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The Boston Herald

 

Vive la France!

Why not?

Vive la Revolution?

Not unless it moves to Boston.

France faces Croatia in the 2018 World Cup final today.

Meanwhile, the New England Revolution continue to generate ennui throughout Greater Boston.

More than 30,000 fans - the largest crowd of 2018 - were expected last night in Foxboro to see the local futbolers face the LA Galaxy. But a half-empty stadium, 30-something miles from Boston, and a crowd fueled by World Cup-adrenaline cannot translate to the long-awaited official arrival of the Revolution into the city's sports mainstream.

"Anything is possible," Kevin Garnett said once.

Indeed, some day, the Revolution may be a big deal in Boston.

But that will require help from the city to find a piece of land and lots and lots and lots of Robert Kraft's money. Lest we forget, Kraft is a guy who would not guarantee Danny Amendola $8.25 million for two seasons.

Among the items on any checklist before the opening of Amazon Stadium at Nickerson Field, the venue must:

• Be a privately funded, soccer-first facility.

• Contain high-end luxury boxes.

• Boast an intense in-game experience.

• Have easy access to public transportation.

• Host home games only when the Red Sox are out of town.

• Feature a team with "star power."

In Boston - "star power" means the likes of Gronk, Tom and Giselle, Big Papi and/or Ben Affleck having a piece of the action as owners - as much as it would mean the likes of a Ronaldo, Suarez or Messi on the field.

Robert Kraft needs someone not named Kraft to attach his or her name to the team - and give it the long-term promotional and media push it so desperately needs.

Here is why public money can never be committed to that process: My round-trip from Alewife to South Station on the Red Line Thursday had more delays (one) than goals scored in the Revolution's home game on July 7 (none).

The announced attendance that night was 16,484 - just slightly fewer than the number of people stranded at Park Street when the Red Line stopped … just because it felt like stopping.

The push to force-feed soccer into American sporting mainstream predates the designated hitter. Now, 40-something years later, the soccer side is finally moving the ball.

Multiple metrics point to the fact that soccer's growth in the United States is occurring among young people and in areas where there is a strong immigrant population - two areas of growth. New MLS teams are coming to Nashville, Cincinnati and Miami. And while myth says young people are tuning out sports - they're watching as often as ever - just in shorter bursts. A two-hour MLS tilt may be the perfect fit.

DC United christened its $400 million stadium Saturday night. The crown jewel of the MLS now sits at ground zero in Los Angeles, in the parking lot of the LA Coliseum. LAFC's Banc of California stadium is a privately financed, $350 million, 22,000-seat, soccer-first venue with 35 luxury suites and perks that would make Jerry Jones envious. Among the team's co-owners: Magic Johnson and Mia Hamm-Garciaparra. Perhaps you'll see LeBron James at a game or two before the start of the NBA season.

Boston is not Los Angeles. We thank our Creator and Larry Bird for that. But a similar Hollywood mindset could make the Revolution great again, er, for the first time.

Mayor Marty Walsh says talk of a new soccer stadium is "no secret."

And in order for the Revolution to catch a sniff of the passion and money generated by the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins or Celtics - the team will have to have to go big and go to Boston.

Or stay home in relative irrelevance.

Bill Speros (aka Obnoxious Boston Fan) can be reached at bsperos1@gmail.com and Tweets @RealOBF.

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July 16, 2018
 
 
 

 

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