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NASL Appoints Former NFL Europe President Bill Peterson as New Commissioner

2012 November 27
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by Brian Quarstad

The North American Soccer League announced this afternoon that they have hired former NFL Europe President and AEG Senior Vice President Bill Peterson as their new Commissioner effective immediately.

Peterson comes to the league with a hefty background in executive sports management with over 20 years’ experience working for organizations like the NFL, AEG, Centerplate and more recently, the UFL.

Here is the official NASL press release: read more…

2014 FIFA World Cup Host City Posters

2012 November 26
by Brian Quarstad

On Sunday, November 25, the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup which will be held in Brazil, presented their official posters. The 12 host cities each held events to launch each official poster.

Hover over the “Notes” of each poster for more information about the city and the poster.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Is David Beckham Heading to the NASL’s New York Cosmos?

2012 November 26
by Brian Quarstad

David Beckham – photo by Brian Quarstad

According to a report in the Irish newspaper the Sunday World, a senior Cosmos source has confirmed that discussions are underway with David Beckham and his advisers to bring the multimillionaire soccer player in as part of the ownership group of the team with the possibility of someday playing for the team. The report said a decision is coming soon. That “senior official” told the Sunday World, “David has confirmed his interest and we expect an announcement before Christmas.”

Beckham has recently announced that after 6 seasons with the LA Galaxy he will leave the club after the 2012 MLS Cup, which will be played in Los Angeles at Home Depot Center next Sunday, December 2. Beckham has a clause in his contract that he can someday own a team in MLS after he retires.

“I’ve had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career,” said Beckham in a prepared statement which led many to speculate on what that “one last challenge” is? The BBC reported that Beckham’s agent had received offers from teams in Australia, Brazil, China, and several in Europe. read more…

Around the North American Soccer League – 11/25/12

2012 November 25
by Brian Quarstad

Gordon Hartman introduces new president and GM Howard Cornfield with the construction girders of Toyota Field in the background.

Much has been happening in the last several weeks around the North American Soccer League. Here’s a NASL recap with some inside rumors and talk.

Player Moves
Some teams have already been announcing player moves while other teams have been pretty quiet. Under the NASL rules, teams have 30 days to notify the league office if they will exercise their options on players with option years written into their contracts. I learned this last year from the Minnesota Stars who were very forthcoming with the players they passed on and the ones whose options were exercised.

Last year I contacted league commissioner David Downs about the information as I was hoping to put together a report on each of the teams. He stated that it was up to each team as to whether they chose to reveal that information or not. I found that some teams were very forthcoming while with others it was like pulling teeth. Minnesota and Tampa Bay were the most cooperative. I suggested to the league last year that if they want to create a buzz around their teams they are going to have to be better about making this sort of information available in the offseason to the media and their fans. Yes, even the players you are releasing! The other teams in the league all get that information so it’s not like it’s a big secret nor should it be. While MLS will soon be taking center stage with player moves, the second division NASL needs to get in front of their much smaller audience and do what they can to get their attention. Almost all teams should have reported into the league by now with Tampa and Minnesota still having a few days left, if they haven’t already.

NASL vs. USL PRO -or- Tampa vs. Orlando City or… Oh heck! Let’s just call it the Florida derby matches.
Early in November both the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL and Orlando City SC of USL PRO, announced they would play a home and away preseason friendly starting in March of 2013. The first match will be in Orlando at the Florida Citrus Bowl on Saturday, March 9, with the second following on Saturday, March 30 in St. Petersburg at Al Lang Stadium. read more…

Playoff Implications – Part 2; NASL Split Season Projections

2012 November 19
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by Jesse Erdmann

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Jesse Erdmann’s blog Screaming at Pigeons. Jesse is a long time friend and technical consultant to IMSoccer and du Nord futbol.  He is also a board member for the Dark Clouds, supporters of pro soccer in Minnesota. After reading this post it will become clear that Jesse loves soccer and loves numbers and particularly enjoys it when he can mix the two.
Brian Quarstad

The NASL has announced a change in format to split their season and have the champions of the two halves play for the Soccer Bowl. After hearing about an article at Triangle Offense on the IMS NASL podcast, I decided to take a closer look into the changes. Part I can be found here.

