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USL Buyout Discussion Filled with Ignorant Discourse

 USL Buyout Discussion Filled with Ignorant Discourse

What has been ongoing for months became public knowledge yesterday, thanks to a Canadian report. The United Soccer Leagues is for sale. As someone who has been aware of this fact since March, it’s a little disappointing to see a leak occur as the transaction nears completion.

I have been privy to many off the record discussions, on this issue since March and they will remain for now, off the record. When the sale is complete, we will have a full accounting at this site of the timeline along with our partners and friends at Inside Minnesota Soccer, who do perhaps the finest job of reporting on the USL related matters.

I have my theories as to why this leak occurred. But that again, is for another time.

I do not believe MLS will submit a bid anywhere near what is required to purchase USL, which after all is a league with over 120 professional and semi professional teams, as well as a comprehensive, national youth structure. Even more worrying is what MLS would do with the league if they did somehow manage to get their hands on it.

What does bother me isn’t MLS bidding on USL: it is certainly their right to do so, and I am sure the USSF has encouraged them to bring the entire professional structure of US and Canadian Soccer under one umbrella. What is troubling is the reaction of some MLS fans, some of which it can be assumed are the same fans that accuse anyone who doesn’t watch the league or have passing knowledge of the league as snobs.

Let me be frank on this point: I do not believe anyone who does not watch MLS, should comment on the league’s quality or possible shortcomings. Many statements we see written about MLS in both the European and American press are written out of pure ignorance.

But it is appalling that some of the same people that correctly label ignorance of MLS as disrespect, show the same sort of attitude towards the USL.

Some examples:

COME ON MLS! CLOSE THE DEAL, TAKE MONTREAL, CAROLINA AND CLEVELAND AND SHUT DOWN THE REST OF THE LEAGUE! PUT THE COMPETITOR OUT OF BUSINESS AND WE CAN BE ALL ON ONE TEAM.

This is a classic. Pick off certain USL-1 markets, shut down the rest of the league and presumably let the youth system and PDL die for the sake of unity.

MLS needs to up its bid. They need to get USL and then either out the league out of business or keep the 11 teams as a feeder league.

USL falling in the hands of a specific investors needs to be blocked by the USSF. It is not in the interest of American or Canadian soccer.

I happen to know who is bidding for USL, but cannot reveal it here. But without knowing who is bidding, this message board poster has made the leap of faith to say the “specific investors” he refers to are not in the interest of the American or Canadian game.

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The sooner USL is gone the quicker MLS can get to maybe 22 teams and not worry about competition from a pesky, illegitimate upstart who should never have been allowed to enter business to begin with.

What does USL have now, 11 teams. We’re taking 2 in 2011 and probably 1 or 2 more in 2012, so they don’t have much life anyhow, but let’s kill them now.

The fact that the forerunner leagues of USL are older than MLS is lost on this ignorant poster. For example, the Minnesota Thunder was in business eight years before the Chicago Fire. Both organizations were built up largely due to the efforts of the same legendary man, Peter Wilt.

But I digress. “pesky, illegitimate upstart,” is absolute ignorance of the highest order. If a European writer, let’s say Martin Samuel, were to refer to MLS as a “upstart league without any reason to exist,” he’d rightly be taken to task by many of us, including myself. I wrote an article to the Times, Samuel’s employer in 2007 about his rough handed treatment of MLS, which of course never got a reply.

Another point: USL does not have 11 teams, but close to 120. Many MLS fans continue to forget USL’s real value comes from its structure, its pyramid, not necessarily its top division. Confusing these two things leads to ignorant and quite frankly insulting postings like the one above.

I hate USL teams more than the Mexican teams. It defeats the purpose to have a second league in this country. What other country allows a competitive league?

I am distressed to read that investors want to try and keep it out of MLS hands.

It is about time the two divisions were merged with relegation/promotion within the 26 teams.

Gulati and Garber please make this happen!

This message is so illogical and insulting; it is not worth commenting on.

