Kartik Krishnaiyer’s newest book, SoccerWarz: Inside America’s soccer feud between MLS, NASL and USL, examines the role that the now disgraced Traffic Sports had within NASL, as well as the league’s plans to challenge Major League Soccer’s position as the top division in the United States.
What follows are the lessons the author learned behind the scenes, from when he joined the new NASL before it’d played its first game through the time he left its front office when a new group of ambitious leaders replaced those that had just come to grips with North American soccer’s realities. From its marriage with Traffic to reclaiming its storied name, from the halcyon days of unfettered ambition to US Soccer’s initial rebuke and the reset of year two, he saw NASL 2.0 go from dream to reality, and he knows what part of today’s rhetoric remains anchored in 2011’s dream.
As a special to readers of World Soccer Talk, we’ve included the first chapter of the book for free (see below).
Enjoy the free chapter. And if you’d like to purchase the complete ebook, SoccerWarz is available on Amazon Kindle, Apple iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Scribd, Kobo, Smashwords and other fine online booksellers.
Chapter 1 – Origins
When FBI raids and US Department of Justice indictments thrust FIFA into full-blown scandal in May 2015, the role of Charles Gordon “Chuck” Blazer, the opulent executive best known for his Santa Claus beard, Trump Tower apartment for his cats, and physical features that reduced him to a mobility scooter, drew fans’ focus. Wired, acting as an informant for the FBI, Blazer’s unlikely role as the man who would take down FIFA made sense, but another prominent US executive’s surprise indictment aroused interest around American Soccer.
Aaron Davidson, the President of Traffic Sports USA, had been the driving force behind the rebirth of the North American Soccer League. He was a key factor in creating dissent within US Soccer’s second division, and as the unity that held United Soccer Leagues Division 1 (USL-1) dissolved, he tried to purchase the league. When he couldn’t, he blew up the entire division’s structure. Five years later, both he and Traffic were being indicted by the US government.
Traffic Sports, the giant Brazilian marketing company that used its influence in South America to win numerous television contracts and rights to market events, also had an office in Miami, one setup to curry similar favor with decision makers in the federation that administered North America, Central America, and the Caribbean, CONCACAF. In 2005, as several individuals connected with the former Miami Fusion and Fort Lauderdale Strikers hoped to set up a club in Fort Lauderdale, Davidson, running Traffic’s office, beat them to it, setting up a club in Miami and forgoing Fort Lauderdale.