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New Cosmos Team Could Strengthen NASL and Leave Minnesota Without Pro Soccer

2012 July 12
by Brian Quarstad

Seamus O’Brien, Chairman of the New York Cosmos and NASL Commissioner David Downs.

The North American Soccer League announced on Wednesday their newest member of the league, the New York Cosmos. It was a happy day for the league after wooing the Cosmos for years.

“The first week I was on the job last year we had a conversation with the prior ownership group of the Cosmos,” said league commissioner David Downs. “Those discussions were ongoing even prior to my starting on the job. This has been a long process. But from the very beginning we all thought that this was a no brainer, that we were the appropriate place for the Cosmos to return to the field because of the economics of our business model.”

Downs said the addition of the Cosmos strengthens the NASL and their ownership groups, including improving their visibility. The NASL Commissioner said that even though the former ownership group of the Cosmos led by CEO Paul Kemsley was lacking financial backing, the new group, Sela Sport of Saudi Arabia, who purchased the Cosmos name in November of 2011, have the financial wherewithal to meet the USSF D2 Standards.

“That’s not even a question,” said Downs. “I think the decision they made to join the NASL in the immediate moment is that this is the right place for them to return to professional soccer.”

Earlier in the day, MLS Commissioner Don Garber seemed supportive of the move. “We welcome the Cosmos’ entrance to the NASL,” Garber said in a press release. “Having a vibrant second division is important to the overall growth and popularity of soccer in North America, and we are pleased to see the NASL add a new franchise.”

Downs was reluctant to talk about the motives of the Cosmos and their possible desire to eventually move up to MLS. “Right now they are committed to play for us, because this is the right thing, right now, and no decision has been made about their long term future.”

Garber was a bit more direct about the possibility of the Cosmos eventually moving to MLS. “Major League Soccer remains committed to securing an expansion team in New York City,” said Garber. “The current focus is on exploring a stadium site, but we will continue discussions with several potential ownership groups, including the Cosmos, about the possibility of joining the efforts to bring a second MLS team to New York.”

While the earlier press release from the NASL did not name a venue for the Cosmos, some reports were targeting Hofstra Stadium as a site of interest. “We are not at liberty to say what venue they are trying to secure,” said Downs. “Obviously, as we did our due diligence in evaluating their bid we were told by the Cosmos that they have certain options for a venue that pass our muster and that could be one of them.”

Downs said he expects the Cosmos to make an announcement on their 2013 venue soon.

In late May, Downs had told IMS that there would be several new teams that would be annouced as additions to the league and would kick off in 2013. Downs says that’s still a possibility but time is growing short to announce for next year.

“We have not gone past the date where we may announce another team for 2013 beside the Cosmos,” Downs said. “If we did announce a team for 2013 we would need to do it fairly soon if it’s a team starting from scratch. If it’s an existing team that’s changing leagues that would give us a bit more time to make an announcement.”

Downs clarified an “existing team” as one that had prior or current experience as an organized team like the USL or NPSL. “One that had an existing brand name, an existing soccer structure,” said Downs.

Late in the afternoon, Steven Goff reported on a group in Loudoun County, Northern Virginia who are interested in obtaining an NASL franchise. “They have been very impressive,” Downs told Goff on his Soccer Insider blog. “We’re well along in the process.”

The ownership group, who have plans to build a 5,500 seat stadium, is moving forward with their plan but not fast enough for Downs. “We want them to be ready to commit sooner rather than later. The pressure is on them to move faster” in order to secure an expansion slot.

Downs had nothing new to add on the targeted markets in the west that include San Diego, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Las Vegas and Sacramento. Downs says that while there are some level of discussions with all those teams, the process of finding, vetting and then accepting a new team is unique to each situation and on its own timeline.

On the down side of the Cosmos announcement is Minnesota. The NSC Stars rose from the ashes of the Minnesota Thunder who folded at the end of the 2009 season. With the NASL trying to gather enough teams to break away from the USL, the National Sports Center fielded a team in 2010 called the NSC Minnesota Stars.

It was obvious after the ’10 season that the NSC would not be able to meet the financial requirements that were set by the USSF in August of of that same year. Needing 8 teams to make the FIFA requirement for a league, the NASL team owners funded Minnesota in 2011 and 2012. According to several interviews that were given by Stars CEO Djorn Buchholz, the league had promised to support the team for 3 years while the NASL and newly named Minnesota Stars FC attempted to find new owners.

But with a strong Cosmos ownership group coming into the NASL, that three years may be cut short, according to Downs.

“I think it puts the pressure on the Stars to find a owner sooner rather than later,” Downs said. “Each of the team owners share in the burden of supporting Minnesota equally. It will require a budget approval of our league’s Board of Governors at our October meeting to agree to support Minnesota on that basis going forward if we haven’t found an owner. I don’t dare predict the outcome of that vote and I would say that technically we wouldn’t need them to meet the 8-team minimum. I think that would be a serious concern.”

“That doesn’t mean I’m not a fan of the Minnesota Stars franchise and that I don’t believe that a team can be successful in the Minneapolis area. I’ve been following them personally, we’ve been working with the mayor’s office, we’ve been doing everything in our power to find someone to step in and take over the team because it’s got a storied history and been around, perhaps under different names, for a long, long time. (23 years) They are our defending NASL Champions and there are all sorts of things to love about them. I’m even a fan of the market. For all those reasons we are working hard to rectify the situation. Unfortunately for Minnesota, a NASL with 8 teams, with the Cosmos replacing Minnesota, is an arguably a stronger NASL then the current one in 2012.”

Downs admits the Minnesota Vikings trumpeting their possible desire for an MLS team some time in the future hasn’t helped the Stars’ cause to find new owners and says the Vikings don’t seem to be interested in acquiring the Stars.

“It does complicate matters I think,” said Downs.”The position they are taking is that they are going to make a decision about their interest in soccer somewhere down the road that permits them to put a team in their new stadium some 5-6-7 years from now. It’s hard for me to even figure out when they can trigger that option. I don’t know that has helped the situation. They didn’t seem to be interested in getting involved earlier to set the stage for all of this.”

Downs told IMS in May that the NASL had informal discussions with the Vikings about purchasing the Stars while trying to build a fan base to work towards MLS, much the same as the Cosmos seem to be doing. Downs said he personally has never talked to the Vikings but said people who represent the league have talked to the NFL organization. He said today that he is unaware of anyone from the NASL talking to the Vikings since the stadium bill was signed.

“We haven’t gotten that done yet,” said Downs.

Meanwhile the clock seems to be ticking on the Minnesota Stars.

 

107 Responses
  1. July 12, 2012

    This league can’t afford to lost the Stars, on an emotional level. The Stars have so much history, such a loyal following, and so much on field success. The kits that they made this year perfectly describe the club and it’s fans. Something I don’t want to see vanish. I’ll buy season tickets for next year and give them to you BQ, for you to give away to whomever. I think I might just buy one of their kits online this weekend.

  2. July 12, 2012

    The Stars have “so much history?” They’ve played two and a half years. And no one questions the loyalty. It’s sheer numbers of fans and an interested owner.

    Also, “I don’t dare predict the outcome of that vote and I would say that technically we wouldn’t need them to meet the 8 team minimum.”

    Except their minimum isn’t eight for 2013. It’s ten, unless they get a waiver.

  3. Mark permalink
    July 12, 2012

    This is what worries me most about all the MLS talk. We end up with no team. Stupid.

  4. July 12, 2012

    The team has been around since the early nineties. I know it isn’t the exact same team, but the Stars are a continuation of that history. You seem optimistic, but if the other teams and financial backers of the league don’t need to prop up an ownerless team, then they might just vote them down. As far as meeting Division II Standards, technically none of the current teams meet it. Puerto Rico and the Scorpions are the closest. The rest need owners or proper facilities. What that means is that the USSF isn’t going to crack down too hard on the NASL when it would mean that there is no Division II in North America outside of Mexico. It would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face. The USSF needs to to turn a blind eye to the smaller hiccups in lower Division American soccer for a couple more years, and the lower Divisions will be better for it.

  5. MrTuktoyaktuk permalink
    July 12, 2012

    Going USL Pro is out of the question for the Stars?

  6. Lego7 permalink
    July 12, 2012

    Well, voluntarily dropping down to a lower league is a lot better than killing off over 20 years of pro soccer in Minnesota. It should be a last option, but an option nonetheless.

  7. Stephen permalink
    July 13, 2012

    Does anyone else smell a commissioner who is getting desperate?

