The battle for the second division.

Discussion in 'Soccer' started by whaler11, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. whaler11

    whaler11 Kickoff: 11:11

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  2. Matrim55

    Matrim55

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  3. UCFBfan

    UCFBfan

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    Wow US soccer is a mess....two leagues join D2 status for a year? Really? What a joke. I'll be shocked if they boot any of the teams that don't meet the set standards just so USL or NASL can gain D2 status. It will be interesting to see if NASL makes a run at Hartford as they still need clubs.
     
  4. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

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    Don't see why the divisions matter since we don't have pro/rel. Nice job USSF.
     
  5. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

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    I don't agree with this. The Cosmos definitely a Quixotic idea that they could get the NASL to the"First Division". Years ago, after MLS contracted two teams, a rival league might have sprung up and had the cache to force a merger like the AFL did to the NFL. But you're not doing that now when MLS is commanding $150 mil for an expansion fee and the NASL was asking for $5 mil. They had zero leverage.

    The NASL has a bleak future. The League took ownership of the Jacksonville Armada and they only have 8 teams. But I hope the continue on because it would be good for the sport in this country to have an independent second division. Otherwise MLS and USL will be the like the NHL and AHL. Not the end of the world but who cares?

    The USL is a hodgepodge of MLS reserve teams, strong independent teams an medium to small sized independent teams. Cincy draws 20k a match, but Red Bull 2 who won the championship can't even get 500 people to come to games. So, I don't think USL is in it's final state.

    I think many of these MLS teams will fold their USL teams in the coming years. The MLS reserve teams don't have a following and they have to be a big money loser.
     
  6. UCFBfan

    UCFBfan

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    it would seem like a better solution to just have some of the USL teams who do draw big crowds basically be the minor league/reserve squads for the MLS clubs. Don't some USL teams already have associations with MLS parent clubs? It would seem like that would be the sensible way to go. Discard the reserve clubs (Red Bulls 2, etc.....) and instead merge them with existing clubs that pull well (Cincy, Indy, Sacramento, etc). It would shrink the ridiculous size and allow the NASL teams that can stand to remain, the ability to merge into the USL.

    To me this is what I envision being the end result.
     
  7. Matrim55

    Matrim55

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    Thank goodness the powers that be don't share your POV.

    1. Affiliates like you're talking about are useful, and have been tried in the past. But they're nowhere near as useful as full reserve teams
    2. USL sides draw better against MLS2 teams than against fellow USL teams
    3. NASL should be able to survive on its own if it's worth keeping around
     
  8. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

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    I'd rather have an independent second division and create incentive for lower division clubs to invest in player development so they can sell their players.

    We'll see how long this MLS2 phenonmenon lasts. It doesn't seem sustainable to me. Montreal already folded it's USL team, and San Jose is providing players for Reno I think and letting another investor run the business side.
     
  9. UCFBfan

    UCFBfan

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    But why can't affiliates basically be turned into full reserve teams. So you take a Red Bulls 2 and can the program but ship all the reserves and make them the team in Cincy? Basically like Minor League Baseball. You just use clubs that already have a strong fan base and turn them into the reserve clubs. That was my point. If they wanna add in more players to the reserve squad sure go for it but basically make it the minors.

    If you aren't going to make a promotion/relegation system, what other point is there to have any other divisions?

    I have no idea the numbers in terms of attendance, etc but I don't see why you wouldn't do this if attendance is so low at reserve squad games like you said in your first post.
     
  10. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

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    Because affiliates and independents would rather compete and win trophies than serve as a developmental program. SKC had Oklahoma City as an affiliate with our old Goalkeeper as the manager. I think they got fed up with the back and forth and the turbulence it caused in the lineup.

    SKC has their own team now (Swope Park Rangers) that plays in the practice facility and shares a stadium with the NWSL team. The manager left to take the San Francisco NASL job because he hated the players moving back and forth.

    The MLS 2 sides practice with the first team and act exactly like a AAA baseball team. They even send players coming back from injury down there to get minutes.

    It seems like all the disparate interests will eventually clash. There's already been some grumbling.

    And say what you want about NASL. The standard of play was better generally. And that league raised the bar of lower division soccer in the USA. Being a breakaway league from the USL, the original club owners wanted a more professional league and they got it.

    Hopefully the Cosmos new owner isn't chasing a Don Quixote dream and has more realistic and sustainable ambitions.
     
  11. Matrim55

    Matrim55

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    Some of them are. Most want to remain as independent clubs.

