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Monday, June 22, 2009

"Major league" soccer -- in the dead of winter?

While Portland prepares to kick professional baseball out of town and blow $30 million to $40 million to renovate PGE Park for "major league" soccer, a suggestion has been made from a high place in the soccer hierarchy to change the pro soccer season in the United States to one that runs from August to May, rather than March to November.

Wow. If you're worried now about soccer drawing enough people to pay the mortgage on a remodel, can you imagine it competing with the Blazers and the Portland weather?

I'm sure the soccer freaks will tell you that the change won't happen any time soon, but hey, the bonds on the remodel are going to be some lo-o-o-o-o-ong-term debt.

Comments (13)

Ah, but there's the problem. They're NOT worried about paying the mortgage on the (latest) remodel. Paying for things is someone else's problem.

We need some of your photoshop skills to show Sam E Newman and Randy E Newman saying "What, Me Worry" about paying for any of this nonsense.

Maybe it should be an indoor soccer league. Then we could put it in the Memorial Coliseum - and all would be well. We get soccer and we save Memorial! Brilliant!

OK, more seriously...

“There is one big problem there and they know, the organizers know, that as long as you don't have your own stadia in the MLS, you have to use stadia from another sport, which is American football,” Blatter said. “With the season played from March to October, you are not in the so-called good international season.

Seems like the MLS push for a dedicated stadium is exactly so that they can change the season schedule.

What happens to the PSU Vikings?

Kari: Dedicated venues are to build the long term viability of the league, it would be hard for MLS to succeed long-term as a renter.

This is all great advice from the ivory pillar of FIFA but it's just that. MLS is free to determine their own schedule, and I doubt they want to fight for airtime with the NFL. (Hint: NFL owners own most MLS teams)

The real issue, which is easy enough to find by anyone w/o an axe to grind, is that MLS doesn't break for international tourneys.

The Russian league plays a summer schedule, yet they're ranked 6th among European leagues (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFA_coefficient), their clubs have won 2 UEFA Cups this decade, and their national team made the semi-final of Euro 2008.

The only diff? The Rooskis have breaks for int'l competitions.

This is gonna work out great, bad weather and having to compete with the NBA, NFL and NCAA. That's a recipe for success.

Who knows, maybe 3 strikes (NASL, USL and MLS) and soccer is out for good? It only took 30+ years to figure it won't work.

The PGE park will now have to be covered, thus increasing the amount of public money spent on the remodel.
'Paulson Inc' will get their no bid contract increase on that deal for sure!

Actually, this is a huge deal because it's preventing competing with Europe for talent - assuming the money was there anyway.

David Beckham was the exception and that got all screwed up. He now plans to return from the European schedule and join LA in July.

I sure someone has suggested this by now, but I haven't heard the answer. Why not let Mr. Paulson have his soccer at the space now occupied by the Coliseum? As far as I am concerned, the Coliseum is a nice enough old building that has outlived its usefulness, and its design belongs to an era in American architecture that is best forgotten. Tear it down and put MLS in its place. PGE park is not the place. Go Beavers.

Is there anybody who can explain to me why we can't just build a new stadium for soccer, rather than building a new stadium for baseball and then remodelling the existing stadim for soccer? Even if the explanation doesn't make logical, rational, or financial sense, I'd still like to hear it. Thank you.

The article doesn't actually make it sound like a winter MLS schedule is likely anytime soon. Mostly it was just the head of FIFA calling for it, despite the fact that some European leagues in more northern climes (e.g., Russia, Ireland, Sweden) are quite successful. In any case, the real problem with soccer in the US (and Canada) is that it is the fifth most popular team sport, a cruel fact that the head of FIFA is unlikely to want to publicly acknowledge.

Actually, this is a huge deal because it's preventing competing with Europe for talent - assuming the money was there anyway.

Actually this is not a huge deal, for the exact reason you outline above. The MLS can't afford to compete with any of the European leagues for talent, and won't be able to for many years.

The only int'l talent that is coming to the MLS for the foreseeable future is those on the downside of their careers. Those with marquee names but no longer the marquee skills.

David Beckham was the exception and that got all screwed up. He now plans to return from the European schedule and join LA in July.

Beckham fit that niche perfectly until he decided he wanted to play for England again. Look for other big names to sign deals with the MLS as they hit their mid-30s over the next decade.

The Beckham example actually works against your point since it proves that there are ways to get top names to MLS, and he's been able to use the MLS schedule to his advantage to play both sides of the pond.

"why we can't just build a new stadium for soccer"

Given Paulson and Randy's penchant for spending other people's money, it'll cost $100M+

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