2014 USLPRO lineup?

Discussion in 'United Soccer Leagues' started by bullsear, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. bullsear

    bullsear Member

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    Last week Tim Holt welcomed a new, as yet unnamed team in Oklahoma City to USL-Pro as the league's "15th franchise."

    But his statement begs the question--even with the addition of Sacramento and OKC, can we assume that the league will have 15 teams next season?

    LA Blues drew 270 for their last game, with the team switching the venue at the last minute. A similar situation went down in Phoenix, where only 327 fans showed up--many of them with signs protesting their treatment by the FO.

    VSI didn't have a home stadium until after the season began, and they drew a total of less than 3,000 people this season and an average of just over 450.

    I can see scenarios where all three of these teams stick it out for next season, but there are a lot of people displeased with their local teams and not a lot of actual fans, apparently.

    Speculation is welcome, but informed conversation is better. If you've been to one of these games, what has been your experience of late? What are supporters saying, and what are they hearing from their front offices (if anything)?


  2. amancalledmikey

    amancalledmikey Member

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    See, as much as the D-2 standards were a nonsensical stitch-up, it forced everybody to get real on what you need to be successful at a D-2 level. D-3, as it was conceived and originally ratified by the USSF in the mid-90's, is a regional level. Teams shouldn't be playing coast-to-coast until the playoffs, which should be minimised so as to minimise costs. How could any USL Pro owner who stood by the league because of cost reasons could say the same with a straight face now?

    I now honestly wonder if there are clubs thinking that the USL are an albatross around their neck and a genuine impediment to developing a real regional league. Alternatively, are they thinking that if they were going to be doing national travel anyway, they should have nailed their colours to a different mast? In short, pretty much any USL team could walk away for whatever reason.
  3. brentgoulet

    brentgoulet Member

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    USL PRO is the strongest, best operated and most experienced North American men's professional soccer league below MLS, both on and off the field. :D
    panicfc, ceezmad and BuckeyeBrian103 repped this.
  4. bullsear

    bullsear Member

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    I would agree with you that USL is standing in the way of a true regional league, but that assumes that there's somebody else who could step in and actually do it.

    Fact is, there isn't anyone else. NPSL is even more of a revolving door, with no real league structure or organisation. USL isn't stopping anything because there's nobody else that could feasibly pull off anything close to a well-run regional league--or even what USL have on offer now.

    PDL may not be pro, but it's regional and relatively stable.


  5. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    You aren't optimistic about Matt Driver's league? Or the one the guy in Seattle is starting? ;)

    This thread is probably going to veer off two ways: the regional issue and the "which teams will be still around?" issue.

    I agree, they should have stayed an Eastern Time Zone league for the foreseeable future. I can't prove it, but I believe that LA was bound and determined to step up, and rather than lose them to the NASL (which, in retrospect, would have probably been the way to go), they accepted them with the idea it would be an impetus to western expansion. Well, it kind of has been, though it hasn't been as successful as they thought, obviously.

    As for who'll be back, besides the Joaquin Andujar Caveat, you'd have to believe Charleston, Charlotte, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Rochester and Wilmington are solid.

    Harrisburg's a small market and they constantly scrape by, but I'd put them in the middle because unless the long-talked-about stadium renovations (which aren't likely, given HBG's financial state as a city) happen sometime soon, they could just one day reach a point where they can't do it anymore. But they're more solid than the next group.

    LA has more money than sense, and they talked about being committed to doing it for three years. This is year three.

    That's not a Shermanesque statement by any means, but the way things have gone after three years of this, he's got enough data to make a decision. One or two potential trips to Sacramento, 500 miles away, aren't going to make that large a dent in the losses in year four.

    I cannot imagine for the life of me how Antigua comes back.

    Phoenix is a mess. If they got an angel investor, sure. But they have no vision and the only experience they have is from this year's foibles. I'd take the under on them.

    So then you're left with Dayton and Tampa Bay. The Dutch Lions aren't owned by people with deep pockets, but they seem to be determined to have a professional team at the top of their structure. Which, okay, fine. And Tampa Bay seems to have the same attitude, only they actually do appear to have money.

    I don't know what either of them are thinking, but I'd like their chances to return better than I like Phoenix's.
    ceezmad repped this.
  6. danjacks10

    danjacks10 New Member

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    So it seems USLPRO is losing Antigua and Phoenix next year, but adding Sacramento and Oklahoma City and some MLS reserve teams not affiliated and loaning players to USLPRO teams.

