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Peterson reveals details of NASL expansion plans, throws jabs at MLS in the process



MLS commissioner Don Garber has taken what is seemingly a full-steam-ahead approach in terms of expansion, but the plan is not one NASL commissioner Bill Peterson shares for his league.

In fact, Peterson threw some thinly-veiled jabs at MLS for its rapid-fire expansion strategy on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters via a conference call, Peterson went into detail about NASL’s expansion plans and was a bit critical of MLS in the process given how quickly the first division North American league is expanding these days. Peterson not only took issue with how quickly MLS is trying to grow, but also where they are looking to go.

“Can somebody tell me, is he going to have 32 teams or 42 teams?” Peterson asked rhetorically of Garber without mentioning him by name. “How many is he going to have? Every day he announces another city. I’ve got to send him an update of where we’re going so he can announce that next.”

If Peterson’s attitude towards MLS sounds vastly different from the one he had in the initial months after being appointed NASL commissioner, it is because he believes MLS is beginning to try to start a competition with his league.

Peterson has said in the past that NASL needs to focus on building its own fanbase and that the league is not in competition with MLS, but things appear to be changing on that front as MLS eyes several cities and markets for expansion, including ones like Minnesota and South Florida that already have NASL teams.

“(The attitude towards not competing with MLS is) starting to change a little bit now when technically we were in New York before they made that (New York City FC) announcement,” said Peterson. “Now, they’re talking about Minnesota and Atlanta and San Antonio and other places, Miami. I can’t follow it.

“I think every market is a little bit different. I think in some cities we feel very comfortable that we can continue doing what we’re doing and growing the way we’re growing and that there will be no adverse affects to what we’re trying to accomplish. Other cities, they’re trying to figure that out but it’s a little difficult because (MLS is) not very clear – not that they have to be – on what they’re doing or where they’re going. There seems to be some NFL alignment with teams and stadiums. If that’s the way they’re going, that might not affect us at all. That’s the opposite direction of where we’re going. … We’re trying to build something that really aligns with the rest of the world.”

Peterson added that NASL’s current expansion focus lies on the Midwest and West Coast, but said that approach will not prevent other cities in other parts of the United States from getting into the league so long as they meet the requirements.

“We’d like to see our footprint expand throughout the whole country, so San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego,” said Peterson. “We have some level of conversations going on with potential owners in every one of those markets. It doesn’t preclude us from talking to people on the East Coast. There’s at least two conversations occurring there as well that I can’t share right now, some stuff in the midwest.

“We don’t have a timeline. I’m fortunate that the owners have said, ‘Bill, take your time and make sure we get the right owners in the right cities.’ It’s hard to handicap expansion and what we won’t do is create any false timelines or put ourselves in a corner where we think we have to make decisions. We’ve admitted two teams in the last eight months, Oklahoma City and Jacksonville. That’s pretty good progress and we’re just going to keep working at it.

“The good news is there is a lot of people approaching us. It creates a lot of work, but there’s a lot of people approaching us with interest in joining the league. It’s interesting to me to find some people who really want to go back to the legacy clubs and talk about Aztecs and Sting and we’re evaluating that and there are others who want to start a new legacy, if you will, with NASL. The conversations are very robust and very interesting and we’re quite confident we’ll accomplish what we want to over some period of time in the next few years.”

Two markets currently slated to have expansion teams in NASL in the near future are Oklahoma and Virginia, but both have run into issues in recent months. That has left uncertainty as to if they will be ready in time for their 2015 starts, but Peterson is of the belief that they will.

“Oklahoma City, we’re going through ownership realignment,” said Peterson. “We have a group there that is continuing and going forward. We have to ramp up a couple of things behind the scenes and then we’ll clarify that for everybody in more detail, but we’re very confident, we’re still expected to play in 2015 and I believe that will happen.

“Virginia is also going through some ownership reorganization that started with the delay in the stadium being built, (which) led to some issues I would say. We’re working closely with them. We feel like we’re going to come out of this in a very strong position and it’s just part of starting businesses sometimes. It doesn’t always go to the plan that was originally laid out, but in both cases we’re still very confident we’ll be playing in 2015 and actually being in better shape then when we first started.”


  1. MLS is intent on becoming a top-tier league by the end of the decade so I think it should be quite obvious to NASL and USLPro that their best markets are up for MLS expansion. MLS is already a minnow in the US sports landscape, while the lower divisions are comparably still at the cellular level. Most casual soccer fans I know don’t even realize there are more pro soccer teams in US/Canada outside of MLS.

    Ever since the fiasco a few years back with the union and then division with the NASL and USLPro, the MLS has every right to do what’s best for them. The NASL isn’t truely worthy of holding onto cities like Miami, NYC, San Antonio and Minneapolis because NASL just doesn’t have the money to achieve the best product they can with those cities.

    I find it ironic how Commissioner Peterson is whining about MLS expansion when his league is over expanding as well. I think they have some issues they need to deal with like building up Edmonton’s attendance and finding them a better facility, finding a way to bring back a franchise to Puerto Rico, getting the Virginia Cavalry back on track, as well as moving their OKC franchise somewhere else because the USLPro’s OKC Energy has claimed that market for themselves.

