Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Death of Soccer in Miami... Again?

There is a song by the Smiths that goes like this:
The death of a disco dancer
Well, it happens a lot 'round here
Well, it's not the death of a Disco Dancer but more like the Death of Soccer in Miami, and it does happen around here quite often! It appears Soccer does not live long and prosper in this town ...

Miami FC may become the latest victim in the endless saga of failed South Florida teams. Not only is the team on the brink of extinction thanks to a failed attempt to buy the United Soccer League by parent company Traffic Sports, but the team is in the midst of an eight game losing streak that included a 9-0 pounding by the Carolina Railhawks only a week ago.

As most of you know USL was recently bought by Nurock Soccer Holdings from Nike and in a press release that came out yesterday Click here, it appears that USL founder Francisco Marcos and Tim Holt remain on board. It was mentioned on other blogs and news sources that another group led by a group of current USL teams had out bid all potential buyers and was on the verge of securing the purchase of USL when suddenly there was a press release stating that Nurock was indeed the winner!

Speculation remains that there was an inside maneuver by USL personnel along with Nurock to secure their bid would succeed (even though it was not the highest bid) and as the press release suggests... well, you can come to your own conclusions.

Now USL team owners are not happy. The Team Owners Association (TOA) has announced that it has accelerated its pursuit of all league options for the 2010 season and beyond. It's no secret most USL teams were not fond of Marcos and Holt at the helm of the league, the two would most likely have been out of USL had the TOA led by the Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, Miami FC, Minnesota Thunder, Montreal Impact, St. Louis Soccer United, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Vancouver Whitecaps been successful in their bid to take over USL.

If the TOA is looking for other options we can assume they might start a League of their own. But how strong a league could it be? Vancouver is on it's way to MLS in 2010 so after next season another team is out. How can they survive? I would think one option could be via MLS. There is no chance all these teams could be part of that league but the fabled MLS-2 could be an option the TOA might look at. Most of us Soccer fans dream of the relegation idea but that's not going to happen if ever for a very long time. An arrangement could be made however whereby MLS-2 teams could become affiliates of current MLS teams. Maybe rules could be less harsh on the MLS-2 teams where they will not have the restrictions of the single entity structure currently in place for MLS teams for the sake of making MLS-2 attractive to the cities they play in.

In this scenario NuRock would lose the majority of its USL-1 teams. Some may say USL can continue with the few teams remaining and by promoting the USL-2 teams possibly even eliminating USL-2 for now, but, it would nonetheless be a much weaker USL. Will USL survive if it loses so many teams next season?

What if all the teams decide to fold? The loser would be Nurock,which might opt to close the league down before they lose more money. But in reality we all lose. US Soccer would lose the structure that keeps feeding MLS and the U.S. national team. I find it remarkable that Nurock and USL management did not think ahead and try to secure an arrangement with the current USL-1 teams instead creating all this drama that might lead to the end of USL.

For the best up to date information on this situation visit Brian Quarstad at Inside Minnesota Soccer and Kartik Krishnaiyer of Major League Soccer Talk.

For now all I can say to South Florida Soccer Fans is to support Miami FC in these last 3 home games. Let's send a message that we want Soccer in Miami. Lets send a message to Traffic that they need to step up and give us Major League Soccer along with other investors out there such as everyone on the committee supporting the World Cup bid for Miami, like Emilio Estefan, Facundo Bacardi, Bacardi Limited; Peter Dolora, senior vice president of American Airlines; George Feldenkreis, chairman/CEO of Perry Ellis International among others.
Support Miami MLS by going to http://www.miamisoccerfan.com/Soccer/Tickets.html


Anonymous said...

What Miami needs is MLS. Work on getting a MLS team. USL in 2010 could be yes or no. If you want MLS go out and let investors and your community know. Miami FC owner have done a terrible job is selling so call pro soccer in South Florida. Fans should be bad and demand a better product.

Ted C said...

MLS should be in Miami. But why why why do so many soccer loving people in Dade ignore Miami FC and even ignored the Fusion when they had El Pibe? Please explain!

Anonymous said...

If the USL teams separate from the league I wonder if Traffic would want to join MLS?
Would Traffic commit if other investors would step up and support an MLS team?

Uncle Ed said...

@Ted. What happened was that Horowitz, the Fusion owner, had no idea how to run a Soccer team and didn't market El Pibe as much as he should have to try and attarct the huge Colombian population in South Florida... kinda like Traffic never did anything with Diego Serna. But of course Traffic is a "Soccer" company...and stuff.

@Anonymous #2. If Traffic would decide that going to MLS is the way to go then I'm sure they would be successful as long as they do a better job then they have with Miami FC. Its obvious they did not commit to the Blues and spend more money because they wanted to concentrate on buying USL. Now that they failed we will see what happens.

Alberto said...

Bring MLS to Miami........ lets do it Miami.

Anonymous said...

I understand Ft. Lauderdale having a team, but Miami what right-minded investor would invest into a city where soccer has failed.

Anonymous said...

Soccer has not fail in Miami you ass dummy. Miami has had sorry owner.