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Creating A Solution To The FIFA 2010 World Cup Calendar

2010 FIFA World Cup by coda.

Well Ladies and Gentleman. I have heard your cries, yells, screams and demands of what you would like to see from MLS as a change or at least showing respect of the International Calendar for the US National Team matches either in Friendly matches, or during World Cup Qualifiers on Saturdays. I wished I could show you a display for this current season, but as of right now those ideas have been thrown out and those questions have been answered.

Yes I was working the Red Bulls home opener for CSRN while I DVR’ed the USA’s road match in El Salvador. I have to say that it is frustrating to cover a league match while your country is fighting for qualification points to get a step closer in reaching South Africa for next year. But as time passes on and hopefully all MLS Clubs will have the control of new stadiums and the league can completely control the whole schedule we can stop worrying about these fixture congestion’s and still show respect to the international calendar. But till that time comes we are just going to have to grin & bear it. It doesn’t mean we have to accept it, but it does mean that we have to see the problems for the sport in the states that there is still plenty of room to grow.

With the US Soccer Federation creating a bid for one of two World Cups that FIFA will now sell for auction instead of a confederational per cycle and bid the main question will be this. Will MLS shut the league down for a three to four week period to allow the World Cup get exposure within the country. There has been no respect since the league has been playing games from 1996 till now.

We all know that there is a time zone difference between the USA & going east towards Europe & Africa. A early morning start for those of us in the New York, Boston, Philadelphia area means a 1PM in the afternoon down in South Africa. So from 9AM till 5PM EST that means you can see the Revs, Red Bulls, Philly FC, DC United & Toronto FC play there matches at 7:30PM EST (Not excluding everyone else, but at least I’m trying to show everyone an example). But this time I have to side with everyone else, because no one wants to care about league matches when the greatest sporting event comes around once in every four years in the summer.

So if everyone doesn’t mind I have an idea that can work if the higher ups at MLS doesn’t mind looking at, I think I have found a solution where the league can start early, avoid the World Cup and insert US Open Cup Matches as well as fitting in the playoffs for the MLS Cup. Now before I show you guys my idea on here you have to give some respect to the schedule makers from MLS, US Soccer & FIFA for doing their jobs here. It took me many, many weeks & months to make this example seem to work. So with the help of Microsoft Excel here is my idea for the 2010 MLS & FIFA World Cup Schedule

 123456Round 1  MLS Regular season
78910111213Round 2  MLS Cup Playoffs
14151617181920Round 3  US OPEN CUP DATE
21222324252627Round 4   
28293031      CHICAGO FIRE
    123Round 5  COLUMBUS CREW
45678910Round 6  DC UNITED 
11121314151617Round 7  FC DALLAS
18192021222324Round 8  HOUSTON DYNAMO
252627282930    K.C. WIZARDS
      1Round 9  NY RED BULLS
2345678Round 10  PHILADELPHIA
9101112131415Round 11  REAL SALT LAKE
16171819202122Round 12  S.J. EARTHQUAKES
23242526272829Round 13  SEATTLE SOUNDERS
3031        TORONTO FC
  12345Round 14Round 1 S.S.S. BEING BUILT
6789101112   No S.S.S. STADIUMS
45678910Round 15All matches on Sunday, July 4th
11121314151617Round 16   
18192021222324Round 17Round 2  
25262728293031Round 18   
1234567Round 19   
891011121314Round 20Round 3  
15161718192021Round 21   
22232425262728Round 22   
293031     Quarters  
   1234Round 23   
567891011Round 24   
12131415161718Round 25Semis  
19202122232425Round 26   
2627282930   Final  
     12Round 27   
3456789Round 28   
10111213141516Round 29   
17181920212223Round 30   
24252627282930QF 1   
 123456QF 2   

As you can see on the special color coated grid I have everything separated as you have MLS matches, US Open Cup Matches & the MLS Cup Playoffs with the FIFA World Cup Calendar. I bet your curious to know why I filled in the 4th of July as a MLS match day and not apart of the FIFA World Cup Schedule. If you go to FIFA’s World Cup section and click the official match schedule, Sunday, July 4th is a rest day for the World Cup & MLS can still have a full slate of matches to celebrate our country’s birth and a good restart to the league. Once the World Cup is officially over on July 11th MLS will have the first half of the season finished and then there is plenty of room to have the playoffs & cup final just before the Thanksgiving break.

