Home > NASL II, United Soccer Leagues > BREAKING NEWS: USL Sues Rochester Rhinos, Tampa Bay and Baltimore For Breach of Contract

BREAKING NEWS: USL Sues Rochester Rhinos, Tampa Bay and Baltimore For Breach of Contract

Florida court documents filed on Tuesday indicate that the United Soccer Leagues have sued the Rochester Rhinos and two other clubs for breach of contract.

The Rhinos had allegedly committed contractually to play 2010 in USL’s First Division but instead opted to play in the yet to be sanctioned North American Soccer League. Also filed on Tuesday were lawsuits against prospective USL-1 clubs in Tampa Bay and (Crystal Palace) Baltimore who also have joined NASL after committing to the play 2010 in USL’s First Division.

Here is a link to the court filing.

Rochester had recommitted to play in USL-1 for 2010 in September but by November were unhappy at the lack of reform within the league. A promise of “changes” were made by Alec Papadakis and NuRock, USL’s new owners after buying the league in an eleventh hour deal which saw Jeff Cooper and the USL Team Owners Association (TOA) frozen out. Soon, after Rochester’s decision to recommit, USL purged Carolina, Miami and Minnesota from the league and canceled their player contracts. Those clubs are leading members of the TOA.

As many readers are aware, last month FIFA threatened to replace Chile in the World Cup Draw, when club Rangers had sued the FA there over a violation of the 6 + 5 rule which saw the team relegated. In the United States’ case, FIFA may be less forceful of its disdain for lawsuits, but nobody can be certain without talking to Sepp Blatter and/or Jack Warner directly.

By taking this action USL is protecting its business partnership, and the investment of its owners NuRock but also further eroding its already tenuous public relations position. The perception throughout much of the country is that USL’s professional divisions have failed, as evidenced by the large number of teams that have either folded or dropped to lower tiers of football since 1999. Club owners who are trying to move forward as investors as well as soccer people concerned about the growth of the sport seem to be in agreement that the USL model at the current time is outdated and not ideal.

But USL, like any for profit business is trying to protect its brand and its viability. This having been said, the many years of good work the league has provided to American soccer is now being tainted in some eyes with this lawsuit/legal strategy designed to prevent the NASL, a more ambitious owner run league from getting off the ground.

The USSF, however, may have no choice but to relent to USL’s lawsuits for threat of losing the bid that will be submitted next week to host the 2018/2022 World Cups. One thing is for certain: Alec Papadakis and NuRock have officially put Sunil Gulati, Dan Flynn and the Federation in a very unenviable position.

UPDATE: JEFF DI VERONICA (DEVO FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE FOLLOWED USL FOR YEARS) SAYS HERE THAT RHINOS OWNER ROB CLARK WILL RESPOND THIS AFTERNOON.

Further Update: An email campaign has organized to contact Sunil Gulati about this matter.


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  1. December 9, 2009 at 2:29 am

    Those freaking punks… This means war. USL is simply making one last ditch effort to make themselves look good… what do they hope to accomplish besides taking the entire 2nd division down with ‘em? I hope FIFA drops a BOMB on USL like they did on Chile a week ago… The USL league needs to be put to sleep for good.

  2. Roger the Dodger
    December 9, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Screw USL.

    They are ruining the game in this country.

    They gave the Railhawks and Dynamo a league to play in, but did nothing to help any clubs. Look at Virginia Beach and their now empty SSS.

    I think it is important that the USSF hears from the fans. Tell Sunil Gulati that we have his back if they sanction the NASL. Don’t be intimidated by these lawsuits and legal games by a desperate group of bandits.

  3. December 9, 2009 at 7:36 am

    I think it is fair to say they have given up on the PR battle. Bottom line is that USL was never very good at generating mass PR or interest, and since that is part of the TOA’s case, they’ve gone even further into a bunker.

    While this all looks ridiculous to us who think we should all be working together to move the game forward in this county, we are often reminded that USL and MLS are not soccer/footy charities and they are ruthless in business. That’s how MLS has become so stable and USL while unstable, has lasted a very long time in a hostile environment.

  4. gramueladams
    December 9, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Why are there no law suits against Montreal & Vancouver? Are they not in breach of contract too?

  5. December 9, 2009 at 9:41 am

    gramueladams :

    Why are there no law suits against Montreal & Vancouver? Are they not in breach of contract too?

    No, they never recommitted for next year.

    Montreal and Vancouver are in good standing and can go back to USL at anytime.

    Carolina, Miami and Minnesota are not in good standing for various reasons and cannot go back to USL.

    Carolina and Miami have been accused by the league of tampering with USL teams under contract, attempting to get those clubs to leave USL in favor of, the yet to be sanctioned NASL.

    Minnesota is in substantial debt to both the league and other creditors.