    “We will give the west coast teams all the time they need to get organised.”
    Meanwhile…
    “LOUDOUN COUNTY BETTER GET MOVING NOW!!!!!!!”

    Combine the info of today with this quote from a May 31 article by IMS:

    ““The league has finalized contractual terms with one club and is in the latter stages of negotiations with the other,” Downs told Morris. “One is an existing soccer club while the other is a startup franchise.” Downs did not expand on the meaning of “existing soccer club” which could also mean a youth club.

    Aaron Davidson, CEO of the NASL, also told Morris that one of those teams will be stationed in the western U.S. while the other will be located within the NASL’s current main geographic footprint. Davidson also said that NASL hopes to add two more clubs before the 2013 season.”

    So it is plain to me that by May 31, the Cosmos were in. It is the team that already existed (as a youth club), was within the main geographic footprint of the current League, and had been in discussions for an extended period of time.

    But what happened to the startup western franchise from scratch? I’m reading Downs’ comments now as saying they are struggling for 2013 expansion (“it’s getting late to announce anymore”). Am I reading this right, did the USL PRO have a coup d’etat on the Pheonix ownership?

    Now the League is putting MASSIVE pressure on this Loudoun County team (which seems like a seriously risky venture), which is quite contrary to what the NASL was supposed to be all about. USL was the organisation to make rash decisions on expansion (creates instability). That’s why NASL was formed in the first place! And how does Loudoun County raise the profile of the League… at all? Shouldn’t NASL be trying to target bigger markets that have no MLS impact (Cosmos excluded for obvious reasons)? Cities like Detroit, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Las Vegas, San Diego, Sacramento? I smell desperation with Loudoun, and that is all.

    I do find this bit VERY interesting:
    “Downs clarified an “existing team” as one that had prior or current experience as an organized team like the USL or NPSL. “One that had an existing brand name, an existing soccer structure,” said Downs.”
    A team like… the Rochester Rhinos perhaps?

  8. July 13, 2012

    What utter rubbish! NASL wants to expand not lose teams, the Cosmo’s finally deciding to join is a shot in the arm for NASL & a possible goodbye to USL. I foresee a whole bunch of clubs wanting to jump ship at this news. Highest profile US club of all time going 2nd Division I can see MLS teams thinking of jumping down for financial input Cosmo’s might cause.I can see at least a 12 team NASL next season with Ottawa.San Diego & Pheonix & Alberquerque on the cusp. The Stars can only have a bright future if the Cosmo’s are up in Blaine. Bandwagoner Sell Outs .here

  9. WSW permalink
    July 13, 2012

    Expansion differences:

    NASL- NY Cosmos
    USL – FC NY

    So whoever has been dissing NASL should see the REAL difference.

  10. July 13, 2012

    Glad to see another team in NASL. Will folks expect too much from this Cosmos team? It will not be the 1970’s team. The Scorpions have been successful on the pitch with the players they have brought in but is the Scorpions type players what will bring the fans out in NYC? The Red Bulls are the team with the stars. Fans may come out for the nostalgia but may not stay. The Cosmos name may be hard to live up to. Does a NY “whatever” have a better chance at longevity?

  11. bullsear permalink
    July 13, 2012

    Well, let’s hope that the bump in press the Cosmos have given the NASL gets ol’ Zygi to thinking. If the Cosmos ownership group thinks that playing NASL to prepare for the jump to MLS is the way to do things, maybe he’ll smarten up and jump onboard.
    He could turn buying the Stars into a public relations coupe. Really show the rest of the country that he’s aiming at MLS and ready to get into the game.

  12. SteveZ permalink
    July 13, 2012

    They should make a major push to get the team sold to the Vikings now that the Cosmos are in the league. Doesn’t sound Luke they’ve made much effort recently. Could be a different response now. They owe at least that much to the Minnesota fans.

  13. SteveZ permalink
    July 13, 2012

    Doesn’t sound LIKE (fricken auto correct, lol)

  14. July 13, 2012

    Vikings were clearly using the prospect of an MLS club as a lever to get their new stadium– I don’t think anyone disputes that. What is more speculative is how much _genuine_ interest they have in their proposed MLS project.

    The outcome of this situation might answer that question; if they are serious about professional football in the state, they will buy MN Stars and use that team as a platform for their future MLS club.

    If I were Vikings’ ownership, I would have a mid/long-term outlook; “saving” the team the state has already would practically seal those core fans’ support for the future MLS club, if there is to be one– even if that means Vikings lose a little money in the short term (assuming they couldn’t make MN Stars profitable).

    I used to follow the WNBA very closely (my wife got me into it), and in the time I followed the league Timberwolves were losing money on Lynx every year– but they viewed it as a long-term investment and an additional marketing opportunity for the Timberwolves. I don’t know if Lynx are profitable today, but Lynx are now the league’s premier team– the investment paid off if success is your metric.

    I also enjoyed the Daniel/Mark exchange about whether MN Stars are just Thunder with a different name, or are a completely different club– should Thunder’s legacy be chalked in under the MN Stars column? Downs appears to think so.

    I’ve seen this exact debate go on many times in football where clubs were liquidated– most recently it happened in Italy with SSC Napoli (which became “Napoli Soccer Club” until De Laurentiis could re-acquire the “SSN Napoli” name a couple of years later). And it’s going on right now with Rangers– is the “new” Rangers the same club as the “old” one, or is all of the legacy lost? I don’t think there is a “right” answer; it’s in the eye of the beholder.

  15. yankiboy permalink
    July 13, 2012

    So many comments, so much catching up to do. So where do I get started?
    Let me start north of the border with my man, DB:

    @Daniel Blodgett: I gotta start with you, Playah. I gotta give you MAD KUDOS and PROPS for mentioning indicating that Mexico is–ya know–in North America. MLS, NASL, USL, a lot of fans–they all seem to omit that fact when they are talking about the history, cureent state and future of soccer, especiallly the second division in North America. Like Mexico and La Liga de Acenso doesn’t exist or are not found in North America. Maybe it’s just easier and uses less characters than saying the “US & Canada”. That must be it considering the unquestionable sophistication of the aforementioned particiapants…

    @MrTuktoyaktuk: Yeah. USLPRO is completely an unacceptable option for the Stars unless a new owner can be found. Making the USLPRO sale to a prospective owner would probably be about as difficult as making an NASL sale. The big incentive would be that you need a lot less to get in. The flip side is that when you are based in Minnesota, renting a bus ain’t gonna help save you significant coin because eveybody you play is so freaking far away…

    @Stephen: Very strong pull, Playah. The Loudon County thing struck me as odd, as well. Very odd. For the sense of urgency indicated. Also for the fact that I actually am familiar with Loudon County and given that knowledge, the idea of putting a NASL franchise there leaves me bewildered and confused (yes, even more than usual).

    I have a hard time imagining a USLPRO franchise doing well there–and that is with having Richmond, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg all a close bus ride away. USLPRO would make a heck of a lot more sense…

  16. Strikers Return permalink
    July 13, 2012

    @bullsear – I like what you said in your post, but it all relies on one assumption – the Vikings ownerships is actuallymore than kinda sorta, somewhat interested in owning an MLS team. Personally my first thought about this scenario was that the Cosmos joining the league would actually be a good thing short term for the Stars.

    Look, any of us who are realists have known since day 1 of the NASL that the Stars, and at least two of the three Traffic owned teams were living on borrowed time if new owners could not be found. An expansion team coming in means an expansion fee coming into league coffers, so to me, this meant a lower cost for the other member teams in supporting the Stars next year, as a lot of that fee could go towards the Stars operation. Obviously that would still only mean short term life for the Stars, but the longer they are in operation the longer there is a chance for new investors. But perhaps with the addition of the Cosmos brand, the league is going to finally pursue a tv contract. Maybe that’s where they’d like to spend money rather than supporting the Stars.

    The 900 lb. gorilla in the room is of course the Vikings supposed interest in MLS. As long as they remain non-commital or on the back burner about actively pursuing it, it is slowly killing the chances for a lifeline for the Stars though. I feel for BQ and all pro soccer fans in Minnesota, and I hope something happens to ensure the continued opportunity for fans to watch pro soccer up there.

  17. yankiboy permalink
    July 13, 2012

    “What utter rubbish! NASL wants to expand not lose teams, the Cosmo’s finally deciding to join is a shot in the arm for NASL & a possible goodbye to USL. I foresee a whole bunch of clubs wanting to jump ship at this news. ”

    -Rev Tony Turner

    Ok. This comment forced me to actually make a separate post.

