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U.S. Soccer rejects both USL and NASL second division applications

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Aside from ongoing CBA negotiations in Major League Soccer, one of the biggest stories from the domestic offseason has been the split of USL and the creation of the new NASL. Both leagues had submitted application to the U.S. Soccer Federation in hopes of fielding a sanctioned, second-division league in 2010. However, in a blow to both leagues and second division soccer in general, the USSF voted unanimously to not sanction either the new NASL or USL next year.

“After carefully reviewing the findings from the Task Force it was clear there are still too many uncertainties for both organizations, which would be extremely difficult to resolve in a timely fashion that would allow them to prepare for the 2010 season,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati in a press release.

Both leagues were rejected under the grounds of being unable to field the eight teams required by U.S. Soccer in 2010. For the moment, there is no longer a second division league in the USA, as neither earned the formal recognition. Both leagues were given seven days to work out the situation in hopes of creation a workable situation for second division soccer next year.

What do you think of the development? Surprised to see the USSF go in this direction? Will it be worked out in time?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I’m not sure if the D.C. United [which are my favorite MLS/local team] will be getting a SSS anytime soon. They’ve already had three proposals get rejected: Western Fairfax County, VA; Anacostia, DC; and PG County, MD the most recent.

    But I see what you mean, it would be a much more organized. But I’m not sure if reserve teams would be playing with ex-USL clubs. The MLS shutdown its reserve league last year, so I’m not sure if it’ll come back anytime soon. What I could see though in terms of promotion/relegation is between the MLS-2 and MLS-3 teams in this system you’ve proposed.

    As for the PDL that’ll be alone.

  2. It seems that the point being missed with the league rejection is that it started because someone was left out, then took their ball home so no one else could play.

    It seems as though USSF has taken the correct approach in not taking sides.

    This squawk isn’t so much about promotion/relegation as about power.

    IMHO, the best solution would be to have one D2 league, somehow working with MLS to help develop players by replacing the defunct reserve division. Rather than pro/rel, D2 teams could establish suitable resumes to move up into MLS.

  3. – In any other sport in this country, this would be -allowed.

    Problem is, its not a sport with no national and international federation like most US ones. Soccer has to abide by what these federations say.
    You cant just start up a league like the XFL or USFL to try to compete against another private league.

    This has nothing to do with the MLS and all with the rules and responsabilities of playing international sports.

    Follow top world sports leagues in soccer, basketball, handball, volleyball, waterpolo, etc and you will see the structures regulating the sports on a national and international levels to be totally different to private entities like NFL, MLB, NHL which answer to no one and can do what they like.

    You seem to be confused at the differences.

  4. -Italy has the population of Oregon

    I dont hold your lack of knowlegdge against you but y0ou really should look into Wikipedia.

    And were not a laughing stock, Canada is.
    They have 30-40million people and have no soccer league and dont plan to have one. They are by far the largest country on the planet to not have a league. The city of Toronto is as big as Norway and not as cold yet Norway has a soccer league.

    Dont worry, nothing we do here will be worse than our Puerto Rico of the north.

  5. kpugs, did you not know that recently Serie B threatened to detach from Serie A due to some internal conflicts between the two divisions?

    So i wouldnt say “nicely organized”

  6. Yes, Ives, I am are that JCO is at Once. I wish them well. (I believe they tied their last game 2-2). True, Krupnik & Garcia were Goose’s idea & not very good ones at that. I don’t think much of him either, by the way, but by the time those guys were signed, the season was long since done for. It was actually done when they blew a 2-1- lead to DC in the 90th minute. Pachecho’s inability to clear ballsout cost us the game & by extension,the season. 2009 is on JCO in my book. Agoos is a twit for sure, but no one told JCO to keep trotting out a 4-5-1 on the road despite its repeated failure & to keep playing players out of position week after week. That was all his brilliance. Once his boys are all gone, I’ll lay off of him. Hopefully that will be soon.

  7. No. No pro/rel in or out of the MLS-1 so to speak. You pony up the money for MLS-1 franchise you stay in, unless you cry uncle and “self-relegate”. As for who would come up in such a case it would be like any other expansion. I see it like this:

    MLS-1 (20 Teams): Single Table, 8 team playoffs (home/home for all rounds but the final). Starting in 2012 the teams would be Chicago, Columbus, DC, KC, NE, NYRB, Philly, Toronto, Chivas, Colorado, Dallas, Houston, LA, Salt Lake, San Jose, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Montreal, St Louis. Everyone would have a SSS w/ 18K+ by then except NE and Seattle (which has a fine set up anyway).