    Possible 2014 USLPRO lineup ...

    NORTHEAST
    Rochester Rhinos
    Harrisburg City Islanders
    Pittsburgh Riverhounds
    Toronto Reserves
    Montreal Reserves
    Red Bulls Reserves

    SOUTH
    VSI Tampa Bay
    Orlando City
    Charleston Battery
    Charlotte Eagles
    Richmond Kickers
    Houston Reserves
    Dallas Reserves

    CENTRAL
    Oklahoma City
    Dayton Oklahoma City
    Columbus Reserves
    Chicago Reserves
    Salt Lake Reserves
    Colorado Reserves

    WEST
    Sacramento
    Los Angeles Blues
    LA Reserves
    Portland Reserves
    Chivas Reserves
    Vancouver Reserves
    San Jose Reserves
    Seattle Reserves
  7. amancalledmikey

    amancalledmikey Member

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    Four years ago, the USL was hailing PDL-Pro as this great initiative. How many of those teams are still pro? Do the USL encourage pro teams to start in the PDL and move up? If not, should they?
  8. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    There are only, I believe, three or four PDL Pro teams, and someone told me they aren't allowing any more for the moment.

    USL's business model seems to encourage expansion in the PDL because the teams generate revenue for them through fees and have such short seasons that they don't require a ton of league support.

    But in terms of trying to give people a European experience or trajectory through the "moving up" that seems to give people wood for some reason but has been the death of many a club, I don't believe they regularly do that.
  9. Throwins

    Throwins Member

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    There are a number of possibilities on the West Coast. Several of the teams in the NW PDL have been talking about moving up to USL Pro but beyond that distances and air travel are a drawback. If the league were smart they would get a conference sponsorship by an airline which might cut the cost in half making it more feasible. If you had Victoria, Vancouver, Portland, Seattle/Tacoma and Kitsap combined with LA, Phoenix and possibly Tucson you would have the making of a Western Division. A home and away crossover with 2 Eastern teams for each team would balance out the schedule. If this happens I would expect Fresno to jump in as well.
  10. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    People always talk about this, as if the airline industry is in such great shape that they can easily cut the cost in half on their tickets.

    I have not seen anyone actually pull this off since the Dallas Sidekicks of the CISL back in the mid-1990s, who had a deal with Southwest that got them a lot of tickets. I do not believe they were always flying direct or on the most convenient flights, but they did have such a deal.

    Portland's deal with Alaska Airlines certainly helps them, but it's a very large (title, shirt) sponsorship that I don't think we have the details of.

    It's not a matter of the league being "smart" (though they're not, particularly, and they have very, very few actual corporate sponsors), it's a matter of this is not as simple as people like to make it out to be.
    bullsear and Bluesfan repped this.
  11. Prosoccercdn

    Prosoccercdn Member

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    You can take Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver off the list. Canada's governing body, the CSA will not sanction any teams for D3 USL Pro in Canada. They're looking to build a national Canadian only D3 league structure.
  12. danjacks10

    danjacks10 New Member

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    Thanks. Also heard Montreal might loan out players regionally next year instead. What would be wild is if Montreal loans players to old rival Rochester Rhinos.

    Revised 8/6/12: Possible 2014 USLPRO lineup ...

    NORTHEAST
    Rochester Rhinos
    Harrisburg City Islanders
    Pittsburgh Riverhounds
    Red Bulls Reserves

    SOUTH
    VSI Tampa Bay
    Orlando City
    Charleston Battery
    Charlotte Eagles
    Richmond Kickers
    Houston Reserves
    Dallas Reserves

    CENTRAL
    Oklahoma City
    Dayton Oklahoma City
    Columbus Reserves
    Chicago Reserves
    Salt Lake Reserves
    Colorado Reserves

    WEST
    Sacramento
    Los Angeles Blues
    LA Reserves
    Portland Reserves
    Chivas Reserves
    San Jose Reserves
    Seattle Reserves
  13. Bluesfan

    Bluesfan Member

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    Fanboys never get the real world realities of running a business (or running one into the ground). Sponsors need to be 'cool' and every Fortune 500 company in America is just dying to shell out the cash to a soccer team in their headquarter's home city.
  14. danjacks10

    danjacks10 New Member

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    Or to balance ...