    If NASL is not sanctioned, it is strongly possible Carolina, Miami and St Louis will be without professional soccer in 2010. Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Rochester will be forced back to USL and Montreal and Vancouver will have the option of returning.

  6. HJAORM
    December 9, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Further proof that USL does not care about soccer and only about business.

    And you wonder why so many USL teams have failed through the years……….

    It’s like slavery if you want to escape it, you get sued.

  7. December 9, 2009 at 10:19 am

    HJ, it is not like slavery to hold people to contracts that they signed. That’s what we call “the rule of law” here in the USA.

    I’m hoping that USL-NuRock and TOA-NASL aren’t using similar inflammatory language. Likely the TOA-NASL thought that they have legal ground to terminate their contract, if they are right, things will be fine.

    For all the people that say that the USL doesn’t care about soccer and are just a business, when was the last time a league took a soccer first business second decision anywhere in the world?

  8. December 9, 2009 at 10:26 am

    USL just sucks. This shouldn’t be shocking news, USL was hoping this thing get’s worked out (thankfully it didn’t) and waiting to see what USSF does. Seems like things aren’t going USL’s way, thus the lawsuit.

    On a side note, of course it’s a business. NuRock paid for the USL which includes PDL, USL-2 and USL, but in the end only really got PDL and USL-2. USL, NASL, MLS, FIFA… it’s all a business. Why do you think bids are so expensive? entry fees..

  9. December 9, 2009 at 10:51 am

    This is outrageous

    USL is willing to risk us hosting the World Cup, destroy soccer in these cities and stop the game from improving in this country to keep power.

    Nike’s sale of USL to NuRock over Jeff Cooper was sleazy and corrupt to begin with.

    Marcos and Holt are the ones that should be sued BY THE FANS OF THE SPORT FOR DENYING US SOCCER TO ACTUALLY GROW AND STABILIZE IN A PROPER FASHION.

    BESIDES USL IS IN VIOLATION OF MANY FIFA REGULATIONS!!!!!!!!!

  10. December 9, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Dave, come on. USL is showing their true colors now… they HAVE no long term plan or goals. They are showing that all they care about is a franchise fee. NuRock brought this on themselves by neglecting their own clients. Was THAT a good business move? They are getting everything that was coming to them and broke promises left and right.

  11. December 9, 2009 at 10:59 am

    The California Victory went out of business much like FC New York will because USL did not promote the league or the brand at all in a big competitive, soccer market.

    The NASL teams all realize that they need a new league and a new structure to survive in larger markets.

    USL is fine for Des Moines, Birmingham, Austin, etc. But not for Atlanta, Miami or Montreal.

  12. December 9, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Does anyone have Sunil Gulati’s email? We should start an email campaign asking the USSF to approve NASL.

    It’s obvious USL is destroying the game with their arrogance. They never looked to compromise, its business for them, they don’t care about the game.
    You think the three teams mentioned didn’t think this through? I’m sure they had their legal departments review all legal options. They know USL can’t stop them from joining NASL. . This is just a USL tactic to delay the creation of the NASL in hopes it will force the rest of the teams to join USL again.

  13. December 9, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Mark my words: Within 72 hours, FIFA will threaten to kick the USA out of the World Cup over this lawsuit, just like it did with Chile a few weeks ago over a similar issue. FIFA has zero tolerance toward government or civil interference in football-related issues.

    The boys at NuRock might be greedy, but they’re not stupid. This is a calculated move to back the USSF into a corner and force it to meet their demands. Yes, it only delays the full NASL exodus for one year, but USL knows the exodus is inevitable, so it’s decided to punish the TOA and get paid while it still can.

  14. December 9, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Why not threaten to NOT sanction USL AT ALL if they continue down this route? Why give in to the demands of a league that has obviously lost its teams, its influence and maybe its sanity? The owners have made up their mind and they don’t want the USL. By giving in to the USL, they will have effectively killed soccer in some major markets. And how about St. Louis? Another disappointment for that city that has waited for pro soccer for years?

    The USSF better tread carefully because there will be backlash to THEM as well if they don’t go with NASL. NASL needs to play in 2010. PERIOD. And I think these teams are more committed to NASL than some of us think. They will not go back and USL may struggle to have 6 teams play…

  15. TRT
    December 9, 2009 at 11:14 am

    I’m scared as an MLS fan whose seen my league build the game in this country to a new level that this dispute between what are piddly minor league clubs in markets unable to support MLS could threaten our World Cup bid.

    The best things for all of us would be if MLS took over the USL and NASL and forced these minor league clubs to serve as feeders for the soon to be 20 MLS clubs.

    That’s the best solution for all of us.

  16. December 9, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Over our dead bodies, TRT… The major markets in NASL are NOT minor league markets and we WILL NOT serve as feeder teams to MLS. This country is too big and has too many soccer markets for just 20 teams.