Why does PDL exists anyway? Amateur summer soccer? How stupid. No one goes. MLS should fold up the PDL and keep USL-1/2 as MLS-2 with NO pro/rel. MLS would control the player rights and if MLS teams need new players they can take it from the MLS-2 team with no compensation. That will make the league stronger and probably more competitive from top to bottom than any league in Europe.

Tell Charlie Davies it was stupid. Tell Jay DeMerit it was stupid. Tell Heath Pearce it was stupid. Tell Anton Peterlin it was stupid. Tell Marcus Tracy it was stupid. Tell Jonathan Spector who went to Man U after leaving the Chicago Fire’s excellent USL based youth program it was stupid. While we’re at it, why don’t we call all these players stupid for skipping MLS after playing in PDL and going to Europe.

Thankfully, I assume Don Garber wouldn’t fold up the PDL in the highly unlikely case MLS got control of USL. The other points in this poster’s rant speak for themselves and I am sure the vast majority of MLS Talk readers will find them as offensive as did.

I post these messages not to simply bash fans of Major League Soccer, but to point out many American soccer fans that get hostile to those they claim do not follow the game in their own country, seem to have some of the same issues.  While I doubt that these ridiculous posts represent the majority of supproters of MLS, they do represent an unhealthy minority that needs to be educated before they speak.

Whether or not MLS gains control of USL (again, from what I know, this is highly unlikely) is not the issue. The issue is the desire of some MLS fans to confuse what is good for MLS business wise, with what is good for American soccer.

This entry was posted in Leagues: Major League Soccer, MLS, USL. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

42 Responses to USL Buyout Discussion Filled with Ignorant Discourse

  1. John says:

    Sorry Kartik, but this could’ve been better – anyone can reply to idiotic comments on the internet.

  2. Demko says:

    Great stuff. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. Competition is good. Viva Minnesota Thunder!

  3. park bolivar says:

    In some regards, if MLS acquired USL, and created a four-tier, promotion-and-relegation based system, I think many on this site would be quite pleased.

    Of course, there are other, major problems plaguing our dear MLS (and the biggest of those is the paltry salary cap and the second biggest is insistence on European ‘Marquee’ DPs) – this won’t do much to resolve either of those things, and with MLS perpetually teetering on insolvency, I’m afraid of what might happen with an MLS takeover.

  4. Jose says:

    I think it’s better to keep MLS and USL separate. Anyway, it may come to pass where USL is the only one left standing.

  5. Bobby says:

    A tiered system of promotion and relegation would keep people happy. I don’t see a farm system working, you just can’t ask a guy who’s spend tens of thousands supporting the independent Hammerheads, a team trying to win trophies for the city of Wilmington, to suddenly support a daycare for DC’s kids.

  6. BC says:

    Kartik,
    What does the future of American soccer look like if this mystery guy comes in to buy USL? I assume by reading the tea leaves that this investor is fairly legitimate and would do well for USL. But, to me, it would be near impossible for soccer to grow in this country with two leagues competing with each other. Look at what the CART/IRL split did to open-wheel racing in this country. Now it is near obsolete. If we have to put up with a battle between USL/MLS for the next 10 years, one eventually will die off and US Soccer would be much weaker in the long run.

    Isn’t the best case scenario folding every under one umbrella and growing the game together? The USL/PDL pyramid along with developmental minds who actually know what they’re doing combined with the top tier of MLS under a new and improved CBA would be the ideal outcome here. Thoughts?

  7. Nick says:

    I do agree that the posters you noted are ridiculous and stupid, and I hope too that they represent a tiny minority of MLS fans. Shutting down USL would be the highest stupidity for the long term good of US soccer. However (and here I speak from ingnorance of any offer or plan MLS might have for buying out USL), I do believe that the greater good of US soccer also hinges on having a multi-level promotion/relegation structure. No other league structure creates the kind of excitement and competition, not to mention built-in lower levels for player development. Personally speaking I am not a big fan of the PDL idea – why not just have a lower league that teams can be promoted from or relegated to? Players generally thrive much better in teams with mixed ages, and the additional interest generated by such a system would increase attendences dramatically, I think.

