Yup, its a World Cup year, that means US Soccer and MLS try to get some publicity and exposure from a non-sports magazine. This year its Maxim, as the press release on mlsnet.com tells us. I’m going to hazard a guess and say that at least these won’t be as bad as the GQ pictures prior to the 2002 world cup. But still, how effective is this going to be, beyond the "any publicity is good publicity" type? MLS is hoping to convert new fans, and thinks the appearance is a good way to "occupy a place in pop culture." I’m all for increasing the popularity and profile of the sport in the US, but events like this are pretty gimmicky in my opinion, and don’t have the lasting effect people wish (thank god in some cases).
You can also see that maxim put a genius behind the photoshoot – Maxim Fashion Editor MAria Ruocco, who has this gem of a line "We figured that we wanted to do a soccer story to begin with, and what better way than to feature real soccer players,". No, really, how’d you come up with that all by yourself, I would have thought a better story would be to interview the refs, ball kids, shoe manufactures. Good thing I’m not calling the shots.
Finally, kudos to the players for following the MLS talking points about how great an opportunity this represents. Someone needs to turn the pictures from this into a Movie poster about a rag tag soccer kids team who’s helped out by professional players, sent back to earth to turn the team around so that they can get into heaven.