Breakaway from USL doesn’t look so dumb… so far.

I’ve always said that one of the realistic options for the disaffected USL owners was to leave and then just setup their own league away from the USL umbrella. Today, that appears to be what has happened, with everyone bailing on Francisco Marcos and the USL. I have not been following this all that closely, but where does this leave Portland, who has one more year to go before they join MLS. Vancouver, who also joins in 2011, is part of the new league? Of course, it’s also unclear what the other non-breakaway club (Austin, Cleveland, New York, Puerto Rico, Rochester and Tampa Bay) plan on doing. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this as long as they can keep ambitions and costs down.

Also, by breaking away they’ve just lost the TV deal with FSC. One of their first tasks ought to be calling FSC or GolTV up and trying to work out a new deal. Interestingly, they have applied to be a Division II league in the United States, but the new league has also applied to be the Division I league in Canada. Could the TOA be looking at making this new league the Canadian national league people have been hoping for, except one that has some teams located in the USA?

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11 thoughts on “Breakaway from USL doesn’t look so dumb… so far.

  1. The USL was already sanctioned as D-I in Canada. Since both the Canadian teams will be moving to the new league, makes sense that they’d try for the same sanctioning.

  2. Would FIFA allow a Canadian first division with teams in the US as well as a US first division (MLS) with teams in Canada?

    Sounds like a recipe for restructuring down the line.

  3. Included in the teams not part of the TOA but not in your blog is Charleston. They have a fantastic stadium and I’m curious as to why the would not want to be part of the new league. And if the TOA get Div. II status, we are back to doing things the old way – soccer competing against soccer. That is one of the most debilitating things to the growth of soccer in the US. I understand the dispute and actually side with the TOA, but I’m sick of seeing soccer fighting soccer. Ugh!

  4. I should have been more clear in my post.

    If the TOA group is expanding its footprint in Canada and looking to build up enough teams to be the Canadian national league and not just a designated Canadian D1 as Aaron suggests it might be, I could see FIFA wanting a realignment once there is a critical mass of Canadian teams in the future. Three teams split between MLS and USL/TOA certainly doesn’t warrant it, but how many would it take? 8? 10?

    I suppose it doesn’t really matter at this point, but if Aaron can speculate prematurely I demand the right to do so as well.

  5. The TV deal on FSC was a pay-as-you-go deal. Basically a USL infomercial. I see no reason why the new league couldn’t do the same on either FSC or GolTV.

    The TOA has gotten what they want (control). Now we find out if the want what they’ve got (responsibility). They’re going to have to come to grips with governance and dispute resolution real quick.

    2010 will be an interesting year for minor league soccer in the U.S. and Canada. Hopefully when the dust settles down the road, we’ll have a better, stronger system in place. The history books would indicate otherwise, but hope does spring eternal.

  6. For Canada to have its own league it would have to have at least 12-14 teams or something (there is some fifa regulation number). Since Canada probably doesn’t have that many major cities, they will probably have to be like England, in that the large cities will have to have two teams like Manchester United and Manchester City, there would be TFC and Toronto City or much smaller markets (suburb cities) would have to support a team

  7. The minimum league size came up in one of the 500 tweets I read today regarding the TOA so I can’t remember who said it. Anyhoo, apparently USSF requires a min of 8 but can waive this, as was the case with WPS. WPS was able to get a waiver because they set a timeline for bringing on two more teams in season 2.

  8. If this were true, FIFA would have never allowed MLS to get off the ground. MLS started with 10 teams. Considering Canada is far less populated than the US, I would think the required number of teams for Canada would be less than 10, or at least the number you’ve speculated (12-14).

  9. You’re right, it really doesn’t matter, and likely never will, I doubt Canada could ever support more than three top flight soccer clubs.

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