USL General News thread

Discussion in 'United Soccer Leagues' started by thefishy, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Well it was Frontier Field (corrected), and the whole Rochester thing was based on what was going on in the real world at that time.

    Omaha is something completely different. If Omaha is the new sexy, it is in no way similar to what was going on when everyone was hot over Rochester.
     
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  2. hipityhop

    hipityhop Member

    Jan 10, 1999
    Somewhere near the Swope Park Rangers!
    Club:
    SønderjyskE
    Country:
    Botswana
    Absolutely. If there was an ownership group available in Wichita who could get a working agreement such as RGV has with Houston, it would be as successful, I believe as Tulsa. Much better than Omaha.
     
  3. Balerion

    Balerion Member+

    Aug 5, 2006
    Somerville, MA
    Country:
    United States
    I don't see why Omaha would be a bad choice if you had the right owner and stadium situation. It's approximately the same size as Tulsa and quite a bit larger than other USL markets like Harrisburg, Charleston, and Reno.

    Of course, there are also about 20 MSAs without pro soccer that are larger than Omaha, so it's hardly the holy grail.

    I suspect the fetishization of an Omaha bid relates to fill-in-the-mapism; if you're into that sort of thing, there just aren't many USL possibilities in the upper Great Plains region - Omaha and Des Moines are the only candidates that aren't totally laughable.

    Like with any potential market, wake me up when there's an owner.
     
  4. aetraxx7

    aetraxx7 Member+

    Jun 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    Club:
    Des Moines Menace
    Country:
    United States
    At this point, Des Moines is closer than Omaha on that front. Kraus has at least entertained the idea of moving up in the past. Rumors spring up every now and then, but it comes down to a stadium. Since Kum & Go made a sweetheart deal to relocate their new corporate HQ in downtown, the possibility exists that the city will play ball on a new stadium on the outskirts of downtown; I'm guess the big chunk of unoccupied land on the southwest corner heading near the airport (by Gray's Lake for those familiar with the area). Another potential area is just southeast of the state capitol building on the recently completed chunk of MLK. Either site would be fairly accessible to downtown residents and people from elsewhere in the metro. Another stadium would fit well with the revitalization of downtown/near downtown/East Village going on in Des Moines.
     
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  5. oneeyedfool

    oneeyedfool Member+

    Nov 17, 2012
    Club:
    New York Cosmos
    Country:
    United States
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  6. Sting111

    Sting111 Member

    Jan 17, 2011
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Kenn, do you really think that the USL can establish the proper standards for a multi-tier league in this country? To me, that is the purview of the USSF. Right now, the USL strategy seems to be, let's grow as large and as quickly as we can. That approach is not sustainable. It has been tried in the past, and eventually, the bottom falls out. Teams fold left and right. Do you really think that there exists a large base of investors that want to invest in a third division US soccer league? Who are these guys and where do they live? I don't think that this base of investors exist. The USSF needs to establish a soccer pyramid that makes sense. The history of soccer in this country has always been competing interests that do not have the long term interests of the sport in mind. The end result has been crash and burn. The USL is just looking out for their own self interest. Nothing wrong with that, unless your interest if for the sport in this country and not a particular league.
     
  7. Knave

    Knave Member+

    May 25, 1999
    You appear to be completely unaware of the division standards that the USSF has put in place to prevent everything you're so certain will happen.

    Speaking of Kenn, he's got the standards on his website: https://www.kenn.com/the_blog/?page_id=5449
     
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  8. Sting111

    Sting111 Member

    Jan 17, 2011
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I am totally aware of those standards. When regulated by an organization like the USSF, it does make sense. The issue goes much deeper than that. The USSF primary objective should be the advancement of soccer in this country. Totally cool with that. The USSF should be the primary builder of a 3rd Division soccer league in this country. Having an independent soccer league announce that they will create a 3rd division league out of nothing, does not hold much credibility to me. Major League Soccer is still struggling to make an impact in major US markets. In Chicago, the Fire soccer team is practically unknown. Minor league hockey receives more media coverage and paying fans. So how is a league like the USL going to create a totally separate 3rd division league with enough interest to sustain itself? Sorry to add reason to this discussion, but I just don't get it. I would love if soccer had a solid fan base that was large enough to support 3 tiers of US soccer. I just don't think that we are even close to being there. I would love to be wrong though.
     
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  9. Blando13

    Blando13 Member+

    Dec 4, 2013
    Lee's Summit, MO
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Country:
    United States
    So you went from no "standards" to not enough support to justify it as the reason it will fail? And you think USSF should run/organize such a failed league and not the USL.

