For FCearth's first (hopefully of many) Q&A's with soccer personalities, we interview David Falk, a soccer journalist and proponent of the Puget Sound soccer scene since 1974. David Falk writes the highly informative Seattle Soccer Examiner. He's the webmaster ofGOALSeattle.com and you can follow him on Twitter here.
David Falk has not only witnessed, but passionately chronicled, the momentous rise of soccer in the Northwest. The Sounders are an instant hit in the MLS, drawing some of the largest and most raucous crowds in the MLS. But as David can tell you, there’s actually nothing “instant” about Sounders at all; this year’s success results from countless passionate soccer fans in the region over the last thirty years.
Check out Falk’s story about his website’s flag contest, and how the winner donated his tickets to a fan who truly needed them!
FCearth: What is your background with this sport?
David Falk: I have been following the Sounders since 1974. Occasionally I play recreational soccer. I have been writing about the Sounders and soccer in Seattle since my high school days at Chief Sealth in West Seattle. My love for the sport was born out of those NASL Sounders and to a smaller extent Toby Charles' "Soccer Made in Germany" show that ran on KCTS Channel 9 in those days.
What are your favorite club and/or national teams?
Seattle Sounders FC are my favorite club. No other side hold such a strong place in my heart, though I do follow Bundesliga 2 side TSV 1860 Munich. Locally I follow and cheer for all of our clubs when they play outside competition: Kitsap Pumas, Tacoma Tide FC, Seattle Wolves FC and our many colleges.
What is the story of GoalSeattle.com?
GOALSeattle.com was started separately from the old "SounderCentral.com" whose web address is still active and leads to GS. GS came about because I wanted a website to keep fans up on how close Seattle was to getting an MLS club. I merged SounderCentral.com and GOALSeattle.com in 2007. The main drawing point of the website has always been the active forums, the huge museum archive of Seattle soccer history, the thousands of photographs and my column.
What can we learn from the Seattle soccer scene? The pursuit of an MLS franchise- but also the storied history before it?
The game has roots in the United States. The game has a history here. If clubs understand that history and present themselves as truly professional and as welcoming that history, then wonderful things can happen.
The response to "Sounders 3.0" has been overwhelming. Many factors have gone into it, from stadium location to marketing to name choice to p layer signings and more. Perhaps the biggest asset is the Sounders' partnership with Qwest Field and the Seahawks. Unlike what we have seen from the Kraft's and the Patriots partnership with the Revolution, in Seattle from the very start every effort has been made to put the Sounders on level footing with the Seahawks.
I'm not sure that Seattle's NASL love affair is fueling the new MLS craze, but it certainly isn't hurting it.
What do you think is the #1 thing needed for soccer's continued success in this country?
Owners with more vision and bigger pockets. Period. The rest will follow.
What is your favorite story that you've covered as a soccer journalist and why?
Probably the way our recent flag contest turned out at GOALSeattle.com. The winner of the contest defaulted his season ticket prize to a guy who couldn't afford seats. Now that guy is one of the most vocal leaders in our south end. Imagine if he'd not been able to go to matches at all...
So what happens to this guy who was given the season ticket by another fan? He gets Fredy Montero's jersey after a match!
Hard work and a true love for the game. Also, thinking like a fan. In other words, there is no thing such as 'too much' coverage of your favorite club!
What is your favorite soccer media?
I really enjoyed Fever Pitch, both book and film, A Shot at Glory (film), The Cup (film) and weekly league highlight shows from around the world.
Loaded question: What is your predicted starting XI for USMNT at South Africa 2010, first game?
Let's get through the qualifying stages first, OK? Right now we still look like boys among men. While MLS may be slowly making progress as a world league, our national side continues to take a step forward and half a step back.
Let's just say that we need help "up the middle." Other than goalkeeper, I'd like to see more at center back, attacking midfielder and striker.