Finally a somewhat quiet weekend for Major League Soccer. While there continues to be some player movement through both the transfer and re-entry process, overall there has been a bit of business break as the New Year approaches. One of the business issues that has continued to percolate over the last few weeks is the joining of MLS franchises and lower league teams. Most recently, the Columbus Crew announced an affiliation with the Dayton Dutch Lions of the USL Pro. These relationships allow teams to develop players, put roots in other communities and expand their brand. Per the official press release: “We are proud to unveil our new partnership with Dayton Dutch Lions FC,” said Columbus Crew President Mark McCullers. “We have known the Dutch Lions organization since they came to Ohio. This partnership creates a formal alliance that encompasses player development at its heart but also allows the Columbus Crew to partner with Dayton Dutch Lions FC in growing our respective fan bases and brands.”
Elsewhere, MLS has selected IMG Academy as its Eastern hub for the 2014 preseason. MLS teams, including the Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, New England Revolution and Toronto FC, are expected to train and most will compete in a series of friendlies beginning in late January and continuing through the end of February. The Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) has allocated funds to MLS that will be used by the league and its teams for a national campaign promoting the preseason.” MLS preseason is fast approaching and Bradenton will join Tuscon as the center of January/February MLS soccer.
Finally, NBC has been promoting its 12 days of EPL coverage over the Christmas holiday. The games will come fast and furious as the Premier League heads for the turn into 2014.
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