[Originally posted on the now-defunct “Aztexan” blog.]
I’ve let Mr. Rawlins have it pretty good the last couple of days, but these shenanigans didn’t happen in a vacuum (even though. . . they really sucked rimshot). They took place in the larger picture of American soccer, where everything below the stability and strength of MLS is more or less complete and perpetual chaos.
Until this sudden development, Aztex fans thought we already had worries enough at the league level. Namely, we didn’t know which one the team would be in. Nor were we alone, as the threat of another winter in limbo loomed over all the USSF-Division 2 teams, except the MLS-bound Vancouver and Portland. That threat still looms, for people that still have teams in their city.
USSF had laid down the law about minimum standards for future second division leagues, NASL had applied to be sanctioned as that league in 2011 even though they fall woefully short of the standards, and USL had given them both the finger as they attempted an end run around the whole mess with USL PRO (aka the LEAGUE where EVERY second WORD is SHOUTED for NO apparent REASON).
That’s a little background; here we go.
NASL and USL, you two incompetent douchebags, you’re a disgrace to the sport. Your combined ineptitude has stunted soccer’s growth in this country like a 6-year-old smoking a pack of Marlboros a day. I know you claim that you’re working for what’s best for the sport, but I just double-checked, and YOU ARE NOT. What’s obvious to everyone is that what you’re really working for is yourselves, and your little fiefdoms, and your goddamned franchise fees.
That was a dig at you, Francisco Marcos, did you get that? Yeah yeah, yay for you for keeping the flame burning through the long dark years after the original NASL bit the dust. Congratulations, thanks, here’s a Certificate of Appreciation from 1998. Now pull your money-grubbing fist out of everyone’s back pocket and piss off. Come on, you’ll be okay. Maybe you can write a book in your retirement: How To Build A Profitable Business Based on Your Franchisees’ Constant Failures. Or, One Man’s 75% Failure Rate is Another Man’s 25% Success Rate. Maybe you can get a cameo as a vampire in the next Twilight movie.
And by the way, take your ridiculous fucking I-League with you, jackass. Like we need new niches and additional fragmentation.
Now your turn, NASL. Poor, crazy NASL. Damn, I hardly have the heart to attack you, now that we’ve both been shafted by Mr. Rawlins. Still, I’ll always have some small black place in my heart for you, for shattering USL-1 in the first place. You were like the greedy kid trying to wrestle the candy jar out of the grown-up’s hands. Fighting, pulling, screeching — and then, the jar slips from both your hands and smashes on the floor. No candy for anyone now, genius.
Speaking of grown-ups, how about that USSF? Great job you’re doing with Division 2, USSF (he said, dripping with so much sarcasm that he had to wipe off his screen with a sponge).
Did you really think those new standards would be helpful? It’s as if I saw my kids were failing in school, and I told them: okay! Time to shape up! Straight As by this time next semester, and get part-time jobs while you’re at it, or I’m kicking you both out of the house. Okay, then, that’s settled; you’re welcome!
I know you’re busy up at Soccer House, bribing FIFA executive committee members (good luck on that part, actually; let me know if I can pitch in) and planning the U.S.’ semifinal loss to Ghana in Brazil in 2014 and everything, but this is important, too. You’re supposed to be building soccer in this country. America is a world power in just about every imaginable measure but this one. And it’s the same story year after year, decade after decade, despite the bajillions of kids who suit up for little league soccer each season. So although we have huge quantities of raw material, we still get knocked out of the World Cup by countries whose GDP wouldn’t cover the down payment on Sunil Gulati’s car.
And MLS! Yoo-hoo! MLS? Over here! You’re not getting out of this. You know I love you, MLS. I mean it, you’re the man (sexist yet accurate anthropomorphism; +1). But you kind of suck, too. I know you’ve had to be selfish. Your prime directive has been survival at all costs. But cherry-picking the best second division markets, without contributing anything back to help cultivate future crops, that sucks. USL/NASL/USSF-D2/WTFL is not getting any stronger by losing Seattle, and Portland, and Vancouver, and Montreal. Once those are gone, where will you go next? Orlando? Come on, I’m trying to be serious here.
Hey, listen. I’m just a dope of a fan. I’m obviously not as clued in to the goings-on in the soccer world around me as I think I am (self-deprecating reference to my team moving 1,000 miles away before I hardly knew it, did you get that?). But jesus, is it really so hard? There’s a bunch of fans that aren’t in MLS markets, there’s a bunch of MLS reserve players who need to play if they’re ever going to get off the bench, there’s a bunch of college-age kids who need to play during the summer to keep their game up, there’s a bunch of in-between guys who want to play and will be happy with a semi-/minor-pro situation.
It just seems to me that if you all really gave a shit about the game, you’d find a way to figure it out. Until you do, the only games that will be perfected are the ones Mr. Rawlins plays when he flips cities overnight, and whatever crazy shit those Cosmos people are up to in New York, and the greasy shuck and jive Jeff Cooper pulled in St. Louis, and on and on, ad nauseam.