    That makes it impossible for RB2 & academy players to train with the first team every day, and to get the same sort of instruction that goes to the top flight. It also makes it impossible to take the most talented teenagers who've yet to sign as pros and get them into the RB2 set-up for entire weeks at a time -- which is crucial for youth development. Tyler Adams wouldn't be Tyler Adams without having had the ability to train every single day with RB2 from age 15 onward.

    The way it's set up now with reserve teams is optimal for efficient youth development, which is the white whale in US and Canadian soccer. We're already seeing that initiative bear fruit.

    Why is there independent minor league baseball, or hockey? Why does the Arena Football League exist?

    It's professional soccer being played at a good level by grown men earning a living. Part of that, for USL anyway, is that it exists to bridge the gap between youth/amateur soccer and the top flight, which makes it a clearer and more comprehensive path toward maximizing their potential.

    the MLS2 teams don't care about making money off their reserve teams -- it's an R&D expense. USL teams, meanwhile, LOVE having MLS2 teams in the league because they draw bigger crowds on the road and because the MLS affiliation brings stability and cash.
     
  12. Matrim55

    Matrim55

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    That's demonstrably untrue. USL clubs have a winning record vs. NASL clubs in the Open Cup.
     
  13. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

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    Montreal shut their team down. I think Philly will too. That's just the start.

    I think KC might investigate moving their team to Omaha and let someone else run the business side while they provide the players.
     
  14. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

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    Show me the stats. Fort Lauderdale got further and they weren't even paying their players. USL is just a developmental league that looks as bad as college soccer for the most part.
     
  15. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

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  16. SAMCRO

    SAMCRO

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    That's how the NFL got its start. AFL champ v NFL champ, before the meger.

    I actually like that. Doesn't AAA baseball do something sort of similar (aside from the fact it is a tru minor league, and affiliated with MLB)? American and Pacific leagues don't play cross over games during the season, but the league champions play in the AAA World Series (or whatever it is called). I know they are all affiliated with MLB, but similar concept regarding a playoff.
     
  17. Matrim55

    Matrim55

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    USL went 4-1 vs. NASL in 2014 USOC, 8-0 in 2015. NASL went 6-2 (all home teams won, all road teams lost) this past year. We'll see what happens in 2017.

    Regardless, the fact that two NASL teams left the league for USL, and that USL squads are generally younger & filled more with prospects than retreads make it a much more entertaining and higher quality product.

    My guess is they merge at the end of this year once the legal issues are done, and then split into eastern & western divisions in order to cut down on travel costs.
     
  18. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

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    They left because they want to join MLS.

    The retreads make for a higher standard of play over college soccer no hopers.

    How many USL teams have beaten MLS teams recently?
     
  19. Matrim55

    Matrim55

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    Minnesota United are joining MLS straight from NASL this year.

    No, they don't. Also, it's a mistake to call USL players "college soccer no-hopers." Lots of youth internationals and young players developing.
     
  20. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

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    Minnesota got the bid three years ago before all of this unpleasantness. Three years ago, the USL hadn't yet been absorbed as a vassal state of MLS. Montreal also came from the NASL.

    They are college no hopers, and international no hopers. Very few seem to matriculate up to MLS. Very few MLS draftees still get MLS contracts, and they find themselves sharing a car with three teammates in Portland and not even making a living wage.

    NASL by even the eye test is a higher standard even if they are retreads. It no longer has stability but inside the business it was regarded as a step up officially but also subjectively. They had bigger payrolls, the coaches made more and the entry fee was higher.

    It is actually a league where each team is trying to win a championship, whereas the USL is development first which is really uninteresting from a competitive perspective.

    I would rather have a healthy and independent d2 where a kid could have a choice between playing pro soccer, making a decent paycheck and college soccer which is an out of date platform. Then maybe North Carolina FC can sell him to Atlanta United down the road and continue to grow the pro atmosphere here.

    Nobody cares what the Table looks like in Premier League 2, but they care what it is in the Championship.
     
  21. Matrim55

    Matrim55

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    The "unpleasantness" started long, long before 2014.

    Patently untrue.

    Some teams had bigger payrolls. Some teams had smaller payrolls, and missed paydays. That has not been an issue with USL.

    There's a reason one league has expanded and the other has contracted.

    Simply untrue.

    I hate American fans whose entire framework for understanding the game is what happens in England. It reveals an unpleasant inferiority complex.

    Regardless, they care what the looks like in the Spanish Segunda Division, and Spain has been exponentially better at developing talent than England over the past 20 years. If you truly care about domestic soccer than financial stability and talent development are the baskets into which you should be putting your eggs.
     
