It’s D-Day – Deadline Day for D2 Sanctioning, or is it?
It’s September 15, 2010 and that can only mean one thing for those of you who have been following along at home with the saga of D2 soccer. That’s right, it’s deadline day for submitting bids to the USSF for sanctioning of D2 soccer. However, you may be in for an anticlimactic D-day. And really, like the story that has dragged out for almost two years now, it’s really no surprise to learn the deadline has been pushed back, dragging the whole ordeal out just a tad bit longer.
Kartik Krishnaiyer, spokesperson for the NASL, told IMS this afternoon that the 15th was a guideline date set by the USSF and was not a hard and fast date. He stressed that his organization is not only working with their affiliated teams but also with US Soccer. “The NASL and its team owners are working with US Soccer on completing the application to sanction Division-2 soccer for 2011,” said Krishnaiyer. “We are also working with all of our teams to make sure they are in compliance with the new D2 standards set by the Federation. As we are working through this process we are taking US Soccer’s guidance in moving forward to complete this process.”
Krishnaiyer would not speculate on a date the bid would be submitted nor the teams that NASL will be submitting.
On Monday evening, Vancouver’s Bob Lenarduzzi conducted an interview on “Its Called Football“. In the interview the Vancouver Whitecaps president stated: “There are 6 clubs that are committed to the new USSF guidelines that they (USSF) will be strictly adapting next year. What the USSF has said is if in fact there aren’t enough clubs to meet the minimum of eight to operate a Division 2 league then they just won’t have a league. I think they are serious about that. What the NASL is trying to do before now and the end of the month when the submissions need to be in is to be sure there is a 7th and there is an 8th team and there are a number of interested parties that will hopefully make up the 7th and 8th franchises. It would be great for the game if there were indeed a viable Division 2.”
The Whitecaps president went on to say that he liked the new USL Pro concept if they execute their plan properly. “USL deciding they are going to go Division 3 is wonderful as far as I’m concerned,” continued Lenarduzzi. “If they can get that right and that is predominantly a regional league and then the next level (NASL) is more of an international league between Canada and the United States with MLS above that and then if we can get the youth development right (in Canada) where our very best players play with and against the very best players, then we will have the formula…”
USL President Tim Holt confirmed on Tuesday that his organization would not be making a bid for Division-2 soccer in 2011 with the USSF. “USL PRO is a current USSF-affiliated professional league member,” Holt said. “Frankly, our focus is less on the regulatory issue of what category at which we are sanctioned than it is on doing those things necessary at the league and team levels to be the strongest and most visible professional soccer league below MLS in the US, Canada, and Caribbean. In terms of team organization, financial viability, league office, and team requirements, marketing, and competition, USL PRO will exceed the published USSF Division III Pro League standards. Nonetheless, we believe that in order to meet the objectives developed for USL PRO over the next several years, utilizing the USSF Division III platform is the proper course of action for the 2011 season.”
IMS contacted US Soccer for a clarification of what those D-3 standards were that the USL President referred to. Neil Buethe, spokesperson for US Soccer, said in an email that like the D-2 standards the Federation will be revamping the D3 and WPS standards in the near future but could not provide a date that would be competed. “Right now, the ‘General Requirements‘ in the D-2 standards also relate to the D-3 and WPS. Once the specifics for D-3 and WPS are finished, we will provide those.”
Buethe also stated that since the USL is already sanctioned for D3 they needn’t submit a new application but simply need to provide an annual report, as do all professional teams.