Page 10-The Michigan Daily- Tuesday, February 4, 1992
T-H - E
by Ken Sugiura
Daily Sports Writer
PONTIAC - On an otherwise dreary Groundhog's
Day, the Detroit-area virtually secured itself host status
for ganes in the 1994 World Cup. Michigan World Cup
'94, the hid committee, cleared its final obstacle by
turning out 35,248 spectators at the Silverdome to
watch the U.S. men's soccer team defeat the
Commonweal th of Independent States (CIS), 2-1.
The Silverdome will get a bid because it will be
America's lasting mark on the Cup: an indoor World
Cup game. FIFA mandates that World Cup ganes be
played on natural grass, and experiments to temporarily
grow grass indoors with the use of special lights are
succeeding. The Silverdome competes with only the
Louisiana Superdome, and Michigan should be chosen
because it boasts substantial financial hacking and supe-
Being a soccer aficionado, I want to see the Cup
event go over well, but I am somewhat worried.
I tend to think success will be equated with not get-
ting embarlassed, either by the teun's performance or a
poor following for the mouth-long event.
U.S. head coach Bora Milutinovic has taken care of
the former, though I'm not quite ready to call the team a
juggernaut. Milutinovic himself admitted success would
be simply making the quarterfinals.
Since taking over the team last year, Milutinovic has
coached the team to a mark of 10-5-5, including ties
with AC Milan and luventus, two of the premier club
teams in Europe.
So my qualms rest with the support the gaines will
receive. U.S. Soccer Federation president Alan
Rothenberg, a Michigan alumnus, has guaranteed a
sellout for each of the 52 matches. I think Rothenberg
must be a little goofy.
When the World Cup was in Italy two years ago,
plenty of seats went unsold. The United States will have
stadiums much larger tan many of those in Italy, and if
may not run over
you haven't picked up on it. Italy is a bit more soccer-
crazed than America.
And another bone I have to pick with the claim: the
team billed Half the Silverdome on a day during which
there was really no competition for spectators. The
Pistons and Red Wings were off, and nothing was on
television. Please, Mr. Rothenberg, tell me again how
you're going to pack them in for Uruguay vs. Honduras.
To me, avoidingembarrassment would mean par-
tially filling the stands. With one-half to two-thirds
of the tickets already going abroad, approximately 1.5
million tickets are left to be sold to Americans. I don't
see that happening.
The United States' games or those of the likes of
Italy or England will sell out, sure, but the rest of the
matches just won't. have the same interest and
For the most part, Americans just don't have the.
passion for the sport that consumes Europeans and
South /\mericans. It's not an insult, it's just that we al-
ready have basketball, baseball and football. I saw the
game Sunday: by the middle of the first half, the fans
started doing the Wave. Now, being a Wave connois-
seur, I recognized this as an "P'm-bored-let's-do-the-
Wave" wave, not a "Iloorah-we're-ahead-let's-rattle-
I'll readily admit that, to the uninitiated, soccer is
really a boring game. And for the most part, America is
uninitiated. People couldn't care less about the skill
involved in guarding a 1-0 lead, or how a I -I tie can be
every bit as exciting as a 6-5 goalfest; scores and flashy
plays are what sells here, and soccer doesn't package
enough of them.
I really don't know what to expect when the Cupp
makes its way to the New World. For the few soccer
diehards among us, it will certainly be an experience to
see the sights and sounds of this great event firsthand.
For everyone else, it might be something to catch at the
end of SportsCenter.
The Silverdome is a good bet to host several World Cup games in 1994. But will American soccer fans turn out
in droves to see action like this? We'll have to wait and see.
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NEW YORK (AP) - Heismn;In:
Trophy winner Desmond Howardo
and more than a dozen other colleg
underclass players with first-roun
potential were certified yesterday
for the April 26 NFL draft.
A total of 34 underclassmen are
eligible for this year's draft. The to-
tal is the about the same as in the
first two years, but the quality is
"I would think you have 13 or 14
who are potential first-round
picks,'' New York Giants gwnerat1
manager George Young said
how good is the draft? Ask me in
three or lour years."
This year, more underclassmen
may-be taken in the first round than
in the last two years combined. The
first five picks could be under-
classmen, better even than in 1990,
when five of the first seven were ju-
The group is led by Howard, the
all-purpose receiver-kick returine*
who is more highly regarded this
year than Raghib "Rocket" Isniail
was when lie was considered the No.
1 choice in the draft before sighiing
with Toronto of the CFL.
Howard, who is also talking to
the'Canadian League, is considered a
better prospect but probably won't
be the first overall pick: defensive
lineman Steve Emntian o.
Washington is liable to get that des-
Emtmnan, a 280-pound bull of a
lineman, is considered a strong run-
stopper who needs work on his pass
rush but is likened overall to Ray
Childress of the Ilouston (.)ilers,
one of the league's best defensive
linemen. The Indianapolis Colts;
who have the draft's first two picks,
are reportedly considering Emtmna*
and another underclassmen, offen-
sive tackle Bob Whitfield of
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