  22. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

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    If you're criticizing me for wanting to see an independent second division that is prosperous then guilty as charged. Sorry but nobody watches the real San Jose Earthquakes play the Chicago Fire now. What makes you think that people want to see Chicago Fire B against Earthquakes 2

    Not a soul.

    I hate American fans that have the mentality of glorified gym teachers. I may be looking at England and the Bundesliga, but you're trying to model pro soccer like baseball.

    F that.

    USL contracted this season. Wilmington and Montreal are gone and there will be more next season. Just watch.

    Once all these "MLS Ready" USL teams learn that there is no place in the big league they will fizzle away.

    The unpleasantness starting with the dissolution of A League you mean? NASL teams wanted a more professional environment so they left. They declined the partnership with MLS because they didn't want to limit themselves. That was a fine choice and in the process they raised the bar in this country.

    USL lucked out. But they have to realize that they hit their high water mark. Once these reserve teams fizzle out along with the "MLS Ready" teams, maybe it will actually become interesting again.

    Now tell me of all the former USL standouts that are in starting 11s in MLS. And I'm not talking about "loanees".
     
  23. Matrim55

    Matrim55

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    Quite the opposite.

    USL will have more teams in 2017 than in 2016. Wilmington are on a hiatus year before the ownership group lands elsewhere, likely Baltimore. This is what happened with Austin and Orlando City back in the day.

    If that's the case, then why doesn't it apply to NASL?

    Those NASL teams were literally being run by Traffic Sports.

    They've been losing franchises and attendance has shrunk over the last 3 years...
     
  24. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

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    You want to talk about attendance. Let's do it.

    There were maybe 500 people at the USL championship game, which was literally one of the worst games I have ever watched. I couldn't believe that it was the best USL had to offer.

    The other MLS 2 teams save Orlando and Portland have horrendous attendance. Here in Kansas City, as an SKC season ticket holder by the end of last season they were giving SPR tickets away.

    Most MLS that make a profit, barely make a profit. I can't see them sticking with this model. KC's President has already tweeted about moving games to Omaha.

    Traffic was involved with only a few teams. Carolina, Fort Lauderdale and maybe one or two others. So you can put that theory to rest.

    The only current NASL team that has MLS aspirations is North Carolina. Which was bought from Traffic by Steve Malik and the club has prospered fantastically since then. He even bought the Western New York Flash of the NWSL and they will be the sister club.

    The Cosmos have been sold to new owner, Fort Lauderdale has a new owner and San Francisco has bigtime ownership group. As they purge Traffic and the crazy Cosmos ownership from the league there will be some bumps, but there will be no question about who I would support league wise.
     
  25. UCFBfan

    UCFBfan

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    I guess I missed what a reserve team really was. Didn't realize they practice with the first team. That totally blows my premise out.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with USL and NASL in general. I think there is room for two different level soccer leagues, MLS being one. However, it needs to have a purpose and in a world where soccer is full of promotion and relegation, it's really a shame we can't find that in the US. I think it wold make the season more interestng/ that and making the level of play better. The level of play has increased dramatically but when you go from watching the major European seasons end to MLS, it's almost unbearable
     
  26. Matrim55

    Matrim55

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    OK.

    - NASL saw its attendance drop by more than 20% last year, and were the only league in any of the top five tiers to see a decrease
    - The Cosmos, who won last year's title, have seen their attendance drop from 6900 to 3775 since 2013 and have no place to play
    - Of the top 8 clubs in the lower division re: 2016 attendance, only 1 will be playing in NASL next season
    - Ft. Lauderdale drew the worst attendance of any professional, independent lower tier club
    - Independent USL teams averaged higher attendance than NASL teams in 2016

    That literally does not matter. It's an R&D expense, and the vast majority of owners are happy to pay it. It doesn't detract from the quality of the game, and is a way of infusing professional soccer with more youth and getting our best talent real games against professionals.

    The Chairman of NASL's board of governors was literally the president of Traffic USA.

    FBI indicts 9 FIFA Officials, 5 Corporate Executives Including NASL Chairman Aaron Davidson

    "When NASL was formed, Traffic was (and is now) the major capital contributor to the venture, and the group owns the majority of B stock (66%) in the league. The league has a class A and class B stock ownership structure. The class A stock (representing all team owners in the league) is diluted each time a new owner enters NASL, according to a 2010 flowchart which was supplied to Northern Pitch. The flow chart also showed Traffic contributing $4.5 million, which would eventually get paid back with payments of $450,000 for the first 10 teams that entered the league. If the 2010 document is accurate, Traffic also received 30% commissions on commercial rights of media, sponsorships and merchandising."