  17. Anonymous
    December 9, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Roger the Dodger :
    Screw USL.
    They gave the Railhawks and Dynamo a league to play in, but did nothing to help any clubs. Look at Virginia Beach and their now empty SSS.

    I think this lawsuit is silly, but look at how Montreal operated their club compared to the teams that struggled. They made it a point to become part of the community. USL had nothing to do with it. And I’m still confused at how they held Miami FC back.

    As for VB, I lived a few miles north of the Sportsplex in 02 and 03. That place is a nightmare to get to until after 7:00 pm. And it’s not empty. The city built it and has always owned it. They just have two more high school football games a week during the fall, which draws better than the Mariners did.

  18. December 9, 2009 at 11:33 am

    USL disgusts me. The Federation BETTER sanction NASL.

    Soccer in this country cannot survive psychos who sue like this and ratchet up the pressure on all of us.

    We need NASL sanctioned!

  19. jmb321
    December 9, 2009 at 11:42 am

    The timing of the lawsuit is a major tactical error by USL. Whereas I anticipated the USSF reluctantly forcing the 2 parties to a compromise I am not so sure anymore as this forces the Federations hand (unless they know of the lawsuit several weeks ago). Not the threat but the actual lawsuit which takes a while to file. I don’t think the USSF will like being backed into a corner and may now sanction the NASL outright as a result of this move

    One of the many knucklehead moves since Aug 28 by Nurock and the USL.

  20. December 9, 2009 at 11:52 am

    I’m tired of this situation already and the continued bluster from a failed league, USL.

    Come on USSF, sanction the NASL already.

  21. December 9, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    I give Kartik credit for breaking the story but say he misreported a key detail, to the point where his article (which already makes USL look terrible) does not make them look as terrible as they should:

    Rochester NEVER signed any document stating they would play 2010 in USL.

    They only gave a verbal agreement.

    Thus this line should be changed:

    The Rhinos had allegedly committed contractually to play 2010 in USL’s First Division but instead opted to play in the yet to be sanctioned North American Soccer League.

    It should read

    The Rhinos had verbally committed to play 2010 in USL’s First Division but instead opted to play in the yet to be sanctioned North American Soccer League. They did not sign a written contract with USL.

  22. J
    December 9, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    ERTAR :
    It should read
    The Rhinos had verbally committed to play 2010 in USL’s First Division but instead opted to play in the yet to be sanctioned North American Soccer League. They did not sign a written contract with USL.

    USL may be clumsy but they’re not stupid… Papadakis is a franchise attorney and they have retained another attorney that has experience in American soccer… I have a feeling that there probably is something signed somewhere for them to take this to court… There certainly is with Tampa and Baltimore.

    Rochester’s response would almost inevitably be that anything they signed was out of coercion, but I am pretty confident that despite what Clark has said, he did probably sign something.

  23. December 9, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Rochester did not sign anything from what I understand. The issue of Rochester is completely different than Tampa Bay and Baltimore. Tampa for example, signed a two year commitment letter to USL. Baltimore signed a commitment for 2010.

    Rochester verbally agreed to sgn, but never did. They agreed to sign based on Papadakis promises which were not met.

  24. John
    December 9, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    There seems to be only one train of thought now: “USL sucks, sanction NASL!” That’s not correct.

    I feel some of the complaints by the owners NASL are valid, but it’s not USL’s fault Miami doesn’t draw well, and it’s not USL’s fault Minnesota is in so much debt, and it’s not USL’s fault their two best franchises last year are going to MLS. I do like the fact NASL are bringing ideas to the table in order to bring a more stable 2nd division, the fact their name is generating a buzz, and that they brought a team to St. Louis. But the USL has the structure in place to run a league well, too, whereas this is still a question-mark for NASL. For instance, I was able to watch the USL semifinal between the Whitecaps and Timbers in a bar in Virginia. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do the same next season given the short time frame the NASL are working under.

    The fact of the matter is though that not liking USL because they brought a lawsuit isn’t logical. This is a very tactical lawsuit – if all three of these teams signed a contract to play USL, then NASL won’t have eight teams. USL’s not just going to fold if all the teams head off to NASL, either.

    There were always going to be lawsuits. I’ve read someone owns the USL development rights to St. Louis, for instance, and perhaps for Edmonton as well, so any sort of “merger” wouldn’t be like putting a glove on. And if USL has a case, than NASL made the tactical error here, not USL.

    There’s only one reasonable club in this whole mess, and that’s Charleston. If I were a Battery season ticket holder, I’d be pleased as punch they moved down to USL-2, as that league is the only one which is stable at this point in time, because I know I’d be able to watch soccer next season. As of now, I have no idea whether or not I will need to buy season tickets because I have no idea who my team are going to play. (Though, to be fair, I’m not certain I’ll be in the city next summer.)

