Daily news roundups

Union bits, Winter Showcase win for Union Academy, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

At USA Today, Keegan Rosenberry comes in a t No. 4 in a list of nine players who “deserve a look from Arena (who never got one from Klinsmann)”: “The 22-year-old right back for Philadelphia Union is an intriguing young player who could get a look in the January camp. It would appear that DeAndre Yedlin has locked down that position for the U.S. for the foreseeable future, but if Arena wants to bring in another young option, Rosenberry is a nice choice.”

Former Union man Conor Casey recently announced his retirement. A post at the Union website notes he leaves the game as “among the most influential offensive threats the Union have fielded over their seven-season MLS run.”

At the Union website, the first of 23 reasons to buy a Union season ticket (before the price goes up at the end of the month).

Bethlehem Steel FC

At USLsoccer.com, a report, much like the one at the Bethlehem Steel website we linked to in Thursday’s roundup, on how Brendan Burke expects young players to use the experience they gleaned from the team’s inaugural season to help the team in 2017.

Philadelphia Union Academy

At the USSDA Winter Showcase, being held in conjunction with the Nike International Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch in Florida, Tiger Graham scored the 80th minute game winner in the Union Academy U-17/18s 21 comeback win over Real So Cal. After conceding in the 24th minute, Patrick Murphy scored the equalizer in the 50th minute. Next up is Sporting Kansas City today at 4:15 pm, followed on Sunday by Atlantic United at 11:15 am.

The Union Academy U-15/16s face open play at the Winter Showcase today against their counterparts from Sacramento Republic today at 10 am, followed by Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday at 2 pm, and Sporting Kansas City on Monday at 9 am.

The Union Academy’s Rayshaun McGann, who scored the final goal in the US U-17 BNT’s 7-1 win over Portugal on Wednesday in their opening game at the Nike International Friendlies, should be in action when the US faces Turkey tonight at 7 pm (YouTube).


Ocean City Nor’easters MVP Nathan Regis has been named NCAA Division II National Player of the Year for the second year in a row. (The award might actually be the Division II Conference Commissioners Association Men’s Soccer Ron Lenz National Player of the Year?)


FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja has been named MLS Coach of the Year.

DC United has re-signed Steve Birnbaum “to a multi-year contract.”

Minnesota United has announced its first two MLS signings, defenders Kevin Venegas and Justin Davis, both longtime veterans of the club.

MLSsoccer.com reports Atlanta United “are nearing a deal” to acquire Sean Johnson from Chicago Fire in exchange for general allocation money: “Though the sources indicated that the trade is all but done, it can’t become official until the MLS trade window temporarily re-opens for three hours on the morning of Sunday, Dec. 11, the day after MLS Cup.”

FourFourTwo reports “Brad Guzan is exploring a potential return to Major League Soccer in the January transfer window, according to league sources.” Is there a connection with the report of the Johnson move to Atlanta? Atlanta will bump Chicago from the top spot in the allocation order when the league calendar resets after the MLS Cup final on Dec. 10 and Guzan grew up in Homer Glen, Ill., not far from Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

Apparently Union goalkeeper jokes are still thought of as funny at Fox Sports where Caitlin Murray has a list of potential landing spots for Guzan that includes the Union: “Andre Blake was one of the best goalkeepers in MLS this year, but there’s nothing wrong with a little depth. And hey, it wouldn’t be the first time the Union made a goalkeeper decision that didn’t make any sense. (We’re sorry to bring up the Raïs M’Bolhi debacle of 2014-15. That was cruel.)” Ha ha. Ha. Ha.

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead looks at how Toronto FC went from being “the worst team in the world” to being “the blueprint for MLS success.”

Big TV ratings in Canada for Wednesday’s Eastern Conference final second-leg game between Toronto and Montreal, making it “the most-watched MLS game in Canadian TV history.”

The Daily Mail reports, “Didier Drogba’s charity foundation to help causes in Africa has been cleared following an investigation into ‘serious regulatory concerns’.” However, PA Sport reports, “A charity set up by Didier Drogba to help poor communities in the Ivory Coast may have ‘misled’ donors, a watchdog has found.”