    Rev, it’s very rare that I question a man of the cloth but just what did they put in the punch at your house of worships last social!?!?! Come on! That was a “setup”, right? Were you really being serious? If so, here’s some not so divine intervention–coz, ya need one. Ya really need one.

    You forced a Brutha to have to “rebuke” you.

    If I have a club in USLPRO, I score this one for the other guys (that would be the NASL) cuz of the short term buzz. I’m not going to front like I wouldn’t have wanted a bit of buzz. Ok. A lot of buzz for a 48 hour news cycle (and that might be a bit generous). Then I talk to my boys at my HQ in Tamper and my partners around the USLPRO fifedom and I laugh it off.

    Operating a minor league franchise in the NYC area that is not named the “Cosmos” is like purchasing a car with a failing transmission. That sucker is gonna be a money pit and it’s gonna leave you stranded, wondering why you ever did something so crazy. The cost of EVERYTHING in the NYC area–the cost of living, tolls, operating expenses. Yeah–makes it a terrible market place unless you got a LOT of coin. Which is apparently what the new Cosmos owners have. Which is great. Coz they’re gonna need it.

  18. Strikers Return permalink
    July 13, 2012

    @Stephen – I too have posted here previously with the opinion that the commish and the league are starting to appear a little desperate when it comes to expansion. If Downs is trying to convince us that the Cosmos are the “already existing” franchise previously mentioned, then I think there is probably little or no hope for any further expansion for 2013. It’s going to be difficult enough for the Cosmos to get started from scratch in the time remaining before April 2013. But if another “start from scratch” team is still in the works, they better get it announced in very short order if it has any hope at all of having the time needed to pull off a decent, never mind Scorpions-like-successful first season.

    Of course if another team, namely Orlando, were to be giving any consideration to joining NASL, there would be no need for an announcement until after the current season was over. Orlando, operations wise, I would guess is ready to go from USL Pro to NASL at the drop of a hat. Some offseason upgrades to their roster at a slightly higher level than they go through now is probably the biggest challenge they would face. I still see this is highly unlikely, and the frustrating part of that is that I can see a very clear and easy argument to be made for doing it. But at the end of the day if Rawlins just refuses to join NASL, that’s that.

  19. yankiboy permalink
    July 13, 2012

    I’m gonna piggyback this comment below. It doesn’t merit a “rebuke”, but I gotta touch on it.

    “Expansion differences:

    NASL- NY Cosmos
    USL – FC NY

    So whoever has been dissing NASL should see the REAL difference.”

    -WSW

    Maybe you can help a guy a lot less brighter understand the difference that you consider to be so clear. Coz things look a little fuzzy from where I sit.

    I guess that the argument that you are making is the Cosmos are “contenders” while FCNY were “pretenders”???

    You might be right. I REALLY hope that you are right. But if the Cosmos aren’t playing in the NASL after their debut season (for any other reason than moving up to MLS) then I will pretty much say that the scoreboard actually ends up pretty even in the log run.

    It’s great to have buzz take flight unless that buzz flames out like the Hindenburg and that is the first and last thing that comes to mind whenever the name is mentioned…

  20. Dave DuJour permalink
    July 13, 2012

    I don’t think the Thunder legacy can fall under the Stars banner. I think we can put both under the “Minnesota” banner. The Twin Cities market is one of the only (the only?) market to have continuous professional soccer presence for over 20 years in this country. Period. Full stop. That is a big deal. It would suck to see that end.
    Ok, the Thunder weren’t pro the first few years. It’s still a long time.

  21. MrTuktoyaktuk permalink
    July 13, 2012

    Point well taken about USL Pro working only in a regional context.

  22. tomASS permalink
    July 13, 2012

    If you want the Wilf’s to purchase the Stars, the players are going to have to work on improving their tomfoolery and skulduggery off the field. 😉

  23. tomASS permalink
    July 13, 2012

    PS – the Wilf’s are not accustomed to purchasing teams with a Championship titles

  24. Bart permalink
    July 13, 2012

    I for one, applaud NASL’s efforts to build a team that MLS will take in a few years. Everyone on this site bitches about USL taking a “territory” that should be designated for NASL, but Lord forbid if NASL enters “MLS” and it is “ALL GOOD”.

    If NASL wants to take the same approach that USL did with their A-League, that is prime the pump for each team to move into MLS, they are doing nothing but gutting themselves and creating instability as Garber, like the Cheshire Cat he is, sits, just smiling as he feeds the NASL stock into MLS.

    The operating costs of this franchise will certainly exceed the cost of normal NASL teams. This is the most expensive piece of real estate in the country. The cost of payroll and taxes alone will have to be high.

    So Downs has now set the stage to drop the highest cost team, the Stars. Once northern Virginia kicks in, the next team to go will be Carolina…. and so on, and so on, until the league has new owners and the money losing teams that founded NASL are gone.

    This is so different from USL……like how?

  25. Tom permalink
    July 13, 2012

    @Bart,

    The difference is that your post is speculation versus what we factually know has existed with the USL. Where I come from, facts trump opinion.

  26. yankiboy permalink
    July 13, 2012

    Thank you for making an appearance, Barrister.

    I personally don’t get a lot of the Cosmos induced euphoria. Sure, the Comsos coming into the league appears to have a big up side. And “yes”, with the change in ownership groups, they appear to more capable than with the previous one.

    I haven’t asked the Commish, but it appears (see how I keep dropping that word?) that the hope is to ride the Cosmos buzz for all that it is worth and if they move up to MLS in a couple years then the buzz and brand recognitiion generated for the NASL (hopefully attracting other potential ownership groups to partner with) will be considered to have been worth it.

    Outside of folks down in Miami and the current ownership gorups involved, I don’t see why too many people would be celebrating unless they lived in NYC and feel like schleping out to the Island.

    As a regular Jay-the-(NASL)fan, I’ just don’t get why some of the other people around here or on other sites are so giddy with this news.

    Maybe I’m just too jaded…

  27. Bart permalink
    July 13, 2012

    @ Tom

    Facts versus opinion? Really? Read the article, Cosmos has already alluded to the desire of moving to MLS.

    Look at how Seattle, Portland, Montreal, and Vancouver ultimately gutted the A-League.

    Same path, same results.

  28. thesuperrookie permalink
    July 13, 2012

    I am disappointed that the NASL has yet to get an face-to-face audience with senio Vikings leadership.

    That is tragic.

  29. July 13, 2012

    We need a strong NASL. But yet, would be a huge bummer to see the Stars fold.

    Unlikely action may be required to get the Stars some attention. Round up the Dark Clouds and tell ’em to bring their flags and drums, go down to Vikings HQ, and start banging and waving.

    I don’t buy the “If people are talking about MLS in Minnesota its good for the Stars” BS that the team is forced to spew because, well, what the hell else can they say.

    Call some TV stations. Raise the the serious question: Did Wilf intend to kill Pro Soccer in Minnesota? It’s a legitimate, mainstream, newsworthy question. Give Wilf a chance to “save soccer in Minnesota” and be a hero.

    The only thing that is certain now is that if nobody does anything, if nothing changes, then this team is dead.

  30. Strikers Return permalink
    July 13, 2012

    @Bart – So essentially you’re saying that MLS will “gut” D2 by taking it’s best franchises? Thanks to USSF standards, I think D2 is more stable than it’s been in awhile. I always said from the time they were released, now we’ll know. We’ll know if D2 can work in our country at the present time, because the NASL will either crap out and die, or it will find a way to sustain itself. Would D2 be stronger right now today if Montreal, Vancouver, Portland, and Seattle were all still here? Of course. But if you look at things from the big picture point of view, things have been in the process of “shaking out to the proper levels” for some time now.

    But with all those teams gone (or known to be leaving like the Impact last year), the NASL has had a season and a half of what pretty much anyone would have to admit is success. They’ve had an extremely successful expansion in San Antonio, and they’ve got two more teams committed, one each in the next two years. They’ve got a group in San Diego making very public their interest in the league. And now we’re hearing about Virginia. No idea what to think about that, but if they have people that meet the USSF standards financially, and they’re willing to build their own stadium, you can’t just laugh and dismiss them.

    Everything isn’t perfect. Minnesota and at least two Traffic teams still need new owners. One thing no one is talking about in all this possible chopping of the Stars is the USSF. Technically the league needs to have 10 teams next year. Unless NASL brass is holding something under their hats along the lines of two existing franchises in lower leagues jumping to NASL next year, there really isn’t any way I can see that the USSF will look knindly on them contracting the Stars. Even with the Stars, that only brings them to 9 at the moment. I think the USSF would be far more willing to grant a waiver for 9 instead of 8, especially knowing they’d then only be one year away from adding that 10th team for certain in Ottawa. I’ll be incredibly shocked if the Stars are not playing at least one more year, UNLESS there are existing teams that will be joining that are just being kept hidden for now for obvious reasons.