  25. December 9, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Kartik has droned on endlessly for years here and at MLS Talk about the value of PDL. If it is really as valuable as you claim, can USL just refocus on that and let professional teams be run by professionals? I have some experience with this having worked in the A-League and seen how USL’s office and business plan worked.

    This whole tale is getting stale, and a reason exists why every current USL-1 team except three have gotten out. Much like the past, USL does zero to help the visibility of local teams in local markets. These team literally need a new league and control of their own destiny to survive.

    Some people are claiming if the NASL gets off the ground it could usher a soccer war where everyone loses. I suggest in rebuttal that by merely standing pat and allowing USL free reign in non MLS markets, the game is being slowly choked to death in some of the most critical places in the country.

    I’ve worked with USL in the past and never would again. I don’t know any of the TOA people personally other than Joey Saputo, who I have dealt with and don’t like. But the TOA point of view is entirely justified and I wish them the best of success in the new venture.

    Most USL contracts are signed under coercion anyhow. USL has consistently misrepresented what the league provides to its member clubs. A reason exists why Francisco Marcos is so unpopular through soccer circles everywhere.

    The NASL cannot do any worse than USL has. Any league, with any leadership would be an improvement.

  26. southsidered
    December 9, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    John: the simple fact is that NASL now has the allegiance of a majority of D-2 clubs in North America. No clubs, no games, no league, no season. If the USSF tries to stand in the way of these clubs controlling their own destiny, the resulting legal uproar will make the USL lawsuit seem like a traffic court hearing.

    Clearly, in terms of number of teams, corporate sponsorships, financial backing, and playing facilities, NASL meets or exceeds the past standards of USL-1. If USSF denies NASL sanction, USL and USSF would, at that point, be colluding to suppress competition – or at least there’s enough of a case to make NuRock’s life a nightmare and bankrupt them. No way does NuRock have the money to go up against Saputo, Traffic, and Cooper in a lawsuit fight.

    NuRock needs to ask NASL for a couple of million bucks to make this all go away. NASL should pay it and that should be the end of the story.

  27. December 9, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Those familiar with the A-League/USISL know the TOA and this action were long overdue.

    USL is a nice structure for youth soccer but has no business running a professional league. Marcos is an ego maniac and also makes lots of money off his dealings with USL to where he can own several homes and travel abroad all the time, while the clubs in his league get no promotion, no branding and usually end up going out of business in a few years.

    I also support NPSL a group of former PDL/USL clubs that wanted an owner controlled league.

  28. December 9, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    These stupid nothing clubs are ruining all the success MLS has brought to American soccer. We enjoy high quality matches live and in HD thanks to MLS, and now the USSF which is as strong as it is because of MLS has to deal with this mess created by a bunch of wannabe big clubs and a “league” that couldn’t properly run a brothel.

    I would throw them all out, unless the clubs submit to being MLS Reserve sides.

    If you are in a USL or NASL city, sorry but you should pick you closest MLS team and support it. Minor League Soccer sucks when you have Major League Soccer in the same country.

    If the Team Owners Association were serious about soccer they would work with MLS rather than threatening MLS.

    All of MLS’ work that has been accomplished in 14 years is threatened by irrelevant, insignificant, nothing teams. That is the real story here, that of course Kartik who constantly said USL is better than MLS will never acknowledge.

  29. December 9, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    MLS- this is a big country….

    some of us live nowhere near an MLS team

    We do not have prom/rel that other countries have for their local sides to strive to be the best.

    We need second division soccer or “minor league soccer” as you call it to even maintain the most basic interest in the sport.

  30. December 9, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Easy solution… bring the NASL in under USL for a test season. Let the NASL operate on their own under USSF supervision. If this arrangement just does not work, split the pro’s and am’s into two seperate entities, and be done with the whole mess.

    The USL does well with the PDL’s, Super Y, and W leagues. They should work on expanding those models and creating a 2nd natural season league for member clubs.

  31. southsidered
    December 9, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Ha ha, “Love It or Leave America”. MLS has never done a damn thing for me. And if I want to watch soccer on TV there are more entertaining options. I’d love to hear you tell the supporters of the “stupid nothing clubs” in the Coca-Cola Championship to “pick you closest Premiership team and support it”. Particularly if those were Millwall supporters…

  32. December 9, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I’m glad my Battery dropped down to USL-2 and avoided this mess……..

    We never joined the TOA for a reason, but also choose not to stay in USL-1 for a reason.

    Some of the TOA’s points were valid. Travel, lack of promotion, etc. Still forming a breakaway league was a radical step, though they obviously thought Jeff Cooper was buying the league and that is what triggered this.

