As a fan (and quasi journalist) of soccer in the US, I spend a lot of time reading, writing and thinking about soccer. What works, what doesn't, existing problems and potential solutions. Unfortunately, I feel like I spend more time complaining about things and asking questions then actually providing answers and outlining potential solutions. This article is my attempt to change that, and may be one in a series of articles.
One of the states that frustrates me the most is Connecticut. Currently it boasts a population of 3,576,452 as of 2016, while being bigger than only Delaware and it's immediate neighbor, Rhode Island. Yet for some reason, this state has five amateur men's soccer leagues. One is an over 40 league, so for the purpose of this article won't be included.
Why in the world does a state of this size and population have four men's league containing fifty one teams? Ultimately, that comes down to a number of things. Money, power, pride, a weak state soccer association, but why couldn't Connecticut show a better way forward now?
I don't have answers for overcoming those objections, but maybe by showing what the possible outcome of working together would look like, teams and leagues will be galvanized to move towards a better future.
Currently the four competing men's leagues are the Amateur Soccer League of Connecticut, the Connecticut Adult Soccer League, the Connecticut Soccer League, and the Shoreline Adult Soccer League. There are fifty teams between these four leagues, making it easy to start this new Connecticut State Soccer Conferences with an even number of teams per division. There are a couple of B teams in these leagues, and they actually reduce the total number to forty eight.
The structure of the new Connecticut State Soccer Conferences is simple. Four conferences of twelve teams, last place team gets relegated to the division beneath it, winner of the lower division gets promoted. Round robin, home and away schedule means you have a twenty two game season. This also makes it easy to coordinate a Connecticut State Soccer Cup that's open to all forty eight teams in the CSSC, with room to invite teams from local city or Hispanic leagues, or you can do the Cup with just the forty eight CSSC teams.
Now, here is what your finished CSSC pyramid looks like, kicking off in 2018.
Waterbury City FC
Hamden Rovers FC
Vasco Da Gama CC
North Branford SC
Newtown Salty Dogs
Henry C Reid FC
Litchfield County Blues
Caseus New Haven FC
FC New Fairfield
Bridgeport United FC
Clinton Internazionale FC
Woodbridge Yellow Jackets
Haddam Killingworth AC
New Fairfield FC
United Nations FC
Admit it. That structure is awesome, and you'd love to see it happen. And there's still room to add new teams, by either promoting more teams up to create more space and keep schedules balanced, or you could just start a new Conference Five. This structure consolidates teams under one banner and makes it easier to market and promote soccer in Connecticut as a whole. Centralized social media for the Conference and the ability to use a service like MyCujoo for Conference wide live streaming. How would this be a bad thing?
Maybe it's time to start emailing this article to the people in charge of these leagues and sharing it with their social media pages. Who knows? Maybe we can make change happen from the ground up in the state of Connecticut.