  2. He should be doing everything he can to be working out a similar deal with MLS that the USL has worked out. Creating a feud or bad vibes will not work out in his favor. I don’t view his statements as quality leadership. He forgets to mention that MLS ownership have very deep pockets. Even though expansion is happening rapidly, it is not poorly planned. Don Garber has done a fantastic job of growing the league and stabilizing soccer in this country.There have only been a few mistakes and they have learned from them. Peterson should be working closer with both leagues for the over all growth of the sport in this country. It will only make his league stronger. If there is ever any chance of a pro/rel system, all divisions need to be financially viable or it will never happen.

  3. I just wish these leagues would work together for the benefit of the sport in the US. Having a competition between MLS and NASL is doing nothing but holding soccer back.

    Could you imagine if some kind of merger/buyout between the three leagues took place? All of a sudden there would be serious infrastructure for a competitive and interesting second tier league. This could be the primary proving ground for our best 18-22 yr olds (the missing link) to get their feet wet at the pro level and get the consistent playing time they need.

    Also, this would make it easier to understand for a casual/new fan to get involved and follow a team.

  4. There is a place for both MLS and NASL… in a smaller market I know that I will never see an MLS team awarded here….In Syracuse we have two minor league teams, one for hockey and one for baseball and I’ll be honest being a minor league club affiliated to a major league is not exciting at all. The fans know what it is….a straight development club where wins and losses don’t mean anything…it really makes the fanbase supporting the team apathetic. MLS is too big for Syracuse,but I would hope maybe the NASL would give us a look with our own team not affiliated with any other team…not this MLS 2 garbage or the USL Pro affilated teams that have no connection to the community and couldn’t give a toss about putting a quality product on the field.

  5. These are some pretty silly jabs. “Yeah, where are you going to expand to next, you dumb successful soccer league?? Why don’t you go expand some more and keep growing, losers??”

  6. Props to this guy. He has a tough road to climb as DII anything in this country is terrible but he actually has done something notable already.

    One of the biggest differences between now and 5 yrs ago is this kind of competition among the club levels. The best way for NASL to survive is to offer something different than MLS and they are certainly doing a good job building a solid framework. Now its time to start building some sss and academies..

    As for NASL now; I’ll tune in when its more than MLS rejects playing in minor league baseball and hs football stadiums…

  7. The NASL had a chance to award the birth place of soccer in St.Louis, but now it appears that the USL Pro League will award St.Louis a team.

    • Kinda hard to award a team to St.Louis when there is no Ownership Group that meet D2 standards. You don’t want another Jeff Cooper/Viad Brothers situation. Group that is trying to start a D3 team that is promising a MLS team in the future would need someone to step up and if no one steps up then they won’t be in MLS.

  8. MLS is just pissed off that NASL didn’t want to be their minor league, because Man City/NY and PSG Miami/ is very happy that MLS is their minor league.

    • PSG would be one of 3 owners of the club in Miami. Also the Yankees own 20% of NYCFC and the club will have their own idenity. Plus last time I check, it isn’t Garber who is making comments about another league, Peterson is. So who is mad again?

      • So according to you it’s good that MLS have owners were MLS team will be secondary product, that’s awesome. Can you explain to me why MLS expansion franchises are valued at $70-100 but Columbus was sold for $60? Chivas was bought out for $25 and Beckham paid $25? No wonder Garber wants a fast-money grab with over-expansion, he wants MLS to be a monopoly.

      • Again the beckham group have 3-4 billionaires, so PSG would only be a minority. Man City/NY Yankees are investing 500 million on NYCFC, so NYCFC would harldy be secondary on their list. Also big markets are more valued then markets like Columbus. Also Chivas was bought for 70 million, not 25million, reported by Grant wahl.

      • Beckham was given the rights to start a MLS team anywhere he wanted in his first contract with the League ( a cut rate).

  9. It would be great to have a team in San Francisco. Folks in San Francisco, Oakland, Marin, etc. are more likely to get behind the team than San Jose. Unless they work on the Peninsula, those communities have few ties or reasons to get behind a South Bay team.

  10. If MLS wanted to put the NASL out of business it could. NASL has almost no visibility and Id bet most people that are soccer fans but not NASL fans could even name more that two NASL teams.

    Getting by that, maybe Peterson should consider starting a team named the Rockford Peaches or the Kenosha Comets. NASL should stick to the second tier cities and try and eek out an existence, under the radar

    • It’s clear that MLS is already trying to put NASL out of business. Seems like your cool with that. Why have diverse soccer culture with a wide range of levels and interest and philosophies? McSoccer franchises are so much more entertaining right? An MLS Corporation pyramid is the antithesis of open competition of ideas and approaches.

      MLS fans always whine about “Eurosnobs” but here you are passing judgement on another league because the commissioner thinks that MLS is overstepping it’s reach. He’s defending his league and some of you pile on. You don’t love the sport, you love your sanctioned D1 teams that didm’t get there through competitions but through investors and stadium plans. Get some perspective.

