US Soccer Catch-All

Pages

Miami joining the MLS ranks. They might get to a full 30-team league, but the issue is always going to be that, as Cyle Larin's departure from Orlando shows, short of a absolute miracle and a Qatari willingness to spend, the MLS is not going to be on the level of the major European leagues, certainly not anytime soon.

It's hard for the MLS, I understand, because they can't be out here trying to sell the sport while also openly admitting "we're not a patch on the Premier League/La Liga/Serie A/the Bundesliga or even the top leagues in Belgium or Holland, so if those places come in for our players we're probably gonna end up selling".

You're right, but at the same time, the quality of play in MLS has improved greatly over the last three or so years, and as long as they're progressing, I'm bullish.

I have mixed feelings about expanding so quickly, but at the same time new markets bring in new fans, which is good for the growth of the game in the US.

I'd like to see less expansion, adoption of the European schedule (Aug to May), no salary cap and...RELEGATION.

No salary cap would be absolutely huge. My sense is that the quality of play could shoot up plenty fast if we leveraged one of this country's biggest strengths: $$$.

Top_Shelf wrote:

I'd like to see less expansion, adoption of the European schedule (Aug to May), no salary cap and...RELEGATION.

No salary cap would be absolutely huge. My sense is that the quality of play could shoot up plenty fast if we leveraged one of this country's biggest strengths: $$$.

No salary cap leads to boring leagues where one or two teams dominate, like the Bundesliga or La Liga.

I remember being shocked when, after my first few months of watching the Premier League, I realized that the big six clubs were basically in a league of their own (thank you, Leicester, for shaking that up). Only six teams seemed to really be in contention, and I found that scandalous. Little did I know that was quite egalitarian by European standards!

Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy watching European football from all of those leagues from time to time, but come on, Bayern has won the league five years running!

I do realize that the Champions League essentially means that if one big league has no salary cap, none of them will. I don't expect UEFA nor FIFA to implement salary caps, but that's probably what it would take to get more parity in the domestic leagues.

I'm actually a little concerned, national-team wise, that MLS is getting a bit too much money this year. I don't want to deep into GAM and TAM, but the salary cap has essentially been raised by millions of dollars, but in a way that prioritizes higher income players. My sense is that it's really going to start impacting the ability for domestic players to hold down starting spots in the league when they're up against some of the dudes that are getting imported from Argentina and Paraguay. We have a real possibility of running out ahead of our academy programs, and not ever being able to catch up. We're already in a weird transition point where we have a lot of guys in MLS that would have been better served going to Europe. (Then again, it seems like a lot of countries have really ratcheted down the ability of rando foreigners to drop by Gravemercy United and glom on as a fullback. We may have ended up at this point without MLS.) A good domestic league is not necessarily a harbinger of national team success, as England perennially bemoans.

That said, I think the weakest point in US Soccer these days is in coaching, not necessarily players.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

No salary cap leads to boring leagues where one or two teams dominate, like the Bundesliga or La Liga.

I remember being shocked when, after my first few months of watching the Premier League, I realized that the big six clubs were basically in a league of their own (thank you, Leicester, for shaking that up). Only six teams seemed to really be in contention, and I found that scandalous. Little did I know that was quite egalitarian by European standards! :lol:

In fairness, the "parity" of salary-caps does not necessarily lead to good play. The standard of play in the NFL over the last few years has been absolutely turgid pleh, partially due to league parity creating 26 teams that will go 7-9 or 9-7, with a few that completely suck and a few that are good (that year). Or, for that matter, the MLS, which I support but yeeesh sometimes.

Not to mention, American sports can get pretty stratified as well, just not for as long as European football leagues. A significant portion of the reason you get different champions in American sports is because of drafts, and due to the playoff model, where instead of basing your champion on the best performance during the actual season, you take the top few teams and basically throw them into a randomizer where it's more important to get hot at the right time than it is to have been the best team all season long.

But, returning to the stratification of American sports, there are, what, perhaps 4 teams in the NBA people think have a genuine shot at winning the title this year (maybe 3)? Houston and Los Angeles making it to the World Series last year wasn't a particular shock to anyone. We've basically had the Patriots penciled in as the AFC's representative in the Super Bowl for the last 15 years. Hell, even college football suffers from this, as the assumption all season long was that the national championship game would be Alabama vs. the field. Leicester did manage to win the Premier League, whereas there is literally no chance of Akron or Vanderbilt winning the national championship.