On the NASL front, ESPN reports, “The NASL’s Board of Governors completed two days of crisis meetings on Wednesday, but there appeared to be no resolution as to the league’s immediate future…It appears as though much will be decided at the USSF’s Board of Directors meeting next week in New York, in which the issue of sanctioning leagues at the Division II and Division III level is on the agenda.”

The Oklahoman reports Rayo OKC has released all of its players and was not represented at the NASL board of governors meeting, “thus another sign that indicates the club will not play in the league in 2017.” The ESPN report above says Ft. Lauderdale Strikers may also not play in 2017. Is current NASL side Carolina RailHawks, who are about to be rebranded as North Carolina FC, looking to make a push to join MLS (it seems the team’s news app has jumped the gun on an announcement)?

A spokesperson for Carlos Slim says rumors that the Mexican billionaire would buy New York Cosmos are “not true.”

A commentary piece from Big Apple Soccer editor, and veteran US soccer reporter, Michael Lewis says of his “gut feeling” about the future of the Cosmos: “I fear they’re gone for 2017 and even perhaps for good — unless things change dramatically. They are in really poor financial shape from what I believe (they have lost well in the millions since returning in 2013) and I am not certain they have the means to get their act together at this moment…I would advise Cosmos soccer fans to pray to the soccer gods for a miracle or two in the form of new investors or owners if the franchise is to continue.”


Alex Morgan to Olympique Lyonnais’ women’s team?


USWNT co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn on the current state of the CBA negotiations with US Soccer: “We’re far apart. But I think we can get to an agreement that both sides can feel good about.” Asked what the team will do if an agreement isn’t reached by the end of the year, Sauerbrunn said, “The team will vote on it. It could be anything from operating under a memorandum of understanding until a new deal comes up, or if we have to go on strike, that’s a conversation that we’re going to have to have. Or, who knows, maybe U.S. Soccer could lock us out! You never really know what’s going to happen, so we’re preparing for all those different realities.”

The Dallas Morning News reports on the release earlier this weeks of new renderings of the $39 million renovations underway at FC Dallas’ stadium, which will house the new National Soccer Hall of Fame: “The redesign, discussed with the city in August, incorporates some efficiencies and integrates the Hall of Fame at street level with a club lounge…The museum’s interior is still being refined. The Hall of Fame will also feature a lot of interactive elements, including ‘multiple virtual reality experiences,’ [FC Dallas president Dan Hunt said].”


The AP reports, “The president of Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro said Thursday the team will not play its final-round match of the Brazilian league season against Chapecoense…’We believe in sport,’ Atletico Mineiro president Daniel Nepomuceno said. ‘We respect the pain. It’s not the moment to demand that players’ play this match.”

Chapecoense vice-president Gelson Dalla Costa says the team has received offers of support from clubs outside of Brazil, including from clubs in Argentina, Portugal, and Spain.

Ronaldinho and Juan Roman Riquelme could come out of retirement and play for Chapecoense for free.

PA Sport reports, “The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will announce its decision on former FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s appeal against a six-year ban from football on Monday.”

Also from PA Sport, “The Swiss investigation into corruption at FIFA has widened to include the former general secretary of world football’s governing body, Urs Linsi…The Swiss authorities have been investigating a £5.6 million payment made by the German FA , via FIFA, to former Adidas boss Robert Louis-Dreyfus in April 2005. It is alleged that this was a repayment of a loan that the German FA used for bribes during the bidding process for the 2006 World Cup, which was staged in Germany.”

The child sexual abuse scandal in England continues to widen.

This: “Arsenal’s Theo Walcott has set a world record for controlling a ball dropped from a high altitude…from 34 metres.”

Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week.


  1. Here’s to Connor Casey. A goal scorer of tremendous guile and tenacity. He possessed one of the truly great goal-scoring noggins in North America. If only we could somehow place his brain in CJ Sapong’s body….

    The prospect of NASL folding is really not good for U.S. soccer, regardless of whether they “deserve it” or not. There are some valuable teams that have been provided good positions to players in the country. The union have made some good deals with NASL clubs. I’d hate to see that lost. It would also be bad news to jeopardize the leagues success stories like Indy 11 and Cincinnati FC. I hope they get more than wagged fingers from US Soccer bigwigs and MLS capos. Those teams, those rosters and fans are important.

    • Or maybe NASL’s demise will enable a true U.S. pyramid to be formed.