      • NASL is putting it self out of business. NASL will never compete with MLS, yet still they are clinging to their illusionary vision that someday they can. The best system for developing players, is MLB. NASL needs to get in line and know its place.

      • First NASL is not producing world class players anytime soon, because very few have academies. Also comparing a dutch system, to that of ours, is a huge fail. Why? because the size of this country is diifferent then that of the Netherlands. Also developing World class player have nothing to do with P/R, it has to do with the academy set up.

      • The English invented pro/rel, how’s their player development coming along?

        In fact, pro/rel in an international marketplace is the antithesis of player development. When the penalties for losing are so high, you don’t take chances on young talent, you can’t afford to build to win in three years, you won’t be there.

      • So instead of having rich ownership groups & nice stadiums to play soccer in, you would rather see teams playing in minior league stadiums? No, it is you who needs to get some perspective.

      • First MLS quality is improving, the number of quality signings this year is only the start. Also P/R is not going to grow the quality of play, that is a myth only P/R nuts think will raise the quality of play.

  11. With Milwaukee being home to two of the best college soccer programs in the country, (Milwaukee and Marquette) and Madison about an hours drive away, along with Milwaukee being home to some of the best soccer clubs in the country (FC WIsconsin, SC Waukesha, Bavarians, Croatians, Racine United, Milwaukee Kickers,etc…) It would make sense to have an NASL team.

  12. I’m not sure what Mr. Peterson expects. MLS was in the process of expansion long before they pulled the NASL logo out of some dusty shoe box. If they wanted secure markets they should have gone places where MLS had no intentions. Or, more precisely, where the fan-base had no MLS ambitions. A second team for NY has been publicly stated aim for a long time and the cosmos have definitely gummed that up but expecting MLS to alter it’s trajectory because of NASL, well that’s good for a laugh.

    Peterson is putting on a brave face IMO.

    • What the hell does this mean: “Or, more precisely, where the fan-base had no MLS ambitions.” Clubs and players have ambitions, supporters are supposed to support their club, rise or fall. Of course fans want their teams to be in the top league, but MLS chooses teams to become a franchise, it had nothing to do with winning records or competition, it’s all about who can raise money to by shares in MLS Corp and turn their club into a McSoccer franchise. I want to see a thriving soccer culture here, one of dedicated fans and teams with passion and ambition. That comes about through competition and yes Promotion and Relegation. Do I think MLS has to adopt it? Nope. They can go on with their whole MLS/NFL model until it’s 32 teams with slow motion replay and red flags and a shot clock if they want. But to think that other leagues and other ideas of how soccer should be done here should just give up or concede every big city to MLS because they are there or are thinking of going there? I won’t accept that.

      • You seem a little scattered there – were you on your knees in the rain, fists to the heavens, screaming at the Gods of Soccer?

        Relax, it’s a game. Roll a ball out and kick it around a little – you’ll feel better. Really!

  13. This is straight from the “say something provocative” school of marketing and public relations. Yesterday none of us knew this guy’s name. Today we’re debating the merits of his business model. Presto! Instant attention.

  14. I do think that the NASL commissioner has a point. One thing that I like about the NASL is that it doesn’t take as much to start and build a team like in the MLS model. With MLS super-expanding with an eye toward big-shot football/baseball/curling team/etc. owners and wooing NASL teams, it really is threatening the grassroots-level soccer culture I think many people would really connect to. Instead of building community teams, MLS seems to want to plop down franchises and beg for TV revenue a la the other Big Four sports.

    • “Instead of building community teams, MLS seems to want to plop down franchises and beg for TV revenue a la the other Big Four sports.”

      Huh…. leads one to think MLS is operating under a business model rather than a nonprofit public service.

  15. I said this before, MLS is going to have to take big steps and show NASL whos is daddy.

    However a little behind in terms of a soccer league and NASL just brought MLS to reality.

    Now i can wait for MLS to start an MLS2 by recruiting NASL teams and uslpro.

    But cmon NASL, stop being delusional and say, we want to be future MLS2 and that would even make expansion crazier.

    Therefore, i see MLS with 26 to 28 teams and MLS2 with 20 easily and MLS3 with 30.

    By the way, i read austin wants NASL and a soccer stadium.

  16. So, we have another soccer war! Closed leagues battling it out in a fratricidal frenzy! It’s only been going on for 100 years or so. Not enough time to draw any conclusions. It’s critical that we stay the course.

    Hopefully MLS will drive another dozen clubs under – because a 95% failure rate of closed league pro-soccer clubs can’t get much worse. Also, it’s critical that MLS is allowed to sell off the US market via SUM in their search for profit. We simply can’t do anything to drive investment and interest to lower divisions – because that’s not in MLS’s best interest.

    In fact, thank GOD US Soccer rigs the entire system for MLS…. Wait – is there a US Soccer at all? At the very least it’s a incestuous relationship – but a necessary one. In order for soccer to survive in this country, we need to grant MLS more subsidies and more entitlements in a creepy lovefest. Otherwise soccer is sure to go the way of the passenger pigeon.

