4 Reasons MLS Will Be Bigger than the NFL by 2040

Bold statement, huh? Before you argue, hear me out.

Soccer is the most popular game around the world, with the exception of the United States. In 2018, 3.5 billion (yes, billion) people watched France defeat Croatia to be crowned World Cup Champions. In comparison, 100.7 million people watched the Chiefs beat the 49ers in the Super Bowl.

The numbers don’t lie. Soccer is the world’s game.

Don’t get me wrong, I love American football. I prefer my Saturdays to Sundays in the fall but, I am sure to follow along with the NFL schedule.

While the NFL has grown exponentially in the last two decades, there are questions of continued growth in the distance. Here are four reasons MLS will be bigger than the NFL by 2040:

The Further Deterioration of American Football

This is a grassroots issue.

Parents are more and more hesitant to enroll their kids in tackle football due to the high risk of injury associated with the game. Rightfully so, rec leagues are moving to an emphasis of a ‘flag’ football approach where the rules and concepts of the game are taught, and injury is limited. But, this does not translate to the NFL.

Contrary, with soccer, the game children play at all levels is the game the pros play. With it’s simple rules, limited need for equipment and relatively low injury rate compared to other sports, soccer participation in the US is growing.

Soccer participation at the youth level is a key to MLS’ future growth.

This is translating to MLS. Attendance is at a record high for the league. With strategic expansions into untapped markets, MLS is poised to become the country’s favorite sport.

League Expansion in Non-Traditional Markets

I applaud MLS on it’s expansion efforts. With cities like Austin, TX, Cincinnati, OH and Nashville, TN, the league is striking a balance on bringing soccer to new and existing regions of interest.

Other cities excluded by the NFL include: Portland, OR, Orlando, FL, Salt Lake City, UT and Columbus, OH, all with strong MLS franchises poised to expand.

While my argument is being made for the US, our neighbors to the north are getting in on the beautiful game with franchises in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. This will only help grow the league.

The newer franchises are building soccer-specific stadiums that have smaller capacities but allow for a more intimate connection to the game for fans. Portland’s Providence Park is a perfect example of this. Located close to downtown, the Timbers regularly have the best attendance numbers in the league.

Providence Park, home stadium of the Portland Timbers.

I am excited for the new stadiums that Nashville and Austin are planning to open by next season.

Product Presentation

A soccer game lasts 90 minutes (not including stoppage time). You know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Halftime runs fifteen minutes.

In my opinion, that is the beauty of soccer- two uninterupted forty five minute halves of action.

You don’t get that with the NFL.

Example of NFL Presentation: Opening kick-off. Commercials. Three and out. Punt. Commercials. Other team goes three and out. Punt. Followed by commercials.

The average play in football lasts six seconds. Yes, your are one play away from an exciting event but, that is if you haven’t changed the channel or looked down at your phone.

Soccer demands your undivided attention, forty five minutes at a time. With future generations suffering from shorter and shorter attention spans, soccer may just be the answer.

Europe’s Biggest Stars Come to MLS

With names like Beckham, Ibrahimovic, Rooney and Kaka having come across the Atlantic to see MLS for themselves, you know the league is headed in the right direction.

While these stars were closer to the end of their careers, they could have stayed in Europe and still made good money while having a shot at Champions League glory. This tells you what European stars think of MLS. It is even rumored that Cristiano Ronaldo has interest in joining a MLS club.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic being introduced as the newest member of the LA Galaxy.

I don’t think the NFL is going anywhere, anytime soon but, you do have to recognize that there are issues with the game that could mean trouble for the league in the future. I think this will give soccer the opening it needs to become a more popular sport in the US. If MLS continues to make strides, the game has a bright future.

Dear Today

Dear today, tomorrow here
Man I was just checkin’ in
Hope you’ve been well
Me, I’m doin’ alright
Could always be better
Seeing as you’re the only one with a choice in the matter
If I know you, hell, you’re too busy
To do damn near anything that you ought to
Guess what I’m sayin’ is, is if you don’t change
Boy, you’ll be kickin’ yourself one of these days
So maybe you should call our mama
Have a drink with our old man
Quit wastin’ our sweet time
And put that diamond on her hand
Stop takin’ me for granted
Like I’ll always be around
‘Cause even as you read this, boy, that clock is tickin’ down
And remember every second I’ve got’s borrowed
So I hope you think of me today
Sincerely, tomorrow
Listen, I ain’t tryin’ to bring you down
‘Cause I know damn better than pushin’ you around
I guess I was just lookin’ out for you and me both
‘Cause we both lose if I told you so
So maybe you should call our mama
Have a drink with our old man
Quit wastin’ our sweet time
And put that diamond on her hand
Stop takin’ me for granted
Like I’ll always be around
‘Cause even as you read this, boy, that clock is tickin’ down
And remember every second I’ve got’s borrowed
So I hope you think of me today
Sincerely, tomorrow
Dear today, tomorrow here
Man I was just checkin’ in
Hope you’ve been well
-Luke Combs

You Are Your Thoughts

Ever have a bad day? You know the feeling. Nothing goes your way, everyone seems to be in your way and all this does is make you grumpy. We’ve all been there. The point is you don’t have to stay there. Sure you cannot control everything that happens to you but, you can control your thoughts and how you react to what happens to you. These bad days usually compound as you try harder and harder to reverse the feeling. It’s like being stuck in quick-sand, the more you move, the faster you sink.

