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Alphabet Soup: the NASL/USL/NISA/PDL/NPSL/NCAA Soccer Thread

Discussion in 'Breakfast with Gazza (with Sachmoneious Bullcrap)' started by Titans Bastard, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    In the MLS threads over the years, we've talked about making a separate thread for the lower leagues in the US. Let's kick that off with a primer for those who are understandably unfamiliar with the chaotic and unstable world of lower league professional leagues and high-level amateur leagues.

    Professional Leagues

    North American Soccer League (D?)

    They might not be around for much longer.

    The NASL broke away from the USL at the end of 2009 and after a USSF-brokered joint D2 season in 2010, operated as the sole D2 league in the US from 2011-2016. In 2017, they shared D2 status with the USL. Currently, the USSF has denied the NASL D2 sanctioning for 2018 and a lawsuit between the two entities is ongoing.

    The NASL was in a commanding position in 2011, but the USL played its cards right while the NASL has been disastrously managed. The league is now left with a small handful of clubs. Thus far San Francisco has folded, FC Edmonton has withdrawn, and North Carolina FC has bolted for the USL.

    Seven clubs remain for 2018, two of them unproven expansion clubs in San Diego and Orange County. Another of the seven, Puerto Rico FC, is in dire financial straits.

    If the league goes bust, as seems quite possible, I hope the viable clubs can find a soft landing in USL. However, I personally have a hard time feeling bad for a league that has been so disastrously managed over the last four years.

    United Soccer League (D2)

    The USL is part of a long-running empire that has always included professional minor leagues, but also an amateur summer league (PDL), a now-defunct women's semi-pro league (W-League) and a youth league (Super Y). On the men's professional side, its lineage is very complex, but ultimately dates back to a regional indoor soccer league in the mid-1980s.

    From the late 90s to the late 00s, the USL was the sole minor league operator in the US. They ran two leagues - USL1 (D2) and USL2 (D3). When the NASL broke off in late 2009 and took most of the biggest clubs with them, they retrenched to D3 in a league called USL Pro. In 2011, the league was almost exclusively based on the eastern seaboard. An early success was Orlando City, who became the first "big" USL club of modern times.

    In 2014, the next "big" USL club joined in the form of Sacramento Republic. Also joining were solid if less spectacular OKC Energy and the first MLS2 club, LA Galaxy II. This was a watershed moment not just because the USL began to establish a firmer footprint west of the Mississippi, but because the proliferation of MLS2 clubs following in Los Dos' footsteps would play a huge role in reducing operation costs.

    A pivotal moment in the fortunes of the NASL and USL was this MLS partnership. MLS went to the NASL first, but were turned down by the new Bill Peterson & New York Cosmos regime, who had forced out original commissioner David Downs. MLS then went to the USL, and the rest is history.

    2015 saw the addition of four more western MLS2 teams in VAN, SEA, POR, and RSL and others in the east. Additional independent clubs joined in Tulsa, St Louis, Austin, and Colorado Springs. Orlando departed for MLS, but their USL franchise was sold and moved to Louisville, which has been pretty successful. Only Austin was a failure. Crucially, all this expansion allowed the league to regionalize the schedules and effectively split into two geographic regions. Converting plane trips to bus trips is a big money-saver at a level where travel costs outpace salaries.

    The USL lost Austin in 2016, but gained two new Texas teams in San Antonio and McAllen area. Three more MLS2 teams joined (Bethlehem, ORL, KC) as well as the "biggest" USL club to date - FC Cincinnati.

    The USL's growing strength allowed them to get provisional D2 sanctioning for 2017. It looks likely that USL will remain at the D2 level for the foreseeable future. Although they will almost certainly lose at least one of their bigger clubs to MLS (Sacramento and/or Cincinnati), the league feels healthier and more stable than it has ever been. That's relative of course - Rochester Rhinos who were the "big" minor league club of the 1990s announced that they are going on hiatus for 2018 today.