    Just trying to keep up...
     
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  10. Sting111

    Sting111 Member

    Jan 17, 2011
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I just wish the USSF would take a more active role in developing a soccer pyramid that makes some sense in this country. Start with the base of the pyramid (youth soccer) and build up the the national team. The USSF has created standards for a Div 1, 2 & 3 league. Wonderful. We know how big the stadiums should be, the size of market requirements, how much wealth an owner should have. The big question that I have is what is the ultimate reason for being in each level of the pyramid. What is the ultimate objective of a 3rd division? How does that division relate to the leagues below that? Where does youth soccer fit in all this, or does it. We have so many soccer organizations and soccer leagues in this country, yet no unifying structure to bring all of these assets together. Until that happens, a lot of resources are being wasted on a structure that has proven to be pretty ineffective so far.
     
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  11. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

    Jul 16, 2004
    Santa Monica
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    I think the current structure has been very effective so far. In particular, the USL has a good chance of creating a long-term stable minor league. We should all be doing a dance about that.

    The problem is, and you pointed this out earlier, is that we don't know what communities and owners are willing to support. Given that, there's no point in having a master plan. Let the leagues try to figure out what works and what doesn't.

    There is no ultimate objective in the same way that a "3rd division" has no real meaning. My take on this is that there is a potential market for a quasi-pro regional soccer league with average attendance in the 2k-4k range. Since both the NASL and the USL have decided they want to create a bare-bones national pro league with attendance in the 6k-10k range, this leaves an opening for the USL to create a new league. Why not?
     
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  12. oneeyedfool

    oneeyedfool Member+

    Nov 17, 2012
    Club:
    New York Cosmos
    Country:
    United States
    But is the minor league baseball model the way to maximize the talent in this country, I ask, sitting at a Bethlehem Steel game vs FC Cincinnati with maybe 350 people actually here in the stands.

    Soccer internationally is far more competitive than baseball.
     
  13. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

    Jul 16, 2004
    Santa Monica
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    I don't want to turn this into a pro/rel discussion because no good come of that, but I would argue that to maximize player development you need (among other things) well-funded professional academies and then a place for those players to play before MLS. Half of the MLS teams don't seem to be taking development that seriously so I have no expectations that teams below MLS are going to contribute. On the other hand, the USL does seem to be giving opportunities for young players to get playing time, so in that sense, they're doing their job. It's all early, but in my opinion, looking to the minor leagues (in whatever form) to be a driver of the academies seems to be focusing on the wrong place.
     
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  14. Sting111

    Sting111 Member

    Jan 17, 2011
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I agree. I would rather have programs that have the incentive to develop world class or at least professional players. A 3rd Division team will never be financially viable based on ticket sales or sponsorship deals alone. The real value of a 2nd or 3rd division team is player development. Focus on that. One or two player transfers to MLS or European teams is all that is needed to keep a minor league soccer team financially viable. That takes investment and a grassroots plan. Nether of which I have seen come from a minor league soccer division in this country. Just announcing that a 3rd Division league is coming without any kind of financial model just doesn't make any sense.
     
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  15. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    How many employees do you think the USSF actually has?
     
  16. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    1) Baysider didn't describe the minor league baseball system. What we have with soccer in the U.S. is different than the current MLB farm system.

    2) What goes on outside the U.S. has virtually no impact whatsoever on the viability of semipro soccer in the United States. None.
     
  17. oneeyedfool

    oneeyedfool Member+

    Nov 17, 2012
    Club:
    New York Cosmos
    Country:
    United States
    On the contrary, it is very similar to how the baseball minor leagues evolved. That is likely the best comparison to what we are seeing now. (I don't know much about minor league hockey but perhaps there are some similarities there too). I was speaking to where the system is headed, and whether that direction is what will maximize the soccer potential of this country. Read up on the Pacific Coast League as an example of a regional league with a high quality of play that ends up having its markets absorbed by the major leagues. Similar to recent NASL/USL history in the Southeast.
     
  18. Sting111

    Sting111 Member

    Jan 17, 2011
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I have no idea how many employees the USSF. Do you know? How is that relevant to this discussion? The USSF brings in around $40 or $50 million a year? I would think that they could allocate some of those dollars for something as important as creating an organizational structure that makes sense. The mission statement of the USSF is very clear, "To make soccer, in all its forms, a preeminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels". Why wouldn't developing a soccer structure from youth to national team not be the primary responsibility of the USSF?
     
