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USL/TOA Dispute Updates

The move of Crystal Palace Baltimore to the TOA from USL has been confirmed. We’ll have further updates on this and the USL AGM all weekend long.

Tampa Bay has also switched for now, but this move could be temporary, based on what the USSF does this weekend in sanctioning the new league. I am told the new league and its sanctioning is on the agenda at the metings being held at MLS Cup Weekend.

Tampa is a TOA member but also on the hook to play in USL next season. I believe they are helping the TOA get sanctioning and will return to USL should the First Division still exist to play the 2010 season before joining the new TOA league permanantely in 2011.

The trademark for the North American Soccer League, which brings back memories has been registered by Miami FC according to USL News. The NASL name choice is brilliant if the league is actually played at a decent standard. While the NASL evokes some angst from recent soccer fans, many old timers long for the days of seeing Pele, Cruyuff and Cubillias, among others on American soil. But a new TOA league would not have the cache of the NASL and could in fact damage the name and legacy of the league.

The NASL is still fondly remembred in Europe. On my travels there, I get more questions about the NASL than MLS, which should be a strong indicator as to its market value in the global football world.

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  1. Lou
    November 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Is Tampa officially switched as well?
    (http://www.potomacsoccerwire.com/news/460/8869)

  2. November 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Lou :

    Is Tampa officially switched as well?
    (http://www.potomacsoccerwire.com/news/460/8869)

    Yes, but I think it is temporary to get the TOA’s numbers above 8 for this weekend: they can go back to USL once the league is approved so they don’t get sued and then leave USL for the TOA in 2011. Confused? So am I……

    But the situation is that the Rowdies are with the TOA but are on the hook for USL in 2010 because they paid a $750 k bond to the league and signed a contract to play in USL next year.

  3. Miami Ultra
    November 20, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I can see the name NASL working well, IF they do a quality job. Getting the Rowdies on board helps, and MFC rebranding to the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers seems like an even better idea now. Now maybe they try to convince the knucklehead in NY(can’t remember who) who wants to turn the Cosmos into a Harlem Globetrotters of soccer, to instead form a TOA team and it’s on!

  4. ERic
    November 20, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Kartik Krishnaiyer :

    Lou :
    Is Tampa officially switched as well?
    (http://www.potomacsoccerwire.com/news/460/8869)

    Yes, but I think it is temporary to get the TOA’s numbers above 8 for this weekend: they can go back to USL once the league is approved so they don’t get sued and then leave USL for the TOA in 2011. Confused? So am I……
    But the situation is that the Rowdies are with the TOA but are on the hook for USL in 2010 because they paid a $750 k bond to the league and signed a contract to play in USL next year.

    Actually, now that you put it that way, it makes sense. In the same way that the WPS got sanctioned with 7, with the promise of an 8th, Tampa is putting out the promise of an 8th. They’ve agreed to play in the USL1 in 2010, but all they need to do for 2011 is to not sign up for the next year, in the same way that all those TOA teams didn’t sign on for 2010.

  5. ERic
    November 20, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Miami Ultra :
    I can see the name NASL working well, IF they do a quality job. Getting the Rowdies on board helps, and MFC rebranding to the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers seems like an even better idea now. Now maybe they try to convince the knucklehead in NY(can’t remember who) who wants to turn the Cosmos into a Harlem Globetrotters of soccer, to instead form a TOA team and it’s on!

    IMHO, NASL is a very stupid choice. Kartik’s comments about the name being legendary overseas just reinforces that Traffic doesn’t have a clue about the US. I’m sure there are plenty of people here in the US that remember the NASL fondly. There are plenty already that are dreaming of the Cosmos coming back (yet again, and rolling my eyes).

    To my mind, this is an attempt to piggyback on a legacy that this new NASL would have nothing to do with. I find it cheap and sad. Despite that, maybe it’ll work.