    Anyway, I’ll close by saying if MLS has sensible plans for the future of USL then they have my blessing, but if there is any hint of wanting to close USL down, then that would of course be a deal breaker for me.

    Nick

  8. SounderCraig says:

    Wait a second! Internet comment postings are irrational, uninformed and stupid? STOP THE PRESSES!! Come on Kartik, don’t try and fight the interwebs. It’s pointless. Instead, if you must write about this, simply write a thoughtful column addressing the objective reasons you believe an acquisition by MLS would be bad for USL and U.S. soccer in general. Although I think we pretty much understand your views there by now.

  9. Andy says:

    When will this promotion/relegation BS die? An MLS team that paid $25 or $35 million to enter the league is not going to be relegated to the second division in favor of a team like Cleveland that paid $100,000 to enter the USL.

  10. soccer goals says:

    They need to remain seperate.

  11. gmonsoon43 says:

    Andy stated it well. I do not think any fans are really against the idea of relegation it is just a pointless debate. After owners shelled out this large amount of cash they are not going to agree to being relegated. Now maybe many years in the future when soccer is big enough to support teams at a high level in a second league relegation should be considered.

    As far as the USL sale, I am just trying to be optimistic and hope for the best until more details come out and judgments can be made.

  12. Vnice says:

    I am shocked at how ignorant and misinformed these anti-USL folks are. They act like other countries don’t have second and third and fourth tier leagues. And, lookie lookie…they DO! In fact, those leagues are very necessary for soccer’s survival, both here and abroad.

    Secondly, anyone who thinks USL is a competitor with MLS needs to understand that it is only a competitor in the same way that the Championship is a competitor for the Premier League. They may vie for fans, but the fact is USL is recognized by FIFA as tiers 2 through 4. MLS is FIFA’s official top flight.

    The development pyramid needs to not only survive but be bolstered to help soccer survive. I can’t imagine only having MLS to follow in the states. In currently support a number of teams from across USL and MLS. The more, the merrier, I say. Plus, with the lack of depth that MLS has, a lot of players would be left out in the cold if USL were to disappear.

    I agree with Kartik here.

  13. super rookie says:

    while i understand the need for secrecy about “potential deals” and all the insider information that you have gathered it is a little bit annoying when I keep reading things like, “things i know, but can’t say…”

    not saying i disagree with your decision to keep things quiet, but i just want to point out that it comes off a little arrogant when i continually read how much more in the loop you are compared to us lesser thans.

    keep up the great work with BQ, but quit alluding to secret things that you can’t mention until deals are completed. i look forward to hearing all about it, but i don’t look forward to hearing all about it before it happens. know what i mean?

  14. NJ says:

    Kartik,

    I know you can’t share the investor’s name but would the investor, target making USL a competing league with MLS or would they be happy with its current format. I personally think competition isn’t a bad thing, especially in the US, where there are many markets that currently do not have a product to watch. I was very young when this occured but wasn’t there an AFL and NFL at one point and an ABA and NBA? Yes those leagues eventually merged, but the competition didn’t kill either if anything it put the product in front of more people allowing the sports to grow. One last question Kartik. What happened to Nike’s investment, I thought they had an intention to make the USL competitive with MLS, is that an impossible project in the current environment for soccer in the US? Thanks for the insights.

  15. LD says:

    I think anyone who favors USL or by extension opposes MLS hurts the game in the america. The USL fans are in fact in league with the eurosnobs, and worse yet no other country sanctions more than one league.

    USL must be shut down. If MLS does not gain control of it a simple ultimatum must be given to USL clubs. Join an MLS run second division or become an independent club, playing friendlies but unable to join a sanctioned league.

    We do not need a second league. The PDL has given an excuse and an outlet for guys like Davies and Peterlin to not meet their commitment as American soccer players and use the league to get to Europe.

