Discussion in 'Soccer in the USA' started by Chicago Stars, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. Chicago Stars

    Chicago Stars New Member

    Sep 4, 2002

    I noticed there is starting to be some light shown on the different plans of MLS and USL. So I thought I would ask some questions to get a better understanding of the situation.

    With MLS wanting to start a reserve league (that will be funded in part by the adidas deal), what will happen to USL?

    Is the USL funded in anyway by US Soccer (which has a deal with Nike through 2014)?

    I guess the main question comes down to whether MLS will attempt to take over the minor league system by starting their own and trying to destroy USL?

    I think it is an interesting topic to bring up and one that will affect player development in the future.

  2. yankiboy

    yankiboy New Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    Laurel, MD

    I can't comment on the USL funding coz I'm not sure. I believe that Umbro kicks in some cash or at least did.

    I think that for USL Div1 (RIP) will offer some guys more cash than the MLS reserves. The USL D2 will probably be more vunerable since the salaries are lower.

    I would imagine that some guys would prefer to take less cash to play with the MLS Reserve teams, especially younger, single guys. Other guys will play in the USL D1 because they know that they are not going back up (if they were ever there before) or they doubt that they will ever make it up to MLS.

    IMHO, the goal of the USL is about survival. Period. I think that most of the owners (except for Rochester) know that they have little or no chance to ever do more than break even.

    MLS is about breaking even and making a sustainable profit. I believe that the consensus inside MLS is that they are past the survival stage because some guys with tons of cash have kept them alive (thanks Uncles Phil and Lamar). It sees expansion as being vital to do so. Ownership of soccer specifc stadia is also a cornerstone of its plans. They also want to corner the market on cheap, up and coming talent so that they can develop for cheap labor, feature them in MLS and eventually sell to European clubs.

    One league is trying to survive. The other is trying to overtake the NHL as the 4th major pro sport league.

    Considering the past relationship of the leagues and the very distict reality of the leagues, I think it is safe to say that MLS has zippy (no) desire to work with USL. Of course, "on-loan" deals between MLS and USL clubs do take still currently take place, but those are really transactions between clubs, not actually between leagues.

    I don't think that MLS wants to "destroy" the USL they just want to piller it ocasionally whenever possible. I think the WUSA posed a much bigger threat to MLS than the USL ever will (eg., the markets that the WUSA teams were in). MLS realizes that.

    The reserve team project has a lot to do cheap labor. There will be more pressure on MLS roster holders to produce, because ther will be some 22 year old kid willing to play for $26k, just dying for the chance to take your roster spot.
  3. RalleeMonkey

    RalleeMonkey Member+

    Aug 30, 2004
    I don't understand why MLS doesn't piggyback a women's league onto it's men's league. From what I understand, the WUSA and MLS drew from 2 fairly distinct fan bases.

    So, why not have a women's team for each (or most) of the men's teams. Have 2 games on game day. Have the women play the non-primetime game (either before, or after the men). This way you can have a women's league where your only expense is the player's salaries. Everything else is already paid for. All of your administrative staff, advertising, stadium rental . . . .everything. And you can arrange the tv schedule so that the you don't have 2 soccer games on at the same time.

    Plus, companies that sponsor the league get a much larger audience.
  4. Liverpool_SC

    Liverpool_SC Member

    Jun 28, 2002
    Upstate, SC

    The women were not too interested in this type of shared endeavor in the past - even rejecting the offer of MLS cooperation. There is a lot of merit to your suggestion, although I think that the US is not ready for a 12 team women's league. Also, some of the best markets for women's soccer (Philadelphia and San Diego for instance) don't have MLS clubs.

    I would start by putting together a small women's league (say 6 teams) with teams in all the MLS cities that own/operate their own stadia (LA, Dallas, Boston, Columbus and KC - might not be so popular) and a few other cities where the teams drew "well" (DC). As MLS sides built stadia, they could add WMLS teams as needed.

    But the whole seamless integration with MLS has challenges:

    1) Who owns the WMLS teams? Do you force the MLS investor-operators to start women's teams and bankroll them even if they don't want to? If other invester-operators want to get involved with women's soccer, is it fair that they schlep off MLS owners (who are paying for the stadia, staffing, administrative offices, etc?)

    They would basically have to pay rent or make some contribution to the MLS bottom line or they become just another drain on the resources.

    2) Do the WMLS teams have an equivalent salary structure to MLS teams? If they operate under the same agreement, it will make the women happy, but it will not be realistic given their revenues. If you don't pay them that kind of money, they may get pretty ticked off that they are not being respected. Do we really need this kind of turmoil?

    There are many other potential complications too. But I agree with your basic ideas about scheduling games, coordinating with MLS on stadium usage (doubleheaders) and sharing staff/administrative personnel.
  5. RalleeMonkey

    RalleeMonkey Member+

    Aug 30, 2004

    I agree with pretty much everything you say. I think your #2 would be the biggest issue. If it was me, I'd say: "here it is, take it or leave it. This is a men's league and we're doing you a favor. You wanna get paid more, get a women's league financed. If you want to treat this as a stopgap measure, fantastic. In the meantime, if you want to get paid to play soccer, we'd love to have you."
  6. mutinywxgirl

    mutinywxgirl Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 6, 1999
    St. Petersburg, FL

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