Friday, March 27, 2015

What would a stadium failure do in Minnesota?

We all saw the pomp surrounding the "Promotion" of Minnesota United from NASL to MLS recently...

What was not discussed much was the fact that MLS leadership put a timeline on items that must be met before they are officially allowed to invest in MLS LLC including a Soccer Specific Stadium financing plan in place for downtown Minneapolis.

Commissioner Don Garber has circled July on the calendar. That's when he wants Minnesota United FC's stadium plans -- specifically the financing -- in place for an expansion franchise.
If that happens, Garber said Wednesday, a Minnesota MLS team could start playing in 2017. If it doesn't happen ...
"We would then, as an ownership group, take a step back and decide whether we wanted to come to Minnesota," Garber said.
"We have other options around the country, some of which with very detailed soccer-stadium plans, and we would have to make that decision at that time."


As polling is showing right now the citizens of Minnesota are initially appearing, by a wide margin, to not be interested in using state funds to build a SSS for Minnesota United.

What happens if the stadium deal does not come to fruition and MLS pulls its offer to let the MnU ownership group invest in MLS LLC? Does community support for a thriving NASL franchise dry up without the carrot of "promotion" to the top tier of soccer in the United States?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

All 91 US Open Cup teams on one map

See all of the participants HERE on the great US Open Cup website (and follow the twitter HERE).

Wouldn't it be great to have all these teams competing to get to the top level of the sport all year instead of only during this wonderful tournament?

Want to find out what the potential MLS Miami ownership group is like?

This piece in Howler Magazine is MUST READ material to see some of the behind the scenes people in bringing MLS to Miami... and some eyebrow raising quotes from Sporting Kansas City ownership like this one!
“That’s sports,” Heineman explained with a shrug. You do your homework, you make smart decisions, and things can still go wrong. One aspect of MLS that both Kansas City owners really liked was the centralized structure. All the players are owned by the league, which helps keep payroll—and the players—in check.

“If labor ever tells us they’re going to strike, we’d be like, ‘Fine, we’ll replace each and every one of you,’” said Heineman.

Like I said, this is MUST READ material about MLS expansion.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

An Argument for Promotion-Relegation in the United States

A very thorough and solid argument for an Open Pyramid that features Promotion and Relegation from APMULLALY on his blog "offsidethoughts" that includes gems like this one...

In 2013 NYCFC paid 100 million dollars in franchise fees to MLS and the second team in Los Angeles agreed to a franchise fee of around the same size in 2014.  The total wage bill for the entire league in 2014 was just under 130 million.  What are those franchise fees being spent on? Currently neither NYCFC or the proposed LA teams have their own stadium, nor do they have a true fan base.  There may be people wearing NYC blue and buying tickets, but they are fans of a new entity.  Similarly, Orlando City, another new MLS franchise officially lost its four year history[ii] when it joined MLS at the cost of a 70 million dollar franchise fee.

What if that money was spent on the team instead?


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

MLS, Who are you?

This was a very informative piece of research by Badinko on who is actually behind MLS and raises some very interesting points... including this one.

Commissioner Garber is not that man. He is an employee who may have no access to owners. Though I’m sure he’s aware of the obvious influence of people like Mr. Kraft, he may not even know the exact ownership structure himself. Unlike the NFL or any well-known sports league, MLS LLC is one corporation and its C.E.O is Richard A. Peddie, the former C.E.O. of Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment. At least this is what Bloomberg surprisingly told me.

Intrigued by this? I know I was... make sure you take the time to READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE

Why do US media members not talk to Mr. Peddie more often... well ever?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Was MLS Behind Sabotaging the Cosmos Stadium Bid? Sadly, Yes. It Wasn't Smart.

A guest post by a supporter of this blog Deacon Joseph Suaiden aka "The Soccer Deacon" on Twitter that can only be described in one way. Eye opening!



Was MLS Behind Sabotaging the Cosmos Stadium Bid? Sadly, Yes. It Wasn't Smart.

"All is fair in love and football", tweeted Nick Chavez of NYCFC's Third Rail supporters group in response to reports that MLS had lobbied New York politicians in an effort to derail the New York Cosmos stadium bid. The $300 million, privately financed stadium proposal in Belmont was sent to the Empire State Development Corporation in January, 2013.(1) More than two years have passed, but it is only coming to light now that MLS had been quietly lobbying against the stadium.