    I believe all US based players who seek to turn professional before the age of 23 must be forced to sign in MLS. If MLS sells them on it is fine, but the issue of guys using the PDL to be discovered and then going to Europe w/o MLS getting a critical fee which is reinvested in the game here needs to be overturned.

    I have also read here and elsewhere that USL is more European in its setup. Once again eurosnoberry takes root, backed by the editors and writers on this and other blogs. Either you support MLS or you support eurosoccer even in its american, usl form.

    You have to pick sides. the eurosnobs have disrespected us for years and its time they be put on notice- they claim to love soccer and yet they have continued to hurt the game.

  16. Kevin says:

    Not only are these message board trolls offensive, but it is clear they know ZERO about the game.

    They ought to go back to following throwball or roundball and leave football to those of us who know this sport and respect its traditions and its structure which has seen it become the dominant sport around the world.

    MLS is a domestic league and I like it, but the USL structure in my opinion had become far more important and familiar to a lot of us who were hooked on this game not because we stumbled upon MLS on ESPN2, but because we’ve traveled abroad and learned this sport.

    Now, if USL would just get rid of the astroturf, maybe these new investors can blow MLS and its ignorant fans out of the water.

  17. Eric says:

    Kartik- I agree 100% with you on this issue, but let me ask you a simple question: why do you not respond to this stuff at the sites they appeared on, instead creating a blog post around it? I agree their is a lot of misinformation on USL thrown out there by MLS people. For example, I see people write that Marcos and Holt won’t work with MLS and help Garber out while they fail to acknowledge that the relationship broke down because MLS team literally stole players from USL clubs late in the season and gave them nothing in return. But why don’t you fight them on their turf, exposing their ignorance and hypocrisy there, instead of fighting them on your turf. Just wondering……………

  18. af92 says:

    LD is right on target. There has been a 2nd soccer war going on for years in the US. Euros, which includes USL, vs. the Americas, MLS. The Euros fired the first shot and I hope for the sake of the game that MLS finishes it in the fashion discribed by LD. And I am not someone who is ignorant of the game but a 50 plus year old player and fan who knows what it is like to have no top flight in my own country. The Euros screwed us long ago and won the first war. Relegating my sport to fifth rate status in this country for decades. I don’t want it to happen again.

  19. Larry says:

    The ignorance of those comments is just sick. While I think MLS is clearly the better league, and the justified first division, it is arguable that the USL structure provides more positive for the game in this country on a whole than MLS. Again, the point can be argued to death both ways, but for these people to just piss all over USL and not know what they are talking about reinforces so many of the bad experiences those of us who love this game have discussing it with fans who simply follow MLS and no other league.

    Generally, these people completely over rate MLS quality when compared to other leagues in CONCACAF and especially leagues in South America and Europe.

    These people also tend to vastly over rate the ability of certain American players to succeed in tougher club atmospheres abroad, based on success in MLS.

    These fans also show nothing but ignorance and indifference to Mexican soccer, while making idiotic and flat out laughable comments about european club soccer.

    Simply put, many MLS exclusive fans are what give Americans bad names in the soccer world.

  20. MJ says:

    Kartik seems more concerned about keeping the confidence of the investors he’s talked to, than telling us. I guess that is fine. It is really his choice, BUT

    As a blogger, not a proper journalist, it would be nice if you revealed it. That is, unless you are investing yourself.

    In any event, whomever buys USL will be good because MLS will ruin the structure if they get a hold of it. Maybe they’ll force Super Y guys and PDL players to sign MLS contracts and then magically allocate them to clubs. Perhaps, some clubs let’s say the bigger ones (most certainly not KC or RSL) will be allowed to put a “discovery” tag on the best 16 year old kids and stop them from going to Europe until 23.

    Maybe MLS will do better running USL than we think. But personally I thinkl the risk is too high for us to have curiosity satisified. Let us hope USL goes to some real investor.

