Rounding up the latest in Nashville SC, US Soccer, and more. As always, hit me on the socials if you have a link you’d like me to dive into in one of these posts.
It’s the home of Real Monarchs, the USL affiliate of the team, which is relevant to our more immediate purposes. It’s also relevant to our longer-term purposes, for a bit of a measuring stick for what Nashville wants to do when it’s in MLS.
It also raises a discussion of what NSC wants to be when it arrives in Major League Soccer. We’ve seen clubs like LAFC or Atlanta go out and spend all the money they can to rack up talent and play exciting ball. On the other end of the spectrum, RSL is dumping money into its academy to develop talent that way. (Of course, it’s worth noting that’s an extremely long play with the MLS rules making it less profitable to develop and sell). Which serves Nashville best?
Obviously somewhere in between those extremes is going to be the goal: Nashville has a booming tourism industry that can help attract signings. It is also a smaller-market city (No. 27 in the country, though presumably that’s growing just as fast as the city itself). How will the vision for facilities, academies, USL/PDL affiliates, play into that identity of what the club wants to be? There’s no way to answer just yet – and in-season is probably not the time to get too deep into the thinkpieces on it – but it’s definitely a topic the club itself (as well as fans) should have in the back of the mind for now.
Speaking of topics better approached in the offseason. Hey y’all, want to have some pro/rel discussion? No? Okay!
First, Rocco Commisso’s letter. Not a genuine attempt to make an offer, but rather to get attention for himself (and it should be treated as such). It’s important to look at what’s actually on offer, though.
Commisso is not saying he’ll invest in US Soccer (or the lowercase ‘s’ meaning of that, either) if the federation meets his demands. He’s saying he’ll invest in the NASL, which it must be noted, is his business. Essentially, he’s refusing to invest what he believes to be necessary funding into his own business unless he can hold other people hostage over it.
He is a failure: his business failed because he failed at running it. He wants to shift blame off himself for that, and is looking for a scapegoat. It really is that simple. (Stop me if this act sounds familiar).
There are arguments for and arguments against trying to implement promotion and relegation in our country. I remain unconvinced that it’s a panacea (or even necessary) when it comes to development, but can definitely see the thought processes behind it. I also think its advocates are all too willing to ignore that “relegation” is half of the damn name, and will result in a whole lot of soccer businesses ceasing operations when it happens to them.
The thing I know deepest in my heart of hearts, though, is that people like Rocco Commisso (and especially Ted Westervelt) are absolutely, zero questions asked, more damaging to the pro/rel movement than they are advancing it. I remain convinced that Westervelt is a plant to turn people off from the movement by constantly acting like an idiot.
I do think folks like Beau Dure are doing a heck of a lot more good (while being accused of being some sort of MLS plant by Westervelt) on that front, if you’re an advocate for the movement. Even while coming off as a skeptic, he’s more willing to engage in honest, pragmatic conversation on the topic, something that can’t be said for folks on either extreme on the issue (and especially on the pro/rel zealot side).
The accidental juxtaposition between my first two headings here makes you go 🤔
Jesse Marsch has ambition. That ambition? To coach in Europe. I understand the sentiment – proving oneself at the highest level, and all – but at this point, it’s not a priority to me for soccer specifically in the United States.
“I know enough of them to know they are very ambitious and it’s not just thoughts of the national team, but it’s beyond that. That can only help our sport back here,” Marsch said. “The more that we get exposed to, and the more our eyes are open, to high level football thinking and leadership and tactics, it can only lead to better things I think for football in our country.”
Yes, there are benefits there. For now, I’d focus on accessibility to USSF coaching courses than worrying about a guy hopping planes to Scotland at the conclusion of games he’s coaching.
It’s a laudable long-term goal for the country to have coaches in Europe. For the time being, it’s more an ambitious goal at the individual level, rather than a priority nationally to me. I’d rather raise the average level of coaching quality (something that I think is very important) rather than focus on the top.
Always glad to see coaches pursuing further education (and have long felt that teams need to do a better job helping players transition into coaching once that career ends, without waiting until it has, you know, ended).
Etc.: Former Michigan defender signed by the New York Cosmos. … Always love me some tactical talk. … Hard times in Charlotte (yes, I came across this because of the MLS mention). … ASN on a potential Olympics roster. I’m working on a project with a bit more on that event myself. … Narrowing in on a USMNT general manager, hopefully making the hire before the World Cup. … College soccer being dragged, kicking and screaming, toward an improved product. … Get on board with PrideRaiser campaigns.