NAS 2 "positive" soccer article

NAS 2 "positive" soccer article

Post by Tom Hil » Fri, 12 Jul 1996 04:00:00

 Subject:                      Office memo                    Time:10:47 AM
 2 "positive" soccer articles!                                Date:7/11/96

I figured I'd combine my comments onthese articles. I can't believe TWO
positive, upbeat articles on "the state of the game" in one day!

Kyle McAlister posted:

Associated Press:
"The one or two players who were American saw game time once
every five games. What's better about this league now, and what's
promising for the future, making it last longer, is that we are
promoting the American player."
        That is critical in a sport where even the best Americans, such
as Harkes, were forced to play overseas to make a living. The lack
of opportunity in the States meant a general lack of interest in
soccer anywhere above the youth level.
The key has always been to link the kids game to a pro league. Kids who play
basketball want to grow up to be Michael Jordan. Who can young soccer players
look up to? Until recently, no one!

        That (players missing for int'l duty) dilutes the rosters and reduces the
quality of MLS matches.
        "We are a season or two away from being compared to Bundesliga
or Serie A or England's Premier League, but I think we are getting
close in a very quick period of time," Logan said.
        "We have comported ourselves very well in international
(exhibition) matches. We clearly can't beat some of the better
teams in the world, but we can stay with them on the field."
Easy solution is to schedule the league around this. Perhaps they'll do this
better inyear 2. I'll let 'em learn to crawl before making them to an 800m
Doug, I gotta love your enthusiasm, but be real! We're a LOT more than a year
or 2 away from being one of the top leagues in the world! Sure, right now MLS
teams could compete with all but the top 2-3 teams in most First/Premier
Divisions in all but 3-4 countries in Europe, but there's a huge gap between
Ajax and Go Ahead Eagles. MLS is more Luton Town than Liverpool, and it will
be a long time (10 years or more) before MLS clubs can seriously expect to be
in the same class as the top European/South American clubs.
Is this the end of the world? Of course not, but we've got to be patient and
realistic. If we have a league that, top to bottom, is as strong as, say
Austria's, I think we can live very nicely with that!

Francisco Marcos' "Missionary Zeal" for soccer is highlighed in this July 7
profile by David Karp in the St. Petersburg Times. Times  librarian  Barbara
Hijek contributed to the report.

USISL added five new outdoor teams to the league's 85 and began talks to merge
with his only competitor, the A League.
     "You  want to talk about ego,'' he said. "I am doing something that no
one has done before. I am putting together the first and so far only system of
 developmental  professional soccer leagues in this country, all levels, both
sexes, indoor, outdoor, youth. It's a big job.''
     "It's all part of the pyramid,'' he explained. ""There is no pyramid in
Egypt if there is no base. We are the base of the pyramid.''
Yes, "ego" is a word that comes to mind, but to do it right you can't be
bashful! Nice analogy about the pyramids!

   Marcos'  strategy for the USISL is ""a disaster for the sport,'' Richard
Groff,  commissioner  of  the  rival  A  League,  said  in  an interview in
     "In my opinion, having a league with 100 teams is neither efficient nor
capable of providing services'' to owners, Groff said. He argued for a much
smaller league with large budgets and more professional staff.
We'll we'll see how that all shakes out. Obviously not all USISL clubs have
the same resources or ambitions, and it seems like they are moving in a
direction where there will be a place for several types of clubs, if there
isn't already. If they merge with the A-League, that would be the best thing
to happen for the sport as a whole.

   In the past, larger franchises, such as in the A League, spent big bucks
to  build marquee clubs with solid player salaries and promotional budgets.
But even with hefty investments, many of those teams didn't attract fans to
pay the bills. So teams limped along or died.
Bingo! Seems that there has to be a middle ground, and with +/- 20
clubs ar the same general level, the A-League could at least save on travel
and even promote "derby" rivalries--Seattle and Vancouver are the only teams
very near each other. Rochester and the new Toronto club could work as well.

  Back  in Tampa, when Marcos can attend Cyclones games, what he sees from the
 local  USISL  team  does  not  look impressive. Attendance of 864 on a recent
 Friday night at the USF Soccer Stadium seemed puny. The team played sloppily,
and the coach was ejected. Even  Marcos  said  the  Cyclones  do not draw
enough because fans go to
Mutiny games instead.
As much as I hate the idea of moving teams, maybe it isn't such a good idea to
have USISL clubs near MLS clubs. In baseball it works because of the charm of
minor leagues, family atmosphere, antithesis of corporate major league greed,
etc, Seems to me that MLS is all that as it is. The only option is if clubs
like the Cyclones become essentially the Mutiny's reserve club.