In this edition, the focus is on how long teams are eligible through each half of the season and the number of games without bearing on the playoffs we can expect in coming seasons under the 2013 format.  We’ll also take a look at how adding teams to the postseason can extend the eligibility of poorer performing teams and the reduce the number of games with no bearing on the post season.

Number of Teams

The simulations were run with several different league configurations, from an eight team league representing this year (and possibly the 2013 apertura if you subscribe to the rumors about the Cosmos not being ready) up to fourteen teams. Why so many?  2013 is expected to have nine teams competing, but when the data was initially being generated ten seemed possible. For 2014, 11 teams are announced including Ottawa and Loudoun County with Indianapolis seeming to be a strong contender for number 12. There is always the possibility of another team or two being announced between now and then so the simulations were run with up to 14. In a double round robin this means that each team in an eight-team league will play 14 games, while in a 14-team league each team will play a 26-game schedule.

Team Profiles

To estimate the outcomes we simulated seasons with varying parameters.  Each simulated season generates a random profile for each team that includes an expected home and road win, loss and tie percentage.  The randomly generated profiles don’t resemble real results, but if we were to generate a season with team profiles from 2012 (see standings) the team profiles would look something like this: read more…

Giovanni Savarese to Coach NASL’s New York Cosmos

2012 November 19
by Brian Quarstad

A little more than a week after the New York Cosmos named Erik Stover as the COO of the organization, the former Red Bull man has announced the hiring of the team’s first coach. Giovanni Savarese, another former Red Bull employee, has been tagged for the position and will lead the team through their inaugural 2013 season in the North American Soccer League.

“With his stature and connections in the New York area, combined with his eye for talent and leadership ability, Gio is the perfect candidate to lead the Cosmos back to the playing field,” said Stover.

Savarese, who grew up in his native Venezuela, is well familiar with the New York area. He went to college at Long Island University and played for the Long Island Rough Riders of the USISL along side Tony Meola and Chris Armas, scoring 36 goals in two years with team. He then moved to the New York MetroStars for the first 3 years of the club’s existence. There he scored 44 goals and played alongside another current NASL coach, Manny Lagos in 1996-97. Lagos has guided the Minnesota Stars since 2010. The prolific forward Savarese also spent time playing for English sides Milwall and Swansea City. read more…

A Day for Minnesota Soccer Fans to Celebrate

2012 November 9

Outgoing NASL Commissioner David Downs presents Dr. Bill McGuire with his own Stars jersey. Photo by Jeremy Olson – www.digitalgopher.net

“We sat in this very room not even two years ago, January 2011, with this day in mind,” said Djorn Buchholz, Minnesota Stars FC CEO. Buchholz was speaking at the well-attended Minnesota Stars FC press conference on Thursday afternoon that introduced millionaire Dr. Bill McGuire as the new owner of the team. He was referring to the day when the North American Soccer League officials traveled to the state and held a press conference in that very same room at Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis, to announce that they were going to take over the team and fund the Minnesota Stars for several years in hope of finding a new owner.

“I believe it to be one, if not “the” most important day in the history of Minnesota soccer,” said Buchholz. He was of course talking about the imminent announcement that was soon made by NASL Commissioner David Downs that McGuire, who made his fortunes from developing the small Minnetonka firm of UnitedHealth Care into one of the largest corporations in the US, was the new owner of the team. With the announcement it was assured that professional soccer in Minnesota will carry on for the 24th consecutive season in 2013. read more…

Video of Minnesota Stars FC Press Conference Announcing Bill McGuire as New Owner

2012 November 9
by Brian Quarstad

The Minnesota Stars FC held their press conference on Thursday afternoon in downtown Minneapolis to announce the new owner of the team, Dr. Bill McGuire.

KSTP-5 checks in with a video report of the well-attended event.

New Minnesota Stars FC Owner Bill McGuire Thinks Team Deserves a Chance to Succeed

2012 November 8
by Brian Quarstad

New Minnesota Stars FC owner, Bill McGuire.

