Pitch Points (also) joins the big leagues

Welcome to Pitch Points: rounding up links of interest in Nashville, US Soccer, and other topics of interest. Don’t forget to follow the site on TwitterFacebook, and now Instagram, where you can always drop links to share in one of these posts.

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Except it says “Cincy” somewhere. Tim Sullivan/For Club and Country

Cincy Soccer Talk (PHRASE COPYRIGHT 2018 FOR CLUB AND COUNTRY). Cincinnati has a lot to gain from getting into MLS before Miami and Nashville. Sounds like a win-win, since Nashville’s interest in joining up for 2019 was approximately zero.

That said, this piece from Cincy Soccer Talk is v. interesting, and certainly something we’ll be watching from Nashville not just for Cincinnati’s own MLS launch, but how it will apply to ours down the road, as well. Bookmark it, y’all.

Sports Illustrated on Cincinnati. How does it affect #SaveTheCrew? Regardless of what anyone says, the answer is “not at all,” because trashman’s desire to move the Crew is based only in his desire to move the Crew: there is no way to make Columbus an appealing final destination to him aside from a $200 million-dollar bribe in the form of a municipally-funded stadium.

Also, since I’ve harped on this regularly… The Detroit media really were clueless all along that their city’s chances of getting an MLS franchise went to zero when their home field situation was announced as Ford Field. How did you not know this all along? Why are you surprised now? How did you not possibly research a topic you wrote about constantly? So strange.

500m talent pool. Sporting Kansas City and other MLS teams are stretching the definition of “homegrown” with the league’s homegrown player rule.

In short, each team has a territory to which it lays claim, and youth players from that area are eligible to be “homegrowns” if they are signed to the MLS side through that team’s academy. The loophole at play here is that there are large portions of the country (including decent soccer-playing areas) that aren’t within any team’s homegrown territory… and kids are joining academies halfway across the continent, living with host families, and earning homegrown status despite not being truly from that club’s range.

I don’t have a problem with it: anything to help 1) talented kids get better coaching earlier, and 2) MLS improve its quality of play with domestic players, is absolutely fine by me. (I also think it’s fine if MLS improves with foreign players, for its own purposes. From a USMNT perspective, domestic players are preferred, obviously).

It’s also relevant to our interests: Tennessee is a state that doesn’t produce a ton of high-level soccer talent (I count just a couple MLS/USL players from the Volunteer State, and my research finds not very many at Division-1 colleges in comparison to similarly-sized states, either). Certainly, we’d like that to improve – and expect it to with an MLS team headed to town – but Nashville SC may need to get creative in filling its academy in the future, as well.

I’m also interested to see how this “MLS 2 sides play in USL D3” thing works out. I think it’s a better fit in the long-term – as it relates to developing players, at least. Also, uh, “a sign of giving up on finding a USL partner” is not a negative.

Overall this does have a bit of the feeling as if the club has failed at several attempts and decided to go in-house as a last resort.

“They failed at something worse, so they’re doing something better instead” is a win. Except inasmuch as I guess it means your front office might be difficult to deal with? That’s not something that affects fans on a day-to-day basis. Operating your own B-team is objectively better in basically every way (the only downside is that you have to pay for it), especially given that a USL affiliate’s primary job is to win (as opposed to the owned & operated teams, which are designed to develop).

Geographic spread of your #brand is also objectively a good thing. Would choosing to put a hypothetical MLS B-side in, say, Franklin mean that Nashville chose a bad location in the city for the A-side? Of course not. It just means they’re in more places – and in fact, I would view it as a failure to waste the opportunity to spread the brand if they just had it in the same area.

So it doesn’t matter that we didn’t qualify? Cool. Writing in The Guardian, Beau Dure writes that the United States will never win the World Cup (though it’s immediately hedged with “not any time soon,” which has a different meaning, but I’ll let it slide).

While many of his points are valid – we do indeed start way behind the European (and South American) powers from an infrastructure and desire standpoint, too many folks are interested in suing their way into relevance than acting in the interest of the good of the game, etc. – I don’t disagree with the end product. “Boise State can’t win the Fiesta Bowl because they started way after Oklahoma” is essentially the point here… and we all know what happened in 2007 (and against TCU in 2009). There’s something to be said for investment trumping all.

Are we headed in the right direction now? Maybe not. Are we headed in a better direction after the USSF presidential election? Probably not as forcefully as some wanted, but I think so. There’s plenty more work to do, and it will require a lot more people to become more dedicated to a cause, sure. But “never” (or “not any time soon”) is still extreme to me.

The US has gotten out of the group stage in four of the past six World Cups (since the announcement of MLS, which I would contend is when the game changed), and when you’re in a knockout tournament, anything can happen. They were a Wondo sitter – yes, in a game they were dominated – away from matching their best performance since 1930 just four years ago.

Feels to me like missing the World Cup has (understandably) damaged folks emotionally, and that emotion – which has carried over into coverage of some of the NASL litigation, etc. – is coloring a bit of folks’ perception of the upside here.

Speaking of missing the World Cup, I haven’t read this piece yet, but have seen only positive remarks about it. Probably tearing into it immediately after posting this story, in fact. (And I’ll also be posting a Soccer University piece for a more 1,000-foot view on missing the World Cup next week).

 

 

Etc.: Since I never talk West Ham even though they’re in the Twitter avi: Manuel Pellegrini is a huge grab as manager, IMO. … Sign up to support one of the SGs’ Prideraiser campaigns. … Surely this would all be fixed with #ProRel4USA. … HOK is one of the architecture firms vying for Nashville’s MLS stadium, and one of their top designers has retired. … I wish I could say the lede to this was just a “some idiot is racist” story, rather than a “problem with US soccer” story, but alas it’s both, and both are inextricably linked in our country. … USL fluff on Brandon Allen, and from overseas on Liam Doyle.

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