If a provocative article turns up on a niche blog and sits there with zero comments, is it any good? I think so. Here’s a tidbit.
US Soccer exempts from its conflict of interest policy “any constituent or affiliated member entities of U.S. Soccer.” This is hugely problematic because an affiliate of US Soccer is Major League Soccer, which contains a for-profit marketing arm called Soccer United Marketing. The opportunities for conflict are many. For instance, according to the New York Daily News, in addition to being US Soccer president since 2006, Gulati was “also a founder, board member and deputy commissioner of MLS, and a member of SUM’s board of directors.”
Good piece by Roger Pielke Jr. on Stefan Szymanski’s blog. I must admit to being a little startled by Pielke’s Twitter timeline. Apparently he is known/tarred as a climate change skeptic. I read the Wall Street Journal column he wrote about charge. I’m satisfied he’s not a nut–but he sure is combative. A combative person who seems like a nut: that’s what it takes to fight the US federation.
But for the many, it must seem ridiculous to attach so much importance to soccer.
Relatively few people are paying attention, but the US soccer pyramid is becoming clarified. The second-division NASL and the fourth-division NPSL are being squeezed. These two independent leagues have the most interesting independently owned teams in North America. But they are struggling.
After NASL and NPSL have been extinguished, I will probably have to find a new enthusiasm. I won’t be able to work up much excitement or interest in the bland, corporate soccer produced by MLS and its compliant partners, USL and the US Soccer Federation.
My friend Neil Morris gets a shout-out in this piece, too. He tweeted leaked press releases about our local club, the Carolina RailHawks, and its long-rumored re-brand to “North Carolina FC.”
(On a personal note, I post this in a world-weary state. I used to care so much about these topics, and right about now, I don’t care at all. I just want to read and fly airplanes.)
The tiers below MLS–and a number of the clubs that play in them–face future-altering decisions in the coming days.