Saturday, August 2, 2008

Time for SuperLiga to Go

To be completely honest with everybody, I was never a fan of the SuperLiga in the first place. It was just a concoction between US Soccer, MLS, the FMF (the Mexican FA), and the Mexican First Division to make more money between the two largest soccer super-powers in CONCACAF. A region that really lacks in super-powers. It is an exclusionary event that clogs up the schedules of both MLS and the Mexican First Division. With league games, Open Cup games, and, for some, Champion's League match-ups, the SuperLiga is already out-dated.

After the recent events in the two SuperLiga semi-finals, it shows that it is just a tarnished, useless forgery. Why the violence after losing out to Houston and New England? The complaints about officials I can understand, those will always be apart of the game. So you lost, it happens. Mexican teams are going to have to start realizing that MLS teams are not automatic victories anymore- especially with the Champion's League starting later this month.

Speaking of which, the Champion's League is a perfect example of why the SuperLiga should be dumped. The CL trumps it. There is more money to be made in the Champion's League- plus a berth in the FIFA Club World Cup (which will become more of a "happening thing" if you ask me).

So, to all who have the "power," get rid of this pointless tournament. Put the $1 million prize towards something actually worthwhile- like the US Open Cup. Promote that why don't ya?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Promotion and Relegation in American Soccer

Since everybody and their brother has an idea of how promotion and relegation should work here in the States, I figured it was time for me to publish my idea of how it should be done. Here we go:

1. Move to a single table and scrap the play-offs as they are now. Just crown the regular season champion as your league champion. (As for the CONCACAF Champion's League, three berths would go to the top three teams from MLS with the fourth going to the US Open Cup Champion. If a team from outside the US is one of the top three teams, that team would get it's country's berth [ie- Toronto FC] and the next US-based team would go.)

2. The bottom three teams in MLS and USL-1 are in the relegation zone. The top three teams in USL-1 and USL-2 are in the promotion zone.

3. Take the bottom three MLS teams and randomly pit them against the top three USL-1 teams in a home-and-home series. Winner moves up, loser goes down. Do the same thing with bottom three in USL-1 and top three in USL-2. After all, if a lower division team isn't good enough to beat a higher division team head-to-head, does that lower division team really belong in the higher division? (And this gives Americans, who love post-season play, something to scratch that "play-off" itch.)

That's it, folks. Pretty simple, eh?

Now, I know that we are about ten to fifteen years from seeing promotion and relegation here. And, I know that many don't feel that USL-2 is strong enough to compete against the likes of USL-1 alone- to say nothing of MLS. But, I like the idea of three leagues (at least) being involved in a promotion and relegation system.

Instead of play-offs, these would be Battles. And, as we all know, cream rises to the top.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Either I'm A Psychic Or...

It's starting to look as if somebody is taking ideas right from this blog! Or maybe I've just been voicing some commonly held common-sense ideas. In previous posts, I talked about the need for a Champion's League, for the US Open Cup Champion to have a part in the Champion's League, and for the US Open Cup Champion to receive a $1 Million purse.

Of those three ideas, the first two have become reality. ( Here.) It was announced a few months ago that there would be a Champion's League for CONCACAF starting in August and another announcement a few days ago told that the US Open Cup Champion would indeed be taking part.

US Soccer? Is that you reading this blog? Are you going to announce a $1 Million purse for the Open Cup Champ this year? Please? I'm 2 for 3 right now, let me have the clean sweep! (Maybe it's a bit too much to ask that the Open Cup final be aired on ESPN2 also? Did you see my post about the Constitution Cup?)

The slots for the Champion's League will be given as follows:
First Slot: MLSCup Champion
Second Slot: MLS Supporter's Shield Winner
Third Slot: MLSCup Runner-Up
Fourth Slot: US Open Cup Champion

So this means that the four teams are Houston Dynamo (MLSCup Champ), DC United (MLS Supporter's Shield Winner), New England Revolution (MLSCup Runner-Up), and Chivas USA (The Revs won the Open Cup this year also, so the fourth slot is given to Chivas USA because they are MLS Supporter's Shield Runner-Up).

