Trouble Ahead for American Professional Soccer?

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    Getslow's Avatar
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    Trouble Ahead for American Professional Soccer?

    NASL Shakeup: Is the league on the brink?

    There are a lot of troubles with the current state of American soccer, but the NASL has a unique set of problems and, unlike USL, has failed to find sure footing.

    We could be seeing the last year, or at least the second-to-last year, of NASL as a viable league.

    It would mean several teams would move to USL and some would fold.

    I have many opinions as to why American professional soccer is so troubled, but all we really know is that interesting times are ahead for the second and third tiers of USSF's professional soccer leagues.
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    Getslow's Avatar
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    From a selfish standpoint, it would be fun to see two relatively close teams, Indy XI and Carolina Railhawks, enter the USL and play Louisville.

    But the collapse of a league that once thought of itself as a rival to MLS is bad for American soccer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Getslow View Post
    From a selfish standpoint, it would be fun to see two relatively close teams, Indy XI and Carolina Railhawks, enter the USL and play Louisville.

    But the collapse of a league that once thought of itself as a rival to MLS is bad for American soccer.
    You certainly know more about this than I do, but it seems like if they consolidated the talent and/or viable markets it could mean more competition between the leagues and better products across the board.

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    I wish they would go to a relegation system and somehow could find a way to get the winning teams from MLS into bigger competitions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Habib View Post
    You certainly know more about this than I do, but it seems like if they consolidated the talent and/or viable markets it could mean more competition between the leagues and better products across the board.
    I was listening to Soccer City Radio on 790AM here in Louisville on Saturday and that had on a guy who was talking about this. His position is that if teams like Carolina Railhawks, Indy XI, and New York Cosmos, with their really strong ownership groups, suddenly found their way into USL, then the league may start to have some serious bargaining power as popularity grows.

    Unfortunately, MLS will continue to pluck the most profitable teams from USL in that time. FC Cincinnati, as an example, could be a huge boon for the hopes of promotion/relegation and viable independent soccer, but their owners will sell out their first chance they get. So would most other ownership groups.

    And so nothing changes and the glorified tax shelter that is Major League Soccer will remain small potatoes and never really have any shot at being the major player it so desperately wants to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wireman View Post
    I wish they would go to a relegation system and somehow could find a way to get the winning teams from MLS into bigger competitions.
    This, but I don't see it happening. I personally know many EPL fans that won't watch the MLS. Part of it is because there is no relegation.

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    Tampa Bay Rowdies officially announced they're leaving NASL and joining USL.

    Rumors that Ottawa Fury's players were told today that they'll do the same shortly.

    NASL's days seem to be numbered.

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    Voice of Reason's Avatar
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    Please explain for the uninformed like me what the difference is between these various leagues

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    Quote Originally Posted by Voice of Reason View Post
    Please explain for the uninformed like me what the difference is between these various leagues
    Short story: NASL is the second-tier soccer league in the United States. USL is the third tier. In this country, those distinctions don't mean a whole lot because there is no promotion or relegation at the end of every season (short of expansion into MLS or clubs dropping professional status and moving down to division four).

    Longer story: NASL and USL used to be one league but some big spending owners wanted to break away from more measured clubs. They did so and became the second-and-third-tier leagues we have now. USL eventually continued more moderate spending and growth patterns while NASL saw itself as a potential rival to MLS.

    Didn't happen that way.

    USL now has some degree of cooperation with MLS that seems to have led to financial stability (at least in the short term). Meanwhile, NASL has struggled to maintain growth, at least partly because MLS controls Division 1 status and the money and access that comes with it.

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    Official now: Ottawa Fury joining USL for 2017 season.

    With Rayo OKC and Fort Lauderdale Strikers expected to fold at the end of the year, NASL now down to just the following eight for next year: Miami FC, Indy XI, Carolina Railhawks, New York Cosmos, FC Edmonton, San Francisco Deltas, Jacksonville Armada, Puerto Rico FC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Habib View Post
    You certainly know more about this than I do, but it seems like if they consolidated the talent and/or viable markets it could mean more competition between the leagues and better products across the board.
    Interesting to follow up on this after today'a news. Tampa Bay is, I believe, the largest media market not in MLS.

    For as long as they're in the league, that's now going to be a strong voice for the non-MLS independent teams in USL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Getslow View Post
    Interesting to follow up on this after today'a news. Tampa Bay is, I believe, the largest media market not in MLS.

    For as long as they're in the league, that's now going to be a strong voice for the non-MLS independent teams in USL.
    The USL being headquartered in Tampa might play into that as well. I would not be surprised if that fact played a major role in Bill Edwards' decision to have the Rowdies change leagues.

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    New York Cosmos has announced that it will cease operations effective immediately.

    MLS is winning. And that's bad for a lot of us. It's only a matter of time before they finally kill off all the independent soccer in this country.

    Sorry if I'm a little apocalyptic today, but I see MLS trying to turn American soccer into the same structure as baseball and that makes me sad.

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    Rumors starting to swirl that all NASL operations are about to cease. Teams that can could be making the move to USL as soon as next season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Getslow View Post
    New York Cosmos has announced that it will cease operations effective immediately.

    MLS is winning. And that's bad for a lot of us. It's only a matter of time before they finally kill off all the independent soccer in this country.

    Sorry if I'm a little apocalyptic today, but I see MLS trying to turn American soccer into the same structure as baseball and that makes me sad.
    I would so love to see a three-tier pyramid with 20 teams in each league. But the money is in a stable, never-changing top tier and the bottom leagues are going to peter out.

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