    2017 was a quiet year for expansion. Ottawa and Tampa Bay defected from the NASL. Reno came in as an expansion club and although they are the smallest market in the league, they drew fairly well.

    Expansion continues apace. ATL2, Fresno, Las Vegas, and Nashville begin in 2018. North Carolina FC joins from the NASL, and it's possible Indy and/or Jacksonville could move before the winter is done.

    In 2019, the league has announced Birmingham, Memphis, and Austin thus far, though Austin USL is in doubt due to the machinations of Columbus Crew owner Andrew Precourt.

    While the USL had a LONG history of sketchy expansions involving fly-by-night owners, the league has a much better recent record of sound management. There are never guarantees, but in recent expansion decisions the USL has had far more hits than busts, so they've earned some level of trust for these 2018 and 2019 clubs.

    Professional Leagues - D3

    There were no D3 leagues in 2017 and there won't be any in 2018. There are, however, two proposals for 2019.

    USL D3

    Shortly after earning D2 sanctioning, the USL announced their intention to form a D3 league consisting of regional divisions in smaller markets. Think cities the size of Knoxville, Asheville, Toledo, Fort Wayne, etc. They've publicized various PR/barnstorming tours, but there haven't been many concrete announcements. If there's nothing substantial by the end of this winter, I'll have questions about their readiness to launch in 2019. One of the selling points of D3 has to be minimizing travel costs and I'm sure it's tough to get enough clubs in one region on line all at once.

    National Independent Soccer Association (NISA)

    This is the project of Peter Wilt, a former Chicago Fire exec who also helped bring the NASL to Indianapolis. He's viewed as a reasonable, non-crazy person, but like with USL D3 there hasn't been much concrete progress. They published a list of "applicant markets" in August, but it is unclear how serious these applications actually are.

    In their rhetoric, NISA has loosely aligned itself with the NASL. One advantage USL D3 could have over NISA is that some of the financially weaker clubs in USL D2 might be able to drop down, thus seeding the league with an established presence. This is 100% speculation on my part, but the USL might also be able to convince a few MLS teams without USL teams to create one at the D3 level. It would be cheaper and perhaps a more appropriate level for clubs who wish to dedicate their USL teams towards really young rosters.

    Amateur Leagues

    Premier Development League (PDL) and National Premier Soccer League (NPSL)

    These are summer leagues that are essentially the soccer version of the Cape Cod League. The bulk of the players are from the NCAA, though there are plenty of older amateurs as well. Seasons are quite short because it has to fit in the college summer break.

    The PDL is part of the USL umbrella and has been around for a long time. The NPSL is relatively newer. Both have national footprints, though clubs play regionally until the playoffs. Based on US Open Cup results, the leagues seem roughly equivalent in quality.

    Message board pyramidistas like to daydream about PDL and NPSL clubs stepping up to the pro ranks, but it rarely happens. A small minority of PDL and NPSL actually have a halfway decent following, but the large majority play in HS football stadiums in front of small crowds. Standout clubs in the NPSL include FC Chattanooga and Detroit City FC. On the PDL side, teams in Des Moines and Fresno have traditionally drawn in the low-to-mid thousands.

    NCAA

    This is more recognizable turf. It's the usual schools that you know. Well, most of them. SEC and Big 12 schools are largely absent from the college soccer landscape with the exceptions of West Virginia, Kentucky, and South Carolina.

    The relevance of college soccer has diminished considerably. Many more top Americans bypass college soccer either for MLS or offers abroad than ten years before thanks to increased foreign scouting and the advent of MLS academies and the homegrown rule. The homegrown rule has also made it easier to fish former academy products out of NCAA waters after just 1-2 seasons as well.

    On the last USMNT roster vs. Portugal, only Ream, Bedoya, and Sapong played four years of NCAA soccer. They were three of the four oldest players in the squad, too.

    Williams, Villafaña, Hamid, Agudelo, Brooks, Gonzalez, Horvath, Miazga, Acosta, Gooch, CCV, McKennie, Adams, and Sargent all played zero years of NCAA soccer -- 2/3 of the squad.

