The All-Encompassing Pro/Rel Thread on Soccer in the USA

Discussion in 'Soccer in the USA' started by bigredfutbol, Mar 12, 2016.

  1. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You are continuing to miss my point. Division sanctioning is meaningless. MLS is seen as the top league by most sports fans because it acts like the top league. The percentage of people in the U.S. who know MLS is the major pro soccer league and who know about its D1 sanctioning is about 1% (generously) of the people who know MLS is the major pro soccer league.

    USL could stay D2 and act in every way like MLS and try to take over that space in people’s collective minds as to what league is the major pro soccer league in this country. The fact that they are only sanctioned as a D2 league by the USSF would be meaningless. It has nothing to do with the USSF holding leagues to standards. It has to do with how a league presents itself and handles itself.

    And to do that requires the investment and investors I referred to.
     
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  2. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    England
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  3. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    You are continuing to miss my point. For USL to "take over that space in people’s collective minds as to what league is the major pro soccer league in this country" requires the league as a whole to, in your words, have "investment and investors". That's a completely different order of business than an individual club to invest and perform on the field of play such that it can compete at the top level.
     
  4. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    Geographical spread and conurbation size are two obvious things written with closed leagues in mind. "Sorry, no promotion for you as that will dilute our percentage of teams in conurbations of over 1 million". I mean, it wouldn't be difficult for the USSF to fix this, would it?
     
  5. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    And there isn’t anything stopping another league from meeting the conditions set in the PLS and being sanctioned as D1…
     
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  6. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    England
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    "As specified for each division, the league must require each team to post with the league or, if so directed, with the Federation, an adequate performance bond or other security to secure the performance of the teams’ obligations (including, without limitation, player and staff salaries and wages, stadium lease commitments and third party vendor obligations in addition to commitments by each team to the league) for the current season. In the case of a single‐entity league, the league must provide, or demonstrate that it has, adequate security to ensure the performance of the league’s obligations for the current season."
     
  7. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    They haven’t even decided if they are going to have pro/rel. However, what is obvious that they are a little on the top heavy side for an effective pro/rel system.

    There is no reason to alter the PLS. Your premise that the current PLS prevents pro/rel is not accurate. There is also no evidence that USSF would not alter the PLS if it were necessary to do so. They’ve already made modifications to it in the past and they’ve shown a willingness to practically bend over backwards to give organizations every chance to succeed at whatever level they want to be at.
     
  8. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    England
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #31333 Paul Berry, Jul 26, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
    That's true. It was a motion raised by pro-rel advocate Jake Edwards to be voted on in December. So they're still at least 5 months away from making a decision.

    One [owner] said that MLS could fill a role as “the NFL of soccer” while the USL could tap into an audience of those who want to see drama at the top and the bottom of the table....

    ...One source indicated that it’s unlikely that the U.S. Soccer Professional League Sanction guidelines will change in the near future (especially given the ongoing litigation by the NASL against the federation). As a result, one seemingly mandatory component would be for any new League One clubs to meet second-division standards (specifically relevant: a minimum seating capacity of 5,000 and a principal owner with a net worth exceeding $20,000,000)*.

    -
    The Athletic

    *pretty much what I've been saying, that you have to meet the standards of the league above you.
     
  9. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The only obvious thing is that your too close minded to see that just because USSF uses the D1/D2/D3 labels in the PLS that doesn’t mean it is limited by the international definition and that movement between levels in a pro/rel system within an umbrella organization doesn’t necessarily mean a team has to change divisions and leagues.
     
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  10. Expansion Franchise

    Chattanooga FC
    United States
    Apr 7, 2018
    For me, the main blockers are the population requirements, which I think could pretty uncontroversially be revised, and the ownership wealth requirements, which would be harder, because the current leagues would absolutely use it as a means of cementing their positions.

    Which is not to say that there should be no financial requirements, it’s just that the ones written are prescriptive to a single ownership model.

    The stadium seating requirement for D1 is a little over the top (given the jump from D2), as well, but I can’t see that one changing.
     
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  11. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Are you under the impression that, for example, the EPL has no investment or expenditures apart from what the teams themselves spend? The EPL has an office in central London and approx. 200 employees that work for the league itself. They do everything from scheduling fixtures to selling TV rights to arranging league sponsors and much much more.

    Pretty much exactly what the league offices for the USL do. MLS as well, but of course MLS adds in the single-entity work on top of it. That, that right there is the investment I'm talking about. MLS has invested in the things that make the organization of MLS appear like a top league in this country. They aren't a top league to people because the USSF said they are, they're a top league to people because they act like it. And there is nothing that prevents the USL league organization from doing the same and taking over that top league spot in people's minds regardless of how teams are selected for the league.
     
