December 1, 2009
Soccer is a Kick in the Grass - Interview with Rob Clark
A day later and everyone seems to be celebrating the news that the Rhinos have opted to join the NASL.
Since it's 24 days until Christmas and I love to play devil's advocate, I'll act like the Grinch for a bit.
First, Bruce from Du Nord is adding some credibility to the internet musing that Shep Messing is in line to be named the commish of the NASL.
While Messing would make a great figure head and would bring back memories of the original NASL. But do you really want the first commissioner in league history to be a guy who plead guilty to wire fraud charges and who's first attempt at owning a team (the MISL's NY Express) ended when the team went belly up mid-way through it's first season?
Given all the hurdles a new league will have to traverse, I'd throw the name Peter Wilt out there as the obvious choice for someone to give the league a commissioner that actually has recent experience in both a start up league (he started up the Chicago Red Stars of WPS in 2009) and helping build up the Chicago Fire in MLS.
And after reading his posts at Pitch Invasion and having him on the show in 2009 and 2006 , I believe that Peter would be able to guide the new league in a direction that would allow for slow, careful growth and avoid a lot of the traps that doomed the original NASL.
I have no idea what the NASL teams are feeling when it comes to fiscal conservatism, but I think that has to be something that they stress early on. Just look at how much money the WPS teams lost this past year as an example of how much it costs to get a new league up and running.
The NASL has a leg up over the WPS in that most of their teams have been up and running for a while and it's merely the league infrastructure that needs to be developed. But, given the current economic climate, I think that being overly cautious with player payroll, marketing, and travel budgets is something that the league needs to keep a tight grip on.
If the NASL doesn't do that, then you could see teams dropping by the wayside as much as you have over the past decade in the USL.
News & Notes:
- News out of Vancouver is that former DC United head coach Tom Soehn could be the head coach when the Whitecaps jump to MLS in 2011 and the NASL franchise will move from Vancouver to Edmonton in 2011.
- Fake Sigi and Match Fit USA have their takes on Jimmy Conrad's idea for the future of MLS.
- David Testo has inked a new two year deal with Montreal.
- Don Garber will reportedly get a contract extension as MLS commish and Landon Donovan may be getting a raise to make staying in LA more attractive.
- Toronto FC want more seats at BMO Field as they would appear to have plenty of butts to put in them.
- As a DC United fan, I think this plan by the NY Red Bulls is awesome!
- The Atlanta Beat of WPS may end up with a nice new stadium to call home.
- I like this celebration , but it doesn't top Clint Mathis's watch celebration, IMO.
- FC Sochaux has a Get Well video for Charlie Davies.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to email@example.com. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.