      Sure, it will be under the MLS umbrella which will bother some people, but that’s really the only way it can happen right now.

      Given the alliance between USL and MLS, it would make perfect sense to go down the road of pro/rel if a single-entity system owned all of the teams in every division.

      Think of it like wildfires. While on the surface, they are very damaging initially. However, they also spark new growth and makes the overall ecology of the forest area even better in the long run.

      • I Am Citizen Insane says:

        Point noted….
        ….The regrowth is good problem is sometimes those wildfires engulf neighborhoods.
        If your proposal means that every team across 4 divisions of soccer comes under the purview of MLS then what will the point of the federation be?
        Our soccer pyramid will very literally be as corrupt as thesoccerdons name implies.

      • My point on wildfires was purely from an ecological standpoint as you well know.

        If MLS was 3-4 leagues rather than just one, it doesn’t change the role of USSF.

        While MLS is not perfect, it seems really good to me after reading the results of the FIFPro survey.

      • .
        I’ve wondered myself a bit about what point you have made and posted something to the 3four3 Podcast and on Twitter to Ted Westervelt…
        Circling back as always to Gary arguing for the fundamental problem as he sees it Pro/Rel…. and recognizing I once asked him to write an article playing devil’s advocate about how the current system or evolving current system COULD work… in light of the fact, some of this is out of our hands and the long term plan of MLS, to my knowledge is a hidden agenda… I pose these questions.
        I also posed these questions to Ted W a bit ago. He was unimpressed. We had a good discussion though.
        What if MLS owned every team across the top four divisions and opened the pyramid to Pro/Rel. What if a club was funded enough privately and earned its way into 4th division then paid MLS…then had every right to work its way up to top tier.
        What if like it or not this could be the long term plan for US Soccer What if Those in the Know are whispering amongst themselves and the NFL Overlords, ‘in 30 years this soccer thing is going to be the biggest thing in the world’… I recognize some could argue that all the clubs would be franchises like Applebees (Ted’s response) or McDonalds…but even many of those franchises are in differing housing structures: strip mall here, remodeled building there, train station here, Madison Avenue there….
        …which all leads me to this very important place- which isn’t whether some agree or disagree, like the model or dislike the model… but to the place of will it WORK? Will it get kids playing in the street perfecting their artistry, will it get academy to refine the artist- WOULD it work well enough to lift the Holy Grail?

      • Great stuff! I think that it would work well enough to be a catalyst to make soccer huge in the US. Think about it, we would have a professional league in the US which would totally be unique to the NFL. NBA, MLB, etc.

        There are enough soccer fans in this country already to make this happen. we just need them to see MLS with a true pyramid to make it happen.

        Look at how soccer has already influenced other US sports. More than a few NBA teams have tried to form supporter sections which would be rowdy and create a fun atmosphere. Teams got those ideas by watching how soccer engages its fans.

        Ted is idealogue who only can only see one way to his goal and it’s hard to engage in an intellectual conversation with someone like that.

      • I think we’re about a generation away from “getting kids to play in the streets.” I think based on comments you’ve made that we’re about the same age. For me, no one in my parents generation knew a thing about soccer. I played it and enjoyed it, but had no exposure to games on TV or elsewhere until I was in high school for the 1990 World Cup. A few of us played pick up soccer, but not many kids my age did. My 9-year-old son, though, plays with his friends every day at recess. And sometimes we get together with sons and dads for park friendlies that are pretty fun. I think this is the first gen of a number of kids with dads who understand the game (though in the rec league I coach in, I think only half the coaches know the game or played it).

      • El P, Rosebud, Joel, whatever name you choose, please continue to post your point but also please answer the thoughts presented as counterpoint. For examples, John O’s excellent questions for you to answer regarding pro/rel or one of my rare posts that you agreed was worth discussing and is relevant here.

        Individual Promotion/Relegation ala MLB farm system.
        If MLS and USL Tier 2/3 and PDL—why do you think that would automatically mean team pro/rel vs individual pro/rel?
        Let’s face it–already exceptions have been made in your argument for why Bethlehem Steel shouldn’t be promoted. Makes whole process a bit silly if Steel are (Burke’s dream) the champs one year, right?

