Thursday, August 31, 2017

Great 343 Podcast featuring Jerome De Bontin

John Pranjic has one of my favorite podcasts out right now. The 343 Podcast always features high quality guests and wonderful questions of the sort most podcasters don't ask.

This one features one of the most interesting men in US soccer at this moment, Jerome De Bontin.

I would love all of you to make sure you check this interview out.


Yes, I am in favor of Mr. De Bontin as the next USSF President. #JdBforUSSF

It is your choice.

Social movements have multiple stages... they emerge, they coalesce, they bureaucratize, and then win or lose, they run their course and end.

The #ProRelForUSA movement has grown extensively over the last few years no matter what a small group of very vocal online detractors say. The movement has moved from a few lone bold souls on Twitter not letting the issue die a silent death, to this point where owners of lower division clubs are now taking cases to CAS to try to achieve its implementation.

Without guys like Ted Westervelt would we be where we are today in this movement? I seriously doubt it. His single minded determination helped bring dozens, if not hundreds of vocal advocates on board through his direct social media actions. Without his tweet to me that said "hoping it happens isn't going to make it happen" I wouldn't have been given the spark to be the American soccer reform activist I am today.

Initially during the emergence of the promotion and relegation movement, creating conversation was more important than anything else. The topic of #ProRelForUSA was a minuscule piece of the overall conversation about American soccer. Really, the totality of the American soccer conversation wasn't even that large.

The plan for creating passionate discussion around the subject worked. It worked well. Today #ProRelForUSA and #OpenSoccer are likely the 3rd most hotly debated topic in all of American soccer right behind the #USMNT and #USWNT. Nothing stirs up consistent passionate debate like these three topics. No league. No team. No player. No coach.

One major issue with Ted and others who have continued to use his tactics on social media during this initial growth stage, is that they have also created countless enemies to the movement.

Today, is this in your face, bold, confrontational, and oftentimes abusive style still the best plan?

In mine and many others opinion it is not.

Where we are on this spectrum of social movement stages can be debated right now, but I think it is safe to say we are past the emergence stage.

These initially most important allies of the movement have now become a part of what is holding it back. The constant attacks on potential allies do nothing to move the conversation forward. The branding of potential allies as enemies does nothing but embolden their resolve to not join in the conversation.

At this point can we still call this very vocal, passionate, and outspoken subset of confrontational advocates allies?

Yes just to clarify Ted, Ben, HowsYourTouch and others out there who I didn't name but think I may be talking about them. I am talking to you.

As this movement progresses and grows. The strategy must change. If you do not grow and change with it... you are no longer allies.You are a hindrance to it.

What does this movement gain by you being an asshole/bully on Twitter?

It gains nothing.

If you want to argue with Dan Loney and the rest of the status quo'ists who are out there all day every day. Have at it.

Please just stop trying to shame, cajole, or bully potential (and in many cases, actual) allies who don't speak up often enough for you, in the manner you want, and when you want in to doing this movement your way.

Trust the facts to persuade them to speak up, when they want to speak up, how they want to speak up, and as often as they want to speak up.

Coalitions are forming. Advocacy groups are starting. Suits are being filed.

The last thing this movement needs is y'all convincing MORE allies to not speak up because you're assholes to them and others on Twitter and they don't want to be associated with you.

No one person is more important than this movement. It is your choice. 

Do you still want to be an ally or not?

Friday, August 25, 2017

New York Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch comes out in favor of #ProRelForUSA

New York Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch comes out in favor of #ProRelForUSA in an ESPNFC Boot Room interview with Taylor Twellman.

The tides are changing.

Full Deloitte Report on #ProRelForUSA

The full 2016 Deloitte Report on Promotion and Relegation in North American soccer has been released. It is a 42 page long document that makes quite a few good points. Take a few minutes and give it a read.



Is MLS a Ponzi Scheme?

Several articles have hit the internet recently asking some very serious questions about the MLS business model.

Like, is MLS a Ponzi scheme?


That business model and this financial trajectory suggests that MLS’s sea of red ink is either a loss leader or a Ponzi scheme, and it’s not always easy to tell the difference between the two until it’s too late. Several sports economists, though, aren’t optimistic


But before Cincinnati—or Charlotte, Detroit, Nashville, Phoenix, or any of the other cities bidding to join MLS—agrees to put-up public financing for a new stadium, officials there might want to take a good, hard look at the financial health of the league they are attempting to join. Because, right now, MLS resembles something a little like a Ponzi scheme

It appears politicians are doing just that very thing...

Newspaper sports writers nationwide are also starting to ask these questions in potential MLS markets... 


Major League Soccer is a lot like The Royal Nonesuch.

You may hate soccer, but this topic is important. If the city lands one of Major League Soccer’s four expansion teams, it could cost $240 million and taxpayers will be on the hook for about a third of that. And there’s no promise the league will succeed.
That wouldn’t be a reflection on San Antonio, which has proven itself to be a great soccer city, but rather on the voodoo economics of MLS.

Now economist Stephen Szymanski is hitting the airwaves of NPR asking tough questions about the MLS business model.

“That’s a fairly serious accusation since Ponzi schemes are illegal,” Szymanski said. “But what it is hard to understand is how Major League Soccer can, at the same time, say that they are losing money, and then say that they can sell franchises for $150 million each. It seems like some kind of pyramid scheme and it’s really hard to see how this is ultimately going to make money for the owners.”


Monday, August 7, 2017

Why do people argue against #ProRelForUSA?

The internet is an awesome tool. The ability to find in depth information about any and every topic, keep up with family, watch funny cat videos... and argue about #ProRelForUSA.

Every time a positive article about opening the pyramid comes out a small group of very vocal anti-reform activists start their "it will never happen", "the owners will never agree to it", and the other standard status quo supporting Tweets and comment section activities.

I just want to know why?

We all know the system is broken. It is not delivering the results we want economically, developmentally, or socially. What makes you want to defend this system?

We know soccer is not going to go away if the system changes. Period.

People are still going to go to games.

Leagues are still going to exist.

Teams are still going to populate those leagues.

Soccer is still going to be on TV.

Kids are still going to be able to play on Saturday mornings.

Is fear really driving this side of the conversation? They aren't arguing for their version of change. They aren't arguing for a different set of big and bold reforms. They are arguing for a continuation of what we have now. Now I have read, just like I'm sure you have, all the nefarious "paid shill" comments that are often thrown about concerning media members who are supposedly on the take from MLS/SUM. I just don't believe that. At some point somebody would stop getting paid and they would write an expose about it. I feel that after 20+ years of buying off the media it would have happened by now. Without getting paid I just struggle to find any reason why regular people (not MLS owners) are so invested in defending the status quo other than fear of the unknown and what will happen after the change to an open pyramid.

From talking to hundreds of #ProRelForUSA activists over the last few years I think it is safe to say hope and positivity are driving the other side of the conversation. The hope that the United States can become a world soccer power and the positivity of thought needed to look for and support big and bold solutions, even ones that may be scary.

I for one am glad people like Ricardo Silva and Dennis Crowley are stepping up and attempting to make these big and bold reforms to the system. Am I worried that the transition may be bumpy? Sure... who wouldn't be? But what I am, is confident. Confident that in the long run this is what is necessary. That in the long run, this is going to lead our nation to being one of the best nations in the world at soccer with a vibrant league system existing in every community in the country. You just have to open your mind up to the possibilities out there... the big and bold ideas of radical change.

One side driven by the fear of change.

One side driven by a hope for a better future for this game we all love.

Continue to speak up for #ProRelForUSA. 88% of us want to see it. Don't let the 12% shout you down because they are scared of change.