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04.30.08

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Silicon Alleys - Gary Singh

Silicon Alleys

Hunger Strikes Meet Penalty Kicks

By Gary Singh


THE SAN JOSE Earthquakes soccer home opener is this Sunday, while at the same time, the latest round of the Little Saigon sideshow is coming soon to a theater near 200 E. Santa Clara St. And leave it to yours truly to suggest a sick and perverse connection between the two. Here we go:

One of the main tasks of Major League Soccer, especially in this part of the country, is whether or not the league can "tap the Latino market." Many suggest that the Quakes need a high-profile Mexican player in order to get the Latino populace to show up.

I have a better idea that just might work, but first we must turn to the Little Saigon scenario for inspiration. The passionate anti-communist supporters who took to the streets and blasted Coucilmember Madison Nguyen for not supporting the Little Saigon name change have officially served the initial papers to recall her. Many of them claim her behavior is part of a larger conspiracy to appease the Socialist Republic of Vietnam instead of the local constituents who voted her into office. If the recall process goes all the way, come November we will see even more hot-blooded protests and marches. The sheer passion and dedication of Vietnamese-American community's anti-communist sentiment should not go untapped. One absolutely has to admire their fanaticism, their team spirit and their sheer hustle. That said ...

Major League Soccer should forget about tapping the Latino market. In San Jose, they should instead think about tapping the Vietnamese-American market if they want to put butts in the seats and draw huge crowds. Given the passion and cohesiveness exhibited by the Vietnamese-American community during those protests, if the Quakes could just hire a vehemently anti-communist player from the local Vietnamese-American population, then they would draw thousands more to each game. Instantly. It wouldn't even take that much marketing at all. For example, when Cung Le defeated Frank Shamrock in last month's Mixed Martial Arts championship at the HP Pavilion, the local Vietnamese-American crowds were right there, passionately waving the yellow flags of South Vietnam.

With Black April commemorative celebrations already set for the 30th of this month, now is the time for the Quakes to tap that market and get a Vietnamese-American player. In addition, I'll take the idea even further than that. MLS is a young league and the only true honest-to-God malicious rivalry is the one between San Jose and Los Angeles. It's completely on track for flowering into something gorgeous like the Yankees/Red Sox, Lakers/Celtics or Habs/Maple Leafs rivalries. These guys hate each other.

After the Quakes sign an anti-communist Vietnamese player, all MLS has to do is find a Vietnamese player who supports the communist government back home and put that dude on L.A.'s team. Whenever L.A. then plays the Quakes, you'll get thousands of Vietnamese-Americans in the seats. There'll be protests, riots and hunger strikes at every match, and the Quakes, as well as the league, would make a fortune. The establishment media will eat it up, creating even more hoopla than the David Beckham spectacle last year, with the Quakes raking in enough dough to build both the soccer stadium and the A's stadium in Fremont. They'd turn a profit in probably a few seasons. It would be good old-fashioned American capitalism at its finest, and with San Jose being the Capital of Silicon Valley and the "world center of innovation," what better place than right here? People across the globe would finally know the way to San Jose. We wouldn't even need a song to tell them how to get here.


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