Wednesday, September 16, 2009

REPORT: USL Team Owners Association Met This Week With MLS?

This woud be quite interesting if it took shape. I dunno if this would happen next year, but a 2nd division of MLS is something that they should work towards.

REPORT: USL Team Owners Association Met This Week With MLS?: "

Received by anonymous email:


A few sources have stated that the TOA (Team Owners Association) is meeting with MLS this week and both groups might be trying to make some deal that might create every promotion/relegation lovers wet dream… MLS2.

I was informed the meeting did take place this week but the news has not leaked out for some reason. What was said is unknown.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Thoughts on The Next USMNT Kits

As the World Cup approaches, this time of year is well known among jersey aficionados as the time that nations expecting to compete in the next World Cup, slated to begin in June 2010 in South Africa, to debut their newest kits to the viewing public and millions of fans. Germany has already unveiled their 2010 home kit, and other nations will soon follow.

Here in the U.S., many soccer fans are starting to speculate over what the national team will be sporting in their expected return trip to South Africa. There is huge debate over what the USMNT should sport as their new kits, but growing consensus has been reached that most people would like the USMNT to 1) have some sort of red kit (since that is what the main supporter groups, American Outlaws and Sam’s Army, wear in the stands), and 2) create a kit that can have some identity that can live on in future kits. What this exposé seeks to outline is what could possibly be the next kits, and how these possibilities could create an identity for U.S. fans to rally behind.

In 1950, the U.S. defeated England 1-0 in the World Cup in what some people still consider to be the biggest upset in World Cup history (and the biggest victory in U.S. soccer history). In that game, the U.S. came out in a white kit with a red diagonal sash along the front from right shoulder to left hip. That look has been repeated a couple times recently with the U.S. as a throwback. However, this could possibly be something that we could incorporate as the next kit (picture courtesy of dont_thread_011 of BigSoccer). Some would say that Peru also has the diagonal sash, but Peru also is a longshot every cycle to make the World Cup. Plus, this design has a special place in U.S. soccer due to that 1950 game. This as the home kit could be paired with a red away kit with a blue sash or a navy kit with a white sash. Regardless, I’m of the opinion that the home kit is the most important, and this shirt paired with navy shorts and red or white socks would be a classy kit that could weather the storms of history and become a kit that would identify well with the U.S.

In 2006, the U.S. showed up to Germany with what is by far the most popular set of World Cup kits that we have had. The home kit was white with a vertical red and navy sash on the left side, while the away kit was a navy blue kit with a red and white horizontal sash across the front with space in the middle for the player number. This set of ideas brings that idea back to the table, with the vertical dual-colored sash being the winner (pictures courtesy of EPJr on BigSoccer). With the home kit being white with a navy and red sash with navy shorts and white socks, the away kits could be red with a navy and white sash, navy shorts and white socks. A possible third kit could be navy with a red and white sash, red shorts and white or navy socks. Having multiple options for kits is great, and working in the 3 important, symbolic colors of the U.S. flag is the only way to go about it. While this poster posted a grey kit as a 4th option, I’m not too keen on it. The other ones, however, are sheer class.

The best option, in my opinion, has been saved for last (picture also courtesy of dont_thread_011 of BigSoccer). When Croatia came about in the mid-90s, they came in style with a kit with red and white checkerboards. It was instantly recognizable, and seeing the stands full of Croats in their team’s kit is really a signt to see. Like checkered patterns, there is a particular pattern that is not used on the national team level (at least, none I have found) and would be incredibly perfect for the U.S. That, my friends, is the hoops. While the hoops are made famous by Scottish Premier League legends Celtic FC, bringing the hoops to U.S. kits would create something instantly recognizable around the world. The hoops would be red and white (symbolizing the stripes on the U.S. flag) with navy numbers and would be paired with navy shorts and perhaps red and white hooped socks. The collar could be solid navy blue or nonexistent…I don’t think either way would take away from the mystique of the kit. The away kit could then be solid navy with white or red shorts and navy socks. The hoops, in my mind, would be the best thing to happen to the U.S. kit. Sam’s Army and American Outlaws would form a sea of hoops. Wherever you go, whether it is New York or Tokyo or London, wearing the hoops could only mean one thing: The Yanks are here.

So, U.S. Soccer, take these designs to heart. The goal of this set of kits for the 2010 World Cup should be towards establishing an identity that will live on in future kits. The hoops are there for the taking…be smart and run with them. You will instantly up the intimidation factor of any stadium an opposing team dares enter with Sam’s Army and American Outlaws present.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Open Cup final: DCU vs. Seattle Sounders FC

From DCU's "Behind the Badge" blog, a lead-in to tonight's USOC final between DC United and Seattle Sounders FC. I will be in attendance to take in the festivities and the atmosphere of the oldest competition in American sports. Vamos United!

Open Cup final: DCU vs. Seattle Sounders FC:

Tonight, nothing else matters but the two teams who will face off on the field.

