MLS-Empire S.C. supporters club news #2

MLS-Empire S.C. supporters club news #2

Post by Kevin Mcallist » Wed, 11 Oct 1995 04:00:00

WHERE COSMOS USED TO TREAD
The Empire S.C. Supporters Club Newsletter
Vol. 1, No. 2
10 October 1995

Hello Empire S.C. supporters.  I've given the newsletter a name
and am continuing to present a broad array of just about any
news to be found concerning the MLS.  The league has scheduled a
big press conference for October 17th in New York City to
announce club names, uniform kit colors and additional
player/coaching signings.  After the press conference I hope to
have enough information to narrow the focus of the newsletter to
Empire S.C. issues. I will send out a new edition chock full of
the press conference stuff on the evening of October 17th.

DISCLAIMER---The Empire S.C. supporters club is not affiliated
with Empire S.C. (or whatever they will be calling themselves),
Major League Soccer or the U.S. Soccer Federation.  We are
affiliated with Sam's Army, the unofficial U.S. national team
supporters club, and all members of the Empire S.C. supporters
club are encouraged to join Sam's Army on the national level.
Our relationship with Empire S.C. is one of mutual cooperation in
which the club has agreed to provide the supporters club a
separate section at all home matches.

(1) EMPIRE SC NEWS--

EMPIRE S.C. TICKET PRICES FOR 1996---Empire S.C. announced today
that tickets for all 20 home matches (16 league matches and 4
international friendlies) will be $8.50, 14.00, 20.00 and 25.00.
Please note and rejoice in the fact that TICKETS FOR SECTION 135,
THE SUPPORTERS CLUB SECTION, WILL BE $8.50 PER MATCH!!!  A season
ticket in the supporters club section will cost a very reasonable
$170.00 (or less if the club offers a season ticket discount) for
all twenty matches - not a bad deal for supporters club members.
Empire S.C. has consistently shown that it will accommodate the
supporters club.  They have already promised us our own section
at Giants Stadium, promotion in club mailings and cooperation in
arranging bus trips to road matches in Foxboro and Washington.

EMPIRE S.C. SEEKS YOUR INPUT---The Empire Soccer Club has asked
me to poll supporters club members about their preference of
match day and their opinions on the ticket price scheme
detailed above.  Please e-mail your response to me at

Q1: When, in your opinion, is the best time for home matches (20
matches between 31 March 1996 and mid October 1996)?
a. Sunday night
b. Saturday night
c. Friday night
d. weeknights

Q2: Do you think the ticket prices for Empire S.C. matches
($8.50, 14.00, 20.00 and $25.00) for home matches are-
a. good
b. fair
c. unfair

EDDIE FIRMANI BACK AT GIANTS STADIUM?---Ridge Mahoney reports in
the October 2nd Soccer America that former Cosmos and Tampa Bay
Rowdies coach Eddie Firmani is the front-runner for the Empire
S.C. coaching position.   Firmani is quoted as saying that he
believes he is the number one candidate for the job.  Stillitano
is said to have narrowed his search to four coaches, two American
(Bruce Arena is said to be one of them) and two foreigners.
Carlos Alberto is rumored to be the other foreigner...

IDENTITY CRISIS---Rumor has it that NY/NJ Empire and NY/NJ Force
have been considered and rejected as official names for Empire
S.C.  I still like Empire S.C. and am glad that the dreadful
Force has been abandoned.  Charlie Stillitano was quoted in the
Newark Star Ledger as saying that the club is torn between a
traditional name and a flashy, nontraditional name.  He feels
that a traditional name will appeal to purists in the
metropolitan area and that a flashier moniker will lure young
supporters.  Rumor has it that Nike is pushing hard for a
nontraditional name.  Let's hope saner heads prevail.
Additionally, I hope the "NY/NJ" will not be the prefix.  NY, NJ,
or a neutral designation are all preferable to the mangled mess
of NY/NJ.

UNIFORM KIT/SPONSOR---Talks continue concerning the uniform kit
design and sponsorship.  Nike is designing the kit and is in
favor of a non-traditional design (every time I hear about a non-
traditional design, I have nightmares about the pseudo-denim
stars and stripes the USA wore during WC'94).  It is still
possible that the club will use the Parma AC uniform design.
This possibility may be strengthened if the current sponsorship
negotiations with Parmalat are successful.