    To compensate for the loss of the best young American talent, NCAA programs have become increasingly international. As the popularity of NCAA soccer as a destination for top US youth has waned, it has increased for a certain type of European. I'm talking about the sort of player who is cut from a good academy's U19 team and might have some sort of D2/D3 offer, but they'd rather hedge their bets with a decent education. As a result, a growing percentage of interesting players in the MLS draft are the cream of the crop of ex-academy rejects.
     
  2. dirtynine

    dirtynine Member SoSH Member

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    Love having this here - thanks, TB.

    I believe Peter Wilt’s prospective league includes some form of closed pro/rel.
     
  3. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    They aspire to it, at least. On cue, NISA published a pretty transparent update on their progress last night. Some highlights including a fair amount of (not very credible IMO) pro/rel talk:

    15 LOIs led to eight applications and ultimately three ownership groups that have been vetted and approved. Of the four "needs improvement" groups, two are in markets with a USL team already. One of the approved markets (CT) is also a place with USL expansion rumblings.

    On pro/rel. Connecting with the NASL is almost beyond wishcasting at this point, given that the NASL is at death's doorstep.

    Another pro/rel component. The USSF has guidelines for DI, DII, and DIII. There is no actual DIV at this point. I'm skeptical that a semi-pro league would be able to consistently produce clubs for promotion that could handle the travel that NISA looks likely to have (Miami, Hartford, Chattanooga?)

     
  4. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    College Cup is next weekend.

    Stanford vs. Akron
    Indiana vs. North Carolina


    There are probably some future pros on all four squads. Maybe even some high-level ones, if they go pro this winter.

    The soccer will probably be crap, given the overall quality of players in the NCAA, the weather, the overly defensive tactics, and the fact that the final occurs just two days after the SF.
     
  5. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    There's a rumor that Orlando will join Vancouver in pulling their USL team for 2018.

    It looks like the economics of these D2 teams aren't working out for everybody, especially those without a particularly strong academy. I am intrigued by the idea that Orlando City B will return at the D3 level in 2019. MLS2 teams really helped make D2 take a leap towards greater stability (relative to the past) by giving the USL enough clubs to regionalize travel. Now USL D2 is in a virtuous cycle, so MLS2 teams aren't needed so much to fill in geographic gaps.

    Although we don't have many details about what USL D3 will look like, in theory it will offer lower operation costs as well as a standard of play that will be less overwhelming to teenage prospects. (The MLS2 teams that go super young tend to get killed in D2.) In return, a number of MLS2 teams in D3 would help seed that league to ensure that travel is reasonable in year one.

    I have theorized for a little while now that the gold standard model will eventually be an in-market, fully-owned D3 reserve team and an affiliation agreement with an independent D2 team for the small handful of players who are too good for D3 but not ready for the MLS squad just yet.
     
  6. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    The first 90 minutes of the NCAA championship game ended with a 0-0 scoreline for the third time in four years. Stanford ended up beating Indiana in OT, giving them their third consecutive national title.

    Stanford's coach Jeremy Gunn has been very successful everywhere he's been. He took Fort Lewis to three DII national championships, winning one. Then he took Charlotte to the DI championship game in 2007, a high-water mark for a generally weak soccer program. That led to Stanford, where he's won three in a row.

    Successful NCAA coaches rarely go on to do anything else, though, for a variety of reasons.
     
  7. Domer

    Domer Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    I’ve been told Boston City FC is in conversations to build a stadium in Malden Center, presumably in conjunction with a move to the NASL which has been rumored elsewhere. Previously, the site was targeted for an afiliated baseball team, but the Red Sox exercised their exclusivity.
     
  8. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Seems dicey. How capable are Boston City FC's owners of taking on the expenses of a professional club? And of course, the NASL might not even exist next year.
     
  9. Domer

    Domer Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    They definitely have ambitions beyond NPSL, for example they recently started a youth club in Brazil. The owner is one of the men behind Tavern in the Square, and I think they want to build retail in the same development, anchored by a TitS location. I have no idea how deep their pockets are, but it's something I'll be keeping an eye on. The city definitely wants to develop the site instead of its current industrial use.
     
