Friday, January 2, 2015

Are they missing the point about Lampard?

As every soccer fan in the world knows by now Frank Lampard is not coming to NYCFC from Manchester City. There are now dozens of pieces, some of them very sternly written, about how foolish this whole ordeal has made MLS and US soccer in general look.


That says ...

If this is confirmed, MLS once again has egg on its face. How could Major League Soccer let NYCFC make such claims? Being signed to Manchester City is not the same thing as being signed to NYCFC. The club used Frank Lampard's celebrity, not to mention his face, to help sell season tickets—and he's not even signed to the club?

This is a serious, serious problem but it speaks to a larger issue with the league. Garber was adamant from the start that Manchester City had its own independent vision for New York City FC. That promise has now gone up in spectacular flames.

It does speak to a serious problem with the league if you view this solely through a MLS tinted lens but not of the real problem with the structure of US soccer and how the USSF runs its "pyramid".

If US soccer was restructured in an open way a brand new club would never have the chance to buy in to the top flight of American soccer. They would have had to earn their way to the top from the lowest levels of play in the country in some regional or local league. Even if the Sheik and the Abu Dhabi United Group were to buy a club already existing in the US First Division of the open pyramid future there would be repercussions for not fielding the strongest team possible and telling lies to your supporters and soccer fans in general.

Namely that the losses of this weakened team could/would lead to relegation out of the top flight not having the protections afforded to MLS franchises by the USSF in our currently closed system. Add relegation to the (even now likely) loss of support from fans caused by the lies told to them by club and league and you have a death spiral for your club. Right now, what do NYCFC's owners have to look forward to? A big fat check from SUM marketing, a MLS PR machine doing what it can to mitigate the damage (notice the timing of the Gerrard to LAG/MLS rumors) and the continued push to paint the picture of the only soccer that matters in the US is MLS by the media.

Is this what we really want for soccer in the US... a league, with full support from the USSF, who will take a 100 million dollar check from any investor with the money to write it in charge of the direction the game will take in this nation? or do we want a system in place that allows the best and brightest minds in the sport to build clubs, players and fan bases through hard work, smarts and dedication leading our charge forward to being a world class soccer nation?

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