    We certainly don’t need real clubs that can compete with the rest of the world. NFL doesn’t do that. Neither do the dozens of professional US leagues around the world. With soccer failing all around the world, it’s time that wake up and limit their teams and isolate their leagues, just like NFL. International competition is overrated anyway. Nobody likes international club play anyway.

    What needs to happen – for the good of the US pro-sports status quo – Is for MLS to run NASL down far enough to grab a few top clubs and euthanize the rest. The smell of freedom is in the air. Hope is a dangerous thing. It’s time to stamp it out once and for all.

    MLS simply must be allowed to dominate the US game, limit every US club, destroy any league that dares to compete with them, and sell off the bulk of the US market to imports via SUM. Anything else is suicide for the American game.

    So US Soccer – for the good of the game – we’re begging you – please continue to rig the entire US market for MLS. In order for soccer to be kept in it’s subordinate place in the US pro-sports market – where conflicted MLS owners can profit from it’s feebleness – it simply must happen.

  17. A little drama, nothing too big. I care more about MLS than the NASL but I think both are important for the soccer landscape.

    Having said that, what I LOVE about what he said was when he called into question and brought to light MLS affiliating with NFL owners – potentially creating more situations like Arrowhead or Gilette.

    As a fan of MLS this really upset me and I’m not okay with it. I do not support it and it makes me like MLS less.

    I’m also glad that he called to challenge what does seem like a rapid expansion. The only thing I can think the rationale for MLS is is due to tv ratings. I think that’s the next big step for MLS and by expanding to more places, perhaps they believe they can finally address this ground. A boost in TV ratings could change everything like the salary cap – that fans want changed.

  18. Real soccer fans in the US want to see NASL succeed, MLS doesn’t care about the growth of soccer in the US only the growth of their bank accounts. Support MLS at your own risk just don’t bitch when they move your franchise to a new city or lock out the players because they don’t want to pay them.

    • So “real soccer fans” like their league controlled by Traffic? MLS is the reason for the growth of the game, period. NASL is 4 years old, so what have they did for the game again?

    • How many NASL teams are producing their own players? How many MLS teams are producing their own players? How many national team players began their professional careers in NASL compared to MLS? Which league is bringing in legitimate foreign talent to make their league better?

      Now tell me again which league cares more about the growth of soccer in the US.

  19. to deny his point is to do so with blinders on. Most MLS expansion plans are in cities w/NASL teamss, if not teams jumping. Nothing wrong w/an owner mloving up, but a few yrs ago, Garber said “20”, then 22, now 24, Given rest of major leagues has 30+ teams, 32 teams seems the goal. Why?, Of course tv revenue. MLS needs to a larger foot-print nationally to grow tv revenue. This country is big enuff for both leagues to succeed, w/ NASL smaller startup cost, usually they maybe be at best second/only pro league a city, the internet, league stated avg. 5000 att. NASL can thrive.

    However, w/ MLS taking some of NASL better teams, attendance wise, plus their investment in USLPRO, killing any possibility of NASL’s potential markets, if USLPRO, or where fail.

    How can anyone not see the NASL Commish’ point?

    Most of MLS moves may not be motivated by fear of the NASL, but by labor cost/players salary, which for the league to grow has to increase. By eliminating competition in your back yard. You maintain labor cost, because players has lesser alternative.

    Perhaps, this guy shouldn’t blow his mouth off like that. However, he should secure larger finanical committs from his owners & concentrate on the product on the field. That would strt the conversation, which will sustain the sport for yrs. Only way to win.

  20. “We’re trying to build something that really aligns with the rest of the world.” If he wants to be in line with the rest of the world they should switch to a winter schedule. Then they’d be playing during different seasons and won’t step all over each other’s toes. He won’t do that though, nobody wants to watch a perpetual US v. Costa Rica type match….let along freeze through it.

  21. I think he has every right to be suspect of MLS’s recent actions. MLS hasnt really proven they are capable of building stand alone franchises without a pre-exisiting club, fanbase, etc. Look at the most recent expansions since 2009, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Montreal are all success stories and all were professional clubs with history and fanbases before MLS took expansion fees from them. Philly had no team, but did have a large fan movement..still of the 5 they seem like the least successful.

    MLS is stalking NASL markets and clubs because it sees a trend of success in bringing in established teams and fanbases as opposed to inventing everything themselves. Or in the alternative, trying to get into market to drive our NASL.

    That is business, sure, but the problem is USSF just sits on the sideline instead of protecting the game at all levels in this country. Having one league actively trying to destroy the other isnt helping grow the sport here, its hurting it and having just one league control the player pool is bad as well. USSF is mostly to blame in my opinion for not getting this under control, they have the power to do more and assert themselves into this dispute.