    Eventually the MLS will stop expanding. If demand for the game in North America continues to growing after that point, the highest level of soccer open to expansion at that point will be D2. Down this long slow road there are plenty of opportunities to grow the game at all levels, and the right way. The trick is sustaining yourself over the long haul so you can see and realize those opportunities. If being the temporary home of the Cosmos for a couple of years helps the NASL on that road even a little bit, it’s a no-brainer. And D2 isn’t going to be gutted overnight thanks to the standards. It’s black and white on the wall when you ask Downs about entry into the league. Then it’s a choice – can you meet the standards. If the answer is yes, the USSF’s theory is that means you’re in a position to give it a legitimate shot. We just need to sit back and wait to see who, if anyone, comes up to the plate. The longer the NASL remains stable, the more you see teams sustainable over time, or come in with the kind of splash the Scorpions have, the more you’ll intrigue the right kind of people to join in.

  31. thomas permalink
    July 13, 2012

    “Expansion differences:

    NASL- NY Cosmos
    USL – FC NY

    So whoever has been dissing NASL should see the REAL difference.”

    Only one of the two could, can and has attracted Pele, Carlos Alberto, Eric Cantona and Cobi Jones as (respectively) honorary president, international ambassador, director and assistant director of soccer.

    Re: MSN Stars

    Forget about the Wilfs, they have no real interest in soccer, they are not serious and have shown no signs of getting serious about soccer. Their type of ownership involvement damages soccer. Have they even attended a single international match between them?

    Retaining a team in the Minneapolis area is a strategic requirement for any soccer league with hopes for a national footprint. Personally, I think the Blaine facility is better suited to a rugby audience than soccer’s demographic appeal, but given all the signs of the rise of soccer in the US it’d be foolish enterprise to cease operations at in the near-term.

  32. tomASS permalink
    July 13, 2012

    @superrookie and Darren- you can be disappointed, but you should not be surprised. The Wilf’s are too busy trying to get a retractable roof now so that will be their financial excuse in getting out of the con they perpetrated on the soccer fans of being interested in a MLS team in MN.
    The Wilfs are a bunch of soccer teasers.

    However, to Darren’s point on the Dark Clouds heading down to Vikings headquarters to raise attention; they would at least be far more intelligent and much less dorky than the Viking fans down at the capital building. At least the Dark Clouds would be able to speak in complete and coherent sentences and deliver a rational argument……..even after the Surly

  33. tomASS permalink
    July 13, 2012

    @thomas – two comments
    1) Great observations about the Wilfs
    2) That is a funny way to spell tomASS, I have never seen it spelled that way before.

  34. July 13, 2012

    @tomASS, “The Wilf’s are too busy trying to get a retractable roof now so that will be their financial excuse in getting out of the con they perpetrated on the soccer fans of being interested in a MLS team in MN.”

    You have that one tomAss backwards. The Wilfs wanted on open air stadium, the state and city wanted a roof. The Wilfs have no reason or interest in spending another $50 to 75 mill on a retractable roof UNLESS, they truly want an MLS team. As you see the stadium plan develop that will be your key to whether they are truly interested in an MLS franchise. This point was made several times during the stadium debate and Lester Bagley pretty much all but admitted that if they go down that road, they would need to have a retractable roof.

  35. yankiboy permalink
    July 13, 2012

    “Only one of the two could, can and has attracted Pele, Carlos Alberto, Eric Cantona and Cobi Jones as (respectively) honorary president, international ambassador, director and assistant director of soccer.”
    -Thomas

    You must be giving props to the clubs and not the leagues with that one.

    All of those dudes you mentioned became active with Nostalgia FC when the supposedly ressurected organization was nothing more than pimping retro wear and running a couple of academies (one of which I’m pretty sure they are no longer operation).

    Ok. They had a friendly, too.

    Come on Bro–let’s keep ir real, here. NASL 2.0 didn’t have JACK to do with those guys’ particiapation. Zilch. Nada.

    I got nothin’ but love for you, Playah but I can’t let you throw that card without calling you on it.

    Nostalgia FC deserves props for the guys’ services that they have managed to retain. But even with FCNY’s highly hyped and short-lived USLPRO life–they actually managed to play some competitive matches that actually counted for something. They are still playing more matches than the Cosmos organization.

    I wouldn’t even begin to infer all of the stars attached to the Cosmos as being some sort of NASL expansion victory.

    They got a stars and they got name recognition. Now it looks like they got some sweet capital to make things happen.

    Now I’m just waiting for them to play a real match.

  36. tomASS permalink
    July 13, 2012

    @BQ – LOL wouldn’t be the first time.
    IMO, what is said and the action taken often times differ when reality is in place. I believe the Wilfs are very wily and cunning ( conning?) businessmen. I have never understood why you would need a retractable roof for the MLS

  37. tomASS permalink
    July 13, 2012

    ummmm, my last post was what one would refer to as STUPID.

    for some reason I thought the new Viking stadium was already open aired and not fixed roof.

    Never mind

    PS – real vikings never would play inside nor did they ever have horns on their helmets

  38. July 13, 2012

    Then is was just as I thought, tomAss backwards. 😉

  39. tomASS permalink
    July 13, 2012

    @BQ – it does have a nice ring to it doesn’t it??
    🙂

  40. July 13, 2012

    The new Cosmos owners have much more money and the new management appears to have a tangible plan, all in contrast to the Kemsley Cosmos. My guess is the Cosmos will play in the NASL, perhaps at Hofstra University as suggested above, until another New York MLS stadium in Flushing Meadows is complete, which may be three or four years from now. League play in the NASL will give the Cosmos credibility over other potential MLS owners groups that also want to move into Flushing Meadows as the second NYC team. The Cosmos also claim to have the financial wherewithal to build the stadium as soon as they would like. Additionally, there is no salary cap in the NASL, which is also good news for the Cosmos — they have indicated that the team will likely spend a lot on big name talent. All indications point to a team with higher ambitions than second division.

    Accordingly, I’m not fully convinced that the addition of the Cosmos affects the circumstances of the Stars FC in the NASL. The NASL should not count on the Cosmos to help maintain longer term FIFA requirements given the Cosmos’ stay is likely only temporary. Other possible expansion teams pose as much of a threat or more to the viability of the Stars, which was the case even before the Cosmos joined the league.

  41. Fotbalist permalink
    July 13, 2012

    Thanks for this article BQ! One of the many contributors above suggested that the Dark Clouds, and hopefully other supporters, pressure the Wilfs at their offices or something of the sort.

    I think that’s a good idea, but we can simply turn it into a Rally for the MN Stars. With some well planned and methodical publicity and the rounding up of as many fans as possible this would get a great deal of attention statewide (perhaps even nation-wide). This is a worth-while idea; it needs to be explored.

    As true fans of the beautiful game we need to begin to be visible on Minnesota’s sports landscape. A fun, exciting and respectful rally would truly increase interest. Something to consider.

  42. Fotbalist permalink
    July 13, 2012

    @ Rudy Hofman – I like your observations about the MN Stars FC, and I agree.

  43. WSW permalink
    July 14, 2012

    So does anybody think we can see any surprises as signings go with Cosmos? maybe a Ronaldinho.

  44. Edward permalink
    July 14, 2012

    I’m not sure how anybody can say Downs is being desperate with his statements with regards to Loudoun County. The proposed site, the Dog Yard, was approved back in 2009 and here it is 2012 and construction hasn’t begun yet. Now they want to add a soccer team as a tenant for this stadium that they haven’t even started building yet? Sure sounds like somebody you’d want to get serious sooner rather than later.

  45. SteveZ permalink
    July 14, 2012

    Fans in Minnesota need to get organized, get busy, and make yourself heard – to both the Vikings organization and the NASL, sooner rather than later. No doubt you have a chance to sway this outcome if you start ASAP.

  46. Bart permalink
    July 14, 2012

    @Rudy Hoffman

    I don’t see how the Cosmos playing in the NASL would provide the Cosmos with “more” credibility. If their stated interest is in moving to MLS, it will consist of a review of the owners and a payment of at least $40,000,000. The big boy club ain’t cheap, and if you want to hobnob with these guys, you need to float the cash, something Garber will certainly vet during the due diligence process.

