TOA Moving Forward With New League

TOA Moving Forward With New League

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 10, 2009
  • 4 Comments
  • TOA, USL

Some big news is coming out today. The Team Owners Association or TOA is moving forward in their plan to break away from the USL first division and form their own league. TOA just released a press release making their plans public with the decision to move forward with a new division 2 league in North America.

The owners of the Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina Railhawks, Miami FC, Minnesota Thunder, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps, along with new club St. Louis Soccer United today announced that they have formed a new professional soccer league to play in the United States and Canada beginning in April 2010.

The TOA has applied for second division status from the USSF and first division status from the Canadian Soccer Association. The league is apparently looking to add at least one more club since their potential team in Tampa went back to the USL last week.

Joey Saputo, President of the 2009 USL-1 champion Montreal Impact, was recently elected Chairman of the Board of Governors of the new league.

“This is not your typical new league,” Saputo said.  “Most of our teams have existed for years.  We have united some of the best owners, teams and markets around a new vision for a professional soccer league in North America.

“We look forward to elevating our teams and league in order to give more opportunities to players, coaches, media and sponsors, entertain our fans and play our role in helping soccer truly recognize its potential in the United States and Canada.”

Jeff Cooper, the principal owner of St. Louis Soccer United and spokesperson for the new league, said team owners have commenced a search for a league commissioner and are actively finalizing other details, including a name for the league and its sales and marking plans.  The league intends to launch an extensive marketing campaign in the coming months, Cooper said.

I think one thing we will need to keep an eye on is Minnesota. Apparently according to Inside Minnesota Soccer (which has covered this situation like no one else) the Thunder are in some serious financial problems right now. All the players have been released from their contracts and from the sound of things the owners have no money left to run things.

Should Minnesota not be able to muster up the cash to play it could put this league down to six clubs, which makes things pretty rough if you ask me for people to take this league serious.

Another interesting item is to see what Vancouver and Montreal are going to do here. Vancouver is expected to go to MLS in 2011 and from the reports its sounds like they will keep a reserve team in this new league (smart move). Montreal on the other hand is still hoping to get into MLS in the coming years and could do a similar thing with this second division.

Lastly, another interesting thing will be to see if this league can get any sort of recognition from CONCACAF to play in the Champions League. I would imagine they will need at least eight clubs in the league to even be considered but more than likely these clubs will still have to go through the US Open Cup to even have a shot at getting in the CCL.

Once I get more details on this new league I will pass it along to you.

  • Rich

    good for them. never liked USL's business practices.

  • Rich

    good for them. never liked USL's business practices.

  • thomask

    Theres absolutely no chance concacaf will be any help if the TOA are applying for div II status, since regional qualification is strictly limited to div I leagues according to fifa congress-agreed mandate. The obvious conclusion is that the TOA are competing with USL in the hope that the new league ownership structure will prove more flexible and the control this gives will make their product more financially viable. If so then the better run and more ambitious USL/PDL clubs will apply for membership, thereby pushing USL into effective div III status and building the argument for promotion/relegation in the soccer pyramid. The next piece of business is reform of the US Open Cup competition structure, as the MLS play-in format completely contradicts the concept of 'open' competition and gives MLS teams an unfair advantage which degrades the tournament.

  • thomask

    Theres absolutely no chance concacaf will be any help if the TOA are applying for div II status, since regional qualification is strictly limited to div I leagues according to fifa congress-agreed mandate.

    The obvious conclusion is that the TOA are competing with USL in the hope that the new league ownership structure will prove more flexible and the control this gives will make their product more financially viable.

    If so then the better run and more ambitious USL/PDL clubs will apply for membership, thereby pushing USL into effective div III status and building the argument for promotion/relegation in the soccer pyramid.

    The next piece of business is reform of the US Open Cup competition structure, as the MLS play-in format completely contradicts the concept of 'open' competition and gives MLS teams an unfair advantage which degrades the tournament.