The first and second slots are seeded immediately into the group stage while the third and fourth teams have to go through the preliminary round first. Let's hope that Houston and DC both return to a champions form and that we can see New England and Chivas both advance to the group stage. Maybe four teams will give us the shot we need at getting past the Mexican teams. We'll see come August.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Constitution Cup

One day as I was a bit bored out of my skull, I came up with a cup competition for the Fifty States. (Uh, United States that is.) I wondered, "How cool would it be to have something like Euro '08 for the State of Washington to win?" Here's what I came up with:

The Constitution Cup

A cup tournament for the fifty states. Each state may enter one team. Club teams are not allowed to compete. This is similar to the World Cup, but using state teams. It is called the "Constitution Cup" because it is open only to those who have ratified the US Constitution, so that means no DC or Puerto Rico. To be eligible for a state's team, a player must have kept residency in that state for at least the previous fourteen months- just to have some sort of time requirement. Here is the structure I came up with:

First Round- A group stage consisting of ten groups of five with games played both home-and-away against all other states in the group. Top two advance to the Second Round.

Second Round- The states that advance are randomly placed into four groups of five for another round-robin home-and-away group stage. The only exception is that the winners of the first round groups and their respective runners-up cannot play in the same Second Round group. For example, the winner of Group A cannot be in the same group as runner-up of Group A. Top two advance to the Quarter-finals. The site of the Finals is chosen from amongst the states that are now out of the competition.

Quarter-Finals- A two-legged home-and-away series. Winner advances to the Semi-finals.

Semi-Finals- A two-legged home-and-away series. Winner advances to the Finals.

Finals- A single game played at a neutral site.

I think this would be something fun for all soccer fans in the USA. We already have many inter-state rivalries and this would be an exciting addition to them. Besides, I'm curious to see who would come in second to Washington every year!

And the Seattle MLS team name is...

Seattle Sounders FC! Photobucket
With over 14,000 votes cast, the write-in campaign for "Seattle Sounders" won the fight! This is very awesome and I would like to thank everybody who voted for "Sounders." (Yeah, this is a few days late, but I DID have to celebrate!)

Oh, and one more thing:

I'm Sounders 'Til I Die!
I'm Sounders 'Til I Die!
I know I am! I'm sure I am!
I'm Sounders 'Til I Die!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Write-In

As you may have found out by now, the ballot to name the Seattle MLS team was given a write-in option. "For fans who are passionate about a different name." Gee, I wonder what they mean by that? I dunno, gotta keep looking toward the future I guess.

OK, no more whining. In the end, "Sounders" supporters got what they wanted- a chance to vote on the name that really means "soccer." Now, I haven't been a Sounder supporter as long as some. I've only been following them since half-way 2006. But I've been a sports fan all my life. What does this have to do with the "Sounders?" Easy, sports- all sports- are about tradition. You think the guys in Pittsburgh are concerned with how their team will fare in 20 years? Not at all. They're remembering the glory days of the Steel Curtain and the Bus' Superbowl victory over the Seahawks.

When they asked for team name suggestions and the overwhelming response was "Sounders" of some form, I figured they would follow their pocketbooks at least and give the fans what they wanted- the name that kept Seattle's soccer tradition alive: Sounders. And after the three names were leaked, I was a "tad" upset that Sounders wasn't even considered. It was the one name that most of us could agree on. It was an easy marketing task and no effort was even made towards the fans and supporters. After only two-and-a-half years, I really was "Sounders 'til I die!"

Now, we do get to at least vote it up or down. And I can only keep my fingers crossed until April 7 when the name announcement is made. Please, go to MLS in Seattle and write in "Seattle Sounders." Thanks, everybody.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Statement from the Emerald City Supporters

We, the Emerald City Supporters, lament the fact that the new Seattle MLS team will not carry the "Sounders" name. We feel that the name is entwined with the soccer "soul" of the region. It is a representation of the Puget Sound area and an expression of Seattle's imprint on the world's game. Furthermore, we feel that it is by recognizing the past that helps move us toward the future. When Seattle MLS asked for team name suggestions after the expansion announcement, 60% and more of the respondents wanted some form of the "Sounders" name. If the team name vote is to be the decision of the fans, why is "Sounders" not on the list?

