Monday After

fc tucsonWorld Cup Qualifying is on the horizon, Major League Soccer preseason is in full swing, rostering in the new womens soccer league has been generating headlines and the international transfer market is sizzling.  It is a good time to be a soccer fan in the United States!

We’ll start with the ramp-up into the preseason.  We’ll take a deeper look at Tuscon’s growing role as the focal point of Major League Soccer in January/February.   In short, the Arizona city will host 18 games over 29 days including matches between MLS teams, International squads and others.  A 3,000 seat stadium that includes a press box is set to be completed in October, while FC Tuscon will operate in a smaller venue this season.   The Soccer Fest concludes with the Desert Diamond Cup in February.  For more on the events in Tucson, click here.

We wrote last week about the sale of RSL and the departure of Dave Checketts from the soccer scene.  Soccer America offers up this excellent profile of Checketts and provides some fantastic thoughts on his contributions to soccer in this country.   Under Checketts, RSL built and filled Rio Tinto and landed the first jersey sponsorship deal with Xango.  Perhaps more importantly, Checketts’ long history of success in American sports provided the league with another credible persona to sell the game to corporate and media partners.

One final business note from the weekend.  One of the big soccer stories from last week was the “interaction” between Eden Hazard and a Swansea ball boy leading to Hazard’s ejection.  Under the theory that any publicity is good publicity, soccer was certainly in the news over the weekend.

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2 Responses

  1. Ben,

    I have noted the growth in pre-season tournaments for MLS clubs with some interest. As a DC United fan, I know the Black & Red have gone to the Charleston Challenge Cup for a number of years (run by the Charleston Battery). DC United and a number of MLS teams, NASL teams and USL pro-teams are playing in the Disney cup next month. I was aware of clubs, mainly RSL and Colorado training in Arizona, but was previously unaware of the Desert Diamond cup.

    Is there a soccer equivalent to the MLB Cactus League and Grapefruit League well on its way to solidifying a place in U.S. Soccer landscape? If so, do you think that clubs like FC Tuscon, Orlando City, Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, Tampa Bay Rowdies might be able to turn such matters into significant revenue streams by attracting MLS clubs, international clubs in leagues that have winter breaks, and maybe even the traditional USMNT January camp friendlies to these kinds of “winter” activities? If so, how lucrative might these be and does that affect the financial status of those clubs in such a way as to give them too obvious an advantage over their USL-Pro, NASL rivals that would necessitate some sort of regulation by U.S. Soccer, or the leagues themselves.

  2. It is definitely coming. I will write more about thies in the next couple of weeks. Arizona is the spot (Tuscson). I think the league has a chance to create a real preseason destination with a community that really wants to be a part of it.

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