Wednesday, April 26, 2006

How to Strengthen Professional Soccer in America - Part 4:

Keep the league within our borders.
I have no problem with the city of Toronto. Major League Baseball at one time had two clubs north of the border and the NHL has several as well. The only major problem I have with MLS starting a new team in Canada is that in the global scheme of soccer, FIFA has everyone broken down by national boundaries. Having a Canadian based team in the US Top flight division of soccer poses some future questions.

Currently, MLS sends the top two teams in the previous season to the CONCACAF Champions Cup tournament, to play the representatives from the other CONCACAF nations; Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama and so on. Those two teams represent the United States in this tournament. If in two years or so the Toronto club reaches the MLS Cup, under this format, they would take one of those two spots in the tournament, would they represent the United States? Will they play in the US Cup? Having the Toronto team play in the US Cup would be like having Rangers play in the FA Cup in England.

I can understand MLS’s position that they had a prospective group that had everything the MLS is requiring for entry into the league. They will get a soccer specific stadium and the cash injection from the club, but at what price? Rochester has had one of the most storied USL teams in its history and has on more than a few occasions, defeated MLS teams in the US Cup in recent years. MLS should have looked into ways to incorporate some of the already established professional soccer clubs in the US, rather than try and move into Canada for a start up team.

Granted that the original two teams didn’t last the first ten years, but maybe MLS should have thought to try and resurrect one of the two Florida clubs, the Mutiny of the Fusion? Miami FC just signed Romario on loan from his Brazilian club, so they must have some type of drawing power down there. (Note, his signing is regarded as a joke as he is forty years old and a shadow of the goal scorer who played in USA 94 and for Barcelona.) Considering the size of the USA, why not try and court new investors in the US, rather than head north?


Anonymous john said...

Hou have no idea how nuts this one drives me. I ranted about it here. Freaking Canada

11:06 PM  
Blogger I-66 said...

I'm with you. St. Louis, Rochester, Seattle... all preferrable to Toronto - and all within the USA.

10:37 AM  

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