- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On January 24, 2011
- 1 Comments
This news came across on Friday evening but its still worth bring up. Inside Minnesota Soccer reported on Friday that the USSF was not pleased with the NASL’s progress so far and voted to remove the league’s provisional second division status.
In a way this should come as no shock to those who’ve followed the story since last year and beyond. The second division in the US has always been a turnover pool of teams that continue to change each year with the exception of a few teams.
Recently the NASL lost another club to it’s bid in the form of Jeff Cooper’s AC St. Louis. The same guy who begged and pushed for his own MLS club a couple years back before settling on a division two side. Pretty rough stuff considering the club never really had a chance to get off the ground and possibly due to Cooper himself never saw enough financial support to keep it going. MLS saw this coming a mile away but others in the NASL decided to go with it.
Now that the NASL is without a second division option the group of owners has wait until probably February to appeal their case at the annual USSF General Meeting. The thing is if they aren’t certified then and they do still play games between one another they are subject to FIFA penalties that include preventing players from player for their national teams.
Now the NASL could drop their case for a second division league altogether and go the third division route like the USL did with their now 15-team USL-Pro. But that option seems less likely given the fact that the NASL only has a few clubs now and most are facing financial difficulties. According to reports, the Carolina Railhawks have been facing serious financial trouble and have sought assistance from Traffic Sports USA, a sports management company that already controls three NASL clubs.
This is a setback and a blow for US Soccer though no matter which way you spin it. I think Jason Davis put it well on Friday that does the US really need a second division? To me the USL will likely still be that just as a 3rd division model. And really without any form of promotion/relegation the US will never really know that answer.
I do think the USSF putting regulations on the second division was worth it though. Having so many clubs come and go over the years due to financial issues shows that there was always a need for some form of regulation on that division.
Looking at it from a MLS perspective, the thing that stands out the most is what happens to Montreal. This was suppose to be their final year of D2 soccer before joining the ranks of MLS. They had the chance to do what Seattle, Portland and Vancouver have done before them by building up momentum in their final D2 year. Losing a year could be tough on the club but I’d imagine they’ll be able to work around things a bit with the help of the CSA. I’d imagine they’ll get sanctioning through them to allow players to at least play in Voyageur Cup games and possible other things.
But you do wonder what that means for their expansion outlook in MLS. I think they lose a little bit of steam but that club has a big enough following that they’ll make up for it in year one.