STILL WAITING FOR YOUR VOTES---The results of the first Empire
S.C. supporters club poll #1 will be published soon.  If you
haven't yet submitted your choices, please e-mail me for a copy of the
poll.

GRASS OR A PLASTIC PITCH?---There has been a heated discussion
recently about the pitch at Giants Stadium for the 1996 MLS
season.  It is most important that ESC supporters understand the
issues surrounding this controversy and who is to blame if the
club is forced to play part of the season and all of the
postseason on astro-turf.  The club has lobbied very hard for
natural grass and is footing the bill to install the grass
surface for next season.  The real culprit is the NJ Sports and
Exposition Authority and the management of the NY Giants, both of
whom strongly oppose a natural surface at the stadium.  ESC will
install the grass pitch at Giants Stadium in March and play on
that surface until at least August.  The NJ Sports and Exposition
Authority has demanded that the club remove the grass in time for
the first NFL preseason games.  While playing the last 3 or 4
home matches (and post-season matches) on artificial turf will be
demoralizing, I do not believe that ESC has a choice in the
matter.  Rutgers is a great facility, but it is woefully
inaccessible by car and public transit.  Additionally, its
distance from NYC would surely hurt attendance.  There is no
other option available to the club.  Someday, perhaps a Yankees
move to New Jersey will leave us a 50,000 seat stadium in NYC
with a grass surface for soccer.  Until then, the return of
division one soccer and grass for about 3/4 of the league season
are reason to celebrate (remember the Cosmos NEVER played on
grass at Giants Stadium).  ESC is treating this as a temporary
setback and I hope that the club will keep pressure on the
stadium authority to permanently change to a grass surface.  

(2) GENERAL MLS NEWS

ALAN TIPS HIS HAND ON THE MLS RULE SCHEME---At the press
conference during which he introduced Billy Hicks as GM of the
Dallas club, MLS czar/USSF President Alan Rothenberg dropped some
hints about the MLS rules.  He said there would definitely be
kick-ins rather than throw-ins, 15-yard walls, and no draws
(although he said that no decision has been made as to the tie-
breaker method).  Rothenberg said that the 60 minute clock was
possible, but not likely and that the league would not use the
much-hated USISL blue card.

I am a rules purist, but I must say that my biggest fears were
the 60 minute clock and the blue card travesty, ? la USISL.  With
those threats out of the way, I can live with a 15-yard wall.  I
may even be able to endure goofy tie breakers, but not without
some grumbling.  I do, however, hope that the kick-in will be
optional and that some clubs will choose to throw it in anyway...

4-5 FOREIGNERS ON THE FIELD---MLS will have a limit of 4-5
foreign players on the field at one time.  While this is more
than the standard European limit of 3 foreigners, this rule will
still make it necessary for MLS to develop young American
players.  [The European 3 foreigner limit was struck down as an
overly restrictive restraint on the freedom of labor movement by
a European Union judge on 20 September 1995, and unless the
decision is overturned on appeal, things may be wide open in
Europe next season.]  One of the biggest shortcomings of NASL was
that it did not develop the American players it inspired to
join youth leagues in the '70's and '80's.  MLS will have to rely
on a mixture of NCAA material, capped US players, other veterans
of the post-NASL professional leagues and strategic signings from
the ethnic leagues across the country to fill most of the roster
spots on its club.