  19. Sting111

    Sting111 Member

    Jan 17, 2011
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    The USSF claims to be responsible for the development of soccer from the lowest level to the highest competitive level. Why are they letting an organization like the USL dictate how this development process should work? As a league, the USL's primary objective is shareholder value. The USL is accountable to the owners of the league. This is vastly different from what the USSF's primary objective is. Until the USSF takes a leadership role in the organizational structure and divisional objectives of all levels of soccer in this country, the sport will continue to suffer from all of the organizational feuds and in-fighting that has burdened the sport of soccer throughout its history. It's crazy to keep making the same stupid mistakes year after year.
     
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  20. aetraxx7

    aetraxx7 Member+

    Jun 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    Club:
    Des Moines Menace
    Country:
    United States
    I know we all more or less assume that the USSF carries this responsibility, but can you give a source showing that they actually "claim to be responsible for the development of soccer from the lowest level to the highest competitive level" because I cannot find that exact wording? What I did find says,
    While it is extremely similar to what you are saying, the meaning of this quote and what you are suggesting are vastly different things. Nowhere in here does it suggest that the USSF determines what role each level of professional soccer plays in developing players. Nor does it give guidance on how to distribute professional players among the various divisions. There is no guidance - at least not for the general public's eyes - regarding how leagues should structure, train, or compensate their players.
    The quote from the USSF website essentially says that the USSF overseas soccer and that its mission is to make soccer the most popular sport in the US. I take that to imply that they want to ensure that youth participation is occurring (managed by US Club Soccer), that adults have amateur recreational/competitive opportunities (managed by USASA), and there are functioning professional leagues. The standards for the professional leagues are aimed at ensuring longevity and financial stability; they revolve around funding and stadiums rather than on specific affiliation and development models.
    My guess is that the USSF kind of figures that people who are willing and able to meet the professional funding guidelines can probably figure out what business model (which is really what you are referring to) they want to utilize. While I am sure that the USSF has some say in the business model used by the lower leagues, I'm guessing that the organization feels that both the minor league/affiliate and the independent club models meet their goal of "making soccer a preeminent sport in the United States at all recreational and competitive levels." As long as they maintain the checks that they do have - specifically in regards to meeting stadium and financial requirements - then the USSF is successfully doing its job.
     
  21. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    The number of professional soccer players in this country is a few thousand. The number of serious amateur players is in the low five figures. The number of recreational soccer players is probably over ten million.

    USSF answers to all of them. The USSF has never the personnel, nor the revenue, nor the interest in micromanaging the lower levels of minor league professional soccer.
     
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  22. Sting111

    Sting111 Member

    Jan 17, 2011
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Well, the USSF did find the resources and interest to actually RUN a professional soccer league back in 2010. The USSF should never go it alone like they did in that situation. I just think that there needs to be a strategic plan that makes sense for all. Look at Germany back in 2000. The team failed to make it past the group stage in the European championship. This was a low point in German soccer. Every German soccer organization at that time had their own self interest in mind. Changes needed to be made. After that the German FA worked with professional leagues and youth soccer to develop a program that makes sense. Germany is miles ahead of where we are in the US. But it is a pretty good example on how a national soccer association can take a leading role in directing change without a massive level of resources. At least to make sure that everyone is traveling in the same direction.
     
  23. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Except, not really. The USL and nascent NASL organizations did most of the heavy lifting. USSF basically set up the terms of engagement and got the hell out as soon as possible.

    As for the NWSL, they hired a skeleton staff to administer the league. There are already rumblings that indicate the teams are ready to take over management functions themselves. I believe the commissioner-less league office has actually moved out of Soccer House.
     
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  24. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Country:
    United States
    Which they did. Starting years ago.

    But a league needs to have its own set of standards. And they seem far more willing to do that than in the Marcos era.


    I have never been one to suggest it as a strategy. To be fair, some of the expansion teams are MLS2 teams, which have better backing than, say, the used car salesman who used to own Virginia Beach.

    I also read where Edwards said today they are close to capping the league, which is at least a bit heartening.

    I did not until I heard recently that someone is exploring starting a D3 league to rival USL's and that they had quite the expression of interest.

    Competing interests have never really played well with others, but that predates USL by about 60 years. That's just the deal, apparently.

    But the game is stronger than it has ever been. It is very hard to make the case that what we are seeing now has been detrimental. It may eventually collapse like a flan. Don't know. But I know that we have not seen the type of craptacular expansion teams recently that were so prevalent in the 1990s, when you, apparently, stopped paying attention.
     
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  25. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Country:
    United States
    In other news, Frank Yallop resigned as Phoenix Rising's head coach today, ostensibly to spend more time with Curt Onalfo's family or something.
     

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