Saturday, February 19, 2011

Already one foot out the door ... and being pushed?

The other day we posted about the (re)birth of the NASL.As was clear from those stories, they have only a one year lease on life to be sanctioned by US Soccer. At the end of 2011 they would, it would appear, need to re-apply and have the "provisional" removed if the league were to survive.

Interestingly enough, there was another signifigant rub as reported here by MLS Talk. From the article:
Earning their provisional sanctioning back, the NASL lost the right to participate in the 2011 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
 ... and the reason why you may ask, and I quote Sunil Gulati:
... it’s simply too late to include them. The timing doesn’t work. There is no place in the structure; they’re not going to be included.

For me that one borders on even passing the "sniff test". I understand the provisional status as there has to be concern over the business viability of such a league. Take for example the WUSA. Great league, and had all the hallmarks about staying around for the long haul. End result ... no fiscal discipline and wound up folding after just a few years. That was a fairly dramatic blow to US Soccer and promotion of the womens game here in the US. Further, while I am glad the WPS is now playing, I am equally fearful of the same result and would be concerned that to have that phoenix rise from the ashes a 3rd time in such a short span, would be too much to ask.

For my money including teams from the NASL in the Open Cup is a spectacular opportunity this year for US Soccer. It would allow US Soccer to "build some buzz" around its new 2nd division without "getting hurt" if the league does not make it. Also, the teams would benefit themselves from the same opportunity.

Imagine a final between a MLS and NASL team? What better advertisement for a viable 2nd division!

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