  10. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    The USL put out a press release that they have a potential investor looking at building a stadium and putting a team in the East Bay.

    http://www.uslsoccer.com/news_article/show/867698?referrer_id=2333971

    They put out a similar release not long ago about a team on the north side of Chicago. Neither are done deals and in all cases of minor league soccer in very large markets, I'll believe it when I see it.
     
  11. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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  12. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    DC United is looking at building a training facility in Loudoun County, as well as a small stadium for a USL team.

     
  13. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    There's a rumor that the PDL's Albuquerque Sol will move to the USL in 2019.

    https://www.soctakes.com/2017/12/20/breaking-albuquerque-join-usl-2019/

    PDL/NPSL clubs are run on the cheap with amateur players limited travel, and a short season. The demands of professional soccer are much higher, which is why PDL/NPSL clubs very rarely make the jump. The rumor that deeper-pocketed local investors will join the ownership group makes this a little more believable.
     
  14. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    NISA, one of two proposed D3 leagues trying to launch in 2019, put out some info today.

    http://www.nisaofficial.com/2017/12/21/nisa-announces-open-system-pyramid-details/

    Reading between the lines, the decision to scrap any sort of entrance fee and geographic restrictions makes it sound like they are struggling to recruit clubs.
     
  15. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Buried in this article that's mostly about Wynalda's campaign is this nugget about the NASL:

     
  16. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Very good news if true. It would have been a shame if Indy went down with the ship.
     
  17. Domer

    Domer Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    Hopefully they find a better site than Lucas Oil Stadium. Even a large USL crowd is going to look tiny there.
     
  18. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    The NASL announces a shift to what they term the "international calendar", which really just means a fall-spring schedule. They are looking to buy some time to potentially pick up the pieces, depending on what happens as a result of current litigation.

     
  19. Domer

    Domer Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    Good spin zone by the NASL, but this could actually work for them under ideal circumstances now that all the poor weather cities have defected for folded. Presumably, they'll adopt some sort of split schedule like USL if they make it that far.
     
  20. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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  21. Awesome Fossum

    Awesome Fossum Member SoSH Member

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    If that press release is to be believed, the name is technically ATL UTD 2, which looks like a shipping confirmation number. I wonder if they gave any consideration to using the Silverbacks name, or even something Gwinnett related, since that's where the team will be based.
     
  22. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Orlando City B won't take the field in 2018. Orlando is one of those teams that doesn't seem to have a good enough academy to make a USL team worth it. At least not one with D2 expenses. If I were the USL, I'd have all the MLS teams without a reserve team on the phone, trying to use them to seed D3.

    This is surprising to me:



    Supposedly they are talking about 2019.
     
  23. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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  24. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Birmingham, which is joining the USL in 2019, now has a name:

     
  25. Dummy Hoy

    Dummy Hoy Angry Pissbum SoSH Member

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    That's a dope crest. And name for that matter.
     
  26. Jimy Hendrix

    Jimy Hendrix Member SoSH Member

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    There are bits I don't love (the kinda 3d outline-effect stuff), but the overall design is so strong that it could easily persist through redesigns of that cosmetic aspect of it as trends change.

    The name is a nice and classy split between the AMERICAN CITY United FC thing that's a bit tired and the "name yourself like a weird expansion team from another American sport" model.
     
  27. Infield Infidel

    Infield Infidel teaching korea american SoSH Member

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    Home of Legion Field, makes sense to me. Ideally they don't play there though, it's kind of a dump.
     
  28. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I don't think they've said where they'll play yet, but Legion Field has been ruled out.
     
  29. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    USL D3 will announce its first team next week, per this USL employee. This will be the first piece of real substance to either of the proposed D3 projects for 2019 (USL D3 and NISA).

     
  30. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    It's a current PDL team, South Georgia Tormenta FC.