    Malik has done nice work tho I hate the rebrand. He's also worth nowhere close to what he needs to bring a team into the first division, and if you talk to folks involved in the game here the names Tony Amanpour and Jeff Cooper will come up.

    We'll see what the future brings for the rest of the teams. It's hard to predict which ownership group wants what given that so many franchises have changed hands in the last six months.

    Good luck to you & them.
     
  27. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

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    Yeah, and they really aren't "expansion" teams. They should only count as a half of a team since they lack a fanbase and a stadium. It would be like UConn having a Division III football team that the freshmen would play on only they would have to share the facilities.
     
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  28. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

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    The Cosmos are playing in a baseball field in Brooklyn. Their attendance will go up now that they aren't way out in Long Island. Tampa and Ottawa suffered bad attendance and now that's the USL's problem.

    It's not just an R&D expense. They are not getting the ROI from the 2 sides. The number of 2 sides will only get smaller as time goes by. Montreal already shuttered their's Philly will be next. When it's all said and done the only ones that will remain are the ones that draw more than flies so that would 3-4 tops. They will find a more cost effective way, like loaning players to other clubs. Like it's done everywhere else in the world.

    The key words is are "the league". The league was just a container. The NASL is not single entity like MLS. Each owner actually owns the club. MLS doesn't have owners they have investors who operate a team for the league.

    The owner of the Columbus Crew just can't move his team to another league because he really doesn't own his team.

    Look at the original NASL teams. Traffic owned a few of them, but not all. Traffic wanted to have an impact and a say on the market as it developed. They are no longer in the picture. Even still they broke away because the USL wasn't professional enough.
     
  29. Matrim55

    Matrim55

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    Actually they're much more likely to play on the rug at Columbia, given Commisso's ties there.

    Tampa were 3rd in NASL in attendance (5878) and Ottawa were 4th (5482), so I hardly think they're a problem for USL. Both have seen substantial attendance growth over the last few years while the rest of the league has struggled. Even Indy XI saw their attendance fall by 1500 per game last season, which continues their downward trend since coming online in 2014.

    To contextualize: Sacramento came online in the USL that same year, and their attendance has marginally increased each season.

    Again: That's patently untrue. Portland just signed 3 guys from T2, and all 3 are guys they wouldn't have had access to or a dev path for otherwise. RBNY just shipped out McCarty because Sean Davis & Tyler Adams are ready to step in. Lagerwey said straight up that he let Ivanschitz, Valdez and Mears go because Seattle have better in S2. That's all very clear ROI, in the same way that having Jay Chapman and Jordan Hamilton and Alex Bono ready to step onto the field last season was ROI for TFC on TFC2.

    Plus -- and this is a big one -- MLS2 sides allow those teams to sign their talented youth to professional contracts at a younger age, which makes it much more difficult for Mexican teams to poach those players. There's a reason Los Dos was founded about 15 minutes after Tijuana signed Paul Arriola.

    FC Dallas are aiming for 2018, by the way, as are DC United. Chicago, New England, NYCFC and Columbus are all lagging a little bit, but I suspect they'll get there given time.

    Joey is Joey. As for Bethlehem Steel, they averaged 2600 fans last year and Philly have spent huge sums on their academy. They need this team to exist so guys like Auston Trusty and Derrick Jones get pro minutes before they're in MLS, so it's not going anywhere.

    Wait, do you really think that clubs elsewhere in the world don't have full reserve teams? Yikes. You couldn't be more wrong.

    Now there are some differences in where those teams compete. Germany & Italy cap it at the third tier, France, Argentina, Mexico, the Netherlands & Spain at the 2nd tier, and a few others have wildly different approaches. But without exception, the countries that are best at producing talent are the ones that have fully integrated reserve teams playing somewhere near the top of the respective pyramid.

    No, they broke away because Traffic thought they could control the US market and Aaron Davidson found a few suckers who took that bet. Traffic were the driving force behind building up NASL, and had a controlling interest in both the league and a bunch of teams until the DoJ investigation took hold.

    There's multiple lawsuits still happening around all of it.

    The new ownership groups have been playing much nicer, and Traffic have finally been pushed out entirely. I suspect that's a prelude to a NASL & USL merger, just as the two competing second tiers merged in 1995.
     
  30. Matrim55

    Matrim55

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