After weeks of build-up, plenty of back-and-forth between Seattle and DC, marketing campaigns, fan stunts, trash talk, and general chatter, tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET, at RFK Stadium, D.C. United will take on Seattle Sounders FC in the U.S. Open Cup final for a chance to win its 13th major trophy. The newcomers from Seattle are hoping to secure their first-ever title as an MLS squad.

This is the fun part, no?

If you're in the DC area, you should be at RFK. If you're outside the area, you can watch the game tonight on Fox Soccer Channel.

There are a ton of story lines to follow, and a ton of articles out there you should read before making your way to RFK's Lot 8 this afternoon (yes, we expect you to skip out early on work). Let's get started:

So, after everything over the last few weeks, what are your expectations for tonight's game? Who do you want to see in the starting lineup? We'll take your score predictions in the comments section below and pick one correct guess to win a 2009 Team Media Guide autographed by the United player of your choice.

See you at RFK.


USL owners threaten to start own league unless they get more say

This is starting to get out of control...more info below about the faction of USL teams that appear to want to break away and form their own league...

USL owners threaten to start own league unless they get more say: "
Bill Beacon of the Canadian Press is reporting that owners of teams in the United Soccer Leagues First Division are prepared to start their own league next season unless they get more say in how USL-1 is managed and run, Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo said Tuesday.

The eight-club Team Owners Association, angry that Nike passed them over last week to sell the league to a corporate owner, NuRock Soccer Holdings, announced they would 'explore other options.'

Saputo said the teams, which include the Vancouver Whitecaps, can still reach agreement with NuRock to have more say in league operations, but if not, they are prepared to play a full schedule in 2010 in their own league.

'I'm not saying we want to own the league, we want to be partners in the league,' he said. 'We want to make decisions on what direction the league needs to go.

'We want to make decisions on competitiveness and marketing. It's what we've been trying to do for the last three or four years.'

The clubs are threatening to pull out just as the Ottawa Fury are looking to join USL-1. Team owner and CEO John Pugh, whose club currently plays in the Premier Development League, announced Tuesday they have applied for a spot in USL-1, likely starting in 2012. Their bid is contingent on the city of Ottawa giving the green light to a proposed new stadium at Lansdowne Park that the Fury would share with a CFL team.

'A dialogue has to start between the new owners and the Team Owners Association,' said Fury owner John Pugh. 'I think people need to give the new ownership an opportunity to show what their vision is for the league.'

USL president Tim Holt declined to comment on the team owners' demands.

'We don't intend to debate the association in the media,' he said. 'We're excited about what we're preparing for the future.'

Saputo was scathing in his criticism of the USL-1.

Unlike other professional sports leagues, it has a corporate owner which collects fees from clubs and decides which teams get in. Saputo said other clubs weren't consulted when franchises were awarded to the Tampa Bay Rowdies and FC New York for next season.

He said the expansion fee has not gone up in 15 years because the league has done little to market itself or raise its profile in the North American market. The league has been left behind by Major League Soccer, even if the gap in talent on the field is not that wide, he added.

'We have no say on the type of owners coming in,' he said. 'No disrespect to (some) other owners, but they don't belong in this league.

'But we have no say. We find out at the last minute that teams are coming in, like the Cleveland Stars. It makes no sense. We want control of our destiny. There's a reason the value of franchises goes up in hockey and baseball and every other sport. It's because the owners are working to bring the value of the league and the teams up. We're the only league that doesn't do that.'

The Impact, in its second season playing out of 13,000-seat Saputo Stadium, leads the league in attendance and media coverage.

Saputo said he had a feeling that Nike, which got the league as part of the package when it acquired Umbro last year, would sell to another private owner rather than to the teams. He was unable to reveal the sale price due to a confidentiality agreement but said it was 'absolute peanuts.'

He said starting a new league would cost about the same, as the teams are already in place.

The members of the TOA include Montreal, Vancouver, Atlanta, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Vancouver. Saputo said other clubs are prepared to join a new league so it would have between eight and 12 clubs.

He declined to discuss what other options the teams had, but in the end, he would prefer to stay in a revamped USL-1 that is controlled by the clubs.

'As bad as a the USL is, it has a brand and if we could just continue to develop the brand, as opposed to starting a new brand, that's something we have to look at,' he said.

He said there was no deadline for a decision on starting a new circuit. He said USL-1 nearly came apart last November, but they had a schedule and 11 teams in place to start the season.

'The league exists because of the teams, not because of the league,' he added. 'I think we have the power. We are united and finally, we've decided to take this strategy of looking at other options.'

Vancouver is to join MLS in 2011 and Montreal is also trying to get in, but the Whitecaps want to maintain a USL presence through a second team based somewhere in British Columbia.

Saputo said both clubs are set to play next season, in USL-1 or in some other framework, but won't abandon the other clubs while working for more power in the league.

NuRock' Bob Hoskins has taken over as chairman of the USL and Alex Papadakis, a former North American Soccer League player, is the new CEO. Nike and Umbro have stayed on as league sponsors.