Thursday, April 20, 2017

Why do US soccer fans worry so much about Attendance and TV numbers?

Last night I had the chance to check out the great World Soccer Talk podcast concerning soccer TV numbers in the United States. I actually listened to two episodes... high quality and informative podcasts.

I've read a multitude of articles about MLS attendance being up... TV numbers being what they are... and some great analysis of both.


I even saw this tweet telling people to quit worrying about attendance.

My question now is... Why do US soccer fans worry so much about Attendance and TV numbers?

I think the answer is pretty simple... the powers that be in US soccer have decided that the business of soccer is what matter when it comes to advancing your team up the pyramid and keeping them there.

If your team under performs business wise in MLS... you go away ie: Chivas USA, Miami Fusion, and Tampa Bay Mutiny.

If your team clicks off all the business metrics (and cuts the check) you get a chance to move up the pyramid. This even comes directly from USSF with its increasing market size and ownership net worth requirements at each high level of pro soccer.

The fans are going to put value on what ever the owners and Federation tell them is valuable. Right now the business of soccer is much more important than any on the field results. Having a city willing to spend millions upon millions of dollars to publicly fund a stadium in the right part of town, in the right size TV market, with the right lower division attendance figures, with the right demographics concerning median wages of its citizens, and the right size pocketbook of its ownership group is MUCH more valuable than any on field result will ever be.

Why should fans NOT concern themselves with all of these off the field metrics when those are actually what decide if you get to move up the pyramid or even stay in the pyramid... when we can all plainly see that is all that matters?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Who should control US soccer's lower divisions?

The Supporters Group for Promotion and Relegation Twitter page recently ran a poll asking who should control the lower divisions of US soccer.

With the recent USL 3rd Division announcement, the even more recent Soc Takes NASL 3rd Division article, and our previously covered 4th/5th/6th Division USASA reform ideas it is interesting to see who the fans of the lower divisions of the game would like to see be "in charge" of the lowest divisions of the game.

With both USL and NASL both making plays to control the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Divisions of American soccer right now is maybe the most important time in recent history for lower division soccer in the country.

Not surprisingly to us, a majority of the respondents would like to see USSF/USASA control the lowest divisions of the soccer pyramid going forward. Hopefully the leadership at USASA will listen and take control of the 4th/5th/6th divisions of US soccer and work with USSF to create a Federation controlled 3rd Division. Will there ever be an opportunity this clear for actual reform to such a large part of the pyramid? We're not sure... but the majority of fans would love to see you not miss this chance to do something!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Player development thoughts post MIC in Spain

These are the thoughts of two soccer development people I admire on Twitter post MIC in Spain...

It is very important to look at player development in the global context if we ever hope to move beyond what already exists in the soccer landscape of the United States. Here are two guys who just witnessed it first hand.


And second

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Does Soccer in America need more than one pyramid?

Thank you Craig Gembecki (Follow him on Twitter here) for reaching out and asking to have his multi-pyramid regionally divided national league system idea hosted on the blog...

As usual... let us know what you think in the comments and use #ProRelForUSA on social media when discussing the subject!

Craig Gembecki
April 3, 2017

Does Soccer in America Need More than One Pyramid?

It’s been a relatively great couple of weeks for the #ProRelForUSA contingent. First, Australia’s
lower league clubs clapped back on the A-League as they look to break away from a FIFA
sanctioned monopoly across the globe. And then we hear that the USL in America is
considering a path for a lower division pro/rel system. On the surface, both are great because
they are forcing people who would otherwise avoid the topic at all costs to discuss it openly. For
me though, and I can’t help but be a contrarian, I’ve noticed a blind spot in the conversation as it
pertains to America: geography. Until that becomes the centerpiece of any pro/rel conversation,
I think we’re leading ourselves down a path that we cannot sustain.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The time is now for USSF and USASA to step up

I had been formulating this article for a while but with today's announcement of USL creating a new 3rd Division league to go along with their current 2nd Division one (and a potential competitor to SUM in their media company)...


It seems like the perfect time to lay out why RIGHT NOW is the perfect time for the USSF to create an independent directly USSF sanctioned Division 3 league outside of the influence of the For Profit league structure currently in place for professional soccer in the United States.

1) There is not currently a Division 3 league in the United States. The jump from the Amateur/Semi-Pro "Division 4" leagues to USL/NASL is a huge one. There needs to be an intermediary step for clubs to grow in to as they progress up the pyramid.

2) A Federation sanctioned and administered Division 3 league will greatly reduce start up and operational costs for clubs as it can be "Expansion Fee" free and additional "League Fees" free (above already instituted USSF professional league fees). Reduction of costs for clubs allows them more wiggle room when it comes to budgetary concerns and allows for an overall strengthening of the entire division of soccer through the investment of that capital in to clubs instead of it being removed via fees.

3) With the league being administered without the necessary pressures of expansion fee and league fee creation the Federation's 3rd Division can operate with the interests of its member clubs being the sole reason to make decisions. Making these decisions based on the best interests of clubs in the United States instead of the desire of the owners for profit generation by the league will be a positive for all the clubs involved. Often times, these two decision making processes do not see eye to eye.

4) Placing control of the 3rd Division with the Federation removes any desire for the league to exert pressure on USSF to gain some sort of competitive advantage in the marketplace over other leagues. This also gives the Division 3 a high level of stability for clubs to grow and invest in.

5) Every item listed so far can also be directly applied to USASA concerning a full season Division 4 and 5 allowing an integrated national League and Non-League structure to start to be put in place. It is important that we move away from the For Profit league system in the amateur and semi-pro soccer divisions as well.

5) Having USSF and USASA controlling the Division 3/4/5 and the State Associations having control over Division 6 and lower will allow great ease in the future for integration of the entire pyramid with #ProRelForUSA.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of reasons why it is important for both the USSF to control the Division 3 level of the pyramid and for USASA to control the Division 4 and 5 full season levels of the pyramid. I would love to hear your opinion other reasons why the Federation should take control of the 3rd Division.

Please let us know your ideas in the comment section below or on social media using the #ProRelForUSA hashtag.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Who represents you at the USSF?

As an adult player, a coach, and as a fan... who represents you at USSF?

I hadn't really thought about this until recently. Watching the proceedings of the USSF AGM in Hawaii from afar I was struck by the idea that most people in the US don't really know who actually represents them at these proceedings. As we've discussed before, systemic change in the US soccer system will come from USSF and not from leagues or clubs. It goes without saying we should know who actually can make this change happen.

Simply put, there are state associations (some large states have 2) who represent all of us with interests in the adult game at USSF.

While it is easy for us to focus on the national leadership of Sunil Gulati and Dan Flynn at USSF. We have local administrators who currently could be working hand in hand with the leadership of USASA building state leagues at the base of a true open pyramid. These same leaders could also be advocating for change in the entire system at the national level.

They get a vote!!!!

To find and then contact your local state representative to let them know we would love to see positive proactive change toward #ProRelForUSA