by Rich Klein
I have seen a few MLS games in my life, I have also seen a few NASL games when I was much younger. We used to sit in the upper deck of Giants Stadium and watch the Cosmos when they were one of the great shows in sports. I even played some soccer growing up and through college although never on a varsity level. In fact, when I was in college and if there was a game going on, depending on whom was playing I would actually be invited to play by the “foreigners” who had real soccer skills. Frankly all I had was decent defensive skills and a very powerful leg, both of which were sufficient for that level.
In other words, I’m one of that earliest generations of Americans who grew up with the mantra that soccer was going to be next great American sport. As I’ve gotten older, I believe that the game is beautiful but to succeed in America, the off-side rules need to go away and the offense needs to be given more freedom, I know that sounds sacrilegious, but Americans need to see more scoring and wide open play before they will really become fans. Running to space, seeing plays develop and understanding the math of the game is great, but until more shots and goals exist, the fan base will be small albeit growing.
All that is a way of saying we recently received our review box of 2013 Topps MLS Soccer which is their debut attempt. The U.S. Men’s team is turning heads with some of their best play in years and so there has been a renewed focus on soccer, which can’t hurt sales of this product.
The cards themselves come 10 cards per pack and 24 packs in a box. Each box says there are two autographs and three relic cards and a quick check of leading on-line retailers currents have these boxes selling in the $90-100 range.
The very attractive full-bordered cards feature a player’s photo with the player’s name on the side and his position at the bottom. The team logo is also near the bottom of each card. The only drawback is that the player’s name was in shiny foil and very hard to read. I don’t know about you but for a debut set I may have made the player’s name more readable on the front.
The backs have the player’s biographical information, a brief blurb and career MLS statistics. If the name on the back had been as readable as the name on the front, then to me the major drawback of the card design would have been fixed.
So how did we do from our box?
Base Cards: I did not sort these cards but counted 212 cards. Since the set is limited to 200 cards, thus there is a good chance of a complete or near complete set out of a box. And if you are complete or near complete, then finishing up the set should not be an major issue.
Blue Parallel (#d to 50): Marcelo Sarvas
Gold Parallel (#d to 25): Austin Berry
Black Parallel I#d to 10): Jason Hernandez
Rivalries: San Jose Earthquakes/Seattle Sounders FC
1978 English Footballers: Patrice Bernier, Claudio Bieler, Ryan Johnson, Joel Lindpere
Minis: Osvaldo Alonso, Tim Cahill
Kits Relics: Osvaldo Alonso. Heath Pearce, Alvaro Saborio
Maestro Autograph: Jose Villarreal
Autograph Relic Green (#d to 75): Teal Bunbury
Well, other than the minor aggravations about the player’s name on the front, there is really a lot to like about the debut of the MLS Soccer product line. Anytime an extra hit shows up in a box, that helps make for happy campers as six hits are one in every four packs and a nice percentage. In addition, being able to complete or be in position to complete a base card set from the packs are a neat touch as well as getting a lot of cards for your dollar.
Quite a few boxes have been opened already with over 1,000 listings on eBay right now. Click hereto see them.
With some minor improvements. MLS Soccer could be a goal for collectors in years to come.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]