the major game in so many countries world wide, western Latin Countries, all of Europe. There is probably a toss up as to which would rate first in the former British Empire countries, soccer or cricket. It is played quite a lot here in Canada. I played on the girls team in High school 125 years ago and loved it. My grandsons play and the games are great.

gphawk89 11 years, 11 months ago

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Comets (the "first" Comets team in KC from '81 to '91, I believe). How many years does a team have to play in one city before they're considered "viable"? But as far as soccer popularity rising to the level of NFL, NBA, or MLB, or even NCAA hoops, I don't think it has a chance, at least in the near future.

Confrontation 11 years, 11 months ago

Soccer demands too much cardio, so Americans will never really like it.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

ms_c, 125 years ago? Wow!

Das, I do agree that defense is something of an endangered species in American sports. They have changed rules to encourage more offense/scoring; look at how little defensive players in the NFL and NBA are allowed to do. TV has played a large part in pushing offense over defense.

The Pistons, of course, are an anomaly within a very high-scoring game. And indeed, because they've been winning so much, their fan base is quite strong. A normal fan base for any team isn't going to be concerned so much with how they win, but only that they win, be it with offense or defense (or, in the Pistons' case this year, both).

I would also agree that complaints about soccer's defensive orientation may be a bit silly. But I also don't think they're relevant. In the end, sports are cultural, and your saying soccer could be big here because it's a great sport would be like my saying American football could be big in Brazil because it's a great sport. They are both fine sports, but they each have their hotspots. Soccer's hotspot is not the U.S., and football's hotspot is not Brazil, and no amount of wishing or proclaiming what a great sport it is will make either one so.

I have absolutely nothing against soccer as a sport, and I think it's wonderful that other countries love it. But I don't enjoy watching it, and the fact that so many other countries love it so much doesn't mean that I'm wrong for not enjoying it. Soccer has major popularity issues here, but if you're going to fix those, then you should also fix football's popularity issues elsewhere, because they're really the same issue.

commonsense 11 years, 11 months ago

One of my old coaches back in the late 70's once stated,

"Soccer is for the kids who couldn't make the football team"

commonsense 11 years, 11 months ago

Another classic by the ole ball coach,

"Wrestling is what men do during boys basketball season"

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

Of course, European professional soccer leagues are plagued by the same problems associated with popularity...

No, actually, pro football lags behind college and high school football for me. It's the same with most sports. Minor league baseball is a blast, and college hockey is superb. The pro side of it just isn't as fun. And in some cases the high school level sometimes rivals the college level for atmosphere and excitement.

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

sarge - 125 - just my way of saying a long time ago I do believe that confrontation is right. Soccer demands an extraordinary physical condition. I once said to hubby that I thought it was the most physically demanding sport and he said that tests proved that tennis actually ranked first in that department. But soccer is demanding. Watch a game played by the Italians or Spanish and see how they work. I think N. Amer. are too out of shape for the game. And as far as soccer players are the ones who could not make the football team, I think the opposite is true. Das Ubermime - I agree with your last post completely.

Shelley Bock 11 years, 11 months ago

"Soccer is for the kids who couldn't make the football team" by Commonsences' old football coach.

Good thing he did not show up at last fall's Lawrence High v. Topeka High football game. Girls soccer player Abby Vestal was kicking for LHS. Topeka girls soccer player Anne Schaefer kicked a 43 yard field goal for Topeka High. Granted, kicking is a specialized task, but none of those football players were able to do it.

Free State high school soccer players run between 3 to 5 miles before practice. LHS players must do the same. Both squads are in shape. Come to a game and watch from the sideline.

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

OMB - thanks for the info. I was not aware of that. I guess the question today is referring only to professional soccer. Now thn, do you really not know who David Beckham is? Really? He is an English hunk and the darling of all the girls over there. He is an expert at bending it. Bending is when the player bends his knees slightly, bends his back to the rear and catches the ball on his chest and flips it back up and over. This is a maneuver that is difficult for girls who can't really "bend it like Beckham"

wonderhorse 11 years, 11 months ago


Surely you are jesting. The "bending" referred to is his ability to "bend" the ball around the wall from a DFK.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

It's probably worth noting that different sports require different physical conditioning. Being in shape for soccer doesn't mean you'd be in shape for hockey. That's true for any of the sports, unless a specific athlete happens to play multiple sports -- and be good at them (which doesn't happen often past high school). (In my local high school, several players play football, basketball and baseball.) Football players definitely wouldn't last an entire soccer game with football conditioning, but soccer players don't have the pure strength required to stay upright on a football field for very long with soccer conditioning. Both soccer and football players would be hopeless in an ice arena (though it might be humorous).

So yeah, "in shape" is entirely relative.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 11 months ago

Oops Prospector, I bet you are right.

My college boyfriend said I would be gullible, and I believed him....I was surprised JPT was being kind of acceptable! ;)

Confrontation 11 years, 11 months ago

one_more_bob: Sorry, I forgot that you are the leader of all generalizations. I guess my posts just cannot compare to your intelligent rants : "I took a number 2 and I feel great."

snoozey 11 years, 11 months ago

Let's hold out for a professional baseball team ;-)

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

Das Ubermime - I take it by your reference to the movie of the same name that you caught on to my jesting. I guess I should stay away from the jesting in the future.

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

Reticent - I must be awfully dense, but sorry, I haven't the foggiest notion as to your meaning in you last post

jonas 11 years, 11 months ago

Ubermime: "So please, don't like the sport. Afterall, why like a game designed for European women? All of the fans of soccer are just Franco-philic pansies who can't play any other sport."

Are you trying to deny that you're a Franco-philic pansie who can't play any other sport? Haha, that's a good one. . . Frenchy McFrillypants!

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

Wow - a lot of folks getting all "bent" out of shape over this soccer question. Soccer is great to play, but boring to watch, unless you are a hooligan and the beer is cheap. Basketball is great, playing or watching, although it has been a while since I went out and played any hoops myself that didn't involve a swimming pool and a kid's backboard. College hoops is fun, but the NBA and WNBA is better - to quote Wanda Sykes: "Why watch a bunch of guys not good enough to go straight into the pros." Can't stand to watch any baseball that allows aluminum bats -- that "ping" doesn't sound natural. Can't stand to watch baseball on TV -- might as well be watching golf! Football is fun to watch in person or on TV, especially the Super Bowl Champion Steelers! (Did I mention that the Steelers won the Super Bowl? Oh, yes I did, in the previous sentence. How silly of me.) NASCAR isn't a sport, it is mechanics, but sailing is a sport. If you sit close enough, your beer stays colder at a hockey game than other sporting events, which makes it worth while in person.

And no, pro soccer doesn't stand a chance in KC.

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

R I -- well now - that is just too funny. I missed the comment by sunny sue. Oh yes the retreat - it was a ball. 72 women. On Sat. nite we had an untalent show we called "Beverly Idol" Beverly being our church name. We imported Simon, Paula and Randy, is that his name, as judges. I would not have believed the talented (untalented?) ladies in our group. We were all supposed to dress in nerd costume and some were just too, too funny. But no racoons dared show their furry faces in our midst, they got pretty suspicious when I came out with my holster and six shooters.

classclown 11 years, 11 months ago


Non Athletic Sport Created Around Rednecks

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