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SF Examiner: Soccer development is alive and well in San Francisco

By Bonta Hill, 06/29/18, 1:45PM PDT


Amid U.S. absence from World Cup, grassroots efforts like the SF Glens hope to turn tide

With ratings and attendance down in Major League Baseball amid a desperate attempt to speed up pace of play, and increasing numbers of parents pulling their children away from tackle football, from the outside looking in, the time would seem to be ripe for soccer to emerge in the United States, or at the very least, to gain ground.

Except, despite a boost in ratings, upsets galore and wall-to-wall coverage, this World Cup feels like a huge missed opportunity to entice more fans to play a game which still hasn’t broken through as a mainstream sport in America.

Can soccer ever breakthrough in America, and join the ranks of major sports, alongside football and baseball? Who knows, but it’s not due to effort, and that effort starts with grassroots efforts like the San Francisco Glens.

In the middle of their first year in the PDL, the Glens –  who have been around since 1961 as a Sunset-based amateur club founded by the Irish Community — have decided to go the pro route and join the Premier Development League.

Major League Soccer played its first season in 1996 with 10 teams now boasts 23, including three in Canada, and one right here in the Bay Area in San Jose with the Earthquakes, who play at beautiful Avaya Stadium.

Eighty-one percent of the MLS’ draft picks are from the PDL, a league made up of Major League Soccer’s Under-23 teams and independent franchises, which is considered as the fourth tiered league in the United States.

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