MLS HAS THE BUCKS, WHERE ARE THE PLAYERS?---MLS has budgeted $22
million for player acquisitions, not counting sponsorship
participation.  Accordingly, MLS should have sufficient capital
to put a quality product on the field. In the coming weeks, look
for a great number of the best players from the A-league, USISL,
indoor leagues and others to sign on with MLS.  Alan Rothenberg
said that at the Oct. 17th press conference he will unveil at
least one American and one "big time" foreign star for each MLS
club [Thanks to Mark Wheeler's U.S. Soccer web page - experience
in brackets]:
Tab Ramos [Tigres-MEX, Real Betis-ESP, Figueras-ESP, NC State]
Todd Yeagley [Indiana]
Brian Maisonneuve [Indiana]
Mike Burns [USSF]
Lawrence Lozzano  [USSF]
Desmond Armstrong [USSF]
Paul Bravo [Monterey Bay Jaguars-USISL]
Peter Vermes [NY Fever-USISL]
Jean Harbor [Montreal Impact-APSL]
Peter Isaacs [Jamaican National Team]
Mike Lapper [VFL Wolfsburg-GER 3rd]
Curt Onalfo [Connecticut Wolves-USISL]
Chad Ashton [A-League veteran]
Jeff Duback
Tom Soehn
Jorge Campos  [UNAM-MEX]
Carlos Farias [LA Salsa-USISL]
Alexi Lalas [Padova-ITA]
Jeff Agoos [SV Wehen-GER 3rd]
Jason Kreis [New Orleans Gamblers-USISL, Duke]
Derek Blackman [Tampa Bay Cyclones-USISL]
Billy Thompson [Hawaii Tsunami-USISL]
Hugo Sanchez [Atalante-MEX, Real Madrid, San Diego Sockers- NASL]
Jorge Flores
Felipe Rodriguez
Roy Lassiter [Alajuela-Costa Rica, NC State]
Brian McBride [VFL Wolfsburg-GER 3rd, Milwaukee-USISL,St.Louis U]
Richard Sharpe [Cocoa Expos-USISL]

The following are big name players already been assigned to MLS
clubs or strongly rumored to be signed and/or assigned to MLS
clubs after the press conference on October 17th (* - already
assigned):
New York--Tab Ramos*, Tony Meola, Euro star [Donadoni?]
New England-- Alexi Lalas, Mike Burns, Branco
Columbus--Carlos Valderrama
Tampa-- Roy Wegerle, Rene Higuita
Washington-- Dunga
LA--  Jorge Campos*
San Jose--Carlos Hermosillo
Dallas-- Hugo Sanchez, Marcelo Balboa
KC-- Mike Sorber, Leonel Alvarez
Colorado-- Frank Klopas, Nigerian/Cameroon national(s)

We will also see a second tier of capped American players signed,
i.e. Brian Bliss, John Kerr Jr., Chris Henderson, etc., as well
as top players from the A-league and USISL. Another 20-40 player
signings are expected from the indoor leagues.

The following Americans are rumored to be coming to MLS in 1997
after the 1996-97 European or Mexican seasons end (rumored MLS
clubs in parentheses):
Claudio Reyna (DC)
Paul Caligiuri (SJ)
Eric Wynalda (LA/SJ)
John Harkes(NY)
Cobi Jones(LA)
Brad Friedel(COL).

COACHING NEGOTIATIONS HEAT UP---Nine of the ten MLS clubs seem
poised to sign coaches before the October 17th news conference.
Ridge Mahoney reports in the October 2nd Soccer America that all
of the clubs except for Dallas are negotiating with their
coaching choices.  Dallas has just named its general manager and
the league-run club is losing ground to its fellow MLS clubs.
The following are the leading candidates for MLS coaching
positions:
Columbus--Sigi Schmid, Bob Gansler (Ugh!)
Dallas--nothing brewing
Denver--Dave Dir
Kansas City--Ron Newman
Los Angeles--Sigi Scmid, Leo Cuellar
New England--?? (Clive Charles declined the job!)
NY/NJ--Eddie Firmani, Carlos Alberto
San Jose--Tony Simoes
Tampa Bay--Thomas Rongen
Washington--Bruce Arena

Other candidates are Gordon Bradley, Laurie Calloway, Mike
Connell, Schellas Hyndman, Gordon Jago, John Kowalski, Timo
Liekoski, Lothar Osiander, Brian Quinn, and Bob Reasso.

TEAM SPONSORSHIPS AND RUMORED CLUB NAMES---The following
companies have signed on to sponsor the ten MLS clubs:
Reebok-New England & Washington
Puma-Colorado
Nike-NY, Columbus, Tampa, K.C., Los Angeles, San Jose and Dallas

Rumor has it that the sponsors will be very competitive in their
quests to promote the league's top stars. Look for intense
rivalries, broken down by sponsorship, to develop in the weeks
before the 17 October press conference.  It appears that each
club will be allotted a few "big names" promoted by the
respective sponsors.