    There is a big difference between NASL and MLS, in spite of what King Davidson would like to infer.

    I still submit that if the NASL model is to set up teams for ultimately moving to MLS, it is a model that cannabalizes itself, which is what happened to the A-League. It is much like getting married to Betty, knowing that in a few years, you will divorce her and marry Sally, as Sally is who you truly love. Until you get a relationship with Sally, all you have is mental masturbation dreams with Betty, hoping you will not scream Sally’s name out during the honeymoon.

  47. tomASS permalink
    July 14, 2012

    @WSW – Cosmos will sign Pele
    🙂

  48. Tom permalink
    July 14, 2012

    I’m a firm believer in “a rising tide raises all boats” and the Cosmos playing in the NASL should raise the visibility of the league, increase attendances when they are visiting, and improve the overall financial health of the current teams. Since this is an election year, I guess we could call it “supply side” economics or “trickle down” (although there now might readers thinking the league is doomed…..).

    I have also never understood why MLS is stuck on this 20 team league concept – why because that’s how it’s done in Europe? The MLS has playoffs and no pro/rel so why get hung up on team count? The entire population of Germany (80M), France (65M), UK (60M), Italy (60M), and Spain (47M) IS STILL SMALLER THAN THE US (not even including Canada) and that’s 5 leagues and 98 teams. I see no reason why the US couldn’t have 30-32 teams eventually (just like the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL) as the potential television revenue for all the missing markets will eventually be too enticing. There are no teams in roughly 9 of the top 20 largest US metropolitan areas with cities like Atlanta, Detroit, MSP, Miami, Cleveland, St. Louis, Orlando, San Diego, etc.. having no team but lots of potential eyeballs. Doesn’t mean they will all work, but also just because a team failed 10 years ago doesn’t mean it will fail as a new entity.

    Now time for a bit of NostraTOMus…. I see many similarities between what happened between the old NFL and the AFL (shows you how old I am) that the potential exists should the NASL continue to smartly grow over time…..
    and with some of their inherent advantages (much smaller entry cost, salary flexibility, heritage)…..
    and if at some point in the future start making it to the finals/winnng the US Cup…..
    A merger could occur between the two leagues to create a 32+ team league.
    Might be 10+ years down the line, but if the game (and TV ratings) continues to grow here in the US then the national network TV contract with all the major markets might be too tough to pass up.
    Some might think I’m on to something, others might think I’m on something, but something to think about.

  49. Danwolf permalink
    July 14, 2012

    @Tom
    I agree with you for the most part. I think the NASL will become to MLS what the AFL became to the NFL. The question is if there is a merger would it be a Pro/Rel Merger or NASL merging with MLS to become 1 league.
    I guess it just depends on whether FIFA decides to pressure the USSF towards Pro/Rel or not. Either way I like it. I love hearing stories of AFL vs NFL . It would be nice to see it in soccer.

  50. Mike (the other one) permalink
    July 14, 2012

    Since many are referencing Rudy’s post, I’ll do the same. I’ll leave Tom alone (paging Yankiboy!).

    “they have indicated that the team will likely spend a lot on big name talent”(?). Not sure where he got that from, but here’s a direct quote from a recent online Sports Illustrated article:

    “O’Brien cautioned that although the NASL doesn’t have a salary cap, it would be “not a very smart business decision” to throw around huge sums of money to sign players for a second-division team (particularly since there’s no way of getting promoted to the top flight). But he does want to bring in some recognizable players and a coaching staff that will give his team the best chance to win.”

    As for their “tangible plan”, what is that exactly? They have the short term to deal with first, and getting a full infrastructure in place and functioning for an April 2013 season start is going to be a very tall order, regardless of how much money they apparently have. They should have already had an established venue in place among other things. This could be one of those Ottawa-type “they’re playing next season…oh wait, no they aren’t” situations.

    It was also really nice of double-talk Downs to bring up kicking the Stars to the curb immediately after the Cosmos announcement. Excellent PR move there sir! Buchholz should have gotten that 3 year commitment in writing.

  51. SteveZ permalink
    July 15, 2012

    Fans need continuity in this country. It’s frustrating to see so many teams come and go when there are 70 to 100 year old teams in Europe, South America, etc. It’s hard to commit to a team if they might be gone in a couple years. Hopefully the NASL won’t be so casual about dropping this team. (Plus, will BQ care enough about NASL to continue all this coverage? Or will we be getting the NPSL podcast next year?)

  52. Edward permalink
    July 15, 2012

    @Danwolf, you’re more likely to get an NBA-ABA or NHL-WHA scenario than an NFL-AFL one. Not to mention the countless pretenders who faded out with even a whisper of a merger with the dominant league.

  53. Amerisnob permalink
    July 15, 2012

    That the statement about the Stars comes straight from Downs’ mouth is ominous, but I don’t see a 100% definite exit for the Stars next year.

    Let’s say the league’s expansion plans in Loudon and elsewhere hit a stall. The addition of the Cosmos means the rest of the owners are taking less of a loss on the Stars by splitting said loss between 8 teams instead of 7 (and 9 soon, if we include Ottawa; possibly more). The extra year or two would be enough time for Wilf to show his true colors regarding MLS. As soon as Wilf announces he wants a team, the Stars can go. If he doesn’t want MLS definitely, the search for an owner probably becomes a bit easier.

    It depends on the extent of the Stars’ losses, however.

  54. yankiboy permalink
    July 16, 2012

    WSW: Did you really drop “Ronaldinho”, Bro?

    I know that you love to get tipsy off the NASL spiked Kool-Aid but I think you need to back away from the punch bowl just a lil bit.

    Check out the Grant Wahl article where the new Cosmos boss says that they don’t plan on throwing money away like the old Cosmos’ bosses…

    If you haven’t already seen it, peep this, Playah:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/grant_wahl/07/13/new-york-cosmos/index.html?eref=si_mostpopular

  55. yankiboy permalink
    July 16, 2012

    @Tom: I checked my box on the list of options that you provided as it states “(Most definitely) ON something!!!!” 🙂

    I seriously LOVE and ADMIRE your optimisim, though.

  56. smatthew permalink
    July 16, 2012

    So it’s the same as it’s always been, Minnesota soccer fans need their own Adrian Hanauer to hold us over until the possibility of someone in the Vike’s ownership group brings us an MLS team. Oh if only this was 1990’s and Bill George still owned us; I could see Mr. George working with the Viking brass to make it work.

  57. Ski Dawg permalink
    July 16, 2012

    Long time no post. I read the comments here and had to throw in my two cents.

    First off, congrats on NY Cosmos for their decision to play in NASL next year.

    Secondly, I need to address what Tom and Danwolf are talking about, because I tackled this very situation on my sports blog:

    – FIFA has a hard cap of 20 teams in the top tier league. They would never allow a NFL-AFL style merger between MLS and NASL.

    – FIFA made it very clear to us when they gave the 2022 World Cup to Qatar that one of the reasons the US didn’t get it was lack of promotion and relegation.

    – Also, the Cosmos joining NASL added to MLS’ third round disaster has fans clamoring for pro/rel.

    I think what we’ll see in the next 5-10 years is pro/rel between MLS and NASL. This may mean MLS buys out NASL, but under my plan every NASL side will have a chance to play their way into MLS the same way they do, well, everywhere else. It would also give MLS sides incentive to not play like garbage all year, lest they find themselves relegated to NASL.

    Feel free to discuss the merits of these ideas, but please no hate mail. 🙂

  58. Amerisnob permalink
    July 16, 2012

    “- FIFA has a hard cap of 20 teams in the top tier league. They would never allow a NFL-AFL style merger between MLS and NASL.”

    I shouldn’t really respond to this ridiculous post, but I will say it so EVERYONE HERE CAN SEE.

    NO THERE IS NO CAP ON THE NUMBER OF TEAMS IN A TOP TIER LEAGUE. NOTHING HAS EVER BEEN OFFICIALLY PASSED ON THE SUBJECT. ANYONE WHO CLAIMS OTHERWISE IS WRONG.

    “- FIFA made it very clear to us when they gave the 2022 World Cup to Qatar that one of the reasons the US didn’t get it was lack of promotion and relegation.”

    Actually, FIFA made it very clear to us when they gave the 2022 World Cup to Qatar that the only reason the US didn’t get it was lack of enough money to stuff the ExCo’s pockets. Anything else is just spin and/or total bullshit.

    “Some other pro/rel bullshit that’s been seen 1000’s of times before.”

    Why would MLS want pro/rel? What financial benefit does the league get from this and does it outweigh the costs?

