USL Pro expansion news, rumor and wishful thinking.

Discussion in 'USL Expansion' started by ButlerBob, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays This is your world.

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    I myself think USL Pro should drop the idea of a nationwide league, and regionalize it like they do the PDL. Not as expansive with its nine separate divisions, but maybe 2-4 separate divisions that only play amongst each other. Then they should try to model the teams so they can prosper on an average regular season attendance of around 2,000-3,000 initially, and in the future develop it from there.

    A good future idea would be four regional leagues. Additional teams added purely for ideas.

    SOUTHEAST DIVISION
    Charleston Battery
    Charlotte Eagles
    Wilmington Hammerheads
    Richmond Kickers
    FC Jax Destroyers
    Nashville Metros
    Birmingham
    Orlando City OR team in south-central Florida to replace Orlando City (either Fort Myers or Port St. Lucie)

    NORTH DIVISION
    Rochester Rhinos
    Boston Victory
    Harrisburg City Islanders
    Pittsburgh Riverhounds
    Dayton Dutch Lions (if they get their crap together with their move inside the beltline)
    Michigan Bucks
    Indianapolis
    Louisville

    CENTRAL DIVISION
    Houston Dutch Lions (better rename if Dayton survives)
    Des Moines Menace
    Tulsa Roughnecks
    St. Louis Lions
    Austin Aztex
    New Orleans
    Oklahoma City
    Colorado Springs OR Albuquerque

    WEST DIVISION
    Pali Blues
    FC Tucson
    Ventura County Fusion
    Hollywood United Hitmen
    Fresno Fuego
    Kitsap Pumas
    Phoenix
    Boise

    To add to this, Fort Myers would make a great place for D-3 soccer. They're averaging 4,600 per game for ECHL hockey (Florida Everblades).


  2. arsenalfc08

    arsenalfc08 Member

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    Edit: moved to new thread.

    The PDL-Pro still interests me. I wonder if any of these teams (I think there is still 2-3) will ever move up to USL-Pro. Kitsap is a mainstay in PDL I wonder if they would make the jump?
  3. Jossed

    Jossed Member

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    Both the NASL and USL-Pro should be regional leagues. No reason for nationwide minor leagues at this point.
  4. leftout1

    leftout1 Member

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    For some reason folks just don't get just how big of a jump it is going from PDL upto USL-PRO. It's a completely different business model with levels of financial commitment that are on a completely different level.


  5. puma pride

    puma pride Member

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    Kitsap wants to move up, when its financially viable. With every team so distanced from the northwest its currently not possible. The team had taken a loss each of its first three years. This year is the first looking to possibly break even. Unless there's a handful of teams that join a west coast division that's been talked about all at once, it'll be a difficult proposition to sell the club and owner on.

    All I can do is hope there is a west coast all drafted at once.
  6. UnionFreak1

    UnionFreak1 Member+

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  7. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    So, wait....

    You post a link to a tweet...with a link to a story...that is not about 2012 USL Pro expansion...that, in fact, is being discussed in at least two other threads, in the proper places....in a thread in the USL Expansion forum...why?
  8. Kayak

    Kayak Member+

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    Good call, this post is a waste of Big Soccer's computing power. :eek:
  9. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

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    WEST DIVISION
    Pali Blues
    FC Tucson
    Ventura County Fusion
    Hollywood United Hitmen
    Fresno Fuego
    Kitsap Pumas
    Phoenix
    Boise

    lots of distances for this West division.

    Tucson to Kitsap is 1500-1700 miles, google gives me 1 day and 3 hours drive. :eek:

    Maybe multiple games road trips.

    Say Sunday at Tucson, Wednesday at Phoenix and Saturday at Fresno.
  10. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    I don't know if any bridges were burned in Hollywood United's eleventh-hour jump out of the PDL, though.

    But, yeah, people seem to think that just because a city is in the Mountain or Pacific time zone that it's just a real short trip to other potential USL Pro cities. That's not always the case. Just because it's a hell of a lot shorter to go from Phoenix to Pacific Palisades than it is to go from Los Angeles to Charleston isn't the entire equation. It's farther from Tucson to Boise than from Charleston to Rochester.
  11. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays This is your world.