  33. December 9, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Tampa Bay and Miami are actually closer to a number of FMF clubs than MLS cities. Both are also closer to some of the teams in the CFU regional championship. While national loyalty is strong, the ability to see a game live is critical. Some south/central Floridians will find a cheaper plane deal to fly to Cancun to see Atlante play than to head to an MLS city that doesn’t have extensive LCC service.

  34. Former USL season ticket holder
    December 9, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I think that everyone should send feedback directly to the USL officers and make your point clear – whether that is supportive or not. Here are their email addresses just to make it easy.

    Chairman: rob.hoskins@uslsoccer.com
    C.E.O.: alec.papadakis@uslsoccer.com
    President: tim.holt@uslsoccer.com
    Director, PR: gerald.barnhart@uslsoccer.com

    I have already sent each one my opinion. I encourage you all to do the same. As a former USL season ticket holder and regular at CCS games I am not their biggest fan! Even if a compromise is forced and USL-1 exists next year I will not support the league. I will support teams so they can survive it, but only until they can leave the USL for a new league whether that ends up being the NASL or not.

  35. December 9, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    The TOA attempts to start the NASL are similar to how the NPSL formed. The big difference is when it is PDL/Amateur clubs involved many people did not pay attention and now since it is professional clubs in big cities the blogosphere is ablaze.

  36. December 9, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I’ve argued recently on MLS Talk that USL should simply refocus on the PDL, Super Y and W-League and leave the professional league to someone else.

  37. December 9, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    I’m in LA, an MLS city so I never really paid attention to USL.

    But these last few months, we’ve been forced to watch and it is obvious USL is not fit to run a professional league.

    The PDL squads here in SoCal are all strong and that is probably what they should stick to.

    NASL needs to be sanctioned as the proper 2nd division league.

  38. ERic
    December 9, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Kartik Krishnaiyer :
    I’ve argued recently on MLS Talk that USL should simply refocus on the PDL, Super Y and W-League and leave the professional league to someone else.

    Except that they also have competition there with the NPSL, the USSDL and the WPSL. They really are up against a wall from all directions.

  39. December 9, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    ERic :

    Kartik Krishnaiyer :
    I’ve argued recently on MLS Talk that USL should simply refocus on the PDL, Super Y and W-League and leave the professional league to someone else.

    Except that they also have competition there with the NPSL, the USSDL and the WPSL. They really are up against a wall from all directions.

    Yes, good points Eric. They are really up against it on all fronts.

  40. Miami Ultra
    December 9, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    The sneaky, last minute sale of the league, the termination of Cleveland, and now this lawsuit business… USL looks worse and worse every day. Do they have a right to be upset that they are basically losing an entire league? Sure. But it is primarily their own fault and they’ll just have to deal with that. Quality organizations/leagues don’t inspire their teams to break off and form a new one. The simple fact the the TOA and NASL exist is testament to the quality, or lack thereof, in the way USL-1 has been run.

    This is USL’s last stand with these lawsuits. Hopefully the USSF, or even FIFA if need be, comes in and lays down the law before it even gets to court. It’s time for some sanity here. These teams don’t want to be in USL. Denying the NASL sanctioning likely kills pro soccer in Florida(AGAIN), St. Louis(AGAIN), Atlanta, Carolina and Minnesota. In that event USL-1 will probably go on but at what cost? Portland, Montréal and Vancouver will all be gone within 3-4 years and then what? Please USSF, sanction NASL and tell USL to shut up and deal with it.

  41. December 9, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Francisco Marcos has a real bad reputation among soccer people in this country and he will do anything to hold on to power and his source of money.

  42. Former USL season ticket holder
    December 9, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    I received a response from Rob Hoskins, Chairman of USL from my email to him and the other executives in charge of the USL. In my email I asked why we were not hearing about their plans to improve the USL among other things.

    Below is the text of his response to me.

    “I wanted to drop you a line to let you know that USL has been very carefully working on its growth strategies for all of its leagues, including USL-1. We have intentionally not responded to the various press releases that have been issued by the TOA/NASL, largely because we did not want to waste negative energy.

    The growth of USL-1 is never stronger and never better, in spite of all the releases that have been issued.

    In very short time, the public will begin to hear about all the great reforms that are currently going on with USL-1.

    Thank you for your email and your point of view.

    Rob Hoskins
    United Soccer Leagues”

  43. O.f.
    December 9, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Kartik Krishnaiyer :

    gramueladams :
    Why are there no law suits against Montreal & Vancouver? Are they not in breach of contract too?

    No, they never recommitted for next year.
    Montreal and Vancouver are in good standing and can go back to USL at anytime.
    Carolina, Miami and Minnesota are not in good standing for various reasons and cannot go back to USL.
    Carolina and Miami have been accused by the league of tampering with USL teams under contract, attempting to get those clubs to leave USL in favor of, the yet to be sanctioned NASL.
    Minnesota is in substantial debt to both the league and other creditors.
    If NASL is not sanctioned, it is strongly possible Carolina, Miami and St Louis will be without professional soccer in 2010. Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Rochester will be forced back to USL and Montreal and Vancouver will have the option of returning.