    Nope.

  59. tomASS permalink
    July 16, 2012

    a rising tide does not raise all boats. Boats with holes in them tend to become submerged. Remember to wear you life vest

    @AmeriSnob – agree on Quatar, our US Soccer Mafioso didn’t not come with enough bribes.

    regarding pro/rel – I know it is like pears and bananas here in the states, but there is nothing more fun than the last day of the season in the EPL to see who stays and who needs to revamp their business plans. I can’t see MLS agreeing to it, though competition to keep your position in the top tier certainly would make an owner from becoming too complacent. Nothing with a little more pressure for coaches and players too.

  60. yankiboy permalink
    July 16, 2012

    Amerisnob: Take it easy, Playah!

    I feel you on your points–believe me, I really do. I’m right there with ya. You and me and in the same rowboat. You got an oar and I got one and we’re rowing towards a shore of a land called “Realitylandia”, where the inhabitants recognize that FIFA might as well be like a Geneva based version of the Wu-Tang Clan when they were at the height of their brilliance: It’s all about da C.R.E.A.M for that crew-

    Ca$h Rules Everything Around Me! Dolla Dolla Bill Y’all! (Hey, they’ll take euros, francs, yen,–whatever spends–they don’t discriminate.

    But can we dull down a little of the intensity? Just a notch? Maybe sans the profanity.

    Ski Dawg loves to fly the pro/rel flag. That’s trademark. Kinda like my trademark is typos.

    En the great Republic of Realitylandia, dudes who form ownership groups and purchase franchise operating rights for sports franchises and manage to get stadium deals done–even with a generous amount of public coin or tax breaks–they don’t wanna see their $40 million buy in fee going down the drain when their club gets relegated and they have to sell their fan base on matches against NASL clubs than most have never heard of, let alone knew existed. There’s a reason why they bought into Major League Soccer and not Minor League Soccer.

    That just ain’t gonna happen in the US or Canada. The worst club in the NHL is NEVER gonna be relegated to the AHL to play alongside the Rochester Amerks and the Rochester Redwings are NEVER going to be found playing alongside of my FINALLY respectable again O’s, the hated Yankees and Red Sox, etc in the American League East.

    Just. Ain’t. Gonna. Happen.

    But hey, Ski Dawg has the knowledge of knowing that they many also questioned what reality Einstein (time, space theory of relativity???) and Matt Groening(who’s gonna watch a 1/2 hour cartoon in primetime tv?) were living in to.

    Maybe, 10 years from now, you and I will look like the ones who were a bit “off”. History is really peculiar that way.

    (but I wouldn’t bet on it…) 🙂

    crazy, too

  61. July 17, 2012

    Besides Orlando City and Rochester, who else should be playing Division 2, any others?

  62. yankiboy permalink
    July 17, 2012

    Ah heck–let’s make Charleston and Richmond move back up, why don’t we!?!?!

  63. Jim (aka MLSinSTL) permalink
    July 17, 2012

    Yankiboy – love the sarcasm! Why not take Pittsburg & Wilmington too? Oh wait, there are those pesky USSF standards & the owners of those teams actually have to want to change leagues!

    There are no indications that is the case for any of the USLPro teams but I do love the wishful thinking and speculation!

  64. July 17, 2012

    yes, I tend to agree on the wishful thinking. but, what about Charlotte? I don’t know, could they be a possibility?

  65. Stephen permalink
    July 18, 2012

    As funny as it is to lambast the .com for their comment, shouldn’t we be discussing why Downs specifically mentioned a USL team possibly jumping leagues?

    My bets are on he is letting the other teams in USL know there is an open door in his office to talk to him about the move. I also bet so far, none have taken him up on it.

    But what if there is an odd chance a team in USL is talking to Downs? Hmm…..

    He also mentioned NPSL. I read somewhere recently that San Diego Flash of NPSL was close to securing a move to NASL.

    Take into consideration also, with the new big owners moving into D.C. United, it appears they are a lock for not moving to a new market. So Baltimore may be back on the table for expansion for NASL and USL. I did read somewhere that NASL trademarked the “Baltimore Bays” team name a while back. I wonder if they have someone interested in starting a team there?

  66. Bart permalink
    July 18, 2012

    @ Stephen,

    I thought the Downs statement was interesting as well. As with the NASL teams, the USL Pro teams have binding contracts to the league, and there would be a legal fight if one jumps from USL to NASL or vice versa, so this is either a statement to incite a “panic” with USL, or to simply take a shot across the bow to see what happens.

    If NASL is stooping to NPSL teams to go pro, that is simply desperate.

  67. yankiboy permalink
    July 18, 2012

    @Jim-If only those around me in my “real” life appreciated my not so subblime brilliance as you do (sigh). The world would be a much better place for it, Playah.

    @AmericanSoccer: The missionaries don’t have the ca$h or desire to move back up the second division. NASL’s best shot for Charlotte would be a more traditional (that wants to sell some suds and have Hooters’ girls running around leading “cheers”) ownership group with real deep pockets to emerge.

    Charlotte is one market, where I think that NASL and USLPRO might be able to successfully exist, given the specific parameters and objectives of the Eagles’ ownership group.

  68. yankiboy permalink
    July 18, 2012

    @Stephen: I think that you are maybe reading way too much into the Commish’s comments. All he basically said about any USLPRO clubs potentially being interested in a move at some point in the future was pretty much “They know where to find us”. That’s it.

    San Diego has indicated that they are interested in moving to the NASL-interest doesn’t mean jackola if you ain’t got the coin. Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. I don’t know. Interest and “close to securing” are two, very different things, my brother.

    Baltimore/DC: It’s not a “lock” that the new owners are going to be able to get a deal done for a stadium in DC. Even though they appear to be in a much better position now, as opposed to a month ago–never underestimate potential for drama with DC Council politics, Playah. I’m bein’ serious as a heart attack with that point, Playah.

    DC United is now willing and able to put up their own capital to make a stadium happen but they still are going to ask for some publicly funded support (land, tax breaks, infratructure assistance–something).

    They might not get the deal done and they may still end up being Baltimore United when all is said and done.

    I don’t care what anybody says about Baltimore. I don’t see why anybody in their right mind would invest to put that market back into the NASL. USLPRO–I can see that one. NASL?!?!? No chance, Lance…

  69. Strikers Return permalink
    July 18, 2012

    @Bart – You’re just clowning on yourself right? This is one of those, “stir the pot” posts, yes? LOL First off, tell me how the previous “legal fights” between these two organizations for the exact same league jumping issue have gone. Any results? Any “consequences?” Nope. And that’s the way FIFA likes it, and of course, being the most powerful organization in the known world, FIFA always gets what they want. LOL

    Downs didn’t do anything except answer a question. The same question he’s been asked by multiple people. And he’s always answered it the same way. Any dummy can see Orlando sitting there operating a D2 franchise in a D3 league. But the other thing that still hasn’t changed, as far as any of us know, is Rawlins’ attitude. It’s not hard at all to make a good case for them switching to the NASL. But as long as Rawlins thumbs his nose at it, then that’s that. I wouldn’t put my money on seeing Orlando in NASL in 2013, despite the fact that I’d love to see it and think it makes lots of sense.

    As for your shot at NPSL, your focus is wrong, and it renders your statement meaningless, and makes you look petty again chief. You’re completely missing the boat simply to take abother shot at the NASL, and now apparently at the NPSL as well. If you don’t like the way the NPSL operates, come out and say that. If you don’t like how a particular NPSL team, for example the San Diego Flash, is operated, just give it to us straight with your reasons why. But to just throw a ridiculous blanket statement on the entire league like that, just to bad mouth the NASL is, well, I suppose it’s par for the course for you. LOL

    First let’s examine some facts. You know, things that are based in reality, have actually happened, and can be observed, measured, and reviewed. Since the run up to the 2011 season, I think the record of the NASL when it comes to their ability to properly vet ownership groups is pretty strong. And your darlings the USL Pro…? Well, we’ll call it…not so much…and leave it at that. Show of hands – who is surprised by the results of this comparison? Anyone? Bueller?

    The USSF, not the NASL or anyone else, the USSF handed down the standards for D2 leagues and franchises prior to the 2011 season. They determined that they believed the standards to be the blueprint, if you will, for an organization to make a legitimate go of succeeding at the D2 level in this country. To insinuate that the NASL would be “stooping” to review an application for membership in their league from anyone who demonstrates they can and will meet the USSF standards is assinine and self-defeating. Any group that is currently in the NPSL, PDL, USL Pro, hell even my city rec league, that comes to Downs and presents an application that shows they can meet the standards, would of course be considered. I’m sure the NASL has it’s own criteria it would want met on top of the USSF standards.