  21. bq says:

    Spot on about promotion/relegation. It’s fantastic and it’s not going to happen here. Plain and simple — isn’t going to happen at least for a long, long time. As pointed out, with the money that MLS requires to start a franchise why would you spend 40 million dollars at the risk of dropping down a league right away after the first season. It’s not going to happen with the current league structure as it sits. MLS has made sure of that.

    On top of that there is infrastructure. It’s what we don’t have and what we will need to make this happen. It will take years and years to get soccer specific stadiums built throughout the country and good teams established.

    For those that made comments about not being enough room for MLS and USL, what color of Don Garber Koolaid have you been drinking? Look around the world. The majority of leagues and teams are not super leagues like the EPL, or La Liga. They are small lower divisions. They are everywhere in the world, many having stadiums that hold anywhere from 10,000 to 1,000, sometimes smaller. Although everyone has a “big” team they support, they also support their local team. This is the infrastructure of football world wide. Why is it not OK with Don Garber and not OK with many MLS lovers to have alternative teams and leagues? Do you really think Man U lovers from the UK think its stupid to have 65 pro and amateur teams in the Manchester area alone? http://www.manchester2002-uk.com/sports/football.html I very much doubt it, they understand the structure of football and the more players playing the more chance one of them will rise up to be the next English super star. So lets stop with the “there should only be one league” business already. It’s a tired argument that doesn’t even hold up in any other US sport let alone football world wide.

    How many teams has MLS established throughout the country? 15 with 18 hoped for in the near future.

    Now tell me how many USL teams have been established throughout the country? 11 USL-1, 9 USL-2, 69 PDL teams, 97 Super Y and Super-20 teams. That’s a grand total of 186 not including the W-league. Hmmm, that’s 171 more than MLS.

    Let’s forget the Super-20 and Super Y teams for now. Just counting the USL-1 and 2 and PDL that’s 89 teams that are settling in nicely to the US Landscape and starting to establish themselves. Some of those teams, like the Minnesota Thunder have been around longer than any MLS team.

    As to Nick, you need to understand, the PDL, just like its namesake is a developmental league. In most cases these are unpaid players who don’t want to throw away their NCAA eligibility. That’s why the PDL was started. To give collegiate players a high level place to play during their summers. Here’s a statistic for you Nick, 63% of all MLS draft picks last year had spent some time in PDL. My recommendation to young promising college players here in MN is if you want to get noticed by an MLS team, it’s almost imperative to play PDL during the summer. The PDL is not only necessary it’s now important to MLS as well.

    So tell me that USL is pointless or that it’s not important to the landscape of soccer in the US. Tell me that it’s just a pesky league getting in MLS’s way. It’s anything but and it’s been not only the forerunner of MLS just like its sister league the NASL, it’s currently a gateway to MLS for many a player. It’s important and I think it should be here in some form or another. What form that ends up in is another story.

  22. deep_tongue says:

    “I happen to know who is bidding for USL, but cannot reveal it here.”

    “…it’s a little disappointing to see a leak occur…”

    “I have been privy to many off the record discussions, on this issue since March and they will remain for now, off the record.”

    Dude are you a blogger or a Bush Administration official? What is up? Not sure I trust a blog that sits on information for half a year.

  23. Roger says:

    Good stuff BQ!

    Sadly many MLS fans I run across are from the American sports model where their are no minor leagues/competing leagues or smaller teams are affiliated directly with larger teams, even owned by them in many cases.

    I don’t think many MLS fans understand the way footy is structured abroad, and have also been made to ignore lower league, ie USL football and also youth level teams thanks to a soccer press in this country that pretends as if MLS is the only game in town, and that if you don’t watch MLS, you are not supporting soccer’s growth.

  24. Jason says:

    You’re the coolest, Kartik! You know stuff! And you don’t hesitate to tell us that you know stuff that we can’t possibly know and can’t be trusted to know. But just the very hints from you are enough, I guess. Just to be in your presence, that’s enough.

  25. eplnfl says:

    My take is that if it wasn’t the current management of MLS that make the deal everyone would think it makes extreme sense. Bascially, MLB, NBA, and the NHL run as a single entity. NASCAR is an absolute control freak of anything on wheels.