Also if you look at the other chart a notch down to the designations those clubs in green will have their stadiums ready while a few will be in the middle of construction and of course their is the DC United Stadium issue as well as the Revs & Sounders still in NFL Stadiums by their NFL owners.

This was a tough thing to do &  I have to admit, you got to be savvy when you schedule these things. Not just a regular season, but playoffs, US Open Cup & honestly I don’t know when CONCACAF would put in their Champions League schedule for the group stages & I don’t believe in the Superliga, so in my view it should be gone. But once again this was a tough thing to create and I hope I showed all those sports schedule makers that I do respect their tough jobs no matter what sport it is.

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  1. Daniel Feuerstein

    April 28, 2009 at 1:24 am

    gman: That’s how MLS has set these things up. There is the National televised match on ESPN that was on Thursdays, but now it’s all over the place. Most of the matches are on Saturdays including Fox Soccer Channel and the Sunday afternoon spanish language national game from Telefutura. I am only going by what MLS has done with their schedule. It’s a World Cup year next season and somehow these games have to be played and when you have the World Cup between June 11th till July 11th, most of June will be chopped off. That means if there is no MLS games during the World Cup it’s self from the group stage till after the second round, then so be it.

    This is what everyone wants that supports the game here in the States. Taking the time off from the league and respecting the international calendar. If you also saw the other chart involving Soccer only stadiums, there will be a good ammount of clubs not playing at NFL Stadiums or college stadiums that they can’t control. Only Qwest Field and Gillette Stadium are owned by NFL owners that are also members of MLS. Until every club has their own stadium, then everything will be fine.

  2. gman

    April 24, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    The only issue i see is the possibility of some teams playing sunday tuesday thursday
    quite brutal

  3. Daniel

    April 22, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Well Duane, if MLS is going to create that 2010 project which most of us have a hunch that Single Table is coming next year. That means the Conference table is gone.

    Matt from SF. 😉 That’s quite alright. I’ll take the incomplete from you anytime.

    Obviously there are things our of our control & it could be possible that MLS will still play matches during the World Cup anyway. But if US Soccer does get the World Cup either 2018 or 2022, FIFA will force the league to shut down. If they can’t do it next year, then they are going to have to try and do it in 2014.

    Sooner or later this has to stop playing matches during International dates planed by FIFA.

  4. Tom

    April 21, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    I have a better idea: Why don’t the owners stop throwing the whiny bitch-fits that have hounded American soccer for nearly a century whenever FIFA tries to assert its legitimate authority as the international governing body of the sport, get in line with every other top flight summer league in the world, and postpone the goddamn league during international breaks! It’s a stupid idea anyway, especially considering the fact that SUM handles the domestic rights for the American *and* Mexican national teams (not to mention the holes in MLS rosters during international breaks render the league virtually unwatchable by any objective measure). There’s absolutely no excuse for it, especially from the perspective of the consumer, i.e., us, who is only hurt by it any way you look at it.

  5. Matt in SF

    April 21, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Why go through this exercise and not include the CCL or Superliga? Gonna have to give you an incomplete Dan. 😉

  6. eplnfl

    April 21, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Very nice job here. I hope the MLS office takes a look at it and carefully considers it. The NHL shut down for two weeks during the last Olympics and will do so again come 2010. It would seem that that is the minimum the MLS should consider.

    Duane is right that a early start in March will find cold temps and snow on the ground in the northern US and Canada. What many people do not think about is training. To the best of my knowledge all NFL clubs have a indoor practice area to protect themselves against the bad weather. If a winter schedule was set upon do all MLS clubs have someplace to training inside?

  7. Duane Rollins

    April 21, 2009 at 9:22 am

    March 6? That’s pretty much winter here in Toronto (and it wouldn’t be much, if at all, better in Boston, New York, Columbus or Chicago).

    The time difference will allow the games to be played in the evenings.

    There is no perfect solution. Maybe play a 28 game schedule (four each against your conference only – no cross over until the MLS Cup)? Do that and start one week earlier and you can probably take two weeks off during the WC.

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