Reebok does a great deal of business overseas and is actively
pushing for more US telecasts of foreign soccer in order to
better acquaint US supporters with the international game.
Additionally, Reebok will help bring foreign players to its
sponsored clubs in New England and Washington, D.C.  Rumor has it
that Brazilians Branco and Dunga may play on the New England and
Washington clubs.  In later years Reebok hopes to such names as
Andy Cole, Ryan Giggs, Dennis Bergkamp, and Gabriel Batistuta to
the MLS.  Reebok will use its links to foreign players and teams
to bring players to its sponsored clubs in the coming years.

Apparently most of the club names have been selected and will be
announced on 17 October 1995.  Empire S.C. is among the few clubs
to have not made a final decision on a club name.  Here are the
rumors:

Los Angles Galaxy
Colorado Rapids
San Jose Clash
Dallas Fury or Express
Kansas City Outlaws, Express, Bandits or Wizards
Columbus Crew
New England Revolution
Tampa Bay Mutiny
Washington-D.C. United, Force, Spies or Justice
NY/NJ-Metros, Metro Stars, Force, Firestorm and Empire S.C have
been considered.

1996 PROPOSED MLS Schedule (NOT OFFICIAL!!)---
Round 1 Mar 31 -- League matches
Round 2 Apr 7 -- League matches
Round 3 Apr 14 -- League matches
Round 4(midweek) April 18 -- League matches
Round 5 Apr 22 -- League matches
Round 6 Apr 28 -- League matches
May 2 (midweek)-- First US Open Cup round (32 clubs)
Round 7 May 6 -- League matches
Round 8 May 13 -- League matches
Round 9 (midweek) May 6 -- League matches
Round 10 May 20 -- League matches
Round 11 May 27 -- League matches
Round 12 (midweek) May 30 -- League matches
Round 13 June 3 -- League matches
Round 14 June 10 -- League matches
June 14, 18, 22 USA --- National side playing in US Cup
Round 15 June 24 -- League matches  
Round 16 (midweek) June 27 --League matches
Round 17 July 1 -- League matches
Round 18 July 7 -- League matches
July 10 (midweek)-- Second US Open Cup round (16 clubs)
Round 19 July 15 -- League matches
Round 20 July 21 -- League matches
Round 21 (midweek) July 25 -- League matches
Round 22 July 29 -- League matches
Round 23 August 5 -- League matches
Round 24 (midweek) August 8 -- League matches
Round 25 August 12 -- League matches
Round 26 August 19 -- League matches
August 22 (midweek)-- Third US Open Cup round (8 clubs)
Round 27 August 26 -- League matches
Round 28 (midweek) August 29 -- League matches
Round 29 Sept 2 -- League matches
Sept 5  (midweek)-- US Open Cup Semi-finals (4 teams)
Round 30 Sept  9 -- League matches
Round 31 Sept 15 -- League matches
Round 32 Sept 19 -- Final League matches
Sept 22 (saturday)-- US Open Cup FINAL

DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS:
FIRST ROUND (2 of 3 - 1st v. 4th and 2nd v. 3rd)
Wed Sep 26 at 1st and 2nd
Sat/Sun Sep 29/30 at 4th and 3rd  
Wed Oct 3 at 1st and 2nd (if neccesary)
SECOND ROUND
Sat/Sun Oct 6/7 at higher seed
Wed Oct 10 at lower seed
Sat/Sun Oct 13/14 at higher seed (if neccesary)

FINAL:
Sat Oct 20 East-West Championship match

NEW ENGLAND KIT---The N.E. kit is ready and it is apparently
"non-traditional" according to Reebok.  Peter Moore, Reebok
Senior VP, says that they wanted to capture the essence of the
region and the definition of revolution (without the ***) in
the club's kit design.  "The uniform is tough to describe."
[Let's hope that Empire S.C. win on their struggle with Nike to
keep the Parma AC design for their kit.]