The original New York Cosmos team never had their own stadium, but modern realities necessitated a new stadium to remain a competitive draw outside of Major League Soccer, which made the construction of soccer stadiums central to their plans. While the plan generated positive buzz throughout the local community, many influential American "soccer voices" consistently maintained that either the Cosmos, who played outside MLS, didn't deserve a stadium or-- if they did deserve a stadium-- that it should be part of an MLS bid.(2) While the plan had wide political support at first, only a single senator came out against it, wanting a shopping mall instead. (3)

The largest body openly opposed was the Elmont Community Coalition Council, a local community group previously known largely for organizing "Meet the Candidates" meetings for local elections. Little is known about the group, but within two months of Carrie Solages' declaration of opposition, the group was running advertisements against the stadium bid (that strangely looked like they were recorded on a private camcorder) on both television and 1010 WINS, New York's local 24-hour news station. Curiously, the verbiage was almost identical to the anti-Cosmos stadium arguments on internet forums, and the commercials were timed to run at the start of the 2013 NASL fall season, with pictures of halftime of a total of three games played in Shuart stadium.(4)

As could be expected, the buzz around the commercials as well as the political gamesmanship delaying a decision on the stadium were likely contributors to the decline in the Cosmos attendance in the fall: in fact, by fall 2014, the club's attendance hit rock bottom at 3,924, but bounced back towards the end of the season to about 9,000. One of the curious quirks of this negative focus on the Cosmos was a decreased home attendance, while witnessing comparatively high away attendance, particularly during the 2013 Fall Season and the 2014 Spring Season.

Despite suspicions on the part of Cosmos fans who committed to the NASL club that MLS had been deliberately attempting to sabotage the growth of the Cosmos with what was-- at the time-- a nebulous entity in NYCFC through one-upmanship on press releases and connections in the press, it was only after Leo Glickman, Cosmos fan and New York civil rights attorney, discussed matters related to the stadium with New York State Assemblyman Francisco Moya, only to discover that in fact, MLS lobbyists had been pressuring local politicians to vote against the stadium.(5) The reasoning was simple enough: if the Cosmos won the stadium bid, it was virtually guaranteed that City Financial Group and the Yankees would *not* get a stadium. All the aforementioned arguments came down to this simple fact: if the Cosmos got the stadium, MLS' NY2 project wouldn't. New York politics would have mired such an attempt on MLS' part for years.

In the end, it may have all been for naught. By making unrealistic claims about stadium proposals in the five boroughs, NYCFC has ultimately doomed itself to Yankee Stadium for the foreseeable future. The Cosmos bid was carefully designed to avoid the pitfalls of NYC politics: by contrast, NYCFC, in a desire to one-up the insurgent NASL teams wrote political checks they couldn't cash. Meanwhile, the Cosmos brand was damaged, but not destroyed: the NASL club brought on Spanish legend Raul as a sign that no matter where they played, they would continue to bring the highest class of player to the pitch, and attendance will likely stabilize this year with the gloss of a magical "MLS New York 2 team" replaced by the reality of a generic MLS team playing in a baseball stadium. Meanwhile, NYCFC has placed itself directly into the lions' den of New York politics, its only refuge a Yankee Stadium which is reluctant to keep it as a long-term tenant.(6) By derailing the Cosmos' bid, MLS and NYCFC may well have doomed any efforts to build a soccer stadium in the immediate region of New York City for the foreseeable future.

All is fair, indeed.

End notes

(2)In fact, the top searches on Google for "Cosmos Stadium Bid" produce opposition from a number of sports websites, an impressive feat on their own. A sampling include Bleacher Report (, Howler, which inaccurately reported that the Cosmos were still planning to join MLS, largely due to the fact that there had been following of MLS fans calling for a team in Queens (
Further, a wide variety of contributors to the "BigSoccer" forum, many of whom were either heavily involved with MLS to varying degrees, some of whom are writers or bloggers for other venues, expended literally hundreds of man-hours in opposition to the Cosmos having a stadium in NASL or predicting its failure. (If you have the stomach, Google produced a fantastic collation of results. Disclosure: my words are also on the site, usually arguing with one or many of these fans.
(5) Mr. Glickman's commentary and explanation is extensive for Twitter commentary, noting that MLS was the top lobbyist in 2013, and that Assemblyman Francisco Moya confirmed that MLS representatives were lobbying against the Cosmos stadium. It is worth noting that Assemblyman Moya was involved in the public "friendly wager" about whether an MLS club would arrive in Queens or the Bronx in the summer (
His comment about Moya is here.
Clarifying further that MLS was behind the lobbying.
That MLS was top lobbyist in 2013.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What does having an Open Pyramid do for player development in the US?

This is a perfect synopsis by Paul Cammarata of what our current closed system is delivering and what having an Open Pyramid would do for player development in the United States.

In most academies throughout the world, not producing several professionals annually would be seen as a failure. Is that the case in the United States? Within our closed system, there is no dire need for academy graduates to succeed, plain and simple. In Southampton’s world, if the academy did not succeed, there was no hope at all for survival. In the United States, there are checks in place to ensure that mediocrity or even failure is met with reward. Is there any incentive with the current system to have a top class academy?