    Attempting? With 10 teams committed, I’d say they were successful, not just attempting!

    If, and that’s a big if, the NASL is not sanctioned, I don’t see many of the teams crawling back to the USL… they’ll not play in 2010, and try again for 2011!

  44. December 9, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    USL has pulled this crap for years.

    As someone who is connected in the Georgia soccer scene I had never heard of NuRock Soccer Holdings and Rob Hoskins until this year.

    USL has forever promised reform, and claimed things have never been better while they bleed clubs dry, give no assistance to teams and impose a cumbersome financial and rules structure on everyone.

    That email reply is more of the same.

    Please, USSF SANCTION THE NASL NOW! PULL USL’S SECOND DIVISION STATUS AS WELL!

  45. O.f.
    December 9, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Former USL season ticket holder :I received a response from Rob Hoskins, Chairman of USL from my email to him and the other executives in charge of the USL. In my email I asked why we were not hearing about their plans to improve the USL among other things.
    Below is the text of his response to me.
    “I wanted to drop you a line to let you know that USL has been very carefully working on its growth strategies for all of its leagues, including USL-1. We have intentionally not responded to the various press releases that have been issued by the TOA/NASL, largely because we did not want to waste negative energy.
    The growth of USL-1 is never stronger and never better, in spite of all the releases that have been issued.
    In very short time, the public will begin to hear about all the great reforms that are currently going on with USL-1.
    Thank you for your email and your point of view.
    Rob HoskinsUnited Soccer Leagues”

    Hmm… If they had this in place, wouldn’t you think they would have shared this with the owners BEFORE they defected to the NASL?!

    Sounds to me like they’re trying to put together a last minute plan, which will most likely not be good enough!

  46. December 9, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Former USL season ticket holder :
    I received a response from Rob Hoskins, Chairman of USL from my email to him and the other executives in charge of the USL. In my email I asked why we were not hearing about their plans to improve the USL among other things.
    Below is the text of his response to me.
    “I wanted to drop you a line to let you know that USL has been very carefully working on its growth strategies for all of its leagues, including USL-1. We have intentionally not responded to the various press releases that have been issued by the TOA/NASL, largely because we did not want to waste negative energy.
    The growth of USL-1 is never stronger and never better, in spite of all the releases that have been issued.
    In very short time, the public will begin to hear about all the great reforms that are currently going on with USL-1.
    Thank you for your email and your point of view.
    Rob Hoskins
    United Soccer Leagues”

    Famous last words from these guys. I have to say USL has pulled this stuff for years as I said above. “Reform,” etc are all buzz words Marcos and Co. would use.

    USL has effectively killed soccer in so many medium sized to big markets.

    This drama is public, but it is not the first time USL has tried to strong arm clubs and has broken all sorts of FIFA rules. Bloggers like yourself, Kartik and guys like Match Fit and Brian Quarstad are doing a great service holding Marcos accountable after all these years of operating in a vacuum and getting away with murder.

  47. December 9, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    I was deferential at first to USL because of all they have done for the game in this country, but all of these theatrics the last few weeks have proven to me USL is interested in nothing but money and controlling the teams that play in it.

    It is like slavery as someone above stated, and I am fully behind the NASL now.

  48. December 9, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    I think after this the NASL will be sanctioned.

  49. whitestarw
    December 9, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    MLS: Love it or Leave America :These stupid nothing clubs are ruining all the success MLS has brought to American soccer. We enjoy high quality matches live and in HD thanks to MLS, and now the USSF which is as strong as it is because of MLS has to deal with this mess created by a bunch of wannabe big clubs and a “league” that couldn’t properly run a brothel.
    I would throw them all out, unless the clubs submit to being MLS Reserve sides.
    If you are in a USL or NASL city, sorry but you should pick you closest MLS team and support it. Minor League Soccer sucks when you have Major League Soccer in the same country.
    If the Team Owners Association were serious about soccer they would work with MLS rather than threatening MLS.
    All of MLS’ work that has been accomplished in 14 years is threatened by irrelevant, insignificant, nothing teams. That is the real story here, that of course Kartik who constantly said USL is better than MLS will never acknowledge.

    Man you have got some nerve….NASL being “minor” league NO it’s 2nd division soccer. Minor league are feeder clubs and NASL clubs will never be feeder clubs. You will see what will happen in USOC.

  50. HT
    December 9, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    USL is pathetic.

  51. Ty
    December 9, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    USL is totally out of whack. PR wise they are a disaster.

  52. Leverty H
    December 9, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    How the heck can the USSF impose a gag order when the parties need to both explain themselves. The gag order has served nobody but the federation who wants to pretend to FIFA that everything is under control.