    • “I think he has every right to be suspect of MLS’s recent actions. MLS hasnt really proven they are capable of building stand alone franchises without a pre-exisiting club, fanbase, etc. Look at the most recent expansions since 2009, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Montreal” hahahahahahahahahaha so what did traffic do, taking Vancouver, Seattle, Portland & Montreal from the USL Pro?. My mistake, isn’t half of MLS teams the same age as MLS, which means they were created out of thin air. What about TFC?.The fact is, MLS isn’t looking to go into NASLmarkets, the clubs are wanting to join MLS. Why would the USSF protect the NASL, who has no desire to improve the game in this country. They are more willing to fight the USL & MLS, instead of working with both leagues to build the game.

    • Cosmo fan said: ‘MLS hasnt really proven they are capable of building stand alone franchises without a pre-exisiting club, fanbase, etc’

      Come again?!!

      You are aware of teams like Toronto FC, RSL, LA Galaxy, DC United, Columbus Crew, Chicago Fire, Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas and yes the Philadelphia Union.

      Philly didn’t have a ‘large’ fanbase. 30k is a large base. 2700 paid members is not.

  22. I think NASL has the delusion of being the next AFL. “Dont expand so fast MLS, let us catch up and close the gap so we can later merge!”

    • Doubtful, most likely they just want to be a place where they can develop the game and attract people otherwise shut out from investing in MLS, or who prefer a different business model. At some point i assume if successful they would like USSF to grant them the same or similar rights as MLS as a top tier domestic league..if they get there that is.

      • Except the Cosmos approach sets up a potentially destructive contradiction. The no salary cap theory they are selling has traditionally meant no salary rules period, letting them drive down costs and making it perhaps attractive to people who want to own a small town soccer team but not pay MLS wages. If Cosmos comes in and starts exploiting the top end of the “no salary rules” regime — which teams in the minors wouldn’t usually do because it doesn’t make a ton of economic or sports sense — you just bought the Washington Generals to their Globetrotters. Even in the minors you need to sell a competitive product to last. If Cosmos are playing by their own rules how sustainable do you think the whole is? When teams start buying championships is usually when the other teams want a salary cap. They haven’t had to cross that bridge because economic sanity kept spending in check, but if the Cosmos are going to spend with no heed to paper profit…..

  23. I think the NASL commissioner is making some good points, in all honestly it would be great if all 3 divisions would just work with one another to grow the game but that isn’t what is happening. The NASL is shaping up to be a very formidable division within the next decade with the cities and owners that are being added. However MLS is looking to expand their footprint so they can add in more TV revenue. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if in 10-20 years or so that this turns into an NFL/AFL merger or NBA/ABA type of merger.

      • Maybe not, but the more successful teams in the league probably will be, and so they’ll need a league in which to play. I would not be surprised by some reorganization within the next ten years that sees the bigger NASL teams joining USL, or vice versa. To me, it’s a very fine line between NASL’s “big teams” and USL’s. Likewise, it’s a very fine line the lower-end teams of both leagues. The poor teams will die and the relatively well-off teams will succeed. The league in which they play seems a bit arbitrary in 2014.

  24. This guy is super mad, because both San Antonio and Minnesota is looking to jump ship. I also find it funny this guy wan’ts to go into LA & San Diego markets, because neither of those markets can compete with Xolos or the Galaxy.

    • I also think he is finessing the “minor league audition” method of teams like Orlando, that are signing up for these lower leagues with ambitions on their sleeve to impress MLS into promoting them. Even Cosmos’ USOC and CCL pie in the sky concepts are just a reworking of former MLS ambitions. There are only so many teams/ cities in his league that are simply content to be there, and if MLS expands so far that MLS2 becomes likely, the amount of teams content with NASL or USL will trend towards zero.

  25. He has a good point/ How many teams is MLS planning on having? No one knows. MLS wants to own soccer and in this country. That’s a disaster. It’s not even making much money according to Garber.

    • So having more first division teams is a disaster? MLS also owns Sum, something Garber always forget to include in total earnings of the league. Also the NASL is not making any money, even the Cosmos is operating at a lost in earnings.

    • I’m fairly certain NBA owns basketball and NFL owns football and NHL owns hockey in this country. You could argue that college plays a big role in the market, but that doesn’t get the players paid. MLB owns baseball in this country, yet how many divisions still exist?

      interesting side note: All of those leagues have 30-32 teams, with an additional 240 teams in the minor leagues for baseball.

      • And none of that SUM money goes back into the league. Soccer is not the NFL. Not every damn league in the USA needs to be functioning like it. A giant bloated MLS will suck. Parity sucks, it means no team can ever be world class and competitive on the world stage, winning the CCL or the Copa Libertadores will be virtually impossible. This also means our domestic league hampers the development of a national team that can actually win the world cup. There’s a clear and successful way that clubs can progress and grow. American Soccer and MLS are not synonymous.

      • “Parity sucks. It means no team can ever be world class and competitive on the world stage.”

        You’re the worst kind of fan. Go watch the Champions League and EPL alone in your room and yell in a terrible, fake English accent.

        The Brazilian league, Campeonato Serie A, has a ton of parity, and they have as many Club World Cup winners as ALL of mainland Europe. ELEVEN different teams in that league have won the Libertadores, and they’ve had a representative at the Libertadores final every year for the past 10 years. Parity is great, competition is great. Disgusting leagues like La Liga and EPL where only 4 teams are ever in the running is pathetic. I don’t know how English football fans can take more abuse with foreigners owning and running a four-horse race when there are 20 entrants.