    The fears are that MLS will just close down the league except for a few markets. That would make no business sense for MLS. MLS will grow better with strong grass roots soccer in America and minor league clubs to feed interest and players to the big leagues. Let’s hope it works out that way.

  26. George H says:

    Well done, BQ (as always).

    Kartik, very intrigued by who the potential investor is.

    Is it Barcelona? Jack Warner’s son? A consortium headed by Trekker? Haliburton? T Boone Pickens?

    All kidding aside, is it a reputable group that USL (and US Soccer) fans will be happy with?

  27. bq says:

    To Jason and Deep Tongue [Nice name buddy], I understand your frustration and you certainly have a point and I understand how anyoing that can sound. However, here’s the deal — Kartik and I are frustrated with the situation and maybe we’ve been more than a little naive.

    Here’s a scenario for you. Lets say you have a good relationship with not only your local team’s and their management, but with officials from the league. Lets say some of those people have shared things with you as well as media sources from across the country as you have tried to build a story.

    Unfortunately almost all those people that have told you this information has done it as “off the record for now”. Meaning, I’ve entrusted you with this information and when the time comes you can share it. What do you? Do you spill the beans, get the story out, have your moment of notoriety and then are never trusted with any information from any of those sources ever again?

    It’s not what I do and I would hope you want Kartik to have more integrity than that as well…and he does.

    It’s not Kartik’s nor my fault that this deal has dragged on for nearly a year now. Let’s hope this thing can get finished soon.

  28. Daniel Feuerstein says:

    These idiots that you read their posts from Kartik on Big Soccer probably, these are the one who have no clue that there are other leagues below the premiership in England.

    These are the clubs that some of these people want pro/rel to happen, but would rather kill off the 2nd & 3rd divisions. The US Open Cup would end if MLS killed off the rest of these teams. Just ignore the idiots, because we know that US Soccer needs the USL. It’s not a minor league system.

  29. Vnice says:

    Um…all future pro’s should be required to sign with MLS???

    Are you seriously shooting heroin or what? There are not nearly enough roster spots to handle all of them, even if that was a good idea. Get your head out of your ass.

  30. Davidge Partelwarl says:

    I think all the quotes you used are fake. I follow both leagues and frequent forum sites favored by both sets of fans. I haven’t seen any of these quoted posts. Please provide links or stfu.

    GO Mohun Bagan!!!
    GO Columbus Crew!!!
    GO Charleston Battery

  31. Derek says:

    Anyone who thinks USL needs to be eliminated is a fool. Even without promotion and relegation( which may not happen in my lifetime, if ever, and I’m 23), having lower levels of the game is a very important part of growing the game. Get rid of USL and what do you have? 20-some teams and no pro soccer anywhere else in the country. That does nothing to foster support for soccer.

    Whoever buys USL(if it’s not MLS), needs to realize they cannot compete and be happy with, and committed to, creating stable 2nd, 3rd and 4th tier leagues. Even as a relatively new fan of USL, I’m tired of the constant franchise relocations/foldings. If they can achieve a minor league baseball level of team stability, I’m all for any new owner.

  32. Erik says:

    Great article

    2 things

    1. Relegation and promotion is extremely unlikely considering the cost of a franchise. This is terribly unfortunate because

    2. American soccer will never be as competitive as a multi-tiered league with relegation and promotion. This is not euro-snobbery, this is simply the reality. If you were an up and coming player who didn’t quite make the MLS where would you want to go? You can hardly blame them for wanting to head to a 2nd or 3rd division in Europe where not only will they get more exposure, but their team now has a chance to move up as well.

    In my opinion it’s a simple fact that more competition will increase the level of play. The franchise system just doesn’t promote this type of intense competition. How long will it be before an MLS team becomes like the Montreal Expos – remember them – oh yeah, they sucked forever and nothing happened until they finally were sold. Is that really the system US soccer needs to follow? Great for owners, terrible for the game.

    Viva USL!

