Soccer is one of the best sport possible for a young child to play. Its concept is simple—two sets of kids chasing a ball which they can only touch with their feet as they attempt to kick it in a goal—is undoubtedly one of the reasons why it’s the first sport many children formally play. And the skill sets soccer helps children develop, skills like speed, agility, quickness, endurance, balance, which are easily transferrable to other sports, make it even more attractive.
Yet despite all that, soccer has never really caught on here in America. Is LeBron James about to change all that?
The rest of the world goes ga-ga over soccer. Globally speaking, the World Cup is arguably bigger than the Olympics. Yet here in good ol’ US of A, we barely even notice the sport. At least once our kids stop playing. And thanks to the fact that soccer has barely even made a dent in our pop culture, many are hanging up the shin guards earlier than ever before as they move on to more “mainstream” sports such as football, baseball or basketball.
But yesterday came news that might change all of that. LeBron James has partnered up with Fenway Sports Group. FSG, which owns the Boston Red Sox, will join forces with LeBron’s sport-marketing firm, LRMR Branding & Marketing. According to the Wall Street Journal, they will “become the exclusive world-wide representative for Mr. James.”
FSG will undoubtedly benefit from this association as they will earn a “small commission” for deals they help James land. But what about LeBron? What does he get?
FSG has offered the basketball superstar a minority share of the Liverpool soccer club, one of the most prominent soccer organizations on the planet.
“Mr. James said he was ‘humbled’ by the deal and looked forward to donning a red Liverpool jersey and visiting Anfield, the team’s legendary stadium.”
And when he dawns that red jersey, it will no doubt be projected from television screens everywhere. Seeing LeBron rock the Liverpool FC colors just might be enough to get more kids interested in the soccer. Especially if Liverpool has a good season and compels LeBron to take more than just a business interest in his new team.
And odds are that they may, indeed, have a good season. All told, they’ve won 18 championships which is the most among English teams.
“Eighteen championships,” LeBron James said of his new international, equity-based asset. “I see myself trying to do the same things they have.”
Um, LeBron, you’ve not even won a championship yet, so you may wanna check that kind of talk. But don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll win one.
But even if you don’t, if your involvement in soccer encourages more and more kids to stick with it for longer, then you’ll be a winner, indeed. At least in my book. Because soccer’s a great sport that could and should become more mainstream in the United States.
And I’m hoping that an endorsement from one of our most famous athletes will help it become just that.