I am consistently bemoaning the fact that the United States lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to support of football. Soccer. (We even call it the wrong name.) And although my heart and my family's belong to the mighty Manchester United, we try to support our local teams, if only to offer our patronage and encouragement to growing the sport here in this country.
Of late, we've been attending Crystal Palace Baltimore matches. CPB is a small, professional soccer team that competes in the United States Soccer Federation's 2nd Division. It's a really fun club to watch, and while not on par with the skill & talent level of United, it's a great way for the boys to get to watch live football. It's also a small enough club that they are able to go meet the players and get their autographs after home matches.
CPB is the sister club of the English Crystal Palace Football Club. Unfortunately, we are now hearing that the American club is facing the same financial problems as its UK counterpart. However, here, the club's problems lie with their lack of support. They don't have very many fans, and they don't even have their own stadium. And, as CPB was only founded in 2006, they don't have the history of their sister club, nor the deep bond with the fans they do have. I find this situation to be very sad...although my family has only been to two matches so far, both of the boys loved every minute. Especially the Big Guy. It is simply amazing how moved and inspired he was when he watched live football. It is safe to say that it solidified his love for the sport and his passion for the beautiful game. Between his loyalty to United, and seeing football played "in real life" right before his eyes, there is no doubt that he will be a lifelong football enthusiast.
And that's what makes the woes of CPB even more regrettable and disheartening. It feels as though they weren't even given the tools or the opportunity to succeed. All I can do is continue to give my family's support for the club, and desperately hope for some miracle to turn things around for CPB, like the happy ending that arrived in Selhurst Park.