  33. s.y.l.c. says:

    Kartik-

    I agree with you. There are plenty of ignorant people out there, but they don’t realize that 3 of the 5 “MLS 2.0″ (i hate this term) teams are coming from USL-1.

    One question though. Is your opinion on the investor the only thing you can tell us? Anything about their financial ability/football experience? Will they compete or cooperate with MLS?

  34. Jon says:

    This new investor that Kartik is hiding (agree with others–you are a blogger, spill the beans) better work on cooperation and not spout off about competition w/MLS or he will personally kill the USL some of you love so much. Reason? MLS and the USSF can and will complain to FIFA as its designated first division and FIFA can and would (given the $ involved) strip the USL of its FIFA status. Don’t think so? Just watch, fanboys. I have that on very good authority.

  35. Lisa says:

    Mostly listening here, but it cracks me up when fans of one brand of soccer desire to crush another brand of soccer in the name of promoting soccer in the US. Over and over again.

    Really, growth is about making affiliations work.

    Well-written, Kartik. Looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

  36. CleartheBall says:

    Some of the comments are wishful thinking. I, as a MLS fan, wold love to see USL integrated as a minor league system with at least one USL team & youth system per team. For me, it would build an interest in USL teams where, right now, I don’t know any of the teams. It would also begin to build the depth MLS needs to compete in CONCACAF champions league and other competitions.

  37. Sean says:

    Being in a city (Portland) that has such a history with USL, formerly A-League, and being a fan of the Portland Timbers soon to be an MLS side I find that many don’t understand how USL and MLS already help each other. Speaking from what I have seen here is that the USL is a great place for MLS reserves to play in quality matches and gain experience to get off the reserve list and to the first team. Great examples are GK Josh Wicks (DCUnited), Alan Gordon (LA), Bryan Jordan (LA).

    The Timbers are not the only team that has taken players in on loan from the MLS to the USL. Keeping the USL divisions is going to be key in the development of the sport in the US. I am happy to see the USL focus so much on the youth development as this is where growth starts. You need to have the pipeline to keep feeding in and without such a structure the MLS and anyother league for that matter would not survive.

    I agree with others that pro/rel set up would eventually be the goal but as was mentioned infrastructure is an issue as is money for the divisions within the USL to sustain the move up to MLS.

  38. bill says:

    Another moron article. Sweet quotes, how long did it take to think of those? Garbage.

  39. Derek says:

    Kartik,
    What does the future of American soccer look like if this mystery guy comes in to buy USL? I assume by reading the tea leaves that this investor is fairly legitimate and would do well for USL. But, to me, it would be near impossible for soccer to grow in this country with two leagues competing with each other. Look at what the CART/IRL split did to open-wheel racing in this country. Now it is near obsolete. If we have to put up with a battle between USL/MLS for the next 10 years, one eventually will die off and US Soccer would be much weaker in the long run.

    Isn’t the best case scenario folding every under one umbrella and growing the game together? The USL/PDL pyramid along with developmental minds who actually know what they’re doing combined with the top tier of MLS under a new and improved CBA would be the ideal outcome here. Thoughts?

    I agree with BC’s comment above. As a big American Open Wheel fan I saw first hand how the CART/IRL split almost killed the sport while Nascar which below open wheel at the time took advantage and grew in the “racing vacuum”.

    The point is the best thing for soccer is for both to be together…you can fill in the details after that to benefit the sport the best way possible.

  40. Kristian says:

    Let me break it down for the idiots who say such things as “no other country allows 2 leagues”

    YES, they do! Do you know what the ‘Football League Championship’ is? Serie B? Bundesliga 2?

    jeez… people love to talk about subjects they know jack squat about

  41. gary hurst says:

    here is everything explained in a nutshell. USL1 is a minor league. mls is a minor league. the main difference is just money. as long as mls continues to present this farce of major vs minor league, soccer in america will not succeed.

    only legitimate merit based promotion and relegation, as practiced everywhere else in the world, can save professional soccer in america. it won’t be built on a fraud.

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