Ramblings of a Soccer Junky
Thursday, November 16, 2006
  Big Changes
I'm not over it, probably never will be, but I'm now getting used to the idea that I'll never see this seasons MLS Cup Final. However, the Final itself was almost secondary to all the announcements the league made this weekend. Some are pretty darn big.

The owners have finally decided to open their checkbooks. Yeah! I've read/heard numerous opinions on this. Here's my take...this is nothing more than a marketing move. Seriously, Becks is a decent player for someone with only one foot. His left peg is only good for standing on. In my opinion, he won't be improving the level of play in the league. Heck, no one person can do that. However, he'll sell a ton of shirts and that alone should make signing him worth the money. We'll see if it happens sooner rather than later.

I was watch American Soccer on GolTV last night. Towards the end of the show they read this email from a viewer on a rant about how the Supporters Shield winner is the true champion. While I agree that a true champion proves it over the course of an entire season, I don't buy the argument that the Supporters Shield winner is the best team over the course of the season. The unbalanced schedule makes it possible for a team in a weaker conference to do better than they would with a balanced schedule because playing weaker teams more often inflates your record. Next season it gets even worse as teams in the same conference won't even play each other the same number of times...or something like that. I still don't completely understand how they are going to get 30 matches out of 13 teams.

On top of that, they reduce the season by two matches because of the Copa Oro/America. However, they then add midweek Champions Cupish matches against Mexican clubs. Mmm, seems like there will actually be more matches next season...and the leagues best will be gone for two months. I'm still not convinced of the value for money proposition when matches that count are played while the best are with their national team.

It's only taken 11 years for those in power to realize that developing local youngsters is the only way to improve the quality of the league...and that forcing those players to then be entered in the draft only gives teams a disincentive to actually find the best youngsters and give them the guidance they need to reach their potential. (I could probably use more punctuation in that sentence...but I can't be bothered)

Probably the announcement I'm most excited about is FSC's announcement on their MLS broadcast plans for next summer. Every match will be scheduled for a 3 hour time block. This will give a half hour before and as much as 45 minutes post-game for analysis and interviews. Of course, with the added content keeping us views in front of the box, they can slide in a bunch of advertisement breaks. To be honest, I've always hated the way broadcasts have always cut away to something else as players walk off the pitch. I know, they do the same for NFL and other sports here. Personally, I can't wait for those broadcasts.

Also, FSC will be broadcasting the Gold Cup next summer. I wonder how much better the matches will look if they do 3 hour blocks for each match there...or double headers with studio comments in between. Either way, the coverage of both the Gold Cup and MLS on FSC will be better than we've seen in the past.

Well, my over/under on when the new US coach will be announced just moved into the over. I was certain Klinsman would be announced by November 15. Oh well, will they get it in before Thanksgiving? Anyone else noticed that Canada and Mexico are also still looking for a coach?

Hey, RSL changed their name to XanGo. Oh, that's a sports drink who have paid $1 million/year for the honor. Good deal. Now we've got two (Red Bull being the first) teams with corporate sponsored shirts. Money is money. Take it however you can.

Is it just me, or is the league slowly moving away from the Americanized version of the league and taking on more of a global image?
 
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An American who fell in love with soccer while living in Europe.

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Location: Hoosierville, IN, United States
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