    It also makes me wonder about the TOA’s claim to ‘compete with MLS, but not compete with MLS’. Using the NASL name seems like them trying to blur the line of what is the top league in the US. And I’m not sure how long the USSF or FIFA would accept that.

    That said, I’m starting to think this is the last year for the USL1.

  6. Andrew
    November 20, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    NASL is brilliant!

    But I agree with K on the quality. If the league is shyte and is run like USL, then the NASL lure is damaged for good.

    For some of us the NASL was soccer. The MLS hasn’t come close. Sure it is a different time and it is more stable, but it is not nearly the same thing. The top players are not here and where the NASL was big it was REALLY big, like in San Diego and Tampa! (hint……TOA bring us our Soccers back!)

  7. whitestarw
    November 20, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    How do you know Tampa will be playing in USL/2010. TOA in 2011. The Rowdies haven’t posted anything like that on their website.

  8. ERic
    November 20, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Andrew :
    NASL is brilliant!
    But I agree with K on the quality. If the league is shyte and is run like USL, then the NASL lure is damaged for good.
    For some of us the NASL was soccer. The MLS hasn’t come close. Sure it is a different time and it is more stable, but it is not nearly the same thing. The top players are not here and where the NASL was big it was REALLY big, like in San Diego and Tampa! (hint……TOA bring us our Soccers back!)

    Man, I’m sick of people pining for the glory days of the NASL.

  9. November 20, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    The NASL means nothing without the right team names.

    Miami FC? Should be the Strikers

    Atlanta Silverbacks? Should be the Chiefs!

  10. November 20, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    whitestarw :

    How do you know Tampa will be playing in USL/2010. TOA in 2011. The Rowdies haven’t posted anything like that on their website.

    That’s the thinking now, but this situation is so fluid, it’s bound to change by tomorrow!

  11. November 20, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    ERic :

    Kartik Krishnaiyer :

    Lou :
    Is Tampa officially switched as well?
    (http://www.potomacsoccerwire.com/news/460/8869)

    Yes, but I think it is temporary to get the TOA’s numbers above 8 for this weekend: they can go back to USL once the league is approved so they don’t get sued and then leave USL for the TOA in 2011. Confused? So am I……
    But the situation is that the Rowdies are with the TOA but are on the hook for USL in 2010 because they paid a $750 k bond to the league and signed a contract to play in USL next year.

    Actually, now that you put it that way, it makes sense. In the same way that the WPS got sanctioned with 7, with the promise of an 8th, Tampa is putting out the promise of an 8th. They’ve agreed to play in the USL1 in 2010, but all they need to do for 2011 is to not sign up for the next year, in the same way that all those TOA teams didn’t sign on for 2010.

    Yeah exactly- like WPS, they can promise to follow through on an 11th team.

  12. Chris
    November 20, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Very interesting cat fight!

    USL press release
    Friday, November 20, 2009

    TAMPA – In response to the Team Owner’s Association (TOA) announcement that the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Crystal Palace Baltimore will be joining a prospective new professional soccer league, United Soccer Leagues (USL) has issued the following statement:

    “Both the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Crystal Palace Baltimore have contractual commitments to USL to play in the 2010 USL First Division (USL-1) season. USL will pursue all actions to protect its interests and those of the USL-1 teams from any breach of contract caused by Tampa and Baltimore.”

    “USL further believes TOA is tortuously interfering with USL-1 team owners that are contractually obligated to participate in the 2010 season. TOA has made several misleading statements in a variety of press releases to taint the reputation of USL and its long history of developing the sport of soccer in the United States and Canada. USL will vigorously defend its legal interests against the TOA’s tortuous interference in contractual relationships with its team owners.”

  13. November 20, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    USL’s press statement get wackier and wackier.

    Papadakis needs to retain a decent PR firm or he is going down in smoke with Holt and Marcos.

