Daily news roundups

News roundup: Harrisburg’s fascinating revamp, sordid Columbus news, more


So this is what the Harrisburg City Islanders will become: The top of the pyramid for a giant in American youth soccer, Colorado Rush, a club with 85 affiliated youth clubs in America and beyond. They’ve produced players such as Conor Casey, Jeb Brovsky, and Todd Dunivant.

They’ll be called Penn FC.

“Rush Soccer has 40,000 members across the world, and by instilling their faith in us, Penn FC will have one of the largest networks in international soccer to scout from and hopefully develop into world class players for the professional team,” said Rush general manager Jerome de Bontins, also the former New York Red Bulls GM, in a statement issued to media.

This move is basically unprecedented, giving youth players at dozens of affiliated clubs a single direct path to the pros, and it may make Penn FC the most interesting team in America’s lower tiers. We’ll definitely be paying more attention.

The Columbus/Austin fiasco

Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt and MLS officials met with Columbus city leaders Wednesday. It didn’t go well.

Here’s the statement from Precourt:

Because, you know, it’s the city that is supposed to build the stadium? The privately constructed stadium? Is that it?

Here’s the statement from the city government:

The upcoming Columbus-Toronto playoff game is a sellout, of course.

Fan presentation showing how Precourt has likely conspired with MLS to drive down Columbus attendance. Yes, we are watching the movie Major League play out here. Wow.

The head of a planned USL team for Austin says Precourt is ignoring his group. That’s quite a shock, considering he pays so much attention to the desires of his team’s fans.

An MLS lobbyist began promoting pro soccer to Austin’s city council in July, public records show.

ESPN asks the same question we’re all asking: Is Columbus a team of destiny? We hope so.

This insight, from SI’s Brian Strauss:

Add your name to this letter/petition being sent to MLS leaders calling for the Crew to be kept in Columbus. PSP endorses this fully.


Other U.S. pro soccer news

In other MLS news:

This is a new way to stoke a rivalry: RSL’s owners are effectively assuming the NWSL’s Kansas City team.

U.S. Soccer

ICYMI, read this piece by rising American star Christian Pulisic. It looks like a teenager just asserted himself as a future national team leader.

Now read this piece by Kyle Martino, a candidate for U.S. Soccer president.

Around the globe

The World Cup field is set.

Australia is in. Honduras is not.

Here’s a fascinating feature story on North Korean players in Italian soccer.

Italy’s national team coach has been fired. Because he should be.

An Argentine soccer official committed suicide after being accused in the FIFA corruption probe of taking $2 million in bribes in exchange for rights to television broadcasts.


  1. The Gorgon Mirror says:

    wait isn’t MLS Cup over?
    Good Grief.
    in other news, I heard the Peruvian military did a 3 plane, pregame, close range fly over past the New Zealand hotel in the dead of night. Talk about Dark Arts. Pun intended.

  2. I’ve spent the last few years making excuses for the poor on the field product from MLS (esp the Union) the past few years. Mostly because I really felt like the league really wanted to grow the game in the US and have the teams mean more to their communities than the professional franchises of other US sports (as well as making a profit). To me, the Columbus issue shows that profit is the sole goal of the league and the Union.
    That’s fine, but I’m holding them to a higher standard. I won’t be paying full price for tickets ever again. MLS ticket prices are in line with the English championship. If they want me to pay those prices, they in turn need to pay around $20 or $30 million in player salaries like teams in the Championship do.
    I no longer feel burdened by any misplaced loyalty to pay for a substandard product. It actually feels kind of nice.

    • I feel in the same place. Football is all about local loyalty. This is a terrible precedent and sends the message to all fans of the league that MLS is just a show. It’s a travelling circus. I can’t think of a worse course of action for a league that wants to be taken seriously.

      There’s really no mystery behind Precourt’s statement. He wanted Columbus to come and beg him to stay with a package of financial breaks, stadium financing, etc. When the city showed up saying it wouldn’t do a thing for Precourt without his word that he’d stay in Columbus, Precourt told them to get stuffed. Precourt is a con man and Garber is much worse. This league can get stuffed as long as he’s in charge.

  3. ” Precourt has likely conspired with MLS to drive down Columbus attendance.”

    Link is broken.

  4. Precourt (and at this point Garber too) is a snake.

  5. I Am Citizen Insane says:

    Oh what personality shall i darn for this one…. the insane one feels right.
    Please please read the Deadspin article: American Soccer Needs to Burn to the Ground.
    It’s a habanero. Least someone is bringing heat i can relate to.

    • I’ll put up with a lot from you, sir, but recommending a Billy Haisley rant? Please, put down the internet, make a cup of tea, and take a walk around the block. You need to detox.