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    I'm aware of the distances. It's better than most of the league going across the country to play only LA.
  12. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    Here's the thing, though....

    There's a beachhead in the East. You can afford to bring in a new team here or there (stay away from Puerto Rico, though) and trust that you at least don't really have to worry about Charleston or Wilmington or Richmond or Charlotte (and Pittsburgh seems to be putting down some pretty good roots, if they pull this stadium thing off) and if you have an FCNY that blows up, that sucks, but doesn't jeopardize your whole program.

    This whole notion of creating a western circuit en masse requires establishing a significant number of new teams and/or moving some existing PDL teams up all at once for it to make much financial sense. You're then sweating out every week because some of those teams are destined to not make it, just by the sheer nature of the beast, geography and distance be damned.

    LA can't be on an island for much longer, but it's hard to say they've established a beachhead, really. Reinforcements have got to get there soon. I don't know what the number is; is it four western teams? It is six? Enough so they can play each other the bulk of the time and host a few eastern teams on swings out west? And can you trust that the three to five other teams you either create out of thin air or promote are all going to make it? It's not a given.

    It's a dicey proposition. There's no real reason for USL to go west of the Mississippi for the near future, is there? It's not like a TV deal depends on a national footprint.
  13. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays This is your world.

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    I absolutely agree LA can't be on an island forever; I'm amazed they're running full speed now.

    My idea isn't to pull a 32-team league out of our collective asses next year. But we need to start somewhere. I think the interest is there in Fresno, and possibly Hollywood and Ventura County if they want to revisit it. And we can see this year how Tucson starts. They don't all have to come at the same time, but they all make good candidates as a companion team to Pali.

    If LA continues to go balls-to-the-wall, and they make headway this year, you can't just cut them loose. If they continue to do shitty attendance like last year, then you can cut them loose without feeling sorry.
  14. leftout1

    leftout1 Member

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    As Kenn stated a while back and I touched briefly on earlier, I'm not sure that folks understand the jump required from a financial and complete company structure to go from amateur (PDL) to full-time professional (USL-PRO). This isn't being promoted/relegated from one level to another over in England. The franchise fees, workman's comp, salaries, full time front office, longer seasons, expanded travel costs, HIGHER ticket costs to generate the needed revenue, etc... makes this pretty much a non-starter for just about any current organization. Can someone name me all of these teams that have successfully made this jump?
  15. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    I'm actually working on that, leftout.

    The other part of that equation you mention is this: in other countries, when you move up a level, your revenues go up (not just from TV in most countries, but getting to get big clubs to come to your stadium for league matches). Until recently in MLS, that wasn't going to be the case (and it's surely not the case if you go from PDL to D3 or D3 to D2). But your expenses do go up. Quite a bit, as you mention.

    And people keep naming western clubs who might have interest, or who draw pretty well and therefore seem to have a "proven fanbase" that could make their move to the next level financially viable. But until and unless the people who actually write the checks for those clubs believe it's worth their while, they're not going to do it, no matter how many fantasy alignments we come up with. If you're doing a certain amount of "well" at the PDL level or in the NPSL or something, why would you consider moving up and putting yourself through that when you see teams like Cleveland who've moved up and had a disaster of a time?

    As for LA, let's just say they're headstrong and leave it at that. That's not always a bad thing.
  16. UnionFreak1

    UnionFreak1 Member+

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    Had a good laugh from this.
  17. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    Oh, actually I did this earlier.

    Short answer: I've not found a PDL team that went pro that was able to sustain it long-term.
  18. Mikeyratt

    Mikeyratt Member

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    Richmond was PDL in 93 & 95,

    and I think Charleston was in 93 and Charlotte in 93 also possibly later. No 21st century teams though
  19. leftout1

    leftout1 Member

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    Thanks - but why should this discourage us from suggesting, recommending, or telling a potential owner how to spend (and most likely lose) their money for our personal enjoyment??:cool:
  20. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    Yeah, but it was primordial soup days.

