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Does NASL success translate to MLS success?

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Just today I was asked a series of questions related to the "sleeping giant" awakening here in the great Puget Sound, about how Sounders FC has managed to sell so many seats in this economy, and whether the NASL had anything to do with it.

Here is the section from me, taken entirely out of context so that you will have to read the story.


Dave Clark of www.SounderatHeart.com looks at Seattle itself in analyzing the tremendous reception to the FC. "I think that Seattle is a city with global connections. While most of America views us as a quaint town tucked away in the Northwest, the world and our citizens see our strong connections to Canada, Europe and Asia. The fact that thousands in the Greater Puget Sound get up regularly at 7AM on a Saturday to watch the Premiership should have been a strong indicator to every one involved in MLS and Sounders FC."

Clark is less willing to drink the Kool Aid on how the 1970's Sounders might have somehow 'primed' Seattle for today. "Seattle is a much different place now than we were in the late 70s and early 80s," he states. "Microsoft, Amazon, Nintendo, Starbucks are companies with huge worldwide brands, with employees that come from all over the globe. While the echo of the NASL has kept the dream alive for the few natives, I think that Sounders FC has been strongly adopted by those that have chosen to become sounders, not by birth, but by choosing to live in a region with our unique values and entertainments.

"Back in 1999-2001 I was a producer at KJR. I was laughed at for being a soccer and MLS fan. Now, every one I know wants more information about the team." Clark has seen his blog take off since the club started reaching out to fans and gaining media attention. " In April there will be two sports radio stations and each will cover the sport. The Seattle Times coverage is top notch, and there will be numerous TV packages of games/highlights and interviews. Soccer in Seattle is mainstream, it is front sports page above the fold, it can lead the sports cast. As fans we don't get to play the "no respect" card anymore, but we can continue to raise the bar, and push for more. More analysis, more interviews, more depth. 2009 will be a great distraction for those of us of the Sound. Let's enjoy every game as a unique opportunity to show the world just exactly who we are."

What makes this even more intriguing is Duane's recent scoop that THE clubs that may be getting the 2011 expansion are the two Cascadia Cup and NASL rivals - the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps.

Now yes, Seattle and Vancouver will need to open up even more of their large stadiums for weekend matches in this tri-way rivalry, and Portland will have to deal with just not being able to have enough seats, but is this really due to the NASL?

Or is it in spite of it?

I grew up without a care in the world for the NASL, and so I ask the readers