Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Closed league team stability is a farce

The title says it all.

The idea that there is an extra layer of team stability provided by MLS for a community is a farce. It is a sham. It is a lie built upon the corpses of dead teams all over this country.

An original MLS team, the Columbus Crew, the team who's stadium has provided some of the greatest wins in USMNT history, they are moving to Austin Texas. This myth that somehow being a member of MLS provided fans in Columbus some layer of stability that an Open Pyramid wouldn't have has been yet again shown to be untrue. The city of Columbus and Crew fans have now been shown the the ugly truth about this stability just like Chivas USA fans, Tampa Bay Mutiny fans, and Miami Fusion fans were. If we look at all it is not hard to find dozens and dozens of other teams from leagues big and small from all across the country who have folded or moved as well.

How could your team being moved to another city possibly be better than it being relegated? How could it being contracted possibly be better than it being relegated? How can your club disappearing because of financial difficulties instead of being relegated to a low enough level where it can survive and rebuild be better? How can any of this be better for the soccer community in this country? How can ANY OF THIS be helping build soccer culture?

We've already had a great article by Jake Steinberg discuss how having an Open Pyramid featuring #ProRelForUSA would help protect cities from teams relocating and rent-seeking. We already know the idea that most clubs fold or go bankrupt upon relegation is a myth.

Can we finally admit that the myth that "Closed leagues provide stability because teams can't be relegated" is a utter farce.

Join in and speak up for your community, for your club, and for your fellow fan. Call for #ProRelForUSA.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Divorcing Pay-to-Play from the Pro game

Quite often since the #USMNT World Cup Qualifier debacle that was the Trinidad and Tabago game we have been blessed to finally see writers stepping up and questioning our youth development system in the US. Unfortunately, too often these discussions are being had while divorcing Pay-to-Play from the Professional game.


Make them answer these questions when they try to divorce the two items from each other and act like they are separate issues.

1. How do you stop youth clubs from charging?
2. How much money would this take?
3. Who decides which clubs would get USSF support?
4. Do they all get equal funding?
5. How would you stop youth clubs from leaving USSF and its subordinate youth soccer organizations and just charging anyways?
6. How would youth clubs fund a non-USSF subsidized free-to-play model?

I'm sure you can come up with even more to ask...

With youth soccer being a multi-billion dollar industry it would be impossible for US Soccer to fund the game as it is currently structured to give all young players, or even most of them, access to some sort of USSF subsidized system.

Saying "End Pay-to-Play" without talking about what caused this system to develop is ridiculous.

Saying "End Pay-to-Play" without talking about how opening the pyramid changes the incentives clubs have to produce players is ridiculous.

As Gary Kleiban so succinctly puts it HERE...

If we had an open pyramid like the rest of the world, where clubs can merit their way up and down the soccer hierarchy, that shifts the incentives and alters the ‘pay-to-play’ club soccer business model. 
That bursts open the 3 revenue generating incentives outlined above for thousands of existing youth clubs, and all of our lower division pro and semi-pro clubs. 
What pro/rel can do is give existing youth clubs an incentive to form their own 1st teams, and aspire to something beyond their perpetual caste as ’youth club’. If even a small fraction of the thousands of clubs in our country did this, that significantly expands the ‘free-to-play’ incentive footprint in our country.
Similarly, what pro/rel can do is give existing lower division clubs (e.g. in NASL, USL, NPSL) the incentive to form their own ‘free-to-play’, or heavily subsidized, youth academies.
With the closed market system (a caste system) we currently have, only one company, MLS, LLC can benefit from its 20 franchises offering free-to-play teams.
We have to give clubs all over the country the incentive to develop players. Right now quantity rules the day, the more kids you have, the more money you make. When QUALITY rules the day, we will see players being developed, coaches being accountable, and clubs making it a priority.

We need #ProRelForUSA if we ever hope to end Pay-to-Play as the dominant model for youth soccer in the US. We need #ProRelForUSA if we ever hope for our best and brightest young players (both boys and girls) to have a pathway to being top level players that isn't full of economic roadblocks.

Keep speaking up... keep the pressure up... and thank you everybody who has shared one of my articles from this blog. We are going to fix this system.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The pot is coming to a boil

As we've discussed before... eventually the conversation is going to change from "should we..." to "When we..." about #ProRelForUSA.

Today we saw both World Soccer Talk and Top Drawer Soccer both put out excellent articles touting the need for total system reform that includes an Open Pyramid.


U.S. Soccer is held back by the closed market that has kept the Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise owners happy, but the rest of the sport hindered for over two decades. A closed market that provides a safety net to encourage mediocrity and punish greatness. It’s the antithesis of growth and success. It stands against everything that the American dream represents.


We can all argue the pros and cons of a promotion/relegation system in the United States, but as long as there’s a closed system like we have in MLS, it breeds uncompetitiveness. When there are teams in MLS that know no matter how bad they perform that there will always be a next season in the top flight, teams (coaches, players and management) can become complacent.

The St Louligans blog also had a wonderful piece today that I feel you should take a few minutes and read as well. 

Now lets add Taylor Twellman going on every show on ESPN dropping gems like this one...

The conversation has changed this week.  We've all seen new voices join in this conversation and be much more straight forward with their calls for reform. Keep sharing and keep the pressure building.

The time to say "I told you so..." is not right now. Right now we need to keep encouraging every new voice to continue to speak up. Point them toward writers, bloggers, and podcasters who want to see reform. To help keep turning the heat up... the first bubbles are starting on the bottom of the pot right now.

Will we have a roiling pot of enough voices so that at the USSF AGM we will see a new President of USSF elected who is going to push through an agenda of change?

I think we will...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Don't allow any more excuses from USSF

We are not going to the World Cup.

I'm pissed. I'm angry. I'm embarrassed. I always knew this was possible but I never thought it would actually happen.

For YEARS now we've all been told by those who support the status quo that "we're fine", "we're growing", and "everything is going just as it should".

IT IS NOT!!!!!

Please do not listen to Bruce Arena and Sunil Gulati.

We need massive reform and we need it immediately. Incremental change is not going to cut it.

We need an Open Pyramid to push player development to the forefront. Read more HERE, HERE, and HERE.

We need 1000s of clubs pushing for the top. We need to reward those who are innovative, investing, developing players, creating culture, and winning on the field.

We need to call for it every day. We all need to put pressure on USSF.

We need our soccer media to actively follow the NASL Anti-Trust Case and the CAS case. We need the general public to know that these are big deals.

We need every Supporter Group in the United States to stand up for their club and call for #ProRelForUSA. Join the 30 who already have.

Those who have been selling the status quo have to be questioned. Why have they been doing it? Fear? Personal gain? We need to see new leadership within USSF. If you are a voter at the upcoming AGM and you vote to continue with the status quo. You are a part of the problem too.

We need change. It starts with us. Don't let USSF continue to let us down. Speak up. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Is the American media going to ask FIFA?

Pretty simple question.

When is a member of the American soccer media going to ask FIFA and CONCACAF about the three major cases USSF has had filed against it?

Solidarity Payment/Training Compensation
Promotion and Relegation
Anti-trust Lawsuit

Why have we not heard even a "no comment" from our regional or the world body about these three major cases concerning American soccer? We know these could change soccer not only here in the US and Canada, but they could have a major impact on how the sport is governed the world over.