Next time you are having one of those days, immediately identify it and assess it. Rather than dwelling on what can go wrong, envision what will go right. That sentence alone is passive versus intentional- ‘what can go wrong’ or ‘what will go right’. Which one is more confident, the latter- why? Because it is stating that you will seek out and find a positive rather than getting stuck in your current state of self-pity. What controls this attitude shift? Your mind and thoughts.

Your thoughts and how you process them can be your greatest asset or your biggest liability. Positive self-talk is real. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or think you cannot, you’re right.” This means if you believe you can, you can. Conversely, if you don’t think you can, you probably can’t.

Like anything worth acquiring, it won’t come quickly. Be aware of your thoughts and use them to change your day and outlook on life in a positive manner. This is a repetition exercise, one that requires experience and self-mastery.

Hope is not a strategy, luck is not a factor, fear is not an option.

Kettlbell- The Superior Fitness Application

A cannon ball with a handle. That’s essentially what it is. Yet this simple description does not do this amazing piece of equipment justice. The kettlebell dates back to the nineteenth century. Not till recently has it made it’s way to the main stream of fitness.

My kettlebell experience started while listening to Joe Rogan’s podcast. I continued to hear Joe mention over and over his love for the kettlebell. Intrigued and bored with my own lifting program, I decided to do some research. After suffering several over-use injuries from traditional western weight lifting equipment, I decided to buy two kettlebells and change up my routine.

Clearly, this was different than anything I had encountered in the gym before. I started with movements like swings, Turkish get ups, presses, and goblet squats. After my first workout, I immediately noticed how I achieved total body exhaustion without the wear and tear. It must be the equivalent to running on a zero gravity treadmill- all the miles and work without much of the soreness, I thought. 

Because the kettlebell is so simple in it’s nature, it forces you to keep your routine simple- in a good way. Rather than focusing on weight and reps, you simply focus on the movement pattern with the bell. In a goblet squat you are holding the bell in front of you. As you lower into your squat, with keeping good posture in mind, your elbows slip between your legs and your chest stands tall- typically achieving a new found range of motion in the squat. The goblet squat reduces the stress placed on the spine compared to  when it is loaded in a barbell front squat- all the gain without the pain.

KB Goblet Squat.png

In addition, a move like the Turkish Get-Up can be extremely engaging yet humbling.  Required for a smooth get up is shoulder stability, core strength, and to have one’s upper body connected with the lower body through the trunk. This exercise improves motor skill development each time it is performed. You cannot be sloppy and unfocused while performing the get up.

KB Get Up.jpg

If you are like me and bored with your typical gym equipment or looking for a simple, easy to store at-home workout application, check out the kettlebell. Here is the kettlebell I first purchased.

My recommendation would be to start with a 15-30 pound bell (based on current strength/experience levels) to begin your journey. Master the basic movements like swing, squat, press, and get up. As you progress, look to build a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) circuit for a total body workout. You will fall in love with this tool and look to grow your collection with time. Other companies I would recommend are Onnit, Kettlebell Kings and Rogue Fitness.

If you first want to do your own research and read up on the kettlebell and it’s application check out these publications by Pavel Tsatsouline (credited with bringing the kettlebell to America). Pavel has trained everyone from professional athletes to special forces, he is a wealth of knowledge and experience to alternative training methods that get your stronger. His books, Kettlebell Simple & Sinister, Enter The Kettlebell, and Power To The People are great reads to learn about the history

Pavel recently appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience and recorded a podcast on Tim Ferriss’ show a few years ago. Two episodes you should give a listen.

Take advantage of visual sources such as YouTube and Instagram to see and learn the coaching points on each movement. Get creative in your practice and find what works for you. While the  kettlebell is simple, it is not easy.

Handwritten

When is the last time you sat down and wrote someone a handwritten letter? Probably been a while. With today’s modern marvels we can send out communications with little to no effort. While these advancements have made life easier, it’s come at an expense. They say after you’ve interviewed for a job to hand write the person a thank you note- not send an email. The reason? To make an impact on the person and show them you genuinely care. That’s a statement.

Today, I challenge you to take the time to write someone in your life. Maybe it’s an old friend you haven’t talked to in a while- share a memory, tell an old story. Maybe a mentor who made a positive impact on your career- tell them thanks for the guidance. Or a loved one to remind them just how much they mean to you.

Take the time, sit down and write. Make a statement.