  53. Rex
    December 9, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Is Tampa Bay even a real team or another paper creation of the NASL? By the way they do not own the trademark to the Rowdies name and will be sued for trademark infrigement. The Rowdies are a tradition laden, special name, but this joke te ruins it.

  54. John H
    December 9, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    FIFA could theoretically toss the US from the World Cup if this doesn’t get solved by the end of next week.

    I’m serious. FIFA really hates lawsuits involving leagues or FAs.

  55. O.f.
    December 9, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    MLS: Love it or Leave America :These stupid nothing clubs are ruining all the success MLS has brought to American soccer. We enjoy high quality matches live and in HD thanks to MLS, and now the USSF which is as strong as it is because of MLS has to deal with this mess created by a bunch of wannabe big clubs and a “league” that couldn’t properly run a brothel.
    I would throw them all out, unless the clubs submit to being MLS Reserve sides.
    If you are in a USL or NASL city, sorry but you should pick you closest MLS team and support it. Minor League Soccer sucks when you have Major League Soccer in the same country.
    If the Team Owners Association were serious about soccer they would work with MLS rather than threatening MLS.
    All of MLS’ work that has been accomplished in 14 years is threatened by irrelevant, insignificant, nothing teams. That is the real story here, that of course Kartik who constantly said USL is better than MLS will never acknowledge.

    Yeah? Well, what happens when the closest MLS city is 1,000 miles away?

    The TOA is not threatening the MLS, they’re division II soccer… The MLS fture is threatened by their own problems, not the TOA/USL battle! Get a clue!

  56. O.f.
    December 9, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Rex :Is Tampa Bay even a real team or another paper creation of the NASL? By the way they do not own the trademark to the Rowdies name and will be sued for trademark infrigement. The Rowdies are a tradition laden, special name, but this joke te ruins it.

    I believe the trademark ran out… all they would have had to do was apply for the name!

  57. O.f.
    December 9, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    BTW, Kartik, Nice job on the blog!

  58. Miami Ultra
    December 10, 2009 at 12:30 am

    Rex :
    Is Tampa Bay even a real team or another paper creation of the NASL? By the way they do not own the trademark to the Rowdies name and will be sued for trademark infrigement. The Rowdies are a tradition laden, special name, but this joke te ruins it.

    Sorry Rex, check your facts. Citrus Sports Group LLC, a.k.a Andrew Nestor and the owners of the new Rowdies, own the trademark to the name. Filed on May 13, 2008. And apparently USL thinks they are a real team, they are suing them to try and force them to play in USL-1 next year.

  59. dan
    December 10, 2009 at 12:57 am

    nasl now needs to promote soccer goodwill; and the mls as well. Partner guys! mls expand your rosters to 30. have 5-8 players with a sister nasl team. The mls play was down last year because no reserve games were played. Now is to time to really promote soccer development and combine some resources to make it happen.The mls players union’s problems may be easier to solve as well.

  60. dave
    December 10, 2009 at 1:11 am

    IIRC, there is a trademark squatter in Texas who claims to own the Tampa Bay Rowdies trademark (pretty rich as they don’t run a soccer team in Tampa named the Rowdies); the Rowdies thought they had bought the rights off of the former owner (in Texas) but the new owners (also in Texas) turned around and claimed “nuh uh, our former owner/ceo/whatever never had the right to sell off our trademark”. Basically, they are trying to get paid twice for the same trademark. The Rowdies have held tryouts, they have hired a head coach, they have hired administrative staff. The only thing they have not done yet is announced where they are going to play, what their uniforms will be, and who will be signed to the squad. The Rowdies are more prepared for the 2010 season than some USL/TOA/NASL clubs I could name.

    As to the …mumble mumble “naughty word” mumble mumble… upthread who is smearing “minor league soccer” and telling fans to “support” MLS; you have a lot of nerve! MLS screwed the fans in Florida by retracting out of Tampa and Miami! And NOT due to low attendance, in spite of the lies people keep repeating…if it had simply been a matter of low attendance, San Jose, Kansas City, Dallas, etc would have been much more likely to have been dropped by MLS in 2001/2. Where the heck are Florida fans supposed to go to “support” MLS? Think before you post idiocy like that.

  61. Anonymous
    December 10, 2009 at 1:41 am

    BenekWrc :USL just sucks. This shouldn’t be shocking news, USL was hoping this thing get’s worked out (thankfully it didn’t) and waiting to see what USSF does. Seems like things aren’t going USL’s way, thus the lawsuit.
    On a side note, of course it’s a business. NuRock paid for the USL which includes PDL, USL-2 and USL, but in the end only really got PDL and USL-2. USL, NASL, MLS, FIFA… it’s all a business. Why do you think bids are so expensive? entry fees..

