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Bringing IMS to a Close, at Least for Now

2012 December 13
by Brian Quarstad

For regular readers of IMS, you may have noticed a diminishing amount of articles. In fact the last post I made was December 4 and here it is December 13, nine days later. The reduction in posts has been deliberate and planned. In fact I’ve been meaning for some time to announce that IMSoccer News is taking a break, perhaps permanently. Perhaps my delay in making that announcement is my own reluctance to let go after working so hard to build the site into what it is today. But after four years of an ever-increasing amount of posts, I have reached a point where I just need some time off to recover mentally and physically. Over  the last 4 years I’ve not gone more than 4 days away from the site and I’ve only done that twice. As many bloggers and website hosts have found out – most sooner than after 4 years – having a full time job and trying to do an acceptable job of running a website on the side, is an enormous amount of work.

When I started IMS it was done to bring together the many facets of soccer in the state of Minnesota as I felt those groups were splintered and wanted to let each know what the other was doing. In that process and by covering the Minnesota Thunder, I found myself front and center in covering one of the bigger soccer stories in the US in 2010 through 2011, the TOA split from United Soccer Leagues which eventually caused the USSF to create new financial standards for D2 pro soccer and launched the NASL and USL PRO. In fact the coverage of those events earned IMS  an honor, as the site was nominated as one of the country’s “Top 10 Soccer Blogs” in 2010 by US Soccer.

During that time I continued to cover Minnesota soccer but also covered the growing conflict between these groups and added things like US National Team coverage with the help of Kyle Nelson who has remained a mainstay at IMS. As the scope of IMS continued to grow I found help from good people like Gerry Wittmann and eventually Jay Long. But even with the help of other contributors who have come and gone as well as the never-tiring Teresa Petersen who has edited IMS, pretty much from the early days of the site, I still have done the overwhelming majority of the posts. And if you’ve ever written on a consistent basis you know it takes time. Good writing takes even longer. And if you are a news site, which IMS has been, investigating and covering a story beyond what you get in a press release takes even more time because it means you need to pick up the phone and start calling folks, which often leads to more phone calls and lots of transcription. It’s been a joy to work through that process and grow as a writer and grow as a person. But on a personal basis, those same hours spent behind a computer, first at my day job and then in the afternoons and evening at IMS, has taken its toll.

So here we are 4 years and 2,850 posts later. The first article on IMS was posted on October 14, 2008. Since that time the site has had almost 1,600,000 visits with over 2,500,000 pages read and 18,000 of you have graciously left comments. I am truly overwhelmed by those numbers. Because if it wasn’t for the readers of IMS there would not have been any point of carrying on. So to everyone who has made IMS a regular stopping off point, I say thank you so very much. I am humbled that you have chosen to spend your precious time reading the site.

As to the future, you may see the return of IMS in January or February. You may see me start a new site or there is always the option of writing for another site if the situation is correct. And that correct situation? For me it’s the development of the business side of soccer in the US. I find the stories of leagues and teams trying to find their way in this landscape of soccer in North America fascinating. With such an expansive country that has come to the sport of soccer so late compared to the majority of the world, and with MLS being built and developed first, we have a very inverted pyramid. Hopefully that will someday flip right side up with a solid base and foundation of leagues, teams and players. How we get to that point and time is what fascinates me.

Keep checking back to IMS over the next several months and I will attempt to update you on the future of the site.

USL PRO Announces Expansion Team in Sacramento; But is Another NASL/USL Conflict Heating Up?

2012 December 4
tags: ,
by Brian Quarstad

Mayor Johnson (left), with Warren Smith (middle) at the press conference announcing the new USL PRO team. (Photo by Benjamin Ormsby)

On Monday the United Soccer Leagues took a big step forward in building a USL PRO West Coast regional division with an announcement that Sacramento, Ca. will be added to the league in 2014.

USL PRO, which is the third tier of professional soccer in the U.S., has 9 of its 11 teams located on or near the East Cost and has stated that the revamped USL PRO league is interested in regional divisions to save costs and build rivalries.

USL President Tim Holt told IMS in 2011 that his organization wanted to expand to the west to create a similar footprint as the East Coast teams. Currently, USL has only one team, the Los Angeles Blues,  located on the West Cost with expansion team Phoenix FC to join the league for the 2013 season.

Warren Smith, SVP of Business Development for Clean World Partners and co-founder of the Sacramento Rivercats of Minor League Baseball, will lead the new franchise. Smith is said to have formerly worked with the Portland Timbers read more…

NASL & New York Cosmos Should Wait Until 2014 to “Get This Right the First Time”

2012 December 3

I’m not one to shy away from voicing my opinion, particularly when it comes to matters of soccer. But for some reason, my voice in colloquy is much different than it is in writing. I tend to shy away from op/ed pieces here at IMS and instead would rather report the information and let you form your own opinion. There is that occasional topic that will draw me out, suck me in and motivate me to go outside my comfort zone. The Cosmos announcement that they will only play a half season in 2013 is one of those moments.