  26. There is no competition between MLS and NASL, just the one league with the 8th best attendance in the world and closing in on a $70M/yr. 8 year TV contract and one league called the NASL.

    And MLS is going to markets with NASL teams because the NASL does not have what it takes to fulfill the demand in those markets. More people will show up to watch the top league that were not going to a lower division game than people staying at the lower division team and not moving up.

  27. this guy’s joking, right? Him throwing jabs at Garber is like Moyes throwing jabs at Mourinho, you’re punching above your weight class buddy.

    Look the fact is, as long as MLS is around, NASL will forever be the red headed step child, behind Euro leagues, and MLS. I want NASL to success, but suggesting that they’re going up against MLS is laughable. Focus on staying ahead of USL for now.

    • I agree, he just sounds bitter. My impression is that cities such as Atlanta and Minneapolis are working hard to woo MLS, not the reverse. The fact is, most cities are far more interested in having first team league than what is essentially a second tier league.

      The phrase, don’t hate the player hate the game, comes to mind

      • Tell that to Indy 11 supporters, they already have more season tickets then a lot of MLS clubs and haven’t even played a game yet.

      • Sacramento Republic FC have almost has 5,000 season tickets, in USL Pro. What does season tickets have to do with the league. Also while season tickets for Indy Eleven is great, NASL falls way behind MLS in attendance .

      • It’s a lot easier to get a bunch of season tickets sold the first year in a mid-size city without a lot of competition for fan dollars. Let’s see it happen year-in, year-out before we get too excited.

      • Thank you! How many times have there been articles written about some nasl/uslpro team aspiring to be the next MLS expansion franchise. What I worry about is, if once all the MLS expansion spots are taken up, will all the other MLS hopefuls will lose interest?

  28. Anybody else itching to see an RBNY versus Cosmos game in the Open Cup? Cosmos can win all of the NASL cups they want, but Open Cup is really their only venue to show whether NASL can truly compete with MLS.

    I think that NASL should be very worried about certain markets such as south Florida. Strikers are going to have a hard time when MLS Miami starts pulling in the resources (time/money) of their fans.

      • DC United beat RSL’s first team after Kreis rested those players the weekend before so they could fully focus on the Open Cup. Don’t think for a second that RSL didn’t take that tournament seriously.

        If a NASL team got to the final and beat RSL’s first team (after eliminating 4 other MLS squads on their way there), that says something. It at least says that one NASL team can compete with MLS.

        Does it say NASL as whole can compete with MLS as a whole? No.

        That said, the Cosmos view the Open Cup as their proving ground.

      • Just to get your story straight…you’re saying that if a NASL team wins the US Open Cup, that it doesn’t mean that NASL can compete with MLS, correct?

        And you base this on the fact that DC United won the tournament last year.

        What does it mean to you if a NASL team wins the Open Cup?

      • If a NASL/USL Pro team wins the tournament, it doesn’t mean anything. If you had a terrible DC United team able to win the cup, any terrible team can win the cup.

      • A terrible DC United team is still better than any NASL team. I fail to see how that means any terrible team can win the cup because there’s no way in hell any NASL or USL team will be able to in the near future.

      • The argument that was being made was, that a NASL team winning the cup means something; to the NASL place in the American soccer pyramid. My point was that if a NASL was to say, win the cup, it wouldn’t mean anything to its place on the pyramid. Just like DC United winning the cup, didn’t change the fact they finish last in the east last year.

    • The top 4 teams in USOC were MLS, 6 of the 8 quarterfinalists, 12 of the sweet 16. The single NASL team to make the quarters advanced at Chivas’ expense. This is not the mid ’00s, there is not some worrisome pattern of USL teams out-advancing MLS in CCL by outbidding us for reserves and better coaching their players.

      If any team from the minors looked like it could compete, it was Orlando, and we’re about to fix that.

      It will be interesting to see where Cosmos slot in this year, but I’ve said a thousand times that even if they could pull off their Big Team in a Small Pond concept, I don’t see how it’s economically or sporting sustainable. What sane person plays in the minors when he could be in our first division? What rational fan picks Cosmos over City? I’m sure some fans will develop an emotional attachment, I just don’t see how it’ll last. There’s no promotion. Your endgame is either accepting NASL titles, or building up some myth you can win USOC or CCL. I can’t see MLS letting that fly very long before they’d change their own rules to thwart it, just like they did to expand and better pay the reserves when USL caught up.

      • What!?!?! Have you heard of MB90 or Clint Dempsey? Both of them left “better” leagues to play in “lesser” ones.

      • Call me up when NASL/ Cosmos sign an in form superstar for multi-millions. There’s a difference between saying I will go from EPL or Serie A or whatever to MLS, also first division, perhaps similar salary, and someone coming here but bypassing MLS to play in NASL on purpose.

        Bradley and Defoe signed for TFC, not Cosmos. Argument is practically self-refuting.

