Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. In last week’s “On the Pitch,” I gave the MLS a chance. I watched my very first regular season game and kept a diary of my impressions. I admit that I came into it with a fair amount of pessimism. I decided to dig a little deeper and find out what others are saying, whether avid soccer fans or those with a mild interest.
Upon some online literature, I found that MLS has been moving in the right direction. They’ve rid themselves of the Americanized rules which has enticed the traditional soccer fans. Now they face a more critical period to win over guys like me: American sports fans that respect soccer but have not committed (as of yet). So I asked myself, “How can the MLS win me over?”
I’ve thought about relegation, small market teams (I love that Philadelphia, ready to start play in 2010, is going to be playing in nearby Chester, PA and not the actual city of brotherly love. Brilliant move by the league), and even doing away with the whole conference scenario. They’ve already taken a few pages out of European soccer by having their own versions of the FA Cup and Champions League. The U.S. Open Cup involves all levels of American professional soccer teams. The only time I pay attention to my hometown Rochester Rhinos of the USL first division is when they play in this tournament, so apparently it works. Then there’s the CONCACAF Champions League, which pits North American, Central American, and Caribbean clubs against one another.
Rather than kid myself and analyze what the MLS is doing right and wrong, I’ll let others explain because in the words of Danny Vinyard, if “someone else has already said it best…. steal from them and go out strong.”
Lalas on Relegation
Alexi Lalas’ viewpoint of relegation and why it would not work in the MLS.
Why MLS WILL eventually adopt promotion and relegation
Conversely, one man’s opinion on why a relegation system with the USL would be possible. Be sure to browse the comments.
Why the MLS is on the right track
This article chronicles what the MLS is doing right and why it will continue to be successful. Be sure to browse the comments.
Why I can’t be arsed to care about MLS
The joy of relegation
Covers all football, foreign and domestic. Some great blogs on how the MLS can be more appealing (and competitive) and how relegation may help.
Let me know what you think, whether an MLS fan or not. Can the MLS continue to make strides forward? What can it do to get those sitting on the fence to come over? Is relegation and promotion with the USL realistic?
(Funny the ramifications of just a little interest. Maybe my inquiry last week can manifest into a broadened appreciation of all things soccer.)