Has Grahame Jones been reading the BigSoccer boards…

…or at least my blog?

Seriously, his column in today’s LA Times looks like they were lifted straight from the numerous rants on BigSoccer. Of course, he put his thoughts together much better.

Things would be far more interesting if FIFA showed some initiative and forced CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, the South American confederation, to combine into a single, 48-nation confederation.

The Gold Cup could then disappear and the Copa America could become the regional championship — an honest-to-goodness Cup of the Americas.

With the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and the U.S. competing, it could, in time, rival the European Championship in appeal. Or, if that’s an exaggeration, at least it would be a lot better than what is being offered.

It’s probably a pipe dream, but many fans of the sport in this country I’m sure agree entirely. Of course, it would help if games were broadcast in English on a channel more English speakers get…but that’s a whole different issue. Of course, with Copa America qualification now on the agenda as well, that will mean more MLS matches missed by top players as well. I guess we don’t live in a perfect world after all.

Jones also comments on the recent FIFA ranks which came out with the US at #6.

There is not a lucid soul on the planet — U.S. coaches and players included — who believes that there are only five national teams better than the U.S. Any such assertion is ludicrous.

The rankings are based on a mathematical formula that takes into account such things as a team’s results over a period of years, the significance of the competitions in which it plays, the relative strength of its opponents and, for all anyone knows, the phases of the moon and the mood of FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter.

It is a complex formula, one that would give pause to a Caltech graduate, let alone the fan in the stands.

As much as we hear about the BCS rankings on Sports Talk radio in the Fall, if this country actually followed soccer, can you imagine how many calls would have come in with the FIFA rankings? I’ll wait until next summer to see who really is #1 and where the US currently stands.


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