      • MLS didn’t sign Becks or Henry their 2nd or 3rd year. And it you said they would eventually at that time you would have gotten the reply that you gave. It takes time. Give it time

    • MLS teams only play scrubs until the final of the USOC and even then they often play scrubs. NASL winning would not mean a single thing. That is like saying when a lower division club in England wins the FA Cup that the Championship could compete with the EPL. Yeah, ok…

  29. He makes it sound like MLS is poaching these cities from him and his league, but the truth of the matter is that MLS *might* want these cities, and these cities that have NASL teams WANT to join MLS.

    He just sounds like a little brother getting jealous and upset with the older brother. He takes these jabs at MLS, and then says they’re not trying to compete with MLS. Riiiight.

    • Or maybe some spin doctor has told him a la Cosmos that the way to make yourself sound like a big deal is to claim you’re competing with a league much bigger and stronger than you are. Rather than acknowledge Cosmos wanted MLS and settled for NASL — only for MLS to sign up with City because it probably sounded like the smarter play — we’re trying to poach his geography.

      I’m not an expansion fan, but if you want to do it, there are only so many viable first division candidates. Those cities would also look nice to a lower division because some of them would attend the minors too. I doubt he really wants to be only getting seconds, the cities MLS overlooks, becoming less and less relevant. So it sounds better to say MLS is poaching your ideas.

      But when he goes to work today his league is what it is. When City comes in, will people still care to watch Cosmos? Introducing thin ice skating for the next Olympics.

      • What’s this with ” ‘we’ are poaching…”? We? Why “we” and “them”? “We” should include MLS, NASL, and USL Pro. As an American soccer fan, you should welcome the competition from NASL and USL Pro. This competition is great for all parties. Competition of any kind will only serve to improve the product on the field. The ideal situation being all three leagues thriving, improving, and producing quality players that can contribute to our national team’s success. Refer to your club team as “we” all you want but let’s all try to keep the bigger picture in focus guys.

        “We” *want* good competition.

      • Well put, it’s aggravating that so many people seem to enjoy these superficial ‘disputes’ or whatever you might call them. I mean, aren’t we all going for the same thing here? Especially for the legions of people who constantly bring up pro/rel (I know I just did – see: THE GAME) – If we have 2-3 strong leagues, that would make a big case for such a policy change.

        With that said, rising butthurt-edness in the NASL could make for some killer Open cup ties.

      • The reason the guy is blabbering about MLS stealingall his planned teams is his lunch is being eaten. Cosmos hasn’t won USOC and Montreal/ PR never quite won CCL. So in theory it’s competition but right now it’s whines.

        I grant what you say to the limited extent that ater a mid decade period several years ago USL’s CCL prowess made MLS change its roster approach back to the old way, re-instituting reserve league and increasing salaries.

        But as MLS continues to expand, the minors will have an increasingy unstable foothold. It was one thing when they had Seattle, Portland, etc. Now we have them and they are looking at OKC and Jax and NYC3, etc. His complaints underline his weakening position.

        As that foothold grows weaker, and as MLS teams start opening their own Galaxy IIs in his own league, he will be less poised to compete meaningfully.

      • Exactly. The prospect of long-term success for the NASL might have sailed when USL Pro started collaborating with MLS. At the point NASL decided to go toe-to-toe with MLS they put themselves in a tough spot. Hard to say whether star players will ever sign with their flagship Cosmos just because of a historical name…could happen, but I doubt it.

      • “As that foothold grows weaker, and as MLS teams start opening their own Galaxy IIs in his own league, he will be less poised to compete meaningfully.”

        — And where is the positive in that as far as U.S. Soccer is concerned?

        You seem to be gloating at the supposition that NASL’s foothold will grow weaker. I hope that’s not the case. As an MLS fan and as a New York Red Bulls/Metros fan, I hope to God an NASL team wins the USOC someday. The same goes for USL Pro clubs.

        Short-sightedness is not my friend.

      • Absolutely right. I’m always amazed by the fans who are happy to see American Soccer fail. MLS wants success but only on their terms? I think the growth and stability of NASL is great for the growth and health of US Soccer in this country.

      • So while the US soccer federation may have given NASL 2nd division status, it seems Peterson may never have acknowledged the status of NASL as a 2nd tier league. In theory, NASL is a competitor to MLS. If NASL wants to compete with MLS, then they should be more selective in their expansion. I actually think there’s room for MLS to occupy another niche in N. American soccer. I think they should minimize teams in the the US and become more of a strong continental league. I’m not sure Liga MX will ever return to Mexicali or El paso, and I’m not sure MLS will ever go for a 4th or 5th team in Canada. NASL should poach Calgary & Quebec city, and keep US franchises to 10 or under. Chicago 2 should definately be on the agenda … Chicago Sting. I’d definately watch if they were strong teams….and so would you.

      • You think people are actually going to care about Chivas East (NYCFC)?

        no existing fan base or history.

        tied to a team that only a few American’s would clain as there favorite.

        Said teams stepchild farm club.

        like I said Chivas East

      • I am interested in them. And I live nowhere near NYC and have no allegiance to Manchester City. However, I am very interested in seeing what their roster will look like after a couple years of existence and also very interested in watching them play in MLS.

