Happy New Year!
I haven’t posted anything in a while. There are several reasons/excuses for this.
1. I’ve been pursuing other interests, such as:
and laying waste to all those foolish enough to challenge my knowledge of random and useless things.
2. Unlike in previous years, there’s been very little news coming out of the NPSL office. (I think they have an office. They must have one, right?)
3. The general laziness that is spurred on by every day being dark and cloudy and cold.
As we gear up for another season of City football – less than four months away, assuming there’s a preseason friendly – I thought I’d do a little housecleaning. These are some thoughts that accumulated over the past several months but never grew into posts of their own. Time to clear them out.
1. Grand Rapids should’ve gotten in.
The main reason there hasn’t been much NPSL news to discuss recently is that the league’s new executive committee has seriously clamped down on expansion this offseason. The upside to this is that ad hoc, fly-by-night outfits akin to Zanesville, Pensacola City, and FC Sparta will find it much tougher to get into the league. The downside is that the new expansion requirements, whatever they may be, seem to have swung things too far in the opposite direction.
Grand Rapids is the second-largest city in Michigan and sits in a soccer dead zone. Lansing United and Detroit City are a couple hours off to the east, and the Indiana Fire and their big brothers in Chicago lie a couple hours to the west. As of last fall, GRFC had attracted over 400 founding members and there seemed to be a good deal of local interest in the club, much more than can be said for the majority of existing NPSL franchises.
Yet, for one reason or another, their application for entry into the league was turned down. Judging by the strictness of this new committee, I wonder if even Detroit City would’ve met their requirements when the club was just getting started.
NPSL Exec. #1 – “Okay, so the next proposal we’re looking at is for Detroit City FC.”
NPSL Exec. #2 – “Original name.”
NPSL Exec. #1 – “Yeah, well let’s see what they’ve got. Hmmm, it says here that the ownership group is made up of five guys who live and work in the city, and that they want to bring soccer to a market that doesn’t have a team of its own.”
NPSL Exec. #2 – “Any sponsors?”
NPSL Exec. #1 – “So far it looks like they’ve got a restaurant, a recycling service, and a bicycle shop.”
NPSL Exec. #2 – “Any BIG sponsors, like Burger King or something?”
NPSL Exec. #1 – “No.”
NPSL Exec. #2 – “Do they have a stadium lined up?”
NPSL Exec. #1 – “No.”
NPSL Exec. #2 – “Do they have anything else? Really?”
NPSL Exec. #1 – “Well they do have a cool logo and uh-“
NPSL Exec. #2 – “NEXT!”
Detroit – Lansing – Grand Rapids would’ve been a good balance of in-state clubs, close enough to develop some local rivalries over the years, yet spread out enough to allow development without stepping on each other’s toes. Instead, we get another Indiana team that 10 people will show up for, and we’re still stuck with FC Spartamichiganstars Coattail Riders FC, who are looking to move to a venue in the City of Detroit for the upcoming season. I predict next year they will change their kits to a darker shade of red and adopt a French nickname.
Speaking of riding coattails…
2. Duggan’s Dream
After failing to have his plan for a Detroit USL Pro team in place for the 2014 deadline, Dan Duggan has an eye towards next year:
“I’m happy, however, that it has taken this long and now that we past the September window for the 2015 season, we are hopeful to bring a professional team to Downtown Detroit for the 2016 season,” said Duggan. “This way we will also have all spring and summer to work on the stadium, scout and select the players, market and advertise and work with others in Detroit and Michigan that want to come together to make and see this happen.”
He also remains as tone-deaf as ever:
“Detroit City FC has proven that young people love having a team to call their own. They helped to show that people will come to Detroit to watch a game and to the extent that our talent in Michigan does extend.”
We DO love having a team to call our own. For the 9.8×1021st time, we will CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THEM no matter what other club comes along.
If you still want to build us a stadium, though, that would be lovely.
Speaking of Duggan…
3. Michigan Bucks: 2014 PDL Champions
When the Bucks won their 2nd PDL title in August, this Twitter exchange got me thinking.
Is he right? Is a club’s status gauged solely by trophies, or is there more to it than that? Is personal success measured by the amount of material wealth one has accumulated, or by the relationships one has built and the lives one has touched? Is prosperity quantifiable, or is it merely a sense of contentment that comes from within?
You probably know where I’m going with this.
Name as many of the last 10 PDL, NPSL, USL Pro, and NASL champions that you can. Now name as many PDL, NPSL, USL Pro, and NASL clubs that you can that are known for their high level of support.
If you’re like me, the first number can be counted on one hand, and the second number takes two, plus a foot.
There’s more to life than silverware. Plus, we’ve only been around for three years. We’ll get ours.
Speaking of… of other soccer stuff…
4. Promotion & Relegation
I’ve never written anything on this before, but people are talking about it so now seemed like a good time.
My position on pro/rel is the same as my position on dating Kate Upton:
- I’m for it.
- I realize the possibility is low, but also greater than zero.
- I won’t waste my time contemplating and hoping for it, much less denouncing everyone who disagrees with me.
- If, one day, it actually happened, I would welcome it.
5. NPSL Combine
Lastly, props to Zach Schewee, who will be participating in the upcoming NPSL Combine in Florida. Left-sided players are always in demand and it would be great to see him catch on with a professional side.