While we will support the new team regardless of name, we will also still lobby the front office to officially change the name to "Seattle Sounders." Please join us and let the front office know your position as well. If the Fans and Supporters are loud enough, the hope is the front office will come to share in our dream- Seattle Sounders, MLSCup Champions!!!

Thank you.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Playing Catch-up with Some Random Thoughts

So, it has been a while since I last posted anything- and I had planned on making this a weekly thing! Oops. Oh, well. So, I figured it is about time I got on my duff and did something about that.


I've had some comments on the coming Champion's League (CCL)- mostly about how MLS teams would get into it. Emmett and "Anonymous" both agree that the US Open Cup winner should get into the CCL, but Emmett hears- and I would agree with him on this- that the four MLS teams will be the winner of the Supporter's Shield and the runner-up along with the two teams that vied for MLSCup. My only two questions here are: would Toronto FC be considered "American" just because it is in MLS? Would the Canadian entry into the CCL come from a domestic league up there? "Anonymous" would put the winner of the Supporter's Shield and runner-up ahead of the MLSCup teams as far as seeding would go. I should have put this in my Champion's League post as I believe the regular season is all you need and the post-season is just a small unnecessary tournament. Thanks for the comments, guys! Keep 'em coming, everybody!


Rumor report: Word on the grapevine has it that the owners of Seattle MLS are having a time trying to decide on a name. It sounds like one owner wants one name, while another owner prefers something else and neither choice is "Sounders." If they can't decide, the rumor goes on to say, then the name will default to "Sounders."

Also, there is another rumor about a man who works with a local (Seattle) Spanish-language radio station. This man has connections within the team's front office and he is POSITIVE that the name will be "Sounders." For fans like me, this is looking very good indeed.


And finally, I'm going to put out my idea for a promotion/relegation system for American soccer. (I know, everybody has their own particular idea, but nobody else has this blog!) My plan calls for the scrapping of the playoff system, but can work with one in place. With the playoffs, my idea would take the top two teams from the regular season in the USL-1 and that league's playoff champion and play them against the bottom three teams from MLS in a two-legged series. The winner moves up and the loser moves down. Without the playoffs, the teams would be the top three from the regular season. Heck, this sounds a little like how MLS should choose its teams for the CCL (plus the Open Cup Champ, of course!)

I know that American soccer is probably- no, most likely- about ten to fifteen years away from anything like this. However, the MLS Commissioner of then is- hopefully- a reader of this blog and would use this idea to honor me- because we all know that I will be a famous soccer sportswriter by then and will have huge influence with the fans!


Well, that's it for now. My brain tends to run dry a little quicker on the weekends. Also, I hope to have something else to post before the end of the month and maybe the posts will come a little quicker once soccer starts up again here in the States. Until next time, please keep the comments coming!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The CONCACAF Champions' League

Ok, so this has gotten me really excited and waiting for this August. If you'll remember from my first post, I made a call for the CONCACAF Champions' Cup to be turned into a true Champions' League (mostly as a call to increase the profile of the US Open Cup). It looks like my dream has come true- mostly. CONCACAF today announced that a CONCACAF Champions League will begin in August, 2008- replacing the Champions' Cup. (The winner of the last Champions' Cup will go to the 2008 Club World Cup and the Champions' League will start sending its winner to the 2009 edition.)

Right now, I don't know exactly how they will choose the 24 teams that will participate. I do know that the US and Mexico will each receive four slots each. To my mind that is enough for the top three out of MLS and the US Open Cup champion. (Mexico can choose its teams however it wants, I'm just concerned with American soccer.) After all, isn't this new creation supposed to be a CHAMPIONS' League?

Here's how I see the final American breakdown for its four slots:
First Slot: US Open Cup Champion
Second Slot: MLSCup Champion
Third Slot: MLS Supporters' Shield winner
Fourth Slot: MLS regular season runner-up
(With the MLS teams, it should be the closest American team if Toronto FC actually takes any of the slots.)