        But what’s wrong with individuals moving up (and down?) based on a farm system that develops a club philosophy?
        Of course this has to be explained to fans of the farm clubs(Steel) beforehand. Reading Phillies fans really don’t expect them to win every game but chance to see players develop like Ryan Howard way back when–and to enjoy good game of baseball. Many minor league teams make it a family environment(I know that dreaded casual fan) but you want to build ground support with kids in an inexpensive environment.
        And yes in minor league games they might yank a pitcher with an 6 or 7 inning no hitter to protect the arm. Tough gameday decision but develops the player for next level.
        I don’t believe Steel did a good enough job conveying this attitude prior to their first season. Witness disenchantment of our one Steel’s fan here on these pages.

        Anyway, El P, what are your thoughts on individual vs team development?

      • I don’t care as much about NASL as I do for the individual teams. I just don’t want some of these clubs to cease operations because a few teams in the league aren’t stable.

        I think my biggest problem with MLS is that it’s a single ownership. I’m willing to debate the merits of pro/rel and concede that there may have been and still is reason to go slow, but the single entity feels to me like a real impediment.

        I suppose that ownership model is designed to prevent a sinking club from taking the league down with it. But there has to be enough investment $s out there with interest in the U.S. market today to make that an obsolete concern. The only reason to lose a lot of money in MLS is that you’re doing it wrong.

        I’m happy to hear arguments to the contrary. I’m not an expert on MLS business practices. It just rubs me the wrong way more than nearly any other aspect of the league.

      • Heard Thomas Friedman speak the other night (he’s brilliant).

        One of his main points is that the rate of change throughout the world in so blindingly fast right now that industries/business models that have worked in the past will likely perish as the years go by. We’ve all seen it happen with media, transportation, etc. If they are wedded to operating how they always have and refuse to adapt, they’ll die off.

        While MLS and the single-entity system is an outlier in the way that soccer is run throughout the world, the old model is pretty broken right now. Most clubs struggle to stay in business and that can’t continue. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw different countries or leagues try to work with a system similar to what MLS has.

        And if MLS can make it work with pro/rel across 3-4 leagues, look out.

      • ~
        Very well argued.
        as you know…
        ….for me there is only Zidane.

      • Thanks. I’m hoping that Zidane can lead Madrid to a good result this weekend.

        El Clasico is like Christmas morning for me.

      • Right. Interesting idea about bringing all divisions under a single entity to facilitate pro/rel. …

        I know soccer as a business has a lot of tough spots. I think the one thing I like a bit about MLS is that we don’t have to worry about the Union going up for sale and being bought by some oversees conglomerate that’s nearly impossible to hold accountable.

      • Very true. So many supporters have seen their clubs being held hostage by some chairman who doesn’t care at all about the club’s ethos or history.

      • I think we’re still a long way off from being able to go to a pro/rel system. There needs to be more levels between top tier teams and their affiliates. Let’s say Bethlehem Steel gets promoted. Does that mean that they have to give up their affiliation (and check out what happened with the 1899 Cleveland Spiders to see what happens if the two stay affiliated)? Or do the Union lose everything they’ve built with Steel? Does Steel have to find a new stadium with lights?
        Given the disparity between the two leagues in terms of things like facilities, along with the ownership issues, I don’t think pro/rel works until there are several additional levels between MLS and USL.

      • Bethlehem Steel could never get promote to the first division… this is also how it works abroad. Barca A and Barca B can never be in the same Tier.

      • Exactly!

      • So if the top 5 teams in USL were MLS affiliates, you’re now looking to promote teams 6-8? What about if a team with a USL affiliate gets relegated? Are there two aligned teams in USL?
        I still think we need more layers before it will work.

      • Agree, I think that we need three leagues to go down that road.

        Also, I would expect those ownership affiliations to go away in this new set-up. I believe that this was only done to help MLS clubs develop players as well as to help USL to continue to grow (or perhaps to kill off NASL, depends on your POV).

        Remember, in the early days of MLS, we only had a handful of owners and many owned more than one team at the same time. That ultimately got sorted as the league grew.

      • USL has enough teams right now to create two tiers. It has what, 30 teams? Create a 14 or 16 team USL A league. All other teams are in USL B. New teams start in B. It would be the perfect place to experiment with pro/rel. Get it stable and then introduce it to MLS.

