Thierry Henry is a class act at New York and the MLS is getting good in 2013

 

Soccer has certainly made great strides in the United States in recent years. It will never be anywhere as near as popular as Football, baseball or basketball … or for that matter a long list of other sports. But as a soccer fan here in England, from what I have seen, the US game has really came a long way from a decade ago.

 

This isn’t just down to the Beckham effect either. Sure, Becks going to LA certainly raised the profile of the game. Living in Britain I suddenly had more television coverage and was able to watch US soccer. I liked what I seen. It’s a running joke that it isn’t up to standard, but it is wholly unfair to compare the US game to the European game; much like it would be unfair to compare Britain’s developing Basketball game to the US. As I say, Beckham raised the profile, but the quality increase wasn’t down to the Beckham effect. The fact is that America started producing their own great players. Take a look at the USA national team, they have done really well. The likes of Landon Donovan and Seattle bound Clint Dempsey will ensure the enjoyability of the upcoming MLS season will be as much down to American quality as it is European imports. When I was last in America, in fabulous Las Vegas, I caught some MLS action on TV and on the whole I really thought it was good stuff. The added dynamic of ageing European legends and the skilled South American players mean that the league on a whole is well rounded one.

 

I am sure some TJRsports readers are reluctant when it comes to soccer. It has had an association with women’s sport in the past, it isn’t as statistical or physical as football. I encourage America to really check the MLS out this season though, Thierry Henry is one of the best players I have ever seen, Robbie Keane is a great player, Dempsey and Donovan are talented. The action in soccer is fast paced and athletic, it is all about team play with moments of individual flair. A well played pass and thunderous shot are things of beauty. Behind the scenes, the league has problems with corporate structure and salary caps, but then again the European model of $90 million transfer fees is hardly ideal. MLS is starting to attract the best players and naturally develop their own talented crop.

 

The team to watch has to be the New York Red Bulls, mainly for Thierry Henry. Henry is a legend. He plays in a similar way to Cristiano Ronaldo, pacey, athletic and exciting. He is one of the greatest players ever to play in the English premier league. He won Two premier league titles with Arsenal in England, and another Two leagues with Barcelona in Spain as well as the European Champions league. I urge all New Yorkers to get along to a game and watch this guy play, he is only 35 and you have got him still at an age in which he is relevant. For example, Ryan Giggs is 40 this year and still regularly plays for Manchester United… don’t be deceived into thinking Henry is too old or past it.

 

Another reason to cheer on Henry this season is that for the remainder of this season Goldman Sachs Gives, the charitable branch of the investment bank, will donate $5,000 for every goal Henry scores and $2,500 for every assist he provides to Grass Root Soccer – a charity that combats the spread of AIDS in developing nations through the power of football. Considering how talented Henry is, that could be a good chunk of cash for the charity. Henry will be looking to send GRS their first $5,000 this Saturday when his club New York Red Bulls take on strugglers Columbus crew. Be sure to check it out and support the MLS!

 

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