Major League Soccer is starting to disappoint with the now too-common lip service and hype coming from the higher-ups in charge of the league.
There’s a pattern of contradictory statements made by the league’s commissioner involving the awarding of franchises to ownership groups and cities while ignoring the tantamount criteria of having a soccer stadium in place, prior to the awarding of a franchise.
The league and the commissioner have gone back on those words by allowing the league’s newest team, New York City FC, to enter the league without a stadium, nor a team, nor a youth academy, nor a timetable for a stadium, nor the political support to build a soccer-specific stadium within the 5 NY boroughs.
What’s more, the league failed at capitalizing on the Chivas brand. The demise of Chivas USA was not simply the former ownership’s fault. The Chivas USA plan was part of a package to allow Major League Soccer’s marketing arm, known as Soccer United Marketing, to commercialize and promote the brands Chivas de Guadalajara S.A. de C.V., Club Guadalajara and Rebaño Sagrado in the United States. The league and the Chivas owners did this through the establishing of the joint venture Chivas Guadalajara Licensing, LLC, which was registered in Delaware in 2005. This turned out to be nothing more than hype, even if the original plan was well-intended. Garber later admitted that it was a failure of execution in part by the league.
While many were ecstatic to see Chivas USA sold to the league, some even thinking that this was “the season that changed MLS,” reality quickly set in when it came time to compete in the regional championship, the CONCACAF Champions League. This year, again, MLS clubs failed to advance and earn that coveted international prestige and notoriety that comes with becoming the North American Champion, along with with a ticket to FIFA’s international tournament, the Club World Cup. And every year there is MLS hype about how Mexican teams are withering or accessible (what was said about the 2011 Monterrey-Real Salt Lake Champions League final), and how this could be the year to take it all, and every year there is a blowout suffered to Mexican teams. Not just a blowout, but a real “soccer” clinic–a dismantling and bombardment involving up to 5 and 6 goals.
The shortcomings of MLS are similar to the Mexican Soccer Federation’s in that Mexico has put marketing and hype before the on field national team product. Now MLS has taken a page from that with its marketing entity known as Soccer United Marketing.
The evidence is everywhere; Beckham, Henry, Cahill. All of these players are put before MLS academies are producing enough pro players and getting them first team minutes. One thing is to sign a homegrown talent, it’s another to give a homegrown talent real MLS minutes.
The situation with Beckham’s Miami team to be echoes NYCFC’s. There’s no timetable for a stadium, still there’s political and commercial opposition for the proposed site, and worse is that there’s no name for that Miami club. It’s all talk. Meanwhile, the NASL has 3 pro teams in Florida in Tampa Bay, Ft. Lauderdale and Jacksonville.
Talk is all that MLS to Queens turned out to be, talk is all that Beckham’s Miami is right now, and
talk is all that a second MLS team in LA is as well. These three stadium situations; NYCFC, Miami and LA 2 mirror one another. Why? Because the league wants glitz and glamour first and foremost. The first choice in NY was a failed attempt. Miami doesn’t look anything better and even less does “LA 2” look realistic at this point. At least Miami has identified an ownership group. In baseball terms MLS has one strike against it with the Queens debacle with two swings left in Miami and LA 2.
“By the way, we’re pretty good at it,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in reference to building soccer specific stadiums.
“Chivas USA will become a champion and protagonist in MLS,” said Jorge Vergara.