    • NASL folding would likely be bad as a whole for US Soccer however the Union should make sure they are smart and start picking off players from the NASL now while teams fold. I bet there are a lot of players that could work for both Steel and the Union. And now would be the time to start making agreements with people before other teams come sniffing.

  2. I Am Citizen Insane says:

    Theo Walcott may want to check with Luis Suarez regarding the world record…. I watched him settle one dead from a sky crane that was at least over hundred feet…. coulda sworn it was 35M.
    In other news… Chicago Fire hire PSG Academy director to run academy. This is no small accomplishment. Makes me wonder.

  3. Joshua Gatt.
    I have nothing – not even a rumor to go one, but he is still fairly young at 25, should be relatively expensive because of the injuries the last few years, would not take an international spot, has not played in the MLS (so no team directly holds his rights), he does not fit the description of a player who needs to go through the allocation process, and brings one of the main things this team has lacked – elite speed.

    • Joshua Gatt would be a great prospect, but I think he is likely to cost to much. We still have a surplus of wingers on the roster. And I am not sure but I thought Columbus or someone did hold his MLS rights already or discovery rights or something ridiculous. I’m more interested in solidifying a spine down the center of this team that starts with a new 6 and 8 a veteran CB and then a striker.

      • As pragmatist pointed out below, he is not that expensive because of the injury history – sort of like Pontius.
        As the team no longer has a surplus of wingers/attacking mids – Barnetta is gone, Restrepo is gone, Fernandes is in contract discussions. Herbers is really a second forward type and not a natural wing. Ilsinho is under next season but has struggled with injury and fitness.
        I agree that there is more pressing issues to address, but another issue, throughout the team’s entire history really, is lack of speed. You see how big of an impact elite speed has with Castillo and FC Dallas. Just the threat of getting beat pulls the defense out of shape and opens up space for everyone else.

      • At $300,000 sure I would take Gatt assuming it does not cut out getting a 6, 8, ST and CB. If it does sorry, but I say no. As far as wingers go you have Pontius, Herbers, Alberg, Ilsinho, Ayuk, Bedoya. I list Alberg and Bedoya here as it is where they probably would be best deployed that gives you 6 wingers for 2 positions I think that is more than enough on this roster. If it is me I start Pontius LW Bedoya RW.

    • http://www.transfermarkt.com/joshua-gatt/profil/spieler/140798
      Not that expensive. And at 25, if it ain’t happenin’ yet in Europe…it may be time to look for options back home.
      But as a Michigan kid, maybe he’ll look to Minnesota or something closer to home. Or not…

      • What’s really funny is look at who Transfermarkt lists as a Comparable Player…that’s right, Danny Cruz.

  4. John P O'Donnell says:

    So the butterfly flapped its wings years ago and the ripples in time have brought us to this point. Once touted as the sport of the future, critics joined ranks to belittle the game and dismiss any such notion. Along came the Cosmos with a team of international soccer stars led by the one and only Pele. Unfortunately the first NASL was like a sparkler burning bright and shiny but in the end lacking any kind of pop.

    For years the critics enjoyed the desert of no real soccer culture other than the thousands of youth clubs that kept the sport going domestically. The term “soccer mom” was coined to make it seem the sport wasn’t quite manly enough to be taken seriously. But as we know, along came the 94 World Cup, MLS and the internet. Those flapping wings started a small series of conditions that’s led to this point.

    Come this Monday USSF will meet and what started decades ago might finally decide the path we go as a soccer nation. A country built on American exceptionalism might have the courage to decide that D1 will follow the path of all major leagues and start to build a hybrid system of a MLB minor league system. Moving USL to D2 status and giving players a way to develop as they move up the pyramid.

    After twenty years, MLS has created a franchise model that survived the enormous cost of start-up and after stabilizing has started to thrive. More teams with billionaire owners investing in stadiums, academies and training centers is the norm now, not the dream. In a country that has perfected the franchise model to produce enormous wealth for owners and players, MLS naturally followed that path. The soccer critics of the past who faded away as the game has finally started to thrive, have been replaced with soccer traditionalist who believe we must follow the traditional path of pro/rel.

    Once again we’ve seen the new champion of pro/rel, Cosmos 2.0, help crumble another league, this one D2. They again ignored the lessons of the past and figured out how to lose a reported 30 million since they started their twice in a lifetime project. Enough is enough and it’s time to go a different way.