And a lack of parity with one team running around, dominating things are generally associated with the golden years of any sport. The Bulls in the 90's, the Cowboys of the same time, et cetera. If anything, the NHL really could use a dynastic team that conquers in the regular season and the post season (even though the Penguins have won the last two Stanley Cups). And conquering those giants becomes A Big Thing. Leganes went berserk earlier this month when they knocked off Real Madrid, and as mentioned earlier, Leicester winning the Premier League became arguably the single biggest sports story of that year.

I don't think salary caps are a cure-all that guarantee exciting leagues (again, the NFL this season), but I think better revenue-sharing would work wonders, because the primary issue is that the bigger clubs can just outspend everyone else, allowing them entrance to continental competition, which gives them more money, which allows them to continue outspending everyone else, and the cycle continues. Removing the salary cap in the MLS would certainly have some effect, but it wouldn't solve everything, because the prestige is still in Europe and the level of competition is far better. I imagine we'd end up in a situation like China where we are tossing out hilarious salaries, getting some top-name players looking to cash in, but not really challenging the big leagues.

Maybe they could make it work, but it'd require the MLS having the kind of revenue streams the NFL/NBA/MLB has and even then, iffy. Messi earns $700K a week, which comes out to $36.4M a year, more than Steph Curry ($34.7M) and Clayton Kershaw ($33M). To pry him away from Barca, an American MLS team would basically need to be willing to shell out at least $40M (and that's assuming you could get him on a free right now and not pay what would be an absurd transfer fee), which would mean he would be making more than the top 2 MLS franchises team salaries combined.

Top_Shelf wrote:

I'd like to see less expansion, adoption of the European schedule (Aug to May), no salary cap and...RELEGATION.

I don't think relegation is in the future for the MLS, because, given the amount that it costs to start a franchise, you're not going to convince anyone to join in the club with the risk of them suddenly ending up in the NASL hanging over their heads. That said, I don't think it's impossible, perhaps in another decade or two, when there is a real, long-term, established soccer culture in the US. But for now, it's just not, partially due to cultural reasons (I just don't think Americans really take well to the concept of relegation, especially right now) and for financial ones. The NASL averages 4,400 fans per game, Less than League 2, the fourth tier of soccer in England (there is no equivalent in the U.S.). A relegated MLS team would almost certainly financially implode. If we got to a place where NASL teams were averaging attendances of at least 10,000 and had a national TV deal (not unlike the Championship in England), then I think it can work because it's financially feasible.

Oh, also? The salary capped MLS? Toronto, the team with the highest payroll in the league ($20M) won the title. Even with salary caps, he who spends most for talent often wins.

kazooka wrote:

I'm actually a little concerned, national-team wise, that MLS is getting a bit too much money this year. I don't want to deep into GAM and TAM, but the salary cap has essentially been raised by millions of dollars, but in a way that prioritizes higher income players. My sense is that it's really going to start impacting the ability for domestic players to hold down starting spots in the league when they're up against some of the dudes that are getting imported from Argentina and Paraguay.

Agreed. The league wants to draw fans, and drawing fans means signing skilled, capable players to raise the quality of the competition and right now, those players are not Americans. You tell me Julian Draxler's coming to play for NYCFC, I'll buy a ticket. Thomas McNamara... not so much.

kazooka wrote:

That said, I think the weakest point in US Soccer these days is in coaching, not necessarily players.

150% agreed. Having seen a few NCAA Division I soccer games, I am of the opinion that college soccer is a huge detriment to the growth of talent in the United States, because the standard of play I saw (between ranked teams, no less) was below some of England's non-league clubs.

I can't remember where I saw it, but there is a astonishing paucity of decent coaching in the United States. Like, someone compared the number of coaches with top-level badges here to England, and the U.S. had, like, a fraction of a percent of the number in England. That's not entirely surprising, but it's also a huge problem for the development of talent, and is a large part of the reason why ambitious American teens who want to become professional soccer players should be looking abroad.