    MLS-2/MLS-2 would be made up of 20 teams each, to include a reserve side for each MLS-1 team. The 2011 season would include the 20 non reserve teams playing for 10 spots in MLS-2 and the 20 MLS-1 reserve teams playing for another 10 spots in MLS-2. The bottom 10 teams in each would be placed in MLS-3. There would be pro/rel between the 2 leagues, maybe 2 teams a season. And self-relegation for financial difficulties with promotion based on the next team in the standings. Each league is single table. Using guesstimates and rough logic it would look something like this for the 2012 season:

    MLS-2 (20 teams/10 MLS-1 reserve teams): Miami FC, Minnesota Thunder, Rochester Rhinos, TB Rowdies, Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RH, PR Islanders, Austin Aztex, FCNY, Ottawa FC, Chicago B, Columbus B, DC United B, NE Rev B, Toronto FC B, Chivas B, Houston B, LA Galaxy B, Seattle B, Salt Lake B

    MLS-3 (20 teams/10 MLS-1 reserve teams): Charleston Battery, Richmond Kickers, Charlotte Eagles, Harrisburg Cty Islanders, Pitt Riverhounds, Maryland Mon, West Mass Pioneers, Cleveland City Stars, CP Baltimore, Wilmington Hammerheads, KC Wiz B, NYRB B, Philly B, Colorado B, FC Dallas B, San Jose B, Portland B, Vancouver B, Montreal B, St. Louis B

    Obviously some of the teams that ended up in MLS-3 are teams that recently disbanded (Wilmington) or moved to PDL but if not them then i am sure some other teams could repalace them in the mix and would owing to being smaller end up probably in the MLS-3. It was just a rough idea with the most recent USL/NASL teams so you get the picture.

  8. The USSF have hijacked OUR game. MLS (while I’m a big supporter of the Chicago Fire) is ran ass backwards. The league owning all contracts is the 1st rule that needs to change regarding the MLS. As for relegation, BRING it! The main reason why most americans don’t follow the MLS is because its boring during certain games. Put more power to the teams and then demand the perform. If not, we will get a club from the lower divisions that will.

  9. Agreed as well. I am in favor of the United States having a promotion/relegation system. It would make football (soccer) more exciting in the US and make MLS and USL more engrossing with different competition. I think MLS should remain the top league, and perhaps the top USL clubs could join it so that MLS has roughly 18-20 teams.

    Like the British EPL, the MLS could then have it’s top three teams go to the continental tournament then. The top two could go directly to the CONCACAF Champions’ League group stage, etc. But this is ridiculous by U.S. Soccer. You can’t just have one league and that’s it.

    I see it this way. MLS…worst 3 MLS teams go to USL-1. Best 3 USL-1 teams go to MLS and worst USL-1 teams go to USL-2. The pattern works from there like this: USL-3 (which would replace the Super-20 League and NPSL), USL PDL, then there would be premier local leagues where the top teams go to the PDL. Let me know what you think

  10. i really like the way this guy thinks. MLS as the top league and then MLS2 and MLS3 made up of MLS Reserve sides and current NASL/USL sides. The only promotion/relegation is between MLS2 and MLS3 and the classification for each to start with is done on the pitch. you might even set up the playoffs so that the top 6 teams from a single table MLS make it and 2 top MLS2 teams make it. That would really spice things up and motivate A. the MLS teams to not suck and B. the MLS2 teams to “bring it”

    i also like that this allows for one unified soccer league structure and even the possibility that if the MLS starts to loosen up on the reigns of the successful clubs a bit (sea/tor and probably phil/van/port) to spend a bit more and field a better product it will leave a place for any small market or struggling team to “self-relegate” if they find they would rather make modest money as a MLS2 side than lose money, fans and respect getting thrashed in MLS. Plus it gives the MLS a running experiment test lab for new MLS teams. This is so perfect I think that it must surely come to pass. Oh, wait … this is american soccer so anything that makes remote sense is usually ignored.

  11. its time we get collectively pissed off at the ussf which is really ran by mls and stop giving them our dollars. time for to join the euro snubs,,, they really got it right,,, f::: the mls f::: the ussf ,,,

  12. Well, I would guess that if both leagues are unsanctioned then those teams would not participate, allowing more level 2 and 3 teams a chance to advance. One also imagines that maybe the entire MLS competes in the tourney in that case as well

  13. NASL was not single entity. The league grew way too fast without a real foundation or TV revenue. It fell apart like a house of cards.

  14. Promotion/relegation is never going to happen in the US. At least not at the top level. The reasons are obvious enough.

    I could, however, envision promotion/relegation in the “minor leagues”, especially if MLS got invovled.

    Under my proposal, the USL/NASL clubs would partner with MLS reserve teams (DC United II, in other words) to create two tiers of minor leagues. In Year 1, they’d be divided geographically (East and West), with the top from each group forming MLS 2 the following season. From the second season on, promotion to MLS 2 would be possible for the top clubs from MLS 3 (and the MLS 2 bottom feeders would drop down, obviously).

    Not only would such a competition unify professional soccer under one umbrella, which is a goal in its own right given the present turbulence, it also would provide MLS reserve players with regular match practice and give MLS teams the freedom to expand the pool of players available to them.

  15. This decision is quite criminal in my mind. It is biased in the favor of MLS and doesn’t take into mind the future of Div 2 soccer. NASL, while is states otherwise, has the idea of competing against MLS. In any other sport in this country, this would be allowed. But the criminals who run soccer will not let MLS have any competition. This is their way of making sure they can keep salaries low and not have to compete for contracts.

  16. The problem is sponsorship/funding. In England, the best way for a moneyed individual to ingratiate himself with the locals is to buy the local soccer team. The people are going to have their team and cheer them on, too, even if they are boring.

    In America, we need millionaires and billionaires to try to get the Cities interested. It’s completely flipped and unhealthy for development. Relegation brings incentive for improved play and success… but drives away the only reason we really have a league in the first place- investors who want to have their team in the first division. Someone has to figure out this conundrum before the league can be competitive, with or without relegation.


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