    Those butterfly wings are flapping again and the consequences are about to come to the forefront next week. Will USSF finally put the nail in the coffin of NASL and move up USL? Will the franchise model start the hybrid minor league system? Stay tuned.

    • This is well written. I’ve commended you in the past for cogent thought and tonight is no different. You have my attention.
      Some questions however.
      How does this model connect with the countless American citizens in upwards of 40,000,000 footy first people that are not buying in? And if you tell me it doesn’t matter… I’m going to tell you then—-that our culture will not change in the necessary manner to produce the players we are missing… because these 40million people do matter in the long run to the health and vibrancy of the game stateside.
      I am beginning to understand better this notion of individual promotion you seem to be trumpeting along with UnionGoal through the tiered minor leagues, and while not willing to yet let go of firmly held beliefs…. I am listening.
      How does MLS protect itself from a standard deviation of owners that are and will be making money hand over fist but not pushing a quality product like we see in every other American professional league where it is nearly and incomprehensibly honorable to tank or languish for multiple seasons or generations.
      The NBA is a shell of a league compared to the past and while the individual quality of players athletically has improved and players are earning ridiculous sums of money… the team dynamic and quality of play -through excessive growth IMO- has diminished the last 20 years. Some can even argue the same about NHL.
      How does MLS deal with despite its assertions to the contrary that everything is growing by leaps and bounds, many many seats are unfilled in many many stadiums and this is a problem beyond paid attendance versus interest.
      How does MLS deal with doing just about everything different from the international norm- scheduling as an example… does this matter?
      How does MLS deal with telling a 15 year STH in Toronto that they do not get to sit in their seat for the most important game in franchise history?
      Do these very important points factor in to end product? Do these points matter when, unlike the rest of American leagues, we are facing players and Federations much more advanced than ours… countries and leagues that are producing world class players.
      I fully recognize this is a growing product which will change over time…
      Good stuff sir.

      • John P O'Donnell says:

        Sits and ponders questions even though I’m not convinced the numbers you state as dissatisfied pro/rel soccer(footy first) fans (40,000,000) is remotely accurate. The USMNT had about 25 million fans watch in the last world cup as they got to the later rounds. I’m guessing the other 15 million weren’t fans of our national team, so I can’t see even trying to convert them to MLS fans as they are probably fans of another league. Which is fine.

        Secondly, I find the concept that fans of the game will change how players perform on the field. So when Messi or Ronaldo were recognized as two of the best players in soccer, was it because of the Argentinean and Portuguese fans or do you think it was the Spanish and English fans that were responsible? After all they started and moved during their developmental years. Is the players love of the game and talent important? The quality of coaching and countless hours of sacrifice to get better part of the equation? I’m confused that pro/rel and the culture around it will produce players of this quality just because they figured out how to finish 16th in the league. Also it seems to me that they moved because of the greater amount of revenue that was at stake. Hmm

        How does MLS protect itself from a standard deviation of owners that are and will be making money hand over fist but not pushing a quality product? My short answer would be…ask Sak what repercussions are for this. Yet every year in any league, you have to have a winner and a loser. Why it is important to promote the New York Cosmos, a team that’s already if the reports are accurate, thirty million in the rears since they rebooted to MLS. They have a dwindling fanbase that had less people at the championship then FC Cincinnati had show up to tell Don Garber they wanted an expansion team.

        Secondly, unlike the every other league but baseball, MLS has academies which make the draft less rewarding to tank just to get the first pick. As we’ve seen this year the rookie of the year was a homegrown signing. Yes, I’ll be the first to admit that player acquisitions needs drastic changes. The draft it’s also turning into more foreign players who have come to America for a college education after passing on signing a contract back where they originated (Jack Harrison). So it still is useful and if college changes its season to spread it over spring and fall….well that’s a bridge we’ll talk about in the future.

        When it comes to attendance, I think you just saw the new mandate from the man himself, Don Garber. Stop signing old players and move forward trying to sing players in their prime…. like Toronto, Montreal & Seattle. Atlanta has defiantly moved in a direction that is emphasizing youth. Even the Union have moved that way with their signing of Bedoya. You see, what puts fans in seats is winning and this last round of playoffs is proving that point. Sadly with success, things like you won’t get to sit in your seats for the championship is one of the byproducts. Has a tendency to happen here in America.