  14. November 20, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Chris :
    Very interesting cat fight!
    USL press release
    Friday, November 20, 2009
    TAMPA – In response to the Team Owner’s Association (TOA) announcement that the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Crystal Palace Baltimore will be joining a prospective new professional soccer league, United Soccer Leagues (USL) has issued the following statement:
    “Both the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Crystal Palace Baltimore have contractual commitments to USL to play in the 2010 USL First Division (USL-1) season. USL will pursue all actions to protect its interests and those of the USL-1 teams from any breach of contract caused by Tampa and Baltimore.”
    “USL further believes TOA is tortuously interfering with USL-1 team owners that are contractually obligated to participate in the 2010 season. TOA has made several misleading statements in a variety of press releases to taint the reputation of USL and its long history of developing the sport of soccer in the United States and Canada. USL will vigorously defend its legal interests against the TOA’s tortuous interference in contractual relationships with its team owners.”

    The War of the Soccer Leagues is starting to take shape!
    I agree with Kartik, both Baltimore and Tampa will side now with the TOA and play USL in 2010. Come 2011 they will say silla! (along with more USL teams)
    I think it was Eric in a comment above that said its looking like this will be the last year of USL-1. True.

  15. November 20, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    USL is in a deeper and deeper hole and I think the USSF should take them out of their misery and reduce them to one pro league with D3 status.

    They have too few teams anyhow now to play in 2010.

  16. jmb321
    November 20, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    As Kartik and I predicted several weeks ago, the lawyers will be the big winners in this whole mess. Fault USL and NuRock for not fully comprehending the disdain for their business model by the TOA and others. Their hubris toward the TOA’s concerns was monumental and should be a taught in a business school as to how NOT to manage a business acquisiiton.

  17. Scott
    November 21, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    If the TOA’s new league is approved; what teams are laying low right now and will play in a USL division for 2010, but then jump ship for the newer & stronger leauge? I am thinking there is going to be a few, for example: Rochester, Charleston and maybe Puerto Rico. Some USL-2 and PDL teams may be playing this game too. If this happens USL is done!

    NASL is a bad idea from a marketing point of view. It is too old and it failed.

  18. Jane
    November 22, 2009 at 9:01 am

    jmb321 has it right. NuRock made every mistake in the book. They should have read the book “Acquisitions for Dummies.” They bought a league that had a group of wealthy owners who had been dissatisfied with USL for years. These owners were their clients. Who would buy a business and then ignore their clients concerns?

  19. robert scorca
    November 22, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Going over the official team sites for all the confirmed TOA entries Carolina RailHawks, Crystal Palace Baltimore, Miami FC, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Vancouver Whitecaps all show the new league with 9 teams mentioned. The Atlanta Silverbacks and Saint Louis Soccer United team site mentions 7 teams, most likely not updated as the last 2 entries are very recent. Minnesota Thunder has not had a news post on their site since Oct. 15th, before the the appliciation for the league went forward. What is crazy is that the Montreal Impact still have a post in retraction of the all the reports mentioning their involvement in the new league.

  20. evan eleven
    November 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    looks like those USL Supporters who were talking so much belligerent TOA/D.O.A. smack on the boards in the last month have shut up now…

  21. ERic
    November 22, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    As far as I can remember, there was only one USL supporter talking smack. Most of the rest of us (as far as I can recall) were waiting to see what happened next.

  22. whitestarw
    November 22, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    It doesn’t make sense for Tampa to play in USL, the way they are being treated, I would leave ASAP

  23. Kyle
    November 22, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Forcing teams to play in USL against their will is like slavery. Are not clubs independent entities and not franchises like MLS?

  24. curious
    November 23, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I saw on bigsoccer that someone believes ATL will not be bringing a team to play in the new league. Is that true? Why would they be apart of the TOA if they were not planning on playing? The person that posted seemed very sure of his facts and if so it would bring the number of TOA teams down.

  25. November 23, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I think Miami FC or what ever they will be should play in Miami.

  1. November 21, 2009 at 12:16 am
  2. November 21, 2009 at 3:59 pm

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