This is what I was afraid of. This is the one thing I hoped could’ve been avoided. But sadly it looks like the entire structure of US club soccer has started on the road to self destruction. Some would’ve said Major League Soccer is on life support by now, but who would’ve thought it would be the people that are running & or separating themselves from the United Soccer Leagues.
Once again we have to give thanks to Kartik Krishnaiyer & Inside Minnesota Soccer’s writer Brian Quarstad documenting these events leading to this eventual breakup between the former clubs of USL-1st & 2nd Division creating this new league. As always money is the main objective when it comes to these problems of keeping clubs afloat. At the same time the way Francisco Marcos has continuously forced clubs from the PDL or USL-2nd Division to replace those that have left or sadly been pushed into financial suicide playing in USL-1st Division. Once he has pocketed his three quarters of a million dollars entrance/operating fee, you’ve just sold your soul to the football devil.
Now we see those former clubs of USL break free and trying to bring others to their cause by forming this new league and while some of these new and old sides have already paid their money to team Marcos-Papadakos for the 2010 season, it looks like they are saying keep what we gave you. We are moving away to join our disgruntled friends and help them. What looked to be a schoolyard spat, is now going to become a twelve to fifth teen round boxing match and to be honest it looks like a winner won’t come out of this in a good position.
When it comes to Major League Soccer sometimes we have to think of the positives that do go along with the negatives. Sadly the negatives are brighter than the positives and yes there are some things that Kartik explains are not good. The level of pay a player receives from the top to the bottom is disgustingly painful with those designations like Youth level, Generation Adidas, Senior roster and Designated Player. The ignorance of FIFA International Dates & who gets the money from a certain players transfer deal.
While I understand where he is coming from and where our good readers stance on all of this is I can say with my own opinion of this situation that MLS has been in violation of FIFA rules, yet FIFA will allow them to get away with it because the idea is that the future of the league is with building stadiums for the sport and to be in complete control of the schedule without the interference of certain stadiums that are being rented from an NFL, college or Minor League Baseball owner with the exception of New England & Seattle.
But right now the first major hurdle of keeping the league out of a strike or a lockout is getting thru this very first union meeting with the MLSPA. This is the first time that this league has been in major peril since the contraction of both Floridian clubs Miami Fusion & Tampa Bay Mutiny. That situation sadly ended their existance, but the health of the league needed to be the first priority. But now MLS is facing a bigger situation, the idea of free agency without restrictions. Increasing the salary cap to a better competitive level and if neither side can get an agreement before January 31st of 2010, then it’s all hands on deck.
As it has been reported by my fellow MLS Talk reporters, the great Charleston Battery has relegated themselves to USL-2nd Division and the Cleveland City Stars have done the same. They will join the Charlotte Eagles, Harrisburg City Islanders, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Real Maryland, Richmond Kickers & the Western Mass. Pioneers. That means only the Austin Aztex, FC New York, Puerto Rico Islanders, and Rochester Rhinos will remain as well as the final season for the Portland Timbers in USL-1st for 2010.
It seems to me that most of the people would welcome a self destruction of MLS & USL and start from scratch again. But in all honesty what good would that do? It would be a serious mistake and the only league worth watching would be a local PDL side with little or no coverage & as of right now there is no official word if this new league has been given the go ahead to start operating from US Soccer. Certain reporters would also welcome the end of both leagues that follow the major pro & college sports including your favorite pundit Jim Rome. In some ways I have to say that I can see MLS surviving this first round of Labor negotiations with the MLSPA, but sadly I believe the relationship with Marcos-Papadakos & those former USL sides is completely broken.
Sadly the hour glass has already flipped over and the sand is slowly funneling down to the bottom. If there is no resolution from all of these parties and their gripes, the overall structure is in trouble and at the same time our American players that are in MLS who are members of the US Men’s National Team could lose a lot of fitness and become useless to Bob Bradley for this summer’s World Cup.