I was kidding when I mused aloud about suing a certain promotion/relegation zealot for defamation. I think.
As I’ve said before, the people (particularly the ringleader) of the promotion/relegation movement tend to personalize things. We’re not just idiots if we don’t see how American soccer would obviously be better if everyone saw the “open system” light. We’re on the take from Major League Soccer as part of a grand conspiracy to rid the world of the league system that began when England had too many soccer teams applying for its league.
We soccer journalists can say we like pro/rel but don’t find it feasible in this country at the moment, we can say it might happen someday when we reach critical mass, we can say our income wouldn’t change if MLS were to disappear tomorrow. We could probably even post our tax returns online, and they’d insist that someone from MLS is slipping us cash in a secluded room somewhere.
That’s all a good way of deflecting attention from the fact that we soccer journalists have plenty of evidence — some of it brilliantly compiled this week by Kenn Tomasch — and they have little but a voice in their heads saying, “If you build it, they will come.”
The current argument tack appears to be that they don’t need investors to build a league. They can just change things at the federation level, and then everyone will have to get on board with promotion/relegation.
Just a couple of problems with that thought:
1. Current investors could easily run screaming from such a change.
2. Again, there’s no evidence that we have people who would invest in soccer clubs that want to get promoted. In fact, the current leagues of choice are cheap amateur leagues — PDL, W-League, NPSL, WPSL.
If, over time, these teams find that they’re ready to make the leap up the pyramid, they can. But the vast majority of these clubs are in no position to be forced up the pyramid, and they dang well know it!
Let’s reiterate this:
- You can move up the ladder in American soccer if you have the capital and facilities to do so.
- Most clubs choose not to do so.
So how could anyone think there are tons of investors who would invest in soccer if they had a chance to climb the ladder through on-field performance? They can already do so, and they’re not.
3. U.S. Soccer knows this. So they’re not going to ruin the most stable league they’ve ever had by forcing teams to move up and down.
And no amount of personal attacks, no jabs at MLS’s TV ratings, no scoffing at WPS’s troubles will change those basic facts.