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The Forgotten Ones

You know, I think the Honda Fit is a cute car. I think that every time I see the banner ad on the front page, what irks me about it is the fact that I can’t really fit — no pun intended — my 6’7″ body in one without feeling like a sardine, oh well.

I’ve said it before in my posts on MLS Talk, but I’m really annoyed by the whole USL v NASL drama. CBS just canceled As The World Turns, sensationally, and I’m willing to bet it was because the 50-something-year-old soap opera could no longer compete with this crap. Okay, maybe not, but I believe it. Kartik posted about it — the soccer drama, not the CBS drama — on his personal blog today and one of his readers left a comment saying how they might stop watching domestic soccer if the USL comes out on-top. I disagree, for a number of reasons. MLS is domestic soccer and they didn’t have anything to do with this mess, I know how fun it can be to blame them, I do it all the time, but this isn’t their fault. Another thing is that you won’t be punishing the USL if you stop watching matches, you’ll be punishing the clubs, and many of the clubs are run on shoestring budgets and didn’t have anything to do with this crap, and that’s what I wanted to talk about before I made this paragraph entirely too broad, entirely too random, and entirely too long.

Most USL clubs are genuinely local teams run by soccer people, they own the team because they love soccer and want to be involved in soccer. Maybe they played Football Manager too much and went insane, but they most likely just wanted to bring soccer to their local area, these people are the backbone of our sport and we should do everything we can to support them, not punish them, because these clubs are true labors of love.

Take my local club — the USL-2 Charlotte Eagles (and Lady Eagles) — for instance. I know, some people disagree with the fact that they promote religion at the matches, but that isn’t what this is about. That club has never, and will likely never, run a profit. I don’t even think it comes close, in fact, I don’t even think they’re allowed to dream about coming close. But since 1991 (1993 in the USL structure) they’ve fielded a team, almost 20 seasons without fail. Not many people realize that the Eagles are Charlotte’s most successful sports team, but they are. They don’t enjoy wild support like Portland or Seattle, but they have a small and vocal bunch who wouldn’t have a team to support unless someone decided it was worth propping up. I’m thankful for the Eagles, and while the goal of the club might be different than other clubs, I’m thankful that I can go watch professional soccer in a stadium in my hometown. This story can be repeated all around the country, in Charleston, in Des Moines, in New Orleans, in Jackson, all over. Please, don’t punish these little teams, they’re already being beaten up enough by this schism we keep having to watch because the head honchos of each keep trying to yell louder than the other.

Originally I was sympathetic toward the TOA, but now I’m not. I hope they get sanctioned, because if they don’t then we might as well forget about lower-tier professional soccer, but I hope they and the USL suits realize how infantile they look.

Wilmington was recently kicked out of the USL Second Division, I’m not entirely sure why, but I hope the team can land in the NPSL if possible, it’d be a shame to see them go entirely, just like it’d be a shame to see any of these clubs caught on the fringe go.


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