        Are you really worried about scheduling? Twenty years in and players are coming here…scheduling….really scheduling?

        Pro/rel has so many fatal flaws in a flawed soccer market. When a team gets relegated, is it fair that the fans get relegated? It’s it that they didn’t cheer hard enough? Will more fans go to the lower league to get them back up only to be disappointed again if they go back down? What purpose does it serve to kick a team that’s invested so much to get into MLS out, if they already meet the criteria, only to promote a D2 team that doesn’t? The Union would have suffered in NASL this year and the Cosmos wouldn’t have anything to invest in infrastructure as they would need it to pay players. That’s not smart considering there is no bonus for reaching MLS. Meanwhile that blue team in New York is having no problems drawing fans.

        So maybe it’s not about 40 million footy first people but building 40 million new domestic league fans. After all, I hardly hear anybody talk about how pro/rel has made Russia a soccer power house.

      • The rebuttal. Strong points John… a few counterpoints.
        I’ve read in multiple sources the number is roughly 40million, it was not an arbitrary number… of which this is a strongly latino demographic. And yes likely committed to different leagues.
        The Cosmos while being 30 million in rears, are significantly closer to the black according to Mr. Garber who has recently been quoted that MLS is in upwards of 100 million in debt of which I believe no teams are operating at a surplus. Just a rebut to your point —- which is taken.
        One part about an open capitalist system is that it may very well exclude the players we most hope for such a system to help grow. I have recently come to see how this could be troublesome for the american player at least as the american player stands now. We see this already to a vast degree in the UK where it is the Championship that houses most of the English players. A conversationalist mentioned to me just yesterday ManCity has two english players on its first team– not so sure that is helpful for a nation clearly with an identity crises internationally.
        I am curious what shape the game would take in this country if another league was given first tier status alongside MLS. this has been the way of almost every other professional sports AFL, ABA, and even the American League in baseball…
        I am curious, as the thread began with Zizou – with the notion of single entity and what would happen if in 15 years MLS ‘owned’ all teams across 3 or 4 divisions of Major League Soccer while the 2-3 divisions of Minor League Soccer had the opportunity to build a fanbase secure capital and begin working toward promotion into the lowest division of Major League Soccer.
        Ultimately MLS would oversee and therefore reap the enormous benefit financially to a viable 4 tier system that could be regionalized with upward mobility and as a result lower mobility as well… would MLS care if a poorly functioning Chicago was relegated when a strongly functioning Milwaukee team was promoted. With all manner of parachute payments and the like… meanwhile lets start the ball really rolling by compensating MLS teams for producing players that can be bought overseas… even if only for $350,00 at this point.
        I wonder if this is an amenable future possibility. Anyway. Happy Sunday.

      • John P O'Donnell says:

        First off, I see that you’re quoting statistics from Ted on Twitter. Proudly I will tell you that after months of going back and forth, he blocked me years ago. I guess I shot down to much of his propaganda. The 100 million number is from right before the last CBA. How they get that number, I can’t say. But I will post this link which is more current and I’ll say a little less bias than Ted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrissmith/2016/09/07/major-league-soccers-most-valuable-teams-2016-new-york-orlando-thrive-in-first-seasons/#1623c289266a

        I will tell you I was cheering for NASL to do just what you had mentioned. Nothing moves the needle on owner spending faster than a competition for players with a rival league. The outcome usually results in merger, or absorbing quality players into the surviving league after the other folds. But most those leagues faced that scenario after the dominate league stopped expanding. We now know NASL was never gone to be in a position to start a bidding war for players and MLS still is in the midst of adding eight more teams. So now it wouldn’t have the desired effect.

        As you’ll see from the article, teams are starting to make a profit. The idea of MLS controlling four tiers of soccer with an artificial form of pro/rel just doesn’t make sense to me. First it’s artificial, so it wouldn’t please the crowd that shouts the loudest for it. Second I haven’t a clue how you get TV partner’s to believe it would benefit them to lose Chicago and add Milwaukee. I understand the argument that the NFL does alright with Green Bay and didn’t have LA for years, but it is the NFL. There might be more Cowboy fans in Philadelphia than Union fans so domestically for tv it’s a numbers game. Apples and oranges to me.

