The shotgun wedding of the NASL and USL for the 2010 season is official.
Boatloads of the fine details (schedules, TV deal, etc.) have yet to be announced. But one thing is for certain today: there will be a 2010 season for second division professional soccer in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
Eight of the twelve teams (Rochester, Portland, Puerto Rico, Montreal, Vancouver, Austin, Carolina, and Miami) played in the USL 1st Division in 2009. Then you have the new Minnesota team that will replace the Thunder (IMS.com & du Nord have more on this development), planned USL-1 expansion teams Tampa Bay (new) & Crystal Palace Baltimore (moving up from USL-2), and the new NASL club AC St. Louis will round out the league in 2010.
There is already talk of what will happen in 2011. The NASL is having their AGM in Florida this week and there is already talk that will have 11 clubs in the NASL in 2011 with Atlanta planning to join the NASL in 2011 from the beginning. Those 11 clubs will likely be 9 of the 12 USSF D2 clubs (take away Portland, Puerto Rico, and Austin), Atlanta, and an expansion team that is to be announced.
It will be interesting to see what route Puerto Rico and Austin go in the future. Portland is just biding their time until they move to MLS in 2011.
I just hope that the 2010 goes relatively smoothly from here as the lead up to the 2011 season should be mild by comparison.
Now bring on some Rhinos player signings!
News & Notes:
- Apparently Rhinos owner Rob Clark talked about MLS ambitions with John DiTullio yesterday when discussing the USSF D2 news. While I agree that Rochester has great soccer fans that would support an MLS club well, I don't believe it was a good move to talk about such aspirations publicly. Rhino fans have been teased by the talk of moving to MLS before. Now if Rob Clark had an investor on board and talks with MLS were going well, then I would have no problem with comments like these. But, it doesn't sound like things are to that point today.
- The USMNT blog has a quick post that Charlie Davies visited with the USMNT yesterday. That is great news!
- Check out Hope Solos's back up plan.
- The Chicago Fire finally have their new head coach.
- The Houston Dynamo are trying to set up a rally for support for a new stadium for next weekend.
- Say a little prayer for the Togo national team.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.