      • The Gorgon Mirror says:

        Take two XanaX and call in the morning.
        My rebuttal however is by definition a rant doesn’t make it wrong.
        My deepest opinion about US Soccer is there’s some stuff right, it all just remains to be seen.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Yeah Haisley is garbage. His disdain for anything American soccer is nauseating. If it’s not Europe it’s trash to him. He sucks

      • John P O'Donnell Jr. says:

        Are you kidding? Let’s have it burn to the ground. So the league folds and the reset button is pushed. So now we start with true soccer investors. I’m sure there are at least a thousand ready to roll in and implement a plan that wouldn’t take more than 25 years to get right. Brilliant plan, much better than MLS correcting things they are getting wrong and moving forward.

      • John, the question is does MLS see their flaws that they need to correct? It sure doesn’t look like it. I’m ok with their predatory business practices as long as it grows the game, but that doesn’t appear to be happening anymore.

    • John P O'Donnell Jr. says:

      If you look at the Union without the fandom you can see it growing before your eyes. Stadium, academy, training facility, high school, USL team. All accomplished in less than a decade with an owner who went bust financially in the great recession. If you believe that if this was just a “Club” trying to go up or stay up in an American league with no real reward for winning & it would show the same growth….. Okay. Stadiums are very hard to get without politicians being able to look at numbers generated by a league with history. In a world of instant gratification with Twitter, Facebook and smart phones some may think this league isn’t making strides but watching Atlanta this year I would disagree.

  6. With the the consolidation of Penn FC it looks like the pay to play system is reinventing itself to remain relevant.

    • This looks like the start of skynet to me. The idea behind it seems to me to be the start of the opposition to MLS. A USL team having access to 40k people is insane. If the company is actually able to streamline things and have continuity over those 40k, that’s casting a huge net.

      • But unfortunately under the current system MLS can just draft them and pay nothing. Agents know that MLS teams refuse to pay transfer fees to lower league teams so if you sign with USL you could really be stunting your domestic professional earning potential.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        All4U….the very word Skynet still gives me shivers. That movie had a profound affect on me and was too much for a 10 year old to process…
        —like seeing David Byrne lay a boom box on the ground overdubbing Psycho Killer- or compartmentalizing the evil—- yet calmingly ethereal opening to 1984, Van Halen.

      • Kevin I think that’s part of the point. If USL non-affiliated teams start latching on to this model, they can rightfully keep their players and just skip MLS completely. Make their product better. Their players don’t have to go to MLS. I’m not saying this is the answer immediately but maybe over time it changes things. Yes obviously they can still do these things now, but the control over such a greater pool of players increases their odds immensely to find quality talented players.
        And el P, I still think Skynet is scary.

      • But that’s my issue, how do they have control? What is currently stopping MLS from just taking their players or at least discouraging the best young players from signing with USL?

      • I’m sorry Kevin I’m probably misunderstanding the rules of MLS, but I assumed that the players going into the draft were out of college and players not claimed by an MLS through academy affiliation. If these players go through this Rush soccer and constantly get promoted and sign what amounts to a pro contract with their USl team, there’s no affiliation with MLS or college so why would an MLS team be able to take the rights to a player without paying compensation? I understand if a player is still amateur, but once a “pro” contract is signed, that’s completely different.

  7. Here’s hoping Penn FC beats Union in US Open Cup next year. The Union’s obvious disinterest in actually putting a competitive team on field coached by a competent coach, combined with MLS’s and Sugarman’s money-grubbing, has me pulling against the Union now. I actually hope Stewart trades C.J. and Rosenberry and Marquez to a contender, so that i don’t have to watch the Union at all. 7 years as a STH, and they’ve defeated me. Will remain a fan and reader of PSP though. My kingdom for a Philly NWSL team!

    • Go and watch the Liberian Junior Lone Stars! Their U23 team has an Open Cup game this weekend in NY against Lansdowne Bhoys FC.

    • Agree. I hope Penn FC beats the Union. Interestingly HCI are 5-7 against MLS teams. So, so much better an organization than the Onion. HCI/PFC actually tries, unlike cheapsugarman.

  8. So what’s the over/under on reported attendance for the sold out Columbus game? 16,000?

  9. Oh, and almost forgot: This NIT /Alternative facts World Cup. I can’t believe a Men in Blazers joke could become a reality. What a shitty, stupid and greedy idea.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Do you mean the World Crap?

      • Just Rob f/k/a Rob127 says:

        Two World’s and a cup?

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        World Crap is a solid name for it. Saw that somewhere… Deadspin I think. What a sad cash grab that would be. And by sad, I mean, I would reluctantly watch. HA

      • Yeah, World Crap is an apt name for it.

      • Quakerflaker says:

        Ok, I love this site and agree there are loads of issues with the U and US Soccer but occasionally the negativity really gets to me and I feel the need to post. Maybe I’m missing something but not being in the actual World Cup, we need to find some games against half way decent competition. Maybe it is all about greed but I support any mechanism to find decent games.

        Agree that Columbus thing is a super bad precedent, though, especially for a supporter-driven franchise like the U.

      • You should post more then!

        I’d say the negativity is a more recent development in PSP’s comments section, really the last year or (at most) two. And it parallels the fortunes of the major soccer club(s).

  10. “we are watching the movie Major League play out here.”

    Yeah, but the Indians didn’t end up moving.

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