Soccer Business Bits: USL Change, CBA News? & More

broken soccer ballMultiple outlets are reporting that 6 USL-1 teams, including 2011 MLS expansion side Vancouver, have broken away from the USL to form their own six team League for 2010.  Though still waiting for USSF approval, the new league will feature Vancouver, Montreal, Atlanta, Carolina, Miami and Minnesota.  There are also reports that a team from St. Louis will join the new league.

What impact this change (if it goes through), will have is very much in question.  Some MLS fans are prematurely excited at the prospect of MLS teams essentially operating farm teams in the new league, while others think that this move is a precursor to an “MLS2”.  Frankly, we think neither is likely. If this division holds, it will likely have the impact of weakening USL and the new league, especially when Vancouver and Montreal (probably) bolt for MLS and Portland does the same. The lower leagues have already lost a strong team in Seattle, and despite the prospect of new teams in New York and Baltimore, further division is not in USL’s best interest.  Strong lower divisions are important for the survival of soccer in the US and this move seems simply to weaken the overall product.

American soccer fans have marked January 31 on their calendars because it is the date the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires.  The parties have started negotiating, and this is certainly a story we will religiously follow.  For now, we think it a bit early, but since there have been a couple of early shots across the bow, check out this story at MatchFit for details.  One hidden impact of the labor situation will be the decisions faced by college players eying a career in MLS as part of the January draft.  Will players be less willing to enter the draft if there is no deal?

Check out this nice story from MLSnet.com about the MLS playoffs in Afghanistan.

One final note.  Seattle is looking to take its MLS success to a global stage.  Here is a story on the Emerald City’s efforts to bring the World Cup to Qwest Field.

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2 Responses

  1. Love the website!
    The local paper here in Nashville ran 3 days of front page stories about the city’s bid to host World Cup games and soccer in general in the run up to the city’s Tuesday presentation in NYC. The coverage was nothing spectacular but in these parts it is a pretty big deal for soccer to even be on the radar. The city’s officials do get it though and are obviously trying hard.
    http://www.tennessean.com/article/20091108/SPORTS11/911080383/2072/SPORTS

  2. Thanks Casey. I appreciate the link. It’s nice to see that cities outside the MLS mainstream are pushing the World Cup bid effort.

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