Of course what I am referring to is a conversation that New York Cosmos’ newly appointed COO, Erik Stover, had with supporters of the club on Saturday in a Q & A with the Borough Boys. I could say supporters of the “team” but the reality is, the Cosmos have no team and therein lies the problem. Stover is stating the organization cannot possibly get a team together in time for the 2013 spring season but will instead play only the second half of the new NASL Split season format and will forgo the 2013 US Open Cup.

“It is nearly impossible to deliver on our primary objective – which is to be a proper soccer club – in three months,” Stover said. “We literally don’t have the ability to sell tickets now. It’s not possible. We don’t have a ticket service provider. We don’t have any staff. We have a coach, no players.”

Stover is just plain wrong. The Cosmos certainly could field a team in that time if they wanted to. Is it the ideal situation? Of course not and it’s not necessarily fair to put the hammer down on Stover, who everyone tells me is a pretty good guy. But he took the job to lead the high-profile Cosmos and with that comes the responsibility that should really lie on Seamus O’Brien who leads the new Cosmos ownership group along with Sela Sport. read more…

New York Cosmos Will Not Participate in NASL Spring Season; Will Wait Until August to Field Team

2012 December 2
by Brian Quarstad

The New York Cosmos confirmed on Saturday what has been rumored for some time now; they will not field a team to start play in the spring of 2013, rather they will wait until the 2nd half of the NASL split season (clausura/fall), which will begin in August, to take the field.

The news came from newly-appointed Cosmos COO Erik Stover at a Q & A event held by Cosmos supporters group, the Borough Boys.

“We’ve said from the beginning that when we returned to the field, we would do it in the right way,” said Stover at the Saturday afternoon event held at a pub to coordinate with the 2012 MLS Cup final. “This allows us the time we need to build our staff and operational capabilities in a professional manner. But most importantly, especially for our loyal fans, it gives us the necessary time to put a club on the field they can be proud of.”

Stover also told the Cosmos supporters, because of their decision, the team will not participate in the 2013 US Open Cup competition.

“Honestly, I think our fans were upset,” said Nick Laveglia, president of the Borough Boys. “Had we not been read more…

LA Galaxy Comeback to Win Fourth MLS Cup Final

2012 December 1
by Kyle Nelson

LA Galaxy 3-1 Houston Dynamo

The Los Angeles Galaxy became the third team in MLS history to win back-to-back MLS Cup finals with a 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo, who became the second team to lose back-to-back finals, in front of their home crowd at the Home Depot Center. Despite Calen Carr giving the Dynamo the lead just before halftime, the Galaxy responded with three second-half goals to win their fourth MLS Cup.

The early minutes of the game favored Houston as the Dynamo pressed to get ahead early forcing some early stops from a shaky looking Josh Saunders while the Galaxy struggled to connect enough passes together. Most of LA’s attack came from the right side, but winger Christian Wilhelmsson continued to show the lack of cohesion with his teammates one would expect of a player in his 8th game after joining LA late in the season.

Eventually the Galaxy tightened up their passing and nearly took the lead with a combination by the team’s three Designated Players. In the 13th minute, David Beckham played a long ball to Robbie Keane on the left flank. Keane pressed forward until playing the ball to Landon Donovan who had only Tally Hall to beat. Unfortunately for the LA fans, Donovan’s shot ended up on the wrong side of the near post. read more…

Traffic Sports Win Marketing Rights to 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup

2012 December 1

Between the buzz and excitement of the MLS Cup Final, rumors of a new SSS being built in Tampa and the naming of a new commissioner for the North American Soccer League, a press release on Tuesday that may have been overlooked by many seems to hold some big implications.

Traffic Sports USA,who has been the primary financial supporter in the creation of the NASL and who own the Atlanta Silverbacks, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and the Carolina RailHawks, announced on Tuesday that their parent company, Traffic Sports of Brazil, have won the commercial partnership rights to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the 2013/14 and 2014/15 CONCACAF Champions League tournaments.

These were rights that were formerly owned by Major League Soccer arm, Soccer United Marketing (SUM).

