Home > Uncategorized > USL/TOA Saga……the Latest

USL/TOA Saga……the Latest

As our friend Brian Quarstad at Inside Minnesota Soccer reported yesterday, posturing and retractions were the items of the day.

Here is what I can report today:

The inevitability around a breakaway league is building. But not all eight clubs that were on the initial TOA release are guaranteed to split from USL and join a new league.  Also, the possibility of more current USL-1, USL-2 or PDL sides joining a new TOA league is still in play.

I am told though that Vancouver and Miami in particular have already begun preparing for the inevitability of a new league. The dueling press statement of yesterday would confirm what I have learned about the Whitecaps even if they tried to walk it back slightly later in the day.

A new league could be strong because of the markets represented, if the TOA can keep each of the eight markets on the initial press release of August 31st. Miami and Atlanta are both top 10 US metropolitan areas, while Montreal and Vancouver are the 2nd and 3rd largest metro areas in Canada. Tampa, St Louis and Minnesota also represent top 25 metropolitan areas in the US. The TOA markets have great potential TV upside, something I have been assured the owners seek to exploit.

If the USL loses Miami, Montreal and Vancouver, it’s largest remaining exclusive market would be Cleveland. (Keep in mind USL-1 will be in New York city next year but that is a shared market with MLS)  However, the USL may move a PDL or USL-2 team from similarly large or even larger markets up to the First Division to replace the outgoing teams.

I can also report that MLS Commissioner Don Garber has played a supportive role in the TOA’s attempts to have their grievances dealt with favorably by the USSF. I am told Garber was perfectly objective in the “summit” meeting called by Sunil Gulati earlier this month, but left the meetings persuaded by the TOA point of view.

Rumors have been abound in the last few days that the TOA is setting up to either be MLS2 or a new MLS Reserve League. The indications I have been given would rule this possibility out for next season, although with Garber now taking an active interest in the TOA’s dispute with USL, some sort of working relationship between a new league and MLS seems likely.


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  1. ERic
    October 29, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Brother. “A new league would be strong…” Seriously, Kartik, speculate much? Having top markets is useless when the owners of the teams in said markets are crap and don’t now how to run things. Having the Miami market is pointless, and Minnesota may be pointless as well, and we don’t know a damn thing about Tampa or St. Louis.

    Man, I can’t wait for this to be over, and we have what we have rather than a lot of people, including blogger/reporters spouting things supportive of their local team.

  2. Lew
    October 29, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I think Garber and Gulati are sympathetic out of a desire to kill off USL, a rival that has shown MLS up with superior performances in the Champions League and Open cup, as well as a bigger national footprint. Gulati essentially serves as an MLs employee so he and Garber have determined that splitting up USL, leaving both leagues (USL and TOA) weak and helpless serves the best interests of MLS.

    Divide and Conquer- Sun Tzu and “The Soccer Don.”

  3. Jason Toon
    October 29, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    ERic, here’s something we know about St. Louis: lead investor Jeff Cooper owns St. Louis Athletica, which averaged 3,833 per game in its first season in WPS and had a couple of games on local broadcast TV. I assume he’d do even better with a men’s D-2 team. Oh, and he already owns a 7,000-seat stadium for both Athletica and the prospective team to play in.

  4. Soccer Guru
    October 29, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Jason Toon, Cooper is also a board member of an English team.

    Eric, you can say Miami FC has failed, but part of the issue there was Traffic’s unwillingness to pour resources into a league that they had no control over. The new league means Traffic’s wealthy Brazilian connections will shower cash into the TOA entity to ensure its success.

  5. Miami Ultra
    October 29, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    One can only hope that if the breakaway does indeed happen, that Traffic Sports backs up all the talk and makes the commitment(mostly financial) to this new league that they haven’t thus far with Miami FC. That means better marketing, games on local TV, etc. etc.

    I really do hope MLS is involved someway in this new league. A partnership benefits both leagues and would be great for soccer here.

  6. Timmy
    October 30, 2009 at 7:31 am

    Traffic has the money to fund the TOA, but does Jeff Cooper have the money? Minnesota is going broke, Carolina is run by a nut job, and Montreal is playing all sides including MLS against the middle. Tampa doesn’t exist and Atlanta suspended because they did not have the money and are run by a bigger nut job than Carolina.

    So Miami FC and Vancouver play in a two team league next year with the Whitecaps leaving to join MLS in 2011 and Miami FC folding.

    Sorry Miami Ultra, when Traffic chooses its friends so unwisely you lose your team. Barca ain’t coming back, so blame Traffic Sports for killing your team while USL will move on just fine without you, the nut job Wellman’s, Boris the Spider, Saputo the Liar, and Jeff Cooper.

    Just wait and see. USL will be stronger than ever thanks to this unintentional purge of dead weight and trouble makers.

  7. Augustine Sasso
    October 30, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Wow. The new league is the nuclear option. In my opinion there will always be a need for the USL or a USL type league to nurture fledgling soccer communities. As for the new league, it’s got to be a halfway league between MLS and USL. By that I mean, no $45 million franchise fee to enter MLS, but a vibrant incubator for large markets not served by MLS. I wouldn’t say MLS2 or a reserve league, but a competitive league like the AFL or the ABA. At some point though, MLS and this new league would have to merge. They need all 10 or 12 teams onboard for the league to get going, otherwise they just won’t last because they will lose Vancouver to MLS expansion. If there is a new league and they do everything right, within 2 to 5 years, they will need to merge with MLS or become the new USL 1. Here’s hoping to see the Impact raise the MLS trophy.

  8. October 30, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I’m intrigued by the USL-2 and PDL organizations that might want to enter the TOA breakaway league.

    Hammerheads seems to be a lock on that.

    Austin and Baltimore have possibilities. I know at least one PDL team is following this sage out of interest in joining.

    Carving out more than 6 teams that will be in the league 2011 is vital.

  9. Kyle
    October 31, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Time is not on the side of the TOA. How can they set up a league in such little time?

  10. Rhinos Fan
    November 2, 2009 at 7:54 am

    The TOA is looking stupider and stupider as time wears on. MLS has moved on without them, USL is preparing for another season and the Soccerfest down in Tampa, and the ring leaders of this namely Miami, Vancouver and Carolina look like idiots.

    Vancouver thinks they can be in MLS after this? They could screw up a one care funeral procession. Traffic Sports, the owner of Miami FC, manages much of CONCACAF’s federations and interests. Now you know why CONCACAF should be CONCACRAP.

    Carolina? Who cares, they are not even a real player. The Wallman’s probably were b/sed to death by Traffic and the Whitecaps ownership and that snake Saputo and they bought into it.

  1. November 3, 2009 at 2:54 am

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