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


Monday, March 27, 2017

New #ProRelWeek video

The great people at USA Soccer TV dropped a nice #ProRelWeek video earlier this evening!

Give them a follow on Twitter and check the video out

To learn more about what #ProRelWeek is >>> READ THIS ARTICLE

If you would like to read a review of last years success >>> READ THIS ARTICLE


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bring #ProRelForUSA to US soccer petition drive

Simply put..

"Open up the sport of soccer in the U.S. to allow all clubs in all leagues to have a shot at becoming the best club in America. Let's change the status quo in the United States by allowing clubs to show their strength by their athletic ability and not by the amount of money a club has."


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Open up your imagination with us for 1:03

Take 1:03 and open up your imagination...

#ProRelForUSA Coming Soon!

2nd Annual #ProRelWeek May 6th to May 13th 2017

After the success that was last years #ProRelWeek supporters are ramping up plans for the 2nd annual event. The week features the opening round of the US Open Cup sandwiched between two MLS/NASL/USL/UPSL/CSL game weekends and the start of the PDL and NPSL seasons. Supporter groups and soccer fans in the United States and Canada are being asked to show their support for the Open Pyramid movement during matches.

Make a banner, tifo, 2 pole, pass out flyers or chant during the game... document all of it and show the world on social media using the #ProRelWeek hashtag.

Check out some pictures of last years after the break!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What can one person do to help bring about #ProRelForUSA?

A pretty common refrain from people on Twitter about the #ProRelForUSA movement is that some individuals involved in the conversation are too confrontational or worse.... 

David Rudin took the time to write an article in Paste Magazine about it >>>  READ IT HERE

"Since the #ProRelForUSA crowd is already convinced that it speaks for the majority, turning off potential allies in this way carries little cost. That strategy, however, is based on an underlying delusion. Instead of building a coalition based on shared interests, leading promotion and relegation campaigners have decided to pick fights with potential allies. This is politicking at its most ineffective."
While I disagree with much of what he wrote in the article... I actually have spoken about building bridges not burning them many times on my Twitter account and I've read many other do the exact same thing. While right now I won't get in depth in to why I disagree with some of the major points he attempts to make (the main one is he conflates a few people on Twitter to the entire movement) I think it is important to address the Twitter discussion that was spurred on from this article.

I saw many people agreeing with Mr. Rudin that they do not like the tactics of some of the most vocal Twitter supporters of the #ProRelForUSA movement. That is a perfectly acceptable response... most people don't like assholes.

How do you as just one person help counteract this? If you really do care... SPEAK UP! If these few proponents of an Open Pyramid are just a few voices out of a 1,000 voices on social media they are just going to be a small piece of the overall movements noise. Use the hashtag religiously when you are talking about the subject.

I started this blog 100 posts ago... all because I felt like there wasn't enough being written about the subject. If you would have told me during my English 101 course my Freshman year of college that I would be writing a blog that was read by 1,000 people a day I might have paid more attention...

That being said, if we allow 140 character tweets from a very vocal subset of #ProRelForUSA proponents to dominate the content being created on the subject that is our fault. Fire up the laptop and write a think piece, develop a plan, blog about an idea, make a meme... be a content creator.

If you see some content you do like... Share it to Reddit, Retweet it, put it on your Facebook wall, post it on your Instagram. Expand the reach of all of the "good people" advocating for #ProRelForUSA. Thank them for writing about the subject!!!! Don't worry if you don't agree with them 100% on every single item... if they want all clubs to have access to an Open Pyramid then we are all on the same team and can get all the particulars figured out later. We need the pressure ratcheted up NOW.

If you don't like somebody or are being Trolled... use the "BLOCK" feature on your social media. Don't expand their reach or waste your time by arguing with them.

Take a few minutes a couple of days a week and search out the people just joining the conversation and let them know you appreciate them speaking up. Introduce them to the #ProRelForUSA hashtag and ask them to continue to speak up. Let them know that every single person who speaks up is more pressure on the powers that be to open the pyramid up. Be a bridge builder and bring them to our side.

Take the movement to the stands... leagues all across the country are going to be playing games here in just a few more weeks. Make a banner, Tifo, 2 pole or even just some flyers and take them to your local clubs game and display them proudly. Take some pictures and post them online.

We as individuals can all help amplify the conversation online and in the stands. This is going to do nothing but increase pressure on the leadership of the USSF to actually do the right thing and do whats best for ALL the clubs in the United States, not just MLS. Wanting and wishing for Promotion and Relegation isn't going to make it happen.... we must fight for it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

NASL Commisioner confirms that Co-D1 is possible

In the debut Soc Takes podcast North American Soccer League interim commissioner Rishi Sehgal gives a very thorough interview about many behind the scenes issues facing and solutions for the league... he also drops this overlooked gem concerning a question many of us have had about a potential Co-D1 in the future for US Soccer.