I've come to think that a lot of the stratification in US sports is due more to the nature of American games, which are increasingly dependent on a handful of superstars. In soccer, a Ronaldo or a Messi can be nullified or mitigated a bit by a strong team playing well with good strategy (not all the time, but it is possible). American football has become increasingly reliant on quarterbacks, while it's become decreasingly competent at developing those quarterbacks. Basketball is dependent on a handful of phenoms and giants. Baseball is all about pitching. I think soccer (or rugby for that matter) is a much better candidate for a salary cap system on that account.

I disagree, soccer teams can be just as reliant on their biggest, best names as any of the teams from American sports. Barcelona is significantly blunter without Messi in the lineup, much more so if they're missing Messi and Suarez. Tottenham without Harry Kane might not finish in the top 6.

Salary capping the sport might result in a greater distribution of talent, but you'd have to get all of UEFA to agree to it, which is obviously unlikely (and would immediately be pounced upon by other leagues like China willing to spend the $$$$ to get those players).

If I was at all unclear, I'm not expecting UEFA to institute a salary cap. I just want the MLS to remain capped. I believe American fans want to see a competitive league, and that letting LAG just outspend everyone else would hurt the game's growth.

The Pats and Bama are good examples of teams that are a clear cut above, as were the Bulls, but those teams didn't/don't win every year. I don't think the average fan objects to sustained excellence, or at least, not enough to tune out.

No salary cap in college football and the game remains popular. (By this I mean that coaches get paid anything the market will bear, same with facilities.)

Top_Shelf wrote:

No salary cap in college football and the game remains popular. (By this I mean that coaches get paid anything the market will bear, same with facilities.)

Coaches aren't teams. The actual players' compensation is capped (that's a debate for another thread), and there's a limit on roster spots.

Cordiero it is.

Hugely disappointing.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Cordiero it is.

Hugely disappointing.

Yeah.

IMAGE(https://m.popkey.co/44714b/y0Xl7.gif)

Not sure what people were expecting. The voters in this election were all major players in US Soccer. This was not an election where we were going to see the guy from Twitter who yells about pro/rel running things. I'm actually pretty good with Cordeira. He wants actual soccer people making the soccer decisions, and not finance guys like him and Gulati. Wants separate GMs for the men's and women's teams. He's Latino, so maybe we can finally start making some inroads into regularly recruiting Latino talent in our 20% Latino nation.

I thought Kathy Carter was going to get elected, which would have been bad news on pretty much every front. So seeing Cordeiro come out on top is good news in my book.

I do see Cordeiro as more desireable than Carter simply because I don't think MLS nor SUM should have any more influence than they already do. I'm a fan of an MLS team, but the national team is a much higher priority.

I had the same thought about Cordeiro being a Latino and reaching out more to that community, but he's also a former Goldman Sachs executive and part of the current USSF administration. I'm not sure he's going to be shaking things up in a meaningful way.

I'll give the guy a chance and reserve judgment, but today this doesn't feel like a victory.

My reservations come from a few angles...

1 - He's the VP in the existing management. He's been part of the problem. He should be gone, not put in charge.

2 - He's an aging dinosaur.

3 - His candidate statement was drab corporate babble: lots of words that didn't say anything. I didn't see vision, energy, or creativity. It reeked of "more of the same".

4 - Gulati's tweet today to Cordiero: "Looking forward to working together to bring the World Cup to North America."

This feels like a chickens*** choice from people afraid of real change, who are clinging to what they have rather than embracing significant reform.

Blitz basically has all of my concerns listed. This felt like Sepp Blatter being voted out at FIFA, only to be replaced by a man with a large mustache that looks a lot like Sepp Blatter but swears his name is "Bepp Slatter".

In happier news, Landon Donovan apparently found the fountain of youth and is expected to debut for Liga MX team Leon tonight. I don't think he was on in the first half, but I was also doing kid bedtime and watching college basketball on another screen.

Former Dynamo and (still, AFAIK) Jamaica player Giles Barnes is also on Leon this season.

I wish him the best, but I doubt he'll make a significant impact. But I'm not surprised to find out he's doing it, retirement is hard for professional athletes.

Pages