    Statesboro is a very, very small market. The club does apparently draw 2k at the PDL level, they have concrete plans for their own stadium, and they seem more ambitious and prepared than other clubs of a similarly small market.

    Let's see how USL D3 is able to fill out the southeast part of the country.
     
  31. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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  32. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    This is an interesting interview with USL president Jake Edwards.

    The headline quote is here cuz everyone loves pro/rel talk:

    It sounds like they are focused on a regional launch for D3 in 2019. Given that they are going to officially announce Statesboro tomorrow, one would imagine it will be initially anchored in the southeast. No internal USL pro/rel scheme would make sense until D3 has full national coverage.


    What I thought was most interesting in the interview was Edwards' confirmation that MLS clubs are looking at D3 as a longer-term solution for reserve teams. We've three clubs drop MLS2 teams now (MTL, VAN, ORL); at least part of the reason the Whitecaps dropped was stadium issues, but for the other two the D2 standard just wasn't the right fit. If you want to play a ton of really young players, D2 is too difficult.

    This could turn into a nice developmental win-win where D3 serves as a good platform to transition MLS academy teenagers into the pros and MLS2 teams in D3 help seed the geographic footprint of the league.
     
  33. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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  34. Domer

    Domer Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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  35. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    The USL has been teasing about an announcement of another D3 team in the West and a local paper has spilled the beans: FC Tucson. It's a bit surprising because it seemed like the USL was going to initially focus on the Southeast and Midwest for D3. Given the expected smaller market sizes of most D3 clubs (though not Tucson, which is quite a bit larger than some existing D2 markets), the league should be organized into regional pods to minimize travel. It'll be interesting to see how quickly the USL can fill out the West. It sounds like they are giving themselves some time:

     
  36. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    The NASL strategy now seems to be continuing to lob lawsuits at the world while hoping that Eric Wynalda will win Saturday's election.

     
  37. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, UVA, Georgetown, and Clemson are participating in a pilot program of a college spring season.

    A formalized spring schedule for NCAA programs would be good for college soccer. I'm not sure whether this can be done without running afoul of current NCAA regs, though.
     
  38. MuzzyField

    MuzzyField Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    He's sitting on HIS cash and looking to expand his business footprint and that has nothing to do with soccer.. he won't blow his load for the USL without a soccer stadium and a path up the soccer ladder. Maybe he has an in with the Jags that can be played at some point to get a downtown soccer stadium. US Soccer has done well at Everbank for years. There is a soccer market here.

    I'm just glad that he took this team out of the BASEBALL "Stanton Launching" GROUNDS and has them paying home games at the UNF stadium of non-football. The Suns/Jumbo Shrimp were soccer screwed.
     
  39. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Las Vegas pulled a sellout 10k+ for a preseason game against Montreal. Off to a good start.

     
  40. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Another new team, Nashville SC, is moving their home opener from the Nashville Sounds' AAA ballpark to the Titans' stadium.



    Nashville SC do have the advantage of knowing that MLS is coming in 1-2 years when building the hype.
     
  41. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Chelis is already delivering on everything a fan could hope for as manager of Las Vegas. Here is Chelis after getting sent off in a preseason game against Vancouver.

    [​IMG]
     
  42. steeplechase3k

    steeplechase3k Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    NASL Cancels 2018 season:


     
  43. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Not surprising. They were pretending that they were going to play a fall 2018 schedule, but the writing has been on the wall.

    Cosmos, Jax, and Miami FC are entering teams into the NPSL this summer. No word on Puerto Rico FC, though it is hard to imagine them surviving.

    There are also two announced expansion teams in limbo. California United, based in Orange County, is probably DOA. The USL already has a club in Orange County, so there's nowhere to go. The other club in San Diego is now rumored to be USL-bound.

     
  44. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    The USL Austin group is pressing forward with their plan to launch in 2019. They had been awarded a USL franchise prior to the publicization of Anthony Precourt's plan to move the Crew. Since the Crew move is far from a done deal and seems to be stalled out for the moment, they are going for it.

