What would it take to make you a soccer fan?

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What would it take to make you a soccer fan?

Mark Wolfson
CSNBayArea.com

As a bay area soccer fan, last week's European Championships and the Earthquakes thrilling comeback win over the MLS champion LA Galaxy exemplified just how great "The Beautiful Game" can be.

But clearly the great majority of American sports fans have a less than enthusiastic view of the sport. It's vexing that the world's most popular sport has yet to gain a strong foothold in the US. One national morning radio show about soccer bills the game as "America's sport of the future... as it has been since 1972."

Why is that? It's a simple game with the smallest rule book in sports. Unlike the NFL and NBA, soccer is played by people whose pituitaries have not run amok. Normal sized athletes can succeed at the game's highest levels. In fact, soccer's greatest player (and arguably the greatest player ever) is barely 5'5" and nicknamed "the flea."

My non-soccer friends say the game is dull because of the paucity of scoring. He has a point given that the most common score line in professional soccer is 1-0 to the home team. But why is that any less exciting than a baseball pitching dual that results in just a run or two?

Many sports fans complain about the numbers of commercials in televised events. A typical baseball game has 27 minutes of commercials and promotion announcements. But since the clock is always running in soccer, whether the ball is in play or a team is tending to an injured player, there are no commercial breaks during the game - just pre-game, halftime and post game.

So instead of just continuing to scratch my head, I thought I'd ask you - sports fans who follow your favorite teams regularly on television, in print or on the internet.

What would it take to make you a soccer fan? And What would you do to make the game more appealing to you?

Mark Wolfson is producing todays broadcast between the San Jose Earthquakes and FC Dallas on CSN Bay Area

Day 1 of MLS 2017 Superdraft: Quakes take pair of midfielders

Day 1 of MLS 2017 Superdraft: Quakes take pair of midfielders

The San Jose Earthquakes began their 2017 draft by taking a UCLA Bruin. And if he pans out to play anything like the player he emulates his game around, the Quakes might have themselves a true superstar. 

Jackson Yueill, a midfielder, was selected by the Quakes with the sixth pick in the 2017 Superdraft. Yueill, who models his game around FC Barcelona and Spanish National Team legend Andres Iniesta, is a Generation Adidas Signing for the Earthquakes.

"I'm super excited," Yueill said. "I love the west coast. I'm excited to move to San Jose. It's a really good environment with the team and the fans. I've heard great things. I'm excited to try and bring another cup to San Jose." 

The UCLA product played in 40 games during his college career, scoring nine goals and notching 17 assists during those contests. His 11 assists in 2016 led the Pac-12. 

Considered a high-upside player, Yueill joins the Quakes in what already is a pretyt stacked midfield. "I see myself as an 8," Yueill said of his fit in the MLS game. "A box-to-box midfielder who can get into the attacking zone and create goal scoring opportunities." 

Yueill was named to back-to-back NSCAA First Team All-Far West Region and First Team All-Pacific 12 Conference teams. He has represented the United States on the U-20 team.

As a member of Generation Adidas, Yueill's salary will not count against salary cap. 

"I'm a player that loves to learn," Yueill said. "It's always great to come to a team where the coach believes in you."

With the 28th pick of the draft, the Earthquakes selected another midfielder -- Lindo Mfeka of the University of South Florida. 

A four-year player with the Bulls, Mfeka scored 16 goals and notched 18 assists in his college career. 

Mfeka is a two-time First Team member of the All-American Athletic Conference. He was born in Durban, South Africa.

Day 2 of the MLS Superdraft will happen via conference call next Tuesday. The Quakes have two picks remaining -- the 50th and 72nd overall selections. 

Rounding out local Superdraft News: Two members of the Quakes' Premier Development League affiliate, Burlingame Dragons FC, were selected in Day 1. Brian Nana-Sinkam (Stanford) was selected by the MLS-champion Seattle Sounders and Brian Wright (Vermont) went to the New England Revolution. 

Earthquakes release 2017 schedule; includes seven nationally televised games

Earthquakes release 2017 schedule; includes seven nationally televised games

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Earthquakes unveiled their 2017 MLS regular season schedule Thursday morning, which includes 16 matches at Avaya Stadium and a return to Stanford Stadium for the seventh consecutive season. Thirteen of the team's 17 home games will be played on Saturday nights.

A total of seven Quakes matches will be televised nationally in 2017, with select contests carried on FOX Sports 1, UniMas and Univision.

Following 2016's record-breaking viewership of the California Clasico broadcast on Univision, two Earthquakes matches, both against the LA Galaxy, will air nationally on the network during the 2017 season (May 27, 7 p.m.; July 1, 7 p.m.). One million people tuned into last year's Clasico, including 548,000 between the ages of 18-49, making it one of the most watched MLS games last season and the first-ever MLS match to draw such ratings on Spanish language television.

The Earthquakes will continue the tradition of playing the California Clasico at Stanford Stadium when they host the LA Galaxy on Saturday, July 1 (7 p.m./Univision). The last five have drawn sold-out crowds of more than 50,000, including a record 50,816 in 2016. The summer classic will represent the Quakes' Military Appreciation Night and features the largest fireworks display in the Bay Area postgame.

Among the keynote home games is the season opener against the Montreal Impact on Saturday, March 4 (7 p.m.), the battle against defending MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, April 8 (7:30 p.m.), the rivalry matchup with the LA Galaxy on Saturday, May 27 (7 p.m./Univision) and the faceoff against the 2015 MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers on Saturday, Sept. 30 (7:30 p.m.).

After starting off the season with consecutive home games against Montreal and then Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday, March 11 (7 p.m.), the Quakes will hit the road for a pair of away matches against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, March 18 (5:30 p.m.) and New York City FC on Saturday, April 1 (TBD). The Quakes will open and close the regular season with a heavy home schedule, with four of the first six games at Avaya Stadium, and three of the last four also in San Jose. The Quakes will hit the road for six of the nine games between Weeks 7-15.

Earthquakes media services