If you follow US Soccer at all, you'll know it's a train wreck right now. Lawsuits, leagues and teams facing the threat of going out of business, all kinds of shady money. Enough to make you go crazy. But it does make me wonder: What if we had an organized pyramid in the US? Not one with a bunch of made up teams, but one made up only of the teams that exist. Would there even be enough teams to create a functioning top three levels of the pyramid? That was my first big question.
Here's how many pro teams there are right now, per league. We aren't counting NISA teams, or the three expansion teams NASL mentioned in the lawsuit: Atlanta, Detroit, and New Orleans. Or the Chicago NASL group. This is only for teams that actually exist, either with a team on the field now, or announced plans to put a team on the field by 2019 at the latest.
68 pro teams! First off, I'd say that's awesome to see. 68 pro teams planning to take the field next year. Hopefully USSF can sort things out, and we'll see a few more take the field in 2018.
Now, what if you stacked it up to have three leagues at the top of the pyramid? It would actually be quite easy.
Pretty cool looking, no? What teams would be in these leagues? Easy! I took current standings of all the leagues and organized things. Bottom two MLS teams and LAFC join NASL. Top thirteen non MLS 2 sides join NASL.
Toronto, NYFC, Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus, NYRB, Montreal, New England, Philadelphia, Orlando, Vancouver, Portland, Kansas City, Seattle, Salt Lake, San Jose, Houston, Dallas, Minnesota, LA
Miami, North Carolina, San Francisco, Edmonton, Puerto Rico, New York, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, LAFC, Cal United, San Diego, Louisville, Reno, San Antonio, Charlotte, Charleston, Phoenix, Tulsa, Tampa Bay, Rochester, Cincinnati, Bethlehem, Sacramento, Oklahoma City
Orlando B, Saint Louis, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Harrisburg, Richmond, Toronto 2, Real Monarchs, Swope Park, Orange County, Colorado Springs, Rio Grande, Seattle 2, LA 2, Vancouver 2, Portland 2, Fresno, Las Vegas, Nashville, Austin, Birmingham
I know this is crazy, but it's Monday, and I wondered what something like this might look like. Just a fun exercise and something that was on my mind.
"The heart behind our league is to provide opportunities for all kids to play - especially the ones that can't afford it."
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Good morning! It's time for a new interview, as that's what Thursday's are for! Today you'll get to read about Jubal McDaniel, and the work he does with refugee and impoverished kids and youth in the Pacific Northwest. Now, I know there is a stigma attached to faith based sports organization's, but what these guys are doing is actually quite unique, and really, really valuable. And if you think that this show AP is in some way 'non inclusive' or 'bigoted,' please read Soccer for Social Change: Ryan Adams of TC Jacks from last September. Check it out.
'With my background in the sports industry, Kevin and Dan's experience in finance, and our collective relationships in the community, we thought we'd be crazy NOT to give it a shot.'
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Good morning everyone! Today is one of those special interviews, as it's with a team that doesn't yet exist on the field or in a league. Lionsbridge FC is a new team starting in Virginia's Peninsula region. If you're keeping track, there's been a sudden rise in teams interested in, or getting ready to start playing in, more national leagues. Aromas Cafe FC looking to join NPSL, C-Ville FC in the UPSL, and now Lionsbridge FC (League TBD). And there's also Motorik Alexandria looking to play in the Washington Premier League.
Mike Vest digs into the soccer scene in Virginia, and the hope that they're step forward will lead and inspire others to start teams in the Commonwealth. Check it out.
Interest in amateur soccer in the US is at all time high. More and more people are watching teams play, and people are starting more and more teams nationwide. But there are little issues below the surface that are starting to bubble up. Little issues that could cause major fissures if not addressed soon, and if not addressed properly.
In the last month I was speaking with one of my friends who runs a team in the NPSL. Interest in the league, and teams interested in joining their conference, are at all time highs. Good things, right? Maybe not.
You see, this past season his team played 14 games in 10 weeks. Read that again. 14 games in 10 weeks. That's a lot of games, and the season is limited to a 10 week window due to the reliance on college players.
NPSL wants to add more teams to his conference. This means more games in the same season window. If 1 team wants to join, they are looking at the prospect of playing 16 games in 10 weeks. 2 teams means 18 games in 10 weeks. That's not just incredibly draining, but risky for the players involved as wear and tear and fatigue make a player more susceptible to injury. And if you make the playoffs, that even more games.
Why hasn't NPSL addressed this? Why do they keep expanding with no stated design of a longer schedule, especially when the easy fix is right in front of them?
What's the easy fix, you ask? It's a two-fold solution: 1, fix the number of teams in a conference. 2, when that number is met, or is being exceeded, you start a new conference beneath it and start doing promotion and relegation.
For example, NPSL's Southwest Conference has 10 teams. Based on what I'm hearing, that will probably be more like 12 next year, so here's what you do: Take the bottom 3, Oxnard Guerreros FC, City of Angels FC, and SC Corinthians USA and form the Southwest Conference 2. All new expansion teams go there until it reaches 6 teams, then you start a Southwest Conference 3. One up, one down at every level.
Not only does this mean 10 games in 10 weeks, it keeps schedules even with every team playing every week. This set up also allows NPSL to grow as much as it wants. What's to stop them from having 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or even 6 conferences of 6 as long as the interest is there?
Anyone, I'd love to hear what you think of this plan in the comments below, or of course, on Twitter. Is this a good plan for NPSL? Is this actually something they should consider?