    NORTH
    Rochester Rhinos
    Harrisburg City Islanders
    Pittsburgh Riverhounds
    Columbus Reserves
    Chicago Reserves
    Red Bulls Reserves

    SOUTH
    VSI Tampa Bay
    Orlando City
    Charleston Battery
    Charlotte Eagles
    Richmond Kickers

    CENTRAL
    Oklahoma City
    Dayton
    Houston Reserves
    Dallas Reserves
    Salt Lake Reserves
    Colorado Reserves

    WEST
    Sacramento
    Los Angeles Blues
    LA Reserves
    Portland Reserves
    Chivas Reserves
    San Jose Reserves
    Seattle Reserves
  15. QuietType

    QuietType Member+

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    Phoenix is out? They moving to another league, or folded?

    Sacramento will probably be affiliating with Portland or San Jose, from what I've heard. Going to be a much smaller list as affiliations start being announced.
  16. Erik S

    Erik S Member

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    I do believe Antigua will not return. Im 50/50 on Phoenix coming back. Add a few MLS clubs fielding a team and that is it.
  17. amancalledmikey

    amancalledmikey Member

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    The most embarrassing and distressing of non-sponsorships is San Jose. They're based in one of the most corporate-rich markets in the world and yet their one and only shirt sponsor was Amway. Not Apple, nor Adobe, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Facebook, Google, Cisco... not even companies you think who might want to improve their name recognition. Instead, they got Amway. That's a damning indictment of something, be it the quality of the owners, the desire of tech companies to get involved with their local soccer team or the pull of soccer in general.
    markmcf8 and QuietType repped this.
  18. The Irish Rover

    The Irish Rover Member

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    I'm afraid it's mostly the latter, in the US, coupled with the world-wide trend towards betting companies sponsoring the mid and lower-table companies.

    The shirt sponsorship market has become stratified. Steve Martin, chief executive of M&C Saatchi Sport, says: "The cream is rising to the top and the rest just isn't there." So teams consistently competing at the business end of the Champions League and marketing themselves as global brands, which in England effectively means the top four, plus Liverpool (thanks to their heritage), have sponsorship income that continues to rise. Outside that gilded elite, it is becoming ever harder.
    For a mid-table Premier League club such as Aston Villa or Newcastle United, the income is more like £3m to £4m a year. Even Tottenham Hotspur have struggled without a regular berth in the Champions League. "The market is dictating itself," says Martin. "The big brands who were well-known household names, a lot of them have grown and don't need the awareness – Orange, O2, airlines, banks. Those brands have become famous over so many years that now they see shirt sponsorship as wallpaper."

    http://www.theguardian.com/football...all-league-sky-bet-premier-league?INTCMP=SRCH
  19. amancalledmikey

    amancalledmikey Member

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    It's difficult to compare it with the UK. There's legalised gambling here. Any adult can walk into a bookmakers on the high street and place a bet on a sporting event. It's hard not to make Brits sounds like degenerates but gambling is a massive problem. Every high street has half a dozen bookmakers. Gambling online is just as prevalent, especially once everybody convinced themselves they can make a killing doing Betfair trading. It's a simple case of those needing money finding those who need exposure.

    My concern is that in a geographically small market with 27 Fortune 1000 companies and thousands of startups each year and completely discounting the wider area which has a large number of multinational corporations, not a single one can raise the money needed to sponsor the Quakes' shirts. We have to consider that the brands is not viewed as strong enough to have sufficient cache for a potential sponsor. In that case, it's down to the ownership.
  20. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays This is your world.

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    If Phoenix gets real, they'll be back. I agree Antigua's got a snowball's chance in Hell of returning.
    Erik S repped this.
  21. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    If Phoenix gets real investors, that is.

    Also, you know zippo about it.

    And what IS it about people's obsession with sketching out divisions?
    KidFlash and markmcf8 repped this.
  22. Bluesfan

    Bluesfan Member

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    They are all out of badge/scarf/kit designs?
    KidFlash, blkbrnrvr and VioletCrown repped this.
  23. danjacks10

    danjacks10 New Member

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    Well it seems kenntomasch has made me his latest object of derision, something I have no interest in being or putting up with, therefore I will be cancelling my BigSoccer account.
  24. mbsc

    mbsc Member

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    Sad to see Wilmington is out too. Know something or are you not paying attention?
  25. yojimbo81

    yojimbo81 Member

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    You would cancel your account over a comment you don't like? Weak.

    Just roll with it or send it back to him or back up your comments.

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