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Major Link Soccer: MLS teaches college football how to fill a stadium

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How much will it take to get Jermaine Jones to MLS? Qataris buy a side door into European soccer with farm team in Belgium. Jozy is sad.

Why does the SEC need lessons from Sporting KC?
Why does the SEC need lessons from Sporting KC?
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle

The Seattle Times has a story by Geoff Baker that analyzes MLS's progress towards the "Big Time" in American sports.  We all know that a nationally-televised Timbers visit to a de-tarped CenturyLink field is as "Big Time" as it gets in this league, but it's nice to know that Dan Courtemanche feels the same way.  When asked if soccer will ever "make it" in the states:

As an executive vice-president and spokesman for Major League Soccer, he gets that a lot. So, Courtemanche simply told them to make sure they tuned in last Sunday night to the nationally televised Sounders game against Portland.

"After that, they stopped asking the question," he said.

Columnist Larry Stone also columnizes about how the Sounders may be in a great position among Seattle sports teams this year to create some playoff magic.

With just a scrimmage against some team from England to worry about for the next 10 days, it's time to relax, grab a beverage, listen to Nos Audietis, and check out SassySusie's excellent pre-Tottenham infographic (the first of three!)

MLS

Why are SEC college football teams looking to Major League Soccer (and particularly Sporting Innovations, the marketing consultant offshoot of Sporting KC) to fill their stadia?  Because Sporting have shown a particular knack for growing a sports team brand among younger people in a very short time.  Apparently it's all in the data. This story is an interesting read.

Jermaine Jones wants to come to MLS, but the free agent is driving a hard bargain.  Whether he would go through allocation, though, is an interesting question.

Alicia over at The Goat Parade makes a good case for why new neutral viewers of MLS (World Cup Bump!!) without a natural team to root for should pick the goats over any other.  After all, you don't get that hipster cred if you didn't like a team before they were winning.

Sometimes sports are just a meaningless distraction from what's important.  Then again sometimes the game you watch and your favorite players can help more than they know to get you through the hardest times of your life.

It looks like Kansas City captain Matt Besler might want to stay in KC after all, and Sporting would like to keep him.  It's likely down to the numbers after the dollar sign at this point.

Want to read tweets translated from Spanish about the Carlos Valdez back to Philadelphia Union rumors?  Don't let me stop you!

US Soccer

All signs point to a USMNT/Ecuador friendly in October, to be played somewhere in the United States.  No word on an exact date, but you can pencil in the 10th or the 14th (if you pencil stuff like that in).

Speaking of friendlies, the US Women have scheduled one against Switzerland on August 30.  Cary, NC is the spot, and USSoccer.com will have the stream.  (You can use pen for this one).

I am not all surprised to hear this, because I think we all felt pangs of his regret across the world, but Jozy Altidore considers his hamstring injury in the first game of the World Cup finals to be "the lowest point" in his career. Still, you have to applaud his attitude in the face of it:

"But after a couple of days, you have to understand it’s not about you," said Altidore. "It’s about the team. You have to try your best to be positive and be the guy who still gives something any way you can. The challenge for me was to still be upbeat and give something in other ways."

World

Well, rules are there to be broken (or at least bent), and there's always a loophole if you have enough money.  Lacking a European-based farm team to bring in African players to gain European passports to enable transfers to bigger Euro teams, a Qatari royal family has purchased K.A.S. Eupen, a lower-league Belgian team.  Now, the Qataris are stocking the team with players brought up through their Aspire Football Dreams academy.  The New York Times has the first in this two part series that I find pretty fascinating.

Will there be an FA-Cup-style midseason knockout tournament in the NBA soon?  Sure, and lets do it in Vegas!