MLS to affiliate with USL PRO clubs

Discussion in 'United Soccer Leagues' started by mbsc, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. MLSinCleveland

    MLSinCleveland Member

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    Affiliations
    Sporting Kansas City/Orlando City
    New England Revolution/Rochester Rhinos
    Philadelphia Union/Harrisburg City Islanders
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    Staying in Reserve League (USL-Pro opponent)
    Montreal Impact (Rochester Rhinos)
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    USL-Pro Independents
    Antigua Barracuda
    Charleston Battery
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    Phoenix FC
    Pittsburgh Riverhounds
    VSI Tampa Bay
    Wilmington Hammerheads

    What the...?
    Chivas USA
    VioletCrown and john3628 repped this.


  2. Socarchist

    Socarchist Member+

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    From my quick reading of the USL Pro schedule, I believe that the San Jose and FC Dallas reserves will each play only one match against a USL Pro side, Antigua Barracuda.
    MLSinCleveland repped this.
  3. Jossed

    Jossed Member

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    This isn't really about 2013. More 2014 and beyond. The USL-Pro is probably going to do some massive restructuring over the next few years with teams dropping and many coming up. And I don't believe this is about affiliation. That merely gives MLS teams some flexibility in the beginning. Just like with the academies, MLS will nudge teams into starting their own USL-Pro clubs.

    Notice how the LAG didn't bother with the Blues? Why would you when they probably will be gone next year and could be replaced with the LAG's own USL-Pro club. Same with the Crew and Dayton. But notice how the two strongest teams in the league(at least financially) quickly affiliated.

    This will all be sorted out in the few years.
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  4. MLSinCleveland

    MLSinCleveland Member

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    Thanks for the effort and the info! Repped.


  5. MLSinCleveland

    MLSinCleveland Member

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    IIRC, any remaining reserve sides next year have to become USL-Pro franchises. Am I correct?
  6. markmcf8

    markmcf8 Member+

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    I'm pumped about this announcement.

    aetraxx7, I see what you're getting at and how some see this differently.

    Consider minor league baseball teams. Most are in fact owned by their major league clubs, but some are independent, and might have players from three or four major league teams on their rosters, and might have some players who are not attached to any major league club.

    This is the sort of arrangement that we will see from this affiliation. Some USLPro sides will have a relationship with an MLS club, but only a few of their players will be MLS loaners. Any players signed by the USL side, drafted, whatever, will belong to the USLPro club and if that player moves up to MLS, it could be to any MLS club. (Or some of those players may move up to NASL, and again, any club.) So more like the independent minor league baseball clubs, though not exactly.

    Yeah, I think this has to be an improvement, both for USLPro and MLS.

    Some, many, in this country see minor leagues as necessarily feeder teams and or semi-pro. It's an attitude that pisses me off, and in many soccer leagues around the world, it's not accurate. Still, this is a view that many Americans have because it's the way that our minor leagues work. (At least, it's how baseball minor leagues work.)

    I sure hope that this works out. It's got to be better than where we were before.

    Oh, I'm going to bet that Sacramento FC affiliates with SJ Earthquakes when they enter the league in '14. No inside information on that, but I think it's likely.

    - Mark
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  7. MLSinCleveland

    MLSinCleveland Member

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    I am a minor league baseball expert and feel the need to correct a couple of inaccuracies here

    - Just because a minor league baseball team is affiliated with a major league team doesn't mean that they are owned by the major league club, just that they get all their players from the big-league club. In fact, most minor league clubs are owned independently of the big-league clubs and run their own business operations and keep the profits the team makes.

    - Independent teams (who play in entirely separate leagues from affiliated teams) get exactly zero of their players from a big league org. The vast majority have played in a big league org before joining the independent squad, but they have all been released from the big-league org and signed with the independent clubs as free agents. Also, while affiliated leagues used to have co-op teams (players from multiple big-league orgs on one minor league team), all affiliated minor league baseball teams are now single-affiliated (with the exception of the occasional two-team co-op in the Dominican Summer League).
  8. Mikey mouse

    Mikey mouse Member

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    I don't think it is a requirement but teams are allowed to follow that route if it best for them.
  9. john3628

    john3628 Member+

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    For the most part, all this does is add 2 extra fixtures for the MLS reserve teams without affiliations?
  10. CShine

    CShine Member

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    "Massive restructuring over the next few years" sounds more than a bit speculative. Treating weakling clubs like the plague, I can see that angle. What I don't see is evidence that it would be any different in a "few years." It makes more sense to believe that only financially strong USL teams will ever get affiliations and that the number of them will remain small for quite some time to come. After all, the USL teams who've got bucks will want to jump up to MLS, right? That sure is what Orlando and the new expansion teams are saying, ain't it? The LA Blues, Dayton and their ilk could be all that's left.
  11. aetraxx7

    aetraxx7 Member

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    I didn't think it was an option either. I am trying to locate where I came across that info. I would mark it as "unconfirmed," but it would not surprise me to learn that it is true, quite frankly.
  12. MLSinCleveland

    MLSinCleveland Member

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    I'd say it's pretty well confirmed by today's USL-Pro schedule release (No matchup between Chivas USA Reserves and a USL-Pro club) unless they are affiliating with a USL-Pro club (LA Blues?).
    aetraxx7 repped this.
  13. markmcf8

    markmcf8 Member+

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    Thanks! And sorry about the goofs. I'm not into baseball anymore, so I haven't followed their minor league developments.

