US Soccer is the Myspace of soccer

Critics of promotion/relegation for soccer in the U.S. argue that the closed-leagues of the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL work fine and that’s just how things are done in the U.S.

Question: Do these sports also have professional league standards (PLS) like soccer?

I don’t think they do, but I could be wrong.

Soccer PLS started with good intentions. Soccer leagues in the U.S. came and went. The hope was that by setting some standards, like high minimum net worth requirements for owners, the PLS could bring stability to a league to help establish itself and give national team players a consistent place to get better.

But, in the past few years, the intent of PLS have become more sinister. US Soccer now uses it to to create a barrier to entry to competition to its leagues.

It baffles me that in a free country and in a sport that hasn’t established itself, why the the PLS are needed at all.

What if MySpace got to dictate the standards its competition had to meet?

Myspace’s competitors would look and feel like Myspace because Myspace managers would have a hard time imagining and allowing for solutions that looked different than their own.

That wouldn’t have allowed for the mutations from which the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat have emerged.

Many mutations failed, including Myspace. Add Friendster, Orkut and Google + to that list.

In business (and many other things) trial-and-error and mutations in those trials is how success is happened upon.

Alexi Lalas likes to challenge critics of MLS to “build a better mousetrap.”

He doesn’t acknowledge that US Soccer’s monopoly on sanctioning professional soccer leagues in the U.S. and the PLS makes that much less likely to happen.

So here we are, stuck with the Myspace of soccer running things.




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