    I'm not 100% sold on this USL group. They location of their planned stadium, in the Circuit of the Americas complex, in the middle of nowhere outside of town. I'm far from an Austin expert, but that feels like it could be a big impediment.
     
  45. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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  46. moly99

    moly99 Member SoSH Member

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  47. EP Sox Fan

    EP Sox Fan Member SoSH Member

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    Excited for my town to get a team. Soccer has always been big here but the last pro team, the Patriots folded several years ago after a short partnership with Chivas. The ownership group is made up of the two wealthiest families in El Paso, Paul Foster and his wife Alejandra De La Vega (who owns the Mexican Division 2 team Juarez Bravos FC) and Woody Hunt. They were originally after an MLS team but they were passed over. USL feels right for the market here. They will play their first season at the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas stadium in downtown. They've had a few exhibition games there so the field can work in the short term. I'd worry about the field holding up during two seasons in the hot ass summer here. Long term they are looking to build a soccer specific stadium in downtown in an effort to continue the revitalization that has slowly taken place over the last 10 years or so. I'll be curious to see how they come up with a plan to finance it. The city passed a significant bond initiative about 5 years ago that was for a multipurpose arena downtown. Word is they were going to try and use that to pay for the stadium. Only issue was that they wanted to knock down a downtown neighborhood that had some historic roots. That stirred up a significant opposition movement that was small but loud. The City then shot themselves in the dick by asking for a declaratory judgment in which they were asking that the bond language be interpreted as allowing a soccer stadium. They filed it in Austin hoping none of the poor folks could afford to litigate it. Legal Aid got involved and filed a counter claim for declaratory judgment asking the court to hold the city to the specific language in the bond initiative, which was essentially an indoor multipurpose arena. The judge sided with the residents. The Chihuahuas stadium pissed a lot of people off (only way city could come up with the land needed to build the stadium in the short amount of time needed was to blow up city hall, which was built in the 1970s). The ownership group put up some money for the stadium, but the total cost to the city for construction, cost of buying new buildings for city hall etc was well over $120 million). So, that soccer specific stadium funded by tax payer money may not be coming anytime soon.

    Minor league baseball is a big deal in El Paso. When theAA Diablos which I (and everyone else here) grew up on, left in the early 2000s, it was a big loss. The AAA Chihuahuas have been a hit here and generated a huge level of excitement. By contrast, the Patriots, even when they were good, had trouble filling the seats. Mountain Star has done a fantastic job with the Chihuahuas but making this work is a different animal, especially without a dedicated stadium. From everything I've seen, the venue goes a long way to selling the product. Hopefully they get this right because I really want this to succeed here. I've played the game for over 30 years and I would have been thrilled to death to be able to watch pro soccer as a kid. (Instead, I got UTEP football.....woof....).
     
  48. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Awesome local perspective. From my view as an observer of minor league happenings, one of the things I've noticed lately is that the USL is doing a much better job of vetting ownership groups & their bids. They also seem to be to doing a better job of providing member clubs with off-the-field resources so that clubs do marketing and sales the right way. Not every club is a huge smash like FC Cincinnati, but there really have been surprisingly few duds in recent years. It's quite a change from the "if the expansion fee check cashes...." mentality from the Francisco Marcos days. They threw a bunch of shit against the wall to see what stuck in 2011, but the last dumb decision they've made was VSI Tampa Bay in 2013.

    BTW, I looked up the El Paso Patriots and I hadn't realized how long they existed. The number of clubs that continually operated in the minor leagues throughout the 90s and 00s is a very, very select group. So much churn.
     
  49. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    On the D3 front, the USL is saying they will announce another new team next week. I assume it will be either in the Southeast or West given that they already have one team in each of those regions. Trying to launch a third region in 2019 seems like it would be too much work.

    They're also heavily promoting Fort Myers as a D3 possibility.


    There hasn't been much news on the NISA front. I suspect they won't make it as a competing D3 league, but I guess we'll see.
     
  50. Titans Bastard

    Titans Bastard has sunil gulati in his sights Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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