    I'm going to bet that my misconceptions are not uncommon though.

    In any case, the USLPro teams will be more independent of their MLS affiliates than seems to be the case with minor league baseball. (In so far as only a small fraction of the USLPro players will be tied to their affiliated MLS side.)

    And this will probably morph some as it grows and develops. I'm still pumped to see more cooperation between the leagues.

    - Mark
  14. AmeriSnob

    AmeriSnob Member

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    It's possible that this can lead to MiLS, but I don't know if it's a definite.

    What happens if the lower-tier teams in USL Pro (Antigua, Dayton, probably Tampa) go under? Then we're left with 10 USL teams, hardly enough to form a MLB-style farm system.
  15. markmcf8

    markmcf8 Member+

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    USLPro teams have a tendency to come and go, so some "restructuring" might be expected. :eek:

    I think that USL is not rigorous enough about insisting that their teams have a decent amount of money behind them, or play in a big enough market, or have attendance goals. Basically, it is not unreasonable to think that USL just love franchise fees, and don't care too much about anything else. They'd love more stability, but aren't willing to work for it.

    So now, they are going to have some input and influence from MLS. So I expect some changes, perhaps not right away, but over the next few years.

    As for USLPro teams saying that they want to move up to MLS, I think that's mostly marketing or free standing hallucinations on their part. Maybe one or two will move up, but if USLPro evolves into a group of regional leagues (maybe? maybe not?), then I could see a lot of teams staying in USLPro because operating costs would be much lower.

    It's going to be fun to watch in any case. And it maybe fun to see what happens to NASL and whether or not this helps or hurts them.

    - Mark
  16. MLSinCleveland

    MLSinCleveland Member

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    No problem. I deal with this a lot. You wouldn't believe how long it took me to explain to some people that not only is the Frontier League team in the western suburbs of Cleveland not affiliated with the Indians, but that they cannot affiliate with the Indians.

    Actually, you're almost certainly more knowledgeable than most I talk to re: the minor league system in baseball based on your prior post.
  17. aetraxx7

    aetraxx7 Member

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    The one that drives me nuts is when people refer to AAA ball as "semi-pro." As if these guys - contracted through MLB teams - are just weekend warriors that work 9-to-5 Monday through Friday.
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  18. MLSinCleveland

    MLSinCleveland Member

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    Same here. I keep hearing people in Cleveland talking about the city not having pro hockey, nevermind that we have the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche.
  19. aetraxx7

    aetraxx7 Member

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    How I miss having the AHL... Way back when the Stars/Chops started, people here thought that it was literally a single step above the USHL (jr league) and couldn't figure out why we needed another "semi-pro" team. Never mind that the Bucs are an amateur team of high school age players trying to land scholarships and that the Stars/Chops were certified pros one level below the NHL.
    But in all fairness, Clevelanders probably lost respect when the Barons rebranded with the Shark logo and colors... Losing the team to Worcester only to be replaced with a regional branded team didn't help.
    Yet they recognize the Browns as a pro team when all available evidence suggests otherwise...
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  20. MLSinCleveland

    MLSinCleveland Member

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    Actually, the Monsters are one of the best draws in the league. It's just that Clevelanders view "pro" to mean "top level". I honestly think some Cleveland sports fans have no idea that "pro" relates to being paid.
  21. aetraxx7

    aetraxx7 Member

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    You are on the money with your last statement. It's not just Clevelanders that think like that; it's a pretty widespread phenomenon. Even in a minor league city like Des Moines.
    For the record, I like the Monster's branding.
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  22. athletics68

    athletics68 Member+

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    Well at least one is waiting until next year supposedly, the Earthquakes and the future Sacramento USL team are supposedly going to partner next season. But as it is, don't every USL pro team either have a partner or a playing partner?
  23. guamster

    guamster Member+

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    4 USL Pro teams have an affiliated MLS partner:

    Richmond and DC United
    Orlando City and Sporting KC
    Harrisburg and Philadelphia
    Rochester and New England

    Every USL Pro team has a playing partner(s):

    Antigua Barracuda FC vs. FC Dallas & San Jose Earthquakes
    Charleston Battery vs. Houston Dynamo
    Charlotte Eagles vs. Chicago Fire
    Dayton Dutch Lions vs. Columbus Crew
    Harrisburg City Islanders vs. Colorado Rapids
    Los Angeles Blues vs Los Angeles Galaxy
    Orlando City vs. Seattle Sounders FC
    Phoenix FC vs. Real Salt Lake
    Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Toronto FC
    Richmond Kickers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
    Rochester Rhinos vs. Montreal Impact
    Wilmington Hammerheads vs. New York Red Bulls
  24. Socarchist

    Socarchist Member+

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    Do you know this or are you just speculating? I haven't read anything about this, but maybe you have. Please share.
  25. Prosoccercdn

    Prosoccercdn Member

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    Interesting article from the Canadian MLS teams perspective :

    CSA won’t sanction USL clubs as official Div. 3 teams in Canada
    http://the11.ca/2013/01/24/montagli...-usl-clubs-as-official-div-3-teams-in-canada/

    The Canadian Soccer League is the D3 league in the Canadian soccer pyramid like D3 USL Pro is in the US pyramid. There has been talk in Canada about this league adding a western division and becoming a National D3 league. If they did go national, the 3 Canadian MLS teams could possibly put their reserve teams in the D3 CSL as well as possibly the D2 NASL's FC Edmonton reserves and the new Ottawa(2014) expansion team's reserves.

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