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  12. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    That sounds very much like a "I can't release my tax returns because I'm being audited" kind of excuse for not modifying the PLS...

    More importantly, if that article is correct, it illustrates just how the current PLS militate against the formation of a pro/rel pyramid. The USL is effectively having to change itself into a single "Division 2" league to achieve its internal pro/rel. Imagine how unworkable that would become if, say, pro/rel was extended beyond the two current divisions. The current PLS standards would dictate that the only way to do itt would be to require the standards of whatever the top level of the pyramid was, regardless of the depth of the pyramid. That would be like requiring that a team promoted to the Northern Premier League have the standards required of a Premier League team. One beauty of pro/rel is that teams can develop incrementally as they move up the pyramid. By requiring all teams to have the standards from the get go of the "top level" that advantage disappears.
     
  13. An Unpaved Road

    An Unpaved Road Member+

    Mar 22, 2006
    Club:
    --other--
    Hmm, I thought Atlanta vs. Cincinnati the other week was one of the most entertaining games I've watched this summer (including the international tournaments). MLS has "standings," though, and not a "table" so that one might not count. :p
     
  14. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Money Grab FC
    Apr 26, 2012
    #31339 CoachP365, Jul 26, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
    The PLS stops the "build a better mousetrap" route by imposing restrictions on club ownership that many 1st division clubs elsewhere in the world would not be able to meet. SO USL can promote and relegate as many 20millionaires as it likes between division 3 and 2, but even should they start to spank the MLS teams in the USOC, have better attendance and television numbers, those well run 20 millionaires can never become a 1st division unless they all become > 40millionaires.

    And they also can't accept a club that might have a different ownership model of hundreds/thousands of fans owning shares...
     
  15. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    So? If they do that on a regular basis everyone will see them as the top league regardless of what stamp the USSF puts on the league. And honestly, if that were to happen, that would force the USSF to make a change. Despite what some people believe the USSF is not 100% beholden to Don Garber and MLS.
     
  16. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Money Grab FC
    Apr 26, 2012
    Not sure about the last part. Imagine year 2 of a pro/rel USL - could a low net worth owner get a wiaver if their team won USL-1, in order to accept promotion?

    I can also see a team declining promotion if getting a d2 stadium, travel costs, salaries, owner is a former youth coach who sandbagged all his tournaments and likes romping over lesser competition, etc...
     
  17. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Money Grab FC
    Apr 26, 2012
    I saw some attendance numbers for the Fire and NYRB recently, can we get the PLS amended to be that 1st division teams have to actually draw 15000 intead of just lease cavernous space where they can draw < 4K?
     
  18. Expansion Franchise

    Chattanooga FC
    United States
    Apr 7, 2018
    The idea was being kicked around for NISA to build their pyramid entirely within D3, since in the absence of an integrated pyramid, the actual divisional designations mean eff-all, so you might as well use the loosest rules for sanctioning, then implement stricter standards if necessary internally.

    While I think this could work perfectly fine in theory, where I think it runs aground practically is trying to get sponsorships and whatnot, especially trying to compete in markets with USL and MLS teams who can and will absolutely use the divisional markers against them.
     
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  19. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    Or the USSF could modify its PLS to cater for pro/rel leagues...
     
  20. Expansion Franchise

    Chattanooga FC
    United States
    Apr 7, 2018
    It would still have to go to the pro council to be approved, though.
     
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  21. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    England
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well it doesn't say that. "One" unnamed source says that it's "unlikely" the PLS will change. But they won't know until they ask. There are also waivers. X teams could be allowed in the league without meeting the standards.

    And to be honest I don't know what's wrong with ambitious teams building an infrastructure that's worthy of a higher division.

    That's nonsense.[/QUOTE]
     
  22. Expansion Franchise

    Chattanooga FC
    United States
    Apr 7, 2018
    It's not about "asking", they would need to propose amendments and then get enough votes in the pro council to pass them.

    USSF just moderates the process.

    As far as your other point, about relying on waivers, that's a really risky model to build on.
     
  23. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    England
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If those fans formed a company and that company owned the club it might work.

    To be fair it's the first time since 2013 that teams have regularly got attendances of under 15,000. Strike that. It's the first time since 2013 that teams have regularly reported attendances of under 15,000.
     
  24. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Hate to break it to you, but in a world where USL outdraws MLS, there wouldn’t be a single owner worth $20m. They would already have been bought out by people significantly more well off, or the team’s valuation would drive their net worth significantly above $20m.
     
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  25. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    And this is something that USSF has done on several occasions at the request of leagues…
     
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