    History lesson: USL started as an indoor circuit and went outdoor in 1989. It only had the one outdoor level (which, retroactively, they put under the PDL umbrella, as it wasn't a professional league). Anything up through 1994 was amateur because that's all they had. Charlotte, Richmond and Charleston were in the only league (what was then) USISL had.

    In 1995, teams could opt to be in the Premier League (amateur division) or the Pro League (pro division, what's basically considered now to have been DIII, though I don't know that it had actual USSF sanction for that. Maybe it did). Charleston and Charlotte went the pro route, while Richmond opted for the Premier League.

    Lots of things were rearranged in 1996 with the creation of the Select League (which was considered a higher pro league than the current pro league). Richmond went to the Select League, while Charlotte and Charleston stayed in the Pro League (Charleston actually beat Charlotte in the final that year).

    1997 was really topsy-turvy with the merger between USISL and the A-League that created a 24-team A-League (which Charleston and Richmond moved up slightly to) and a 39-team D3 Pro League (which Charlotte opted for).

    Anything prior to 1997 was basically the space sorting itself out. No one was quite sure how this was all going to look.

    But since then, very few teams have gone from the amateur ranks to the professional ranks and had success. Some teams have moved up and down the pyramid over time (working on a blog post about that), though.
  21. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    You can do what you want. I'm just here to balance things out with a dose of reality.
  22. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

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    I think that USL would need a minimum of 3 more western teams to make it work.

    That would mean playing each other 8 times per season but they should be able to live with that in the short run.

    Also there should be like a 600-800 mile diameter limit for every conference in the USL to limit team travel. This would get hard west of the Mississippi.
  23. Mikeyratt

    Mikeyratt Member

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    Back when the A league was just had the 3 PNW teams out west, at least one season saw them play each other like 5 or 6 times each and just a couple of other teams. Nobody liked that.
  24. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    Western A-League teams, 2000-2004:

    2000
    Seattle Sounders
    San Diego Flash
    Vancouver 86ers
    El Paso Patriots
    Bay Area Seals
    Orange County Waves

    2001
    Vancouver Whitecaps
    San Diego Flash F. C.
    Milwaukee Rampage
    Portland Timbers
    Seattle Sounders
    Minnesota Thunder
    El Paso Patriots

    2002
    Seattle Sounders
    Portland Timbers
    El Paso Patriots
    Vancouver Whitecaps
    Calgary Storm

    2003
    Seattle Sounders
    Vancouver Whitecaps
    Portland Timbers
    Calgary Storm

    2004
    Portland Timbers
    Vancouver Whitecaps
    Minnesota Thunder
    Seattle Sounders
    Milwaukee Wave United
    Edmonton Aviators/FC
    Calgary Mustangs
  25. DevGrousis

    DevGrousis New Member

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    As a Fresno Fuego player and fan, it seems like we have a sufficient following (averaging about 3,000-6,000 fans a game) and enough community business support for soccer. Our cities large hispanic community loves our club, and supports us through thick and thin ( pretty thick this past 2011 season :D ).

    We have an excellent venue called Chuchansi Park that is a baseball stadium in downtown. Its adapted for soccer every weekend by putting the field across the outfit with a small bit of artificial turf over the tip of the infield of the baseball diamond.

    I've spoken with our GM on several occasions about it, because as a Fresno native I would love to raise a family in a place where there is professional soccer. He speaks of how big a leap it is to go from PDL into USL PRO, financially. I dont quite understand it, because it seems like they'd only have to pick up an extra 100k or so for player salaries.

    The biggest problem would surely be the travel expenses of flying across the country to meet the rest of the league. If 4 or 5 California clubs could jump into the league, it could work. If not, it would take a monumental lift in money from sponsors to accommodate a travel fund for the team flying over to the east coast 4 or 5 times during the season.

    I know that if we did go pro our fan base would swell considerably, so that might help.

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