  62. Ossington Mental Youth
    December 10, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Theres nothing saying that the NASL wont go ahead with their season regardless of the USSF’s decision. Theyve got the money and arguably the support, people will go regardless of the decision especially if the USL is heading in the direction it is.
    As for the MLS, id be amazed if the NASL doesnt field some farm teams for MLS teams (most notably Montreal and Vancouver, who have academies/residencies), the two leagues can coexist and in fact compliment each other, with loans etc.

  63. Ossington Mental Youth
    December 10, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Also key to note that the USSF may go back on their decision especially if they see greater success in the NASL. Nothing is solid in north america with regards to soccer.

  64. December 10, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Ossington Mental Youth :Also key to note that the USSF may go back on their decision especially if they see greater success in the NASL. Nothing is solid in north america with regards to soccer.

    Hard to go back on a decision that they have never made.

  65. Johnny
    December 10, 2009 at 10:45 am

    USL is such a garbage league.

    The teams have had unlimited potential- heck the league by default and MLS’ stupidity has ended up in some of the key markets: Atlanta, Montreal, Portland, Seattle, Miami, now Tampa Bay. Yet they could never really make it work outside of Rochester and Montreal. That is because USL was ALWAYS run like a shoestring youth soccer organization. It did not need to be run on a shoestring, but USL wanted to bank profits and F. Marcos was literally making millions off the suffering and folding of clubs in his league.

    What started out as a bridge league became a massive bureaucratic boondoggle whose leaders were interested in banking profits. USL is a Dinosaur who should be put out of its misery.

    Time for a Change: Sanction the NASL!

  66. December 10, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Johnny :
    USL is such a garbage league.
    The teams have had unlimited potential- heck the league by default and MLS’ stupidity has ended up in some of the key markets: Atlanta, Montreal, Portland, Seattle, Miami, now Tampa Bay. Yet they could never really make it work outside of Rochester and Montreal. That is because USL was ALWAYS run like a shoestring youth soccer organization. It did not need to be run on a shoestring, but USL wanted to bank profits and F. Marcos was literally making millions off the suffering and folding of clubs in his league.
    What started out as a bridge league became a massive bureaucratic boondoggle whose leaders were interested in banking profits. USL is a Dinosaur who should be put out of its misery.
    Time for a Change: Sanction the NASL!

    Add to that the number of teams in bigger markets who failed in USL and you have a problem. Places like St Louis, Indy, Cincinnati, Cleveland, etc all had professional teams and now don’t. St Louis is just one city that NASL needs to return to where USL’s presence and greed cost the market.

  67. ERic
    December 10, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Johnny :
    USL is such a garbage league.
    The teams have had unlimited potential- heck the league by default and MLS’ stupidity has ended up in some of the key markets: Atlanta, Montreal, Portland, Seattle, Miami, now Tampa Bay.

    Someone is under the delusion that getting a soccer league to thrive in the US is easy.

  68. December 11, 2009 at 9:36 am

    ERic :

    Johnny :
    USL is such a garbage league.
    The teams have had unlimited potential- heck the league by default and MLS’ stupidity has ended up in some of the key markets: Atlanta, Montreal, Portland, Seattle, Miami, now Tampa Bay.

    Someone is under the delusion that getting a soccer league to thrive in the US is easy.

    Someone else is under the delusion that USL did anything right at the 2nd division level…

  69. A-RET
    December 11, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Please USSF sanction the NASL.

    We want to believe in professional soccer and believe in US Soccer.

    The NASL has given us hope that we can have a complimentary professional league that enhances the good work of MLS.

    USL is garbage. Please sanction the NASL.

  70. December 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    USL’s employees are scared for their jobs. The reaction is understandable, though pathetic.

    But we have to wonder what the consequences of such dangerous rhetoric and angry commentary is.

    Let us hope USL’s employees and supporters realize they hurt the sport in America by continuing these attacks.

  71. December 11, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Kartik and Quarstad both said on the ITS Show that USL would win because of these lawsuits.

    If that is the case why are USL employees so nervous and why did USL’s leadership act so erratically before the USSF gag order went into place?

    Ask yourselves that!

  72. John H
    December 11, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    When is a decision expected from the USSF?

  73. chuck
    December 13, 2009 at 12:06 am

    If NASL is not sanctioned, it is strongly possible Carolina, Miami and St Louis will be without professional soccer in 2010. Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Rochester will be forced back to USL and Montreal and Vancouver will have the option of returning.

    It would be highly unlikely that a court order injunction relief for a breach of contract like this one. The proper relief is compensatory damages – the renegade leagues will pay the USL what the USL lost for not having those teams in the league. This is likely a small amount, but could be a dent in a minor league team’s budget. If there are consequential damages the penalty (if guilty) could be more severe.

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