NASL Taking Proactive Stance on Schedule Announcement
I am happy that the NASL is taking a proactive stance after the USSF revoked their preliminary sanction for D2 soccer last week. The NASL under Aaron Davidson and Traffic Sports is currently working with the USSF to regain sanctioning in time for 2011 action as the D2 league in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
Let’s not forget our American soccer history. After six seasons of play on the field, our top tier league, MLS, had to contract two teams in 2002 and the remaining ten teams were controlled by three groups of individuals — Philip Anschutz, the Hunt family and Robert Kraft (Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment shared control of the San Jose Earthquakes with Anschutz for the 2002 season.) Investing in professional soccer is a daunting task in North America, as the beautiful game fights for breathing space and revenue in a crowded atmosphere that includes long-established sports entities as the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NHL and NBA, not to mention NASCAR and college football and basketball with their legions of followers. To find stability and growth in that atmosphere in the toughest economic times since the Great Depression is truly an uphill task.
I hope all three entities, MLS, the NASL and USL PRO find success and growth during 2011. We have the potential to now have three clearly delineated divisions of men’s professional soccer in North America. Although everyone is free to advocate the superiority of each model over one or both of the others, it would probably be in the best interests of our sport’s growth to tone down the rhetoric and find a level of cooperation instead of bickering. The growth of the game is best served by viable franchises in numerous cities, but genuine stability and tradition take decades to establish, not years.
The NASL press release regarding the schedule is here.