Under terms of the deal, Traffic Sports, whose core business over the last 32 years has been commercial rights to sporting events, acquires the right to package and market these CONCACAF properties globally with assets that include field of play branding, use of tournament marks, and hospitality. What that means in layman terms is read more…

Sanneh Foundation 3rd Annual Gala 4 Goals Set for February

2012 December 1
Comments Off on Sanneh Foundation 3rd Annual Gala 4 Goals Set for February
by Brian Quarstad

Tony Sanneh and the Sanneh Foundation have set a date for the 3rd annual Gala 4 Goals event. For the past two years the Gala 4 Goals event has been a highlight for many associated with soccer in the state of Minnesota. Gala 4 Goals is a formal event with food, entertainment, music and a silent auction as well as awards given to special deserving recipients involved in soccer in the state of Minnesota. There are also special guest speakers like U.S. National Team coach Bob Bradley who spoke in 2011.

Set aside February 2 and sign up now for the Sanneh Foundations Gala 4 Goals, the soccer event of the season.

For more information click the link above or ‘read more’ read more…

Three NASL Teams Announce Roster Moves: Carolina, Minnesota and Tampa

2012 November 30

On Wednesday, the Carolina RailHawks, Minnesota Stars and Tampa Bay Rowdies all announced players they are re-signing who had option years on their contracts. A number of other players were also announced for the Rowdies who had signed new multi-year contracts.

Carolina RailHawks
The Carolina RailHawks will be bringing back the core of their team. The RailHawks squad had been gutted after the 2011 season with coach Martin Rennie leaving for the Vancouver Whitecaps and former Puerto Rico Islanders coach Colin Clarke replacing him. Many of the Carolina players were on new 1-year contracts and some had option years.

The club announced they will exercise the options on 12 players: defenders Austen King and Justin Willis; midfielders Austin da Luz, Floyd Franks, Breiner Ortiz, Tiyiselani Shipalane, Nick Zimmerman, Nick Millington and Jake Beckford; and forwards Brian Ackley, Brian Shriver, and Zack Schilawski will all be returning in 2013. The RailHawks did not announce players they did not renew contracts with. read more…

David Beckham Says New York Cosmos Rumor “Not True”

2012 November 30

David Beckham says Cosmos rumor is “not true” but bigger questions lie in wait for the NASL expansion team.

While speaking to the press on Thursday in advance of the MLS Cup Championship which plays out at Home Depot Center on Saturday afternoon, David Beckham finally addressed last weekend’s report in the Irish Sunday World that the NASL’s Cosmos could be in his future. The paper reported that a high level Cosmos official had said that Beckham was considering the offer and would make a decision by Christmas.

“I’ve been hearing the Cosmos thing for the last two-three years,” Beckham said. “This is not true. My manager has definitely not had conversations with them, that’s definitely not true.”

Beckham went on to say, “I’ve got some interesting and exciting read more…

FC Edmonton Name Colin Miller Coach of the Eddies

2012 November 29
by Brian Quarstad

Eddies new coach, Canadian Colin Miller

Just hours before the NASL named Bill Peterson as their new commissioner on Tuesday, FC Edmonton announced the man who will be on the bench pulling the strings for the eleven on the field. That man is Canadian Colin Miller. As pointed out here previously, the appointment of Miller, a native Canadian, shows a shift for the Eddies who had previously gone with what owner Tom Fath and front office personnel had thought was superior and more expensive foreign talent. Yet FC Edmonton finished in last place in 2012.

Miller’s most recent position was with the University of Fraser Valley Men’s team. Previous to that he was an assistant with the Vancouver Whitecaps from 2009 through the end of the ’11 season. Miller, who was born in Scotland, played in the Scottish League for 15 years and is a former Canadian National Team captain.

“Right from the beginning, we wanted to develop Canadian soccer. Today’s move is another step along the way,” said Fath to The 11’s Steven Sandor. read more…

Interview with Bill Peterson, New NASL Commissioner

2012 November 27
by Brian Quarstad

New NASL Commissioner, Bill Peterson.

The North American Soccer League announced today that Bill Peterson will take over as the league’s new commissioner. Peterson took control of the league on November 19 after a 45-day search which was set in motion after former league commissioner David Downs announced his early resignation on October 5th, something the league knew about well before his formal announcement to the public. The NASL held off announcing Peterson’s appointment until today because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Peterson has been involved in sports from a young age. He grew up playing American football and was even a free agent linebacker in 1987 with the Los Angeles Raiders.

He started working in the business side of sports when he was just 27 years old, going to work for the NFL Europe League, and spent 10 years living abroad. He was Football Operations Director for the Frankfurt Galaxy, General Manager of the Amsterdam Admirals, Director of Football Development for the league, Managing Director of NFL Europe and eventually become the President of the league.

Why might a former NFL player and president of NFL Europe be a good choice to run the 2-year-old North American Soccer League? A closer look at Peterson’s experiences clarifies why executives from the NASL fingered the former American football man for the job.

“From the early days of being in Europe I became a fan of the game,” said the new NASL Commissioner by phone on Tuesday. He tells a story of a visit to Camp Nou in 1991, only three weeks after arriving in Europe. read more…