LOS ANGELES RUMBLINGS---The LA Galaxy will play at the Rose Bowl,
rather than the Los Angeles Coliseum.  Apparently, the Coliseum
is in a dicey neighborhood and it was feared that no one would
venture out for evening matches.  The club hopes to attract more
supporters at the Rose Bowl in suburban Pasadena.  With Jorge
Campos on the club, I would imagine that LA will draw supporters
wherever they decide to play.

3) GET ON THE TICKET MAILING LIST AND LET EMPIRE S.C. KNOW THAT
WE ARE SERIOUS ABOUT OUR SUPPORTERS CLUB

The most important thing interested supporters can do right now
is to contact the club offices to be added to the ticket info
mailing list.  Contacting the club also ensures that they will
take the supporters club seriously.  If you have not already done
so, please contact the club as soon as possible at:

Supporters Group Ticket Information
c/o General Manager Charlie Stillitano's office
Empire S.C.
One Harmon Plaza, 8th Floor
Secaucus, NJ 07094
(201)531-2800

***Make sure to make it clear that you will be buying tickets in
the supporters group section***

In a nutshell, we have been promised our own section near the
field.  The proposed section, section 135, is the first full
section next to the players' entry tunnel and it is on the same
side of the tunnel as the team benches.  Consequently, many of
the players will walk by our section as they enter and exit the
stadium.

Supporters will be encouraged to bring their flags and banners to
the matches.  We will dress in the Empire S.C. colors and stand
throughout the matches as we cheer for the club.  The supporters
club will be organizing same day bus trips to away matches in
Washington and Foxboro.  

Tickets for section 135 will be available as part of the season
ticket package or at the stadium box office on match days.
Ticket information mailings will begin in a few weeks and the
club has promised to include information about the supporters
club in its ticket brochures.  Make sure to indicate that you
want to sit in the supporters section when ordering either season
or individual match tickets.

4)'A KICK IN THE ASS' FANZINE

The New York City Firm publishes the soccer fanzine 'A Kick in
the Ass'.  The zine is chock full of news and opinion on the
American club scene and the US national team.  As things start to
heat up with player signings during the winter, the zine will
devote a good deal of space to Empire S.C. and the MLS.  Look for
a comprehensive article on the 17 October MLS news conference in
a future edition.  To receive the latest edition, forward $1.00
postage to:
Tom/AKITA
P.O. Box 250397
New York, NY 10025

NOTE CONCERNING THE NYC FIRM:  The NYC Firm has voted to remain
an independent NYC soccer supporters club and its members have
voted to support Empire S.C. as members of the Empire S.C.
supporters club.  Contrary to previous information that was
circulated about the Empire S.C. supporters club, it is not the
intention of the NYC Firm to have the Empire S.C. supporters club
adopt the "Firm" name.

6)FRIENDS OF THE EMPIRE S.C. SUPPORTERS CLUB

There are several web sites devoted to the MLS and Empire S.C.  

Mark Wheeler's U.S. Soccer web page is a comprehensive look at
every facet of the game in the United States.  This wealth of
information can be found at:
http://SportToday.org/~mdwheel/us-soccer/

Huss, Huss Baby maintains an Empire S.C. web page at:
http://SportToday.org/~huss/empire/

Thanks also to Tom and the NYC Firm, Mark Spacone and Sam's Army,
Giggsie from Long Island, Kinsale's Tavern at 93rd Street and 3rd
Avenue (for live coverage of the English and Scottish Premier
Leagues at 10 AM on Saturday mornings), the Millwall Supporters
Club, Basil Tomlinson of Ontario (send e-mail to:

programs with Basil) and especially to everyone (there are quite
a few of us now...) who has shown interest in supporting a club
that has never played a match, has only one player signed, no
coach, no uniform, no sponsor and no colors.  Things can only
improve after October 17th!

6)SEND YOUR COMMENTS AND SIGN UP YOUR FRIENDS WHO ARE NOT
ON-LINE FOR THE SUPPORTERS CLUB
Send all comments and suggestions to me at:

Kevin McAllister, President, Empire S.C. supporters club