      • This from a guy who calls himself “go euro or go home”. Yes, we know precisely the kind of fan who might be interested in a junior premiership team playing in America’s biggest city. The Anglophile American.

      • I am a youth and amateur club that has been established since 1996. There are also other clubs like us in NYC that have been established much longer. With all these local NYC clubs, amateur or not, we should be looked at as the foundation of soccer in New York. (NYCFC has an almost identical name of my adult recreational program by the way.) So we have a New Jersey team Metrostars/Red Bulls, the resurrected NY Cosmos, The NYCFC that you call the “Chivas East”, and a number of other local clubs in NY that also have aspirations to be in the semi-pro market. I will say this: Until this city acknowledges, recognizes, and identifies each sports club, New York’s fan base will be limited. Any true professional club will recognize its neighboring and competing teams, and develop relationships that do not include offering discounts to its games. I’ve reached out to the NJ Red Bulls and there was no response. I’ve received calls from NY Cosmos trying to sell tickets. My club is run without the financial support of donations, and our members cannot afford to pay fees for membership to state youth or adult associations. We struggle to play each season, but we continue to develop our players consistently training each week. It will be hard for my club to recognize any of the area pro teams until they recognize our existence too. Lots of soccer being played at different levels here in the city. It just may not be the place to have a pro franchise with over a dozen other pro sports teams in the marketplace. I say there will be no success in NYC until this city and its existing team structure base (of local clubs) recognizes and identifies with a team or two, and that may not necessarily be NY Cosmos, or NYCFC, or Red Bulls.

      • This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. “I play on a club and none of the pro teams talk to us, boo hoo we wont support it”. Really? Playing soccer for some random A club team in NYC should have nothing to do with you following a pro team. Why should they help you out just because you struggle to play game? Why should they help you out period. They are a professional club, their job isn’t to pander to random amateurs.

      • you miss the point, NASL is trying build up slowly while using the discontent of many fans have with MLS. there are far more former revs fans in New England than there are now that support the team. I have a friend out in Chicago that says the same is true with the Fire. NASL is not afraid to go head to head with MLS in instances that will occur. I truly believe that NASL will be the first time upstart professional sport in America trumps the established league. I know a lot MLS leg humpers think NASL has a no chance. just wait, hard core soccer community is much more intelligent about their sport than other sport fans but more importantly , the younger side is just coming of consumer age, my read of them is they despise MLS and are just waiting for domestic league to throw their support to.

      • +1. If MLS keeps taking anything that works from NASL whats stoping NASL from going into a market like Boston or Chicago!

        While there are plenty of untuched cities already I hope NASL does that sometime soon!

      • Nothing is stopping them. Just as soon as they find someone willing to put up a hundred million or so (you’ll need a stadium, after all, and a bare bones one in a metro are will run you a hundred million these days, unless you get the city to pay for it) only to lose several million a year in perpetuity on the hope of the league growing past MLS in a decade, they’ll take it. Only problem is, people with a hundred million to spend tend not to want to spend it on a losing bet- you’d have to really love soccer, or really believe in the model, and apparently, those people either don’t exist, or already own MLS teams.

        Think about it. You buy the Chicago Sting to compete with the Fire. You compete one three legs, stadium experience, match day experience, history. You need a stadium, and it has to be as good or better than the one already extant (you’re not minor league, right? You need at least the potential to expand to 25k, a second rate stadium is, well, admitting you’re second rate)) then the match day experience. You need talent, at least equivalent to the $3m+ the Fire is spending, probably more (without a history of player development, you need to buy everyone, and convincing a player to take a flyer on your club over MLS (assuming he’s MLS quality or better) means paying him more than MLS. (You have two choices for employment, one is an established company that has never missed a paycheck offering you $100k/year for three years. The other is a startup with no offices yet, how much do they have to offer you to get you to turn down the previous salary? I’d say double at that levelso your role players aren’t making 50, they’re making 100, your up and comers and vets aren’t making 100, they’re making 200. Your dp level guy isn’t making 500, he’s making a million. So let’s say a payroll of 7 million, before transfer fees. What you can’t control is the opponents’ spending. If they aren’t spending too, the match day experience will be pretty poor. Why pay full price for the Sting game against minor leaguers, when Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill are playing the Fire the same day? (This is what will cause the cosmos problems soon enough) the model just doesn’t work.

      • You’re kiding right? For you to say that no-one would care about the Cosmos once NYCfc comes into MLS its just ludicruous!! The worst thing that can happen to MLS is if they approve that stadium at Elmont for the Cosmos. Ask any true New Yorker if they would matter. specially if the Red Bulls keep falling flat on their faces year in and year out (16 and counting). Dude I’am not hating on anyone, But from day one since MLS came into existence the buz was if the the Cosmos were going to be a part of it. That should tell you something about this franchise. So for you to say they’re going to be irrelevent once NYCfc. Joins MLS is quite unfair.

      • Yes because we really need another means to force teams in America to financially unstable and fold. Great idea.

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