    So save the jealous pot shots (see what I did there? LOL) and join the rest of us in enjoying the continued growth of the NASL. Who knows what surprises it will reveal next!

  70. Bart permalink
    July 18, 2012

    @ Strikers Return

    You are right, how could I have been so wrong? Any NPSL owner naturally has the $20,000,000 net worth to be qualified for an NASL team, what could I have been thinking? They just went to NPSL to test the waters.

  71. WSW permalink
    July 18, 2012

    Wow how I missed the” most competitive league under MLS”….USL is so boring, guess who’s 10 points in the lead from second place…

    and OC will not play in NASL ever..Downs has talked to them but they have no interest.

    So it looks like they will stay in USL and be the Harlem Globetrotters of D3.

    and MLS will pass them by.

  72. Bart permalink
    July 19, 2012

    @WSW

    The Harlem Globetrotters make a lot of money. Overhead is not that large, they don’t pay hefty league fees and are not required to fund a Commissioner overhead.

    It is always about the economics.

  73. Strikers Return permalink
    July 19, 2012

    @Bart – No one said that the ownership we know about currently with the Flash definitely meets the financial standards. Why am I having to connect the dots for you on this? They obviously will need the proper financial backing to officially apply to the league. I don’t know, call me crazy, but I’m guessing they might actually have the werewithal to secure that prior to actually trying to officially join. Just thinking totally outside the box here, but maybe, just maybe, they’re making their intentions known to the San Diego community in the hopes that it might attract some investor interest. Just throwing things out at random here…..

  74. Bart permalink
    July 19, 2012

    @ Strikers Return

    Keep throwing out the random thoughts. And I won’t call you crazy.

  75. Danwolf permalink
    July 19, 2012

    @striker return
    Just Ignore Negative Nancy.
    The NASL could be the greatest league in the world and USL-Pro could be the butt of all jokes and Negative Nancy would still throw a fit that he think USL-pro is the greatest and the NASL is a joke.
    I think he was dropped on the head at young age but hey if he wants go scuba diving with an Anvil tied to his leg i say let him.

  76. July 19, 2012

    Oooh, boy.

    Ski Dawg: “- FIFA has a hard cap of 20 teams in the top tier league.”

    No, they do not.

    “They would never allow a NFL-AFL style merger between MLS and NASL.”

    There is no evidence to suggest that they would not. The APSL and USISL merged to form the new A-League in 1997. There is precedent. And FIFA will allow basically whatever USSF/CSA is okay with.

    “FIFA made it very clear to us when they gave the 2022 World Cup to Qatar that one of the reasons the US didn’t get it was lack of promotion and relegation.”

    No, they did not.

    “Also, the Cosmos joining NASL added to MLS’ third round disaster has fans clamoring for pro/rel.”

    Some fans have been “clamoring for pro/rel” for years, and the Cosmos’ addition to the NASL does nothing to change that, given the mechanism that exists for lower-level teams to move up to MLS. As for “MLS’ third round disaster,” have you seen who’s in the Cup final? Do you know that 2012 was the first year there were 16 MLS teams in the US Open Cup? Do you know how to do math?”

    “I think what we’ll see in the next 5-10 years is pro/rel between MLS and NASL.”

    And I will bet you $1,000 cash that doesn’t happen by 2022.

    “This may mean MLS buys out NASL, but under my plan every NASL side will have a chance to play their way into MLS the same way they do, well, everywhere else.”

    Like they do in Mexico, where they can play their way in, and then get bought out not to go up by a bigger club that’s being relegated? That “everywhere else?”

    So besides having your facts wrong and your interpretations wrong and your world view incredibly wrong, you’re spot-on with everything you’ve said.

  77. July 19, 2012

    @AmericanizeSoccer.com “yes, I tend to agree on the wishful thinking. but, what about Charlotte? I don’t know, could they be a possibility?”

    The Charlotte Eagles? That Charlotte?

    Do you have any idea what you’re talking about?

  78. tomASS permalink
    July 19, 2012

    @danwolf – I heard Bart is an excellent swimmer, very excellent, excellent swimmer

  79. Bart permalink
    July 19, 2012

    @ Danwolf

    Negative Nancy is as good of a term as you can come up with?

    I am not USL Pro versus NASL. NASL has the best league, hands down with ,b>far better talent, and a much higher value of entertainment than anything that USL Pro could ever hope for.

    It is disappointing that USL Pro cannot compete with the smarter more agile, and extremely smarter owners of NASL. That dumbass of an owner in Orlando has lost his mind, with the money he is paying for talent, he should be in NASL. And what about Rochester? Does that nincompoop of an owner not realize that NASL is just plain better and the more appropriate vehicle for the Rhinos, a team that has been around forever?

    You can lead a horse to the sweet cool waters of the trough, but you simply cannot force that horse to drink it, no matter how thirsty it is.

  80. Bart permalink
    July 19, 2012

    Hey @danwolf,

    As with everything in the internet world, it is best to read between the lines! 🙂

  81. tomASS permalink
    July 19, 2012

    @Bart – did you make it that simple for a reason?

  82. Mike permalink
    July 19, 2012

    @Bart,

    Despite being a bit hasty with the ‘f’, you are a truly a credit to smart-asses everywhere. I raise a glass of Laurent-Perrier to you sir, bravo!

  83. Bart permalink
    July 19, 2012

    @tomASS

    Absolutely, I believe in the KISS concept. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

    @ Mike

    And I toast to you with a Dry Bombay Martini!

  84. tomASS permalink
    July 19, 2012

    I prefer vodka or tequila straight up

    @Bart you’re a credit to Gene Simmon’s fans every where

  85. Strikers Return permalink
    July 20, 2012

    Anyone else ever envision that Bart is like a carbon copy of Matlock, except that, instead of pretending to be befuddled, he really is?

  86. Bart permalink
    July 20, 2012

    @Strikers Return

    Why do you insist on constantly hurting my feelings? It is bad enough that my wonderful bride takes a belt to me every evening, and a whip on those occasions when I have been a particularly bad boy.

    I come here for solace and companionship and this is how you treat me?

    Can’t we all just get along?

  87. GaelForce permalink
    July 20, 2012

    Just throwing this out there – If at the end of the USLPro season Rochester back to the NASL which they could easily do (Rivalry with New York??) what will Rawlins do then? What is the possibility that Charleston could jump too??

  88. July 21, 2012

    @GaelForce, Actually, you are not just throwing it out there as these subjects have already been discussed on this very thread. I know it’s a lot of comments to read through but that is not a new subject.

  89. John permalink
    July 21, 2012

    Lets talk about the real story and that is Minnesota Stars does not have an owner nor does Carolina RailHawks, Atlanta Silverbacks. If the Star’s front office look at the bigger picture the New York Cosmos are a blessing to league. Why? Half of the owner is foreign. While we all want domestic ownership, in America where soccer is not that popular with the rich investors, looking outside will be better. Thanks to the rise of the Bric nations their are alot of rich people. In India, Southeast Asia, Brazil, and even the middle east. Traffic Sport is a Brazilian company that owns three of those teams. Downs should help try to sell it to some rich Brazilians. The reason why I like Don Garber is his involvement in Major League Soccer. I know Downs is heavily involved but he should look at the Minnesota Stars Youtube page. Their is a video that the Stars made called we are not a minor league. In this video it shows the Stars thrashing Real Salt Lake. I love that video because the Stars hit home what soccer is. Their is no minor league in soccer. What resemble minor league in soccer are their academies, U23 program. It just shows that the Stars considered themselves a professional team that if MLS and NASL ever had promotion and Relegation, it can compete on the highest level. And if NASL and USL Pro considered themselves a minor league it makes the U.S Open Cup Irrelevant. The New York Cosmos do not considered themselves a minor league team. Just because NASL is sanctioned as D2 should not mean the teams should play like it. They should play and promote like a D1 team. Look at San Antonio plans for its stadium. The thought of reaching phase 4 with 18000 seats might become reality. And yet they play in D2 and they might never go to MLS because MLS already has two Texas teams. What I.m really trying to say their is world full of rich people where soccer is their main sport but cannot obtain one because it might expensive in their own country. Carolina, Atlanta, and Minnesota should market themselves as a pro soccer team that is cheap and ready to be invested and compete and create its own soccer story and legacy.