William (Bill) McGuire, former CEO of UnitedHealth Care, will be announced by North American Soccer League Commissioner David Downs as the new owner of the Minnesota Stars FC professional soccer team on Thursday afternoon at a press conference held at Brit’s Pub in Minneapolis, Minn. The owners of the 7 other NASL teams have been footing the bill for the Stars the last two seasons in order for the league to have the eight required teams needed to operate a league which is governed by FIFA. The two-year reprieve also gave the Stars and NASL front office time to find new owners. It’s fitting that the NASL Commissioner will introduce the team’s new owner as it was Downs himself who made the initial connection with McGuire and his son-in-law Nick Rogers.

Rogers, who is from Maryland, met McGuire’s daughter Marissa while he went to law school at the U of M and the two were married several years ago. It was Marissa who got a call from David Downs several years ago probing to see if they knew anyone in Minnesota who would have interest in the Stars. Downs’ daughter and Marissa were roommates at Amherst College which is where the commissioner got to know her.

“Forward months and months and he asked again,” said McGuire who sat down to discuss the acquisition of the team with me on Tuesday afternoon. “We decided to look at it a little closer, think about it and try to understand how it might work.”

McGuire, who used the word “community” many times in the 30 minute interview, says he still wasn’t really interested himself but was just trying to see if he could help or promote the need for an owner. But at some point he started looking at it differently and asking questions. “The fundamental issue is: I believe that this is a good read more…

Loudoun County Officially Newest Member of NASL

2012 November 6
by Jay Long

Mark Simpson – photo by Jay Long.

A Q & A with David D’Onofrio, Entertainment Director of Communications and Mark Simpson, Director of Soccer Operations for VIP Sports & Entertainment, on the NASL’s newest club.

It is now official: As previously reported, Loudoun County, Virginia is the newest NASL franchise. The club will begin play in 2014.

On Monday evening the club conducted a press conference attended by the media and outgoing NASL Commissioner David Downs and  Director of Communications, Kartik Krishnaiyer. Downs and  representatives of Loudoun Professional Soccer and its partner, VIP Sports & Entertainment, introduced the joint venture to the local community.

After a very frustrating but typical rush hour commute of 1 hour and 40 minutes from my place of employment in Arlington, VA to the site of the 6:00 pm press conference in nearby Leesburg, VA, (approximately 40 miles), I unfortunately managed to miss the presentation.

Fortunately for the IMS faithful, David D’Onofrio, Entertainment Director of Communications for VIP Sports, and Mark Simpson, Director of Soccer Operations for the group, were both gracious enough to spend some time answering questions and discussing their shared vision for the North American Soccer League’s newest expansion club.

Simpson is a veteran of several US pro soccer leagues, including MLS and USL, having played and coached in both.

IMS: Gentlemen, with the project that you have just launched what areas are you trying to draw from geographically, considering that you are about 30 miles out from the District and that the commute can be a very difficult one?

Simpson: Well, I think that what you are looking at is just the counties in Northern Virginia, you might even pull from read more…

Minnesota Stars Thursday Press Conference will Introduce New Ownership Group

2012 November 6
by Brian Quarstad

The Minnesota Stars FC will hold a press conference on Thursday afternoon Nov. 8, at 3:00 p.m. at Brit’s Pub, 1110 Nicollet Mall; Minneapolis, Minn., to introduce the team’ new ownership group.

The North American Soccer League announced last Friday that after two years of being owned by the league, a local Minnesota ownership group had acquired the team.

“We cannot overstate how delighted we are at this outcome,” said NASL Commissioner David Downs in a prepared statement on Friday.  “We believe this will give the Stars the foundation needed to flourish for years to come. As of today we now have local owners for the team who are clearly committed and dedicated to promoting soccer as an integral part of the community.”

NASL Commissioner David Downs will be in attendance and speak about the search for the ownership group before introducing them to fans and the media.

The ownership group is believed to be headed by millionaire and philanthropist Bill McGuire and his son-in-law Nicholas Rogers. When contacted on Friday the NASL would not confirm that.

In addition to introducing the ownership group, the team will also have an update about the plans for the 2013 season and will be accepting $50 season ticket deposits at the event for those fans wishing to commit to the 2013 season early.

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