        I would rather see MLS top out expansion at 32 to 40 teams, with affiliation with D2 teams and MLS owning D3 teams. Players of any age could sign with D2 or be loaned for the year. D3 would only be for academy players and players signed to MLS teams under the age of 23 that wouldn’t count against the senior team roster. Any D2 team would have to have an academy and the US and Canada would have to pay solidarity payments & training fees as long as the player never attended college for more than three years.

        This is the American exceptionalism I was talking about. Stealing the best ideas and making them our own. It stabilizes the soccer market by investing in sustainability. It builds infrastructure up and down the pyramid and lessens the burden of teams collapsing by spreading revenue.

        If you add in changing the US Open Cup to a tournament that is more compact and playing the championship around the fourth of July, I think you could push more revenue from that tournament to lower division teams. The key is to stop each tier from being less inline with the top division. But hey that’s just my opinion.

      • Citizen Insane says:

        I’ve followed your positions on Twitter for awhile.
        I tend not to engage in debate too much there as its a near futile effort- no matter who the contest or POV are between.
        I appreciate the formidable debating here though as it is fun and keeps me sharp, keeps the instrument sharp, and speaks well for how the game is growing- that certain sections of the demographic care vehemently about the direction and trajectory of growth stateside. Regarding Ted I don’t mind so much as with all things there are extremes and the truth tends to lie centrally. I’m opinoniated for sure but amenable to discussion to sway the expanding POV.
        I always chuckle and think of Edward Norton, ‘single serving friend’ scene when trying to argue the merits of anything in a series of repeat 140 character blocks- for the other person to simply say, “NO”
        Incidentally do you happen to play pick up footy with World Cup Sunday LLC?

      • If you think that the quality of play in the NBA has gone down in the last 20 years, you haven’t been paying attention. Style and product is stronger than it’s ever been. Sure, the league had Jordan back then, but there were so many bad teams and teams like the Knicks and Pistons were good with their rough house play. If anything, the NBA of the early 90’s suffered from quality of play issues due to expansion that had occurred then. The overall league is much better now.

      • Citizen Insane says:

        My position is there are 30 teams of which maybe three have ONE transcendent player the rest just tank in hope of a transcendent player or are relegated to finishing 4 games below .500 and 8th in the conference forever which then leads to a tank in order to sway lottery balls for a transcendent player of which only one comes along every 5 to 7 years. Meanwhile exceptional players are forced to create super-teams themselves now which used to be the norm back in the day.
        The NBA of the mid to late 80s (recognizing I said 20 years and probably should have walked further back) consisted of polished players across every aspect of the league with an artistry of play that didn’t have as much to do with physical skills- that admittedly are now unreal.
        IDK. Todays NBA in my opinion, while laden with exceptional athletes is a frenetic affair and is a far cry from the days when basketball was actually played by basketball players- who used movement and guile.
        Mike Missanelli argues on behalf of today’s NBA all the time and calls anyone who opposes his POV an old timer living in the past. I take a bit of exception to it.
        To each his own though. Maybe I am just older. All I know is when I hit an errant tee shot with my cherry colored persimmon headed wood as a kid it went 100 yards off line and today I barely miss the fairway with a club head the size of a one car garage and a relatively similar swing speed…. I’m not a better player today though.

      • I think that your criticism is valid if you look at the NBA 5-7 years ago. However, team defense has become more sophisticated and improved dramatically which has forced NBA offenses to evolve to more of the pace & space that most teams are running.

  5. UnionGoal
    QUESTION….are you so convinced of my POV that you do not even bother reading what I write anymore?
    I Basically make a counter argument in this thread from the position I’ve held dear in argument for almost three years visiting here. Because if that is the case then your uninformed opinion, “is of no consequence at all” and our business is done. This sir is discernment. The nature of question everything of having an opinion that is constantly and ever evolving… discernment. fractals. multiple points of view of which mine is and has never claimed to be the only one.
    I also previously acquiesced to a very salient point you made regarding individual promotion versus team promotion.
    John and I have been going round and round for over a year why do you harp on my responding to him.
    By the way… changed the name. Did you notice. Turning over a new leaf…
    I Am Citizen Insane. Have a nice day.

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