I don't know how US Soccer will make the final determination, but I would hope they take outside opinion into consideration. In final regards to the Open Cup, it is US Soccer's tournament to promote- or hide. But that tournament could mean so much to American soccer fans if it is tied into the new Champions' League.

I hesitate to point out- but will anyway- that today, the day the Champions' League was announced, had the new uniforms as the top headline and as of this article going to "press" the Champions' League was still not announced there. and both covered, but not one of the two biggest participating federations. Hmmm, on top of things, are we? Let's hope that the reason for that is because they are going to announce how US teams will get in.

So, keeping my fingeres crossed, I will wait anxiously to find out how American teams will get in- and will keep a countdown going for August. Man, I'm excited!

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Slight Correction

So it seems that the history of lower division US soccer is a bit more twisted than I initially believed. GS-1 from has sent me the following:

"FC Seattle drew bigger or similar crowds to those the USL Sounders have, in general, over the years. The only bump the 'Sounders' got was when they came back in 1994, after Seattle had been without pro soccer for over 4 years. The Sounders of 1996-2002 drew fewer fans than FC Seattle for the most part.

Also, they never played 'in the USL.' FC Seattle Storm played in a couple of leagues, and won the Western Soccer Alliance in 1988. The USL later 'adopted' that league's history, but they are different animals."

Shows that maybe I shouldn't play slave to attendance data also (heh-heh). With that being said, I do still stand by my article "A Team by Any Other Name..." and the general tone of the piece.

GO SOUNDERS!!! And don't forget to visit both and for more on the Seattle soccer scene!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A Team by Any Other Name....

Yes!!! Seattle is finally getting a MLS franchise- only about, what, eleven years late? It would have been awesome if we had been in at the beginning, but we're here now and that's all that matters. At least it's coming. Now, one of the things that fans around here most want to know is "what will the new team be called?" There seem to be- no, there are two different camps on fans on this particular issue. The first group is of fans who don't care what the name will be and will show up regardless. The second group- of which I am a part- wants Seattle's soccer history to be recognized by naming the team "Sounders." (Also, the second group will show up to matches regardless of name- you can take my word on that!)

So, why name the team "Sounders?" Isn't that a minor league soccer team? Not originally. In 1974, the North American Soccer League saw the first action for the new Seattle team- the Sounders. Note: This is the same league Pele played in when he came to America (NY Cosmos)! Back then, the NASL was the First Division of American soccer (ok, and Canada, too). Plus, that original incarnation of the Sounders won conference championships twice- in 1977 and 1982, only to lose the Soccer Bowl each time to those NY Cosmos! I really believe that particular fact dispels any "minor league" status that might be attached to the name. (When had a link to send in suggestions for team names, it is rumored that 60-70% of the suggestions had something to do with "Sounders." People still remember thirty plus years later.)

But, why does it have any "minor-ness" to it at all? Because there is a Seattle team by that name playing in the United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1), the Second Division of American soccer (yes! and Canada, too!) (I know, the Second Division is called the First Division, but that's something I won't be getting into here.)

I can understand the owner's concern. But, Mr. Adrian Hanauer, I would like to point out a little fact that many are not aware of: the Seattle USL-1 franchise was not always called the "Sounders." It was once called "FC Seattle" or something bland like that. Furthermore, they drew maybe 1,000 people on average. When the name was changed to "Sounders," attendance tripled. Tripled. People love and remember the NASL Sounders, a team that had a tradition of winning at the highest level.

Yeah, the USL-1 Sounders don't draw nearly as many people as the NASL Sounders did, but that's where the "minor-league" status affects things. Yeah, it is Mr. Hanauer's team to name, but it is our money to spend. Yeah, people will show up to Seattle MLS games regardless of the team name, but a vocal faction won't be too happy. But why ignore the history and tradition the "Sounders" name has already established? Why try to write new history when you can add on to the one already there? Different teams have been named "Seattle Sounders," but always the same name.

A team by any other not quite as sweet. (Remember the San Jose Clash?) History. Tradition. Sounders.