Nipun Chopra  - Do you know or are you assuming based on the way the legality of it is written out that there can be two D2 leagues at the end of the year?

Rishi Sehgal - We have had conversations with US Soccer about the sanctioning process in the past and they have been very clear that as long as the league meets the standards then they are under an obligation to sanction them at that level.

As we have discussed in the past a Co-D1 set up for the US Soccer Pyramid can be a way toward an open pyramid. This quote seems to finally put to bed the question of whether or not a Co-D1 set up is actually possible under USSF's sanctioning process.

Listen to the entire interview below

New owner of the NY Cosmos speaks up for #ProRelForUSA

New owner of NASL's NY Cosmos Rocco Commisso spoke up and spoke out today at the NY Cosmos media day in favor of systemic change in US soccer and #ProRelForUSA...

“Did anyone see the Minneapolis game where they lost 7-1 [scoreline was actually 6-1]? This is exactly what I’m talking about. Because they paid $100M with another $150M for the stadium, Minneapolis got to the MLS, right? Well, the Cosmos won the championship. In other countries, all over Europe, South America, so on, the Cosmos should be moving up to the MLS, not Minneapolis. I think Minneapolis was the eighth-ranked team in the MLS [NASL] last year, out of twelve; we were number one.”


Watch the entire press conference below.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Do you remember when nobody thought CFB would have playoffs?

It wasn't too long ago when the standard answer to fans calls for a D1 NCAA College Football Playoff was "It is never going to happen". The reasoning was usually... too much money from the bowls... too much history... the good old boy network.... etc. etc. etc.

Well you know what? The fans eventually won out when the public pressure led TV partners to figure out how they could make more money off of a playoff than the bowls.

Right now the calls for USSF to switch from the closed league system that we are currently using in the United States and Canada are becoming more and more frequent from not only the fans but from  media sources nationwide.

The Daily Californian published a very solid piece today calling for #ProRelForUSA...

Why not follow the European model and integrate relegation and promotion? Have a certain number of bad teams descend to a second division, and have some of those teams in those leagues ascend. It would give opportunities for division II teams that have an established fan base get involved at a much bigger stage.
read it here >>>   "MLS should change a flawed system".

Not too long ago Roy Bragg in the San Antonio Express News wrote a great piece challenging whether or not MLS is even worth it for cities who want professional soccer. He also calls for guess what? #ProRelForUSA
There is a simple and faster way for SA or any other city to move up to MLS, but none of the apparatchiks at the U.S. Soccer Federation or MLS, nor bandwagon fans, want to hear it.
The answer? Promotion/Relegation.
That system sets up a hierarchy of national leagues, from Tier I down to semi-pro. The worst teams in a division are paid a tidy sum to drop down a tier, while the best teams in lower tiers move up one notch


In the past we've covered articles in Chicago and Sacramento calling for the same reform. These are just two more in what is becoming a regular call for systemic reform by the media in the United States. It feels like we are on the path to where writers are going to starting calling an Opening of the Pyramid a "When we do this" not a "If we do this".

Just like happened for College Football and the playoffs... 

Friday, March 3, 2017

How does the MLS structure affect youth players in the US abilty to turn pro?

Earlier today Will Parchman reported in THIS ARTICLE that...

New England Revolution academy forward Justin Rennicks was suspended for his final 2017 spring semester by the club for going on a training stint at a Bundesliga club this winter, several sources confirmed to

As we have discussed previously MLS has a very convoluted system when it comes to dealing with player signings with the league. No franchise actually signs players... the league signs the players to a contract and at that point they are assigned to a team.

Part of this player signing system is the "Homegrown Player" contract rights for young players just entering the league from an academy of a MLS club. These young players are not under any sort of professional contract like top level academy players in the rest of the world would be. They are not being paid at all actually...

The Homegrown Player right to sign this young player to a contract in the MLS are "owned" by each franchise anyways. So unless the youth prospect signs a professional contract with the franchise that the player is in the academy of... they can not play in MLS without the team being compensated for it by a different team in MLS.

Confused yet?

Long story short... if the youth player does not sign with the club who owns their "Homegrown Rights" they can't sign with the MLS to play for any other team. Right off the bat about 40% of the professional soccer teams in the United States and Canada are removed from the pool of potential employers for young players.

So... if we go and train with clubs around the world in the off-season to try to help our employment prospects we get suspended from the Academy AND still have our Homegrown Player rights owned by that club. If we continue to play in the Academy and then try to negotiate for the best contract we can in the US, we run the risk of not being able to sign with any team in the top division of soccer in the United States after being blackballed from signing with any other MLS franchise if we don't accept the teams offer. If we go to college we then waste the first four years of the limited time we can earn a living being a professional player.

Sounds like an awesome system to have set up for MLS to keep American player costs down... not so much for young  players trying to earn a living.

Also just remember that if we used the same system the rest of the world used regarding Training Compensation and Solidarity Fees the MLS would be getting money if the young player signed with any other club.