  90. Gaelforce permalink
    July 21, 2012

    @BQ – I’ve read through the comments but my point was that without Rochester, Orlandos biggest rival in terms of attendance etc would put them even further ahead of everyone else. Could Rochester possibly force Orlando’s hand?

  91. John permalink
    July 21, 2012

    What really needs to happen in USL Pro is the rest of the teams need to have orlando’s mentality. Orlando is all about MLS even though Don Garber has not really been persistant with Orlando like NY2. Charleston, Harrisburg, and Rochester are the only teams that I think that can compete with Orlando especially Charleston that gives Orlando a fight. What the other teams need to do is step up their development and academies. The only team I can sympthaize with is LA Blues because they are the only west coast team. If I was USL Pro I will get F Tuscon to join Phoniex next year to help reduce LA Blues burden. Also LA Blues need to move to Long Beach and call themselves the Long Beach Blues. First LA has Chivas and Galaxy so LA is crowded. Long Beach fits the blue name and logo because its a maritime city. They will also have increase attendence because the blues will Long Beach only professional soccer team. Like I said the Blues can be a title contender their are in position to take playoff spot. But for this season to be honest Gaelforce Charleston is the only team that can force Orlando hand. Next season Phoniex can be a force if the front office do everything right

  92. Bart permalink
    July 21, 2012

    @Gaelforce

    The attendance for the home game is only important to the home team. At the lower division levels, it is all about the home game, as the ticket sales, merchandise sales, food and drink sales are all kept by the home team.

    If Rochester plays Orlando in Orlando, it only cares about playing a competitive game, but financially it is a cost to Rochester that has to be offset by a Rochester home game.

  93. John permalink
    July 21, 2012

    That is true this lower division teams need to market themselves. Like Rochester Rhinos has been the Rhinos for years so they have history and should market that. Work with the Business community to market. Like they say sports and tv go together. But for USLPRO and NASL tv deals are going to be hard. We don’t know if the NY Cosmos will change that. But anyway they have streaming but they need to improve on how it is streamed. They need a company that is devoted to filming USL Pro and NASL games.

  94. Gaelforce permalink
    July 21, 2012

    I dunno if something got lost in translation (I’m in Ireland) but what I meant was, if Rochester move would it realistically mean that Orlando has to go up too to be taken seriously by MLS?

  95. John permalink
    July 21, 2012

    no not really MLS wants a team in the South. Orlando just needs to prove it has the front office to do it

  96. July 22, 2012

    sorry, I am confused. Can someone tell me which teams exactly does Traffic Sports own? Also, are they the whole owner of that team(s)?

  97. John permalink
    July 22, 2012

    if i remeber i think its atlanta, caronlina, and minnesota, and someone said fort lauderdale

    i say find foreign ownership

  98. July 22, 2012

    No, it’s all of Carolina and Fort Lauderdale. Miami FC was their first team but they were behind the NASL and breaking away from the USL. They took over Carolina when Wellman dropped out during the sanctioning process and needed another team to make 8 so they convinced Boris to jump back in with Atlanta after a two year hiatus when they were frustrated with the USL and dropped out. So Boris owns 49 or 51% of the Silverbacks, not sure which with Traffic owning the other half. Minnesota is league owned so all the teams, including Traffic, support their portion of Minnesota. Again, as this article spells out, Minnesota was brought back to life by the NASL as they were in need of 8 teams and the NSC could not meet the financial standards set by the USSF nor were they much interested in losing the money they did in 2010 when they fielded a team in the USSF D2 Pro League.

  99. July 22, 2012

    thanks brian, btw, if you do find out the exact situation in Atlanta, let us know, please.

  100. John permalink
    July 22, 2012

    but minnesota is a championship team why would they let them fold

    thats like mls getting rid of D.C United

  101. Bart permalink
    July 22, 2012

    @John

    Simple, because with attendance less than 2,000, Minnesota is suffering/bleeding from negative cash flow to the tune of $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 a year without any relief in sight. No sane investor would attempt to purchase this team, much less assume the obligations for free.

    It is a shame, because you are correct that is it a championship team, but alass, that is to no avail, as being number 1 in the standings does not mean you are financially successful in the accounting books.

    @BQ

    To be clear as it relates to Atlanta, Boris is allowing NASL to use his financial statements ONLY. Traffic assumes the full responsibility of all expenses, which is also between $750,000 to $1,850,000. Nice deal for Boris, he basks in the glory and ego of being a professional soccer team owner, yet bears none of the risk. Traffic needed him because there was no way that USSF would have allowed Traffic to have both Minnesota and Atlanta as non-qualified teams under their roster.

  102. John permalink
    July 22, 2012

    u know whats the problem is minnesota stadium is in Minnesota not in Minneapolis where the fans are and where they can market themselves
    their situation is similar to the red bulls but the redbulls should market in newark heavily now because they have no major sports team they should change their name to new jersey and do what seattle sounders did

    ever since supersonics left the sounders had filled the void. Minnesota should two more seasons. In that two two seasons play well like they are doing now but front office needs to look for deep pocket owners, move their team to the city and market. Their partnership with Brave New Media is good. They just need to go harder

    and someone needs to bring back ac st.louis because they had a cool logo so they can go to MLS and create a derby with sporting Kansas city

  103. yankiboy permalink
    July 23, 2012

    @John: If only it were as easy as you explain it, Bro. Minnesota is going hard. They understand better than anyone from the outside the organization that they have to go hard because their future depends on it.

    I agree that the Supersonics leaving Seattle helped provide the Sounders with an additional opportunity when they moved up to to MLS. I understand your point but I don’t know if they particular siutation could have been replicated in the US or Canada anyplace outside of Cascadia.

    You have great ideas but I think that you might not realize that you need money to do everything that you are talking about like promotions and youth academies. I’m sure that all of the clubs are working with the local business community and trying to find more sponsors and partnerships. Every club has someone working on that and the clubs in NASL and USLPRO get together to share information about what has worked or not worked for them.

    I have to disagree with you. There is a minor league in US, Canadian, PUerto Rican and Antiguan soccer. The reason that most clubs are the NASL and USLPRO is because they don’t have major league money and/or are not in a major league market.

    Charleston and Rochester are playing in USLPRO because that is where they have decided they want to be–it’s the best economic fit for them.

    On paper, your ideas sound fantastic but in reality, it’s just more complicated to run and own soccer franchise.

  104. July 23, 2012

    Well said, “playah”

  105. John permalink
    July 23, 2012

    yankiboy you right its just Don Garber commitment to get NY2 inspired. He made public and MLS mission 1 that it was impossible for any soccer investor to ignore. I like David Downs he is a smart man but look MLS had its contraction that expansion boom. USL PRO and NASL had the same thing I just want them to have the latter and succeed. I think with TV Deals NASL and USL Pro should go to NBC Sports. I think Fox Soccer do invest heavily in American Soccer has they do European. Even ESPN is doing well. Their Game of Week commercial for MLS are crazy. The best is the Chelsea vs All Star commercial. When it said a new world power in soccer and meant the U.S that sent chills.

    If I was David Downs I would get San Diego Flash and try to get a team in Anaheim California or try to get Anaheim Bolt to start an on field soccer team. And try to set up a team in Albuquerque.

    Ithinks with the start of Arab money coming to NASL more is going to come. You see that happening in Europe.

    Lets hope NASL and USL Pro get it right because if both stay stable for next 10 years and their teams do well in U.S Open Cup like they did this year. Those leagues will get TV deals

  106. John permalink
    July 23, 2012

    I also wanted to had with the Saudi Arabian team bringing financial support to the New York Cosmos, the only team I think that can compete with them on that level is San Antonio Scorpions. But based on skill and talent level, teams that can compete with them are Tampa Bay, San Antonio, Puerto Rico, and Minnesota. If San Diego comes next year it is a question mark. Does anybody know if Ottawa is backed by any financial heavyweights.

    I just know compared to MLS, USL PRO, AND NASL based on competitivesness for playoff spot
    1.NASL
    2USL PRO
    3. MLS

    If people are wondering why MLS is last because the Eastern Conference shows the teams already given. No competition. D.C, KC,NY CHICAGO, AND HOUSTON have sealed that standing. Western LA Galaxy win have sealed that conference so far.

    With NASL every team from 1 – 8 can make palyoff. When Wynalda took over Atlanta I thought of a Chelsea DiMatteo might happen.

    In USL Pro
    LA BLues to Harrisburg anything can happen

  107. John permalink
    July 23, 2012

    After seeing that Ottawa is owned by a sports group. In 2014 they will be a forced to be reckoned with. Edmonton better step up their games before Ottawa overshadow them

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