kenn.com blog

kenn.com blog

Soccer, mostly, but some other stuff, too

Taking Attendance 6/29/2015: Amateur Status

We now get our first look this season at the attendance numbers for the USL’s Premier Development League (PDL), which gives (mostly) college players the chance to hone their skills in a high-level summer league while retaining their NCAA eligibility.

A caveat: PDL numbers are always a bit of a challenge because of the varying levels of sophistication of amateur club front offices. Some clubs are making do with what they have and concentrate on providing an opportunity for (mostly) local players to develop, while others have the resources to have more robust staffs and make their attendance figures available regularly.1

You’ll see in the chart below many teams have symbols next to their number of home games, signifying how many of their attendance figures have not been reported. Many of them never will be, and that’s just the nature of the beast. Through yesterday’s games, I have about 74% of this season’s figures2

The glaring omission is Des Moines, where the Menace have been in the top two in average announced attendance every year since 1999. They have yet to announce a figure for any of their home games this season (at least that I can find).

So with those caveats, after the jump are what I believe are the most complete and accurate PDL attendance numbers you’ll find anywhere, through games of Sunday, June 28.

Read more »

A Choice To Make

You and I have a choice to make. You, me, all of us.

In the wake of yet another mass shooting, we must choose.

Either we decide now, today, that we are not going to stand for this anymore, that we are going to heal the wounds of hatred that beget violence, or we accept that innocent people are going to die senseless, violent deaths at random intervals in what professes to be the greatest nation on Earth.

If we choose to do something, it will take much more than posting memes on Facebook or retweeting people who already agree with your point of view. It’s going to take each of us deciding that hatred and violence have no place here. If you have been taught that people who have a different skin color than you or who worship a different God or in a different way than you, or who live in a different place, vote for different ideas, love differently or support different teams than you do or who hold jobs you feel aren’t worthy of being paid a living wage somehow don’t matter, you’ve been taught wrong. Each of us needs to say, “Enough.”

But if we choose the slaughter of innocents as nothing more than the cost of living in a free society, eventually someone you care about will become a victim, too.

You may think, “I don’t live in Charleston. That doesn’t impact me.”

But it does. It impacts all of us.

We all lost sisters and brothers this week. And not just in Charleston, but in Chicago and Los Angeles and Baltimore and lots of other places where you think it can’t happen. But it does. Every day.

Hatred and fear are keeping us from being the truly great nation we can and ought to be. And those whose livelihoods depend on you remaining hateful and afraid are fueling the divisions that result in tragedy.

It has to start with us. No legislative body, no president, no clergyman, no commentator, no law can make the hatred and fear go away. If we decide, each of us, that we are no longer going to hate, that we are no longer going to be ruled by fear, no special interest group, no check written to a campaign fund and no vitriolic television channel can keep us from healing as a people.

Chris Singleton, whose mother, 45-year old speech therapist and high school track and field coach Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, was one of the victims in Charleston, put it best:

“Love is always stronger than hate. If we just love the way my mom would, the hate won’t be anywhere close to what love is.”

What will you choose? And when?

Taking Attendance 6/15/2015: NASL On Pace To Draw A Million

blog_cosmos_crowd

With its spring season now in the books, the North American Soccer League will take a short break before resuming play with its fall schedule over Independence Day weekend. Here’s a look at the attendance numbers for the 10-game spring season, won by the New York Cosmos (whose Saturday crowd of 7,353 vs. Jacksonville is pictured above, courtesy of David Kilpatrick).

Team G Total Average Median High Low
Indy Eleven 5 52,000 10,400 10,524 10,524 10,202
Jacksonville Armada 5 48,784 9,757 8,318 16,164 7,586
Minnesota United 5 45,962 9,192 9,233 9,342 9,012
New York Cosmos 5 33,597 6,719 5,279 12,550 3,383
San Antonio Scorpions 5 32,385 6,477 6,709 7,252 5,305
Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 5 31,753 6,351 5,083 11,691 4,801
Tampa Bay Rowdies 5 28,499 5,700 5,460 7,010 4,217
Carolina Railhawks 5 25,801 5,160 4,863 7,217 4,042
Atlanta Silverbacks 5 23,799 4,760 4,736 5,511 3,841
Ottawa Fury 5 21,886 4,377 5,064 5,245 3,023
FC Edmonton 5 13,821 2,764 2,492 3,756 2,236
NASL TOTAL 55 358,287 6,514 5,305 16,164 2,236

NOTES:

  • If every club in the league holds its current average1, the NASL would draw 1,074,861 fans for the 2015 campaign. No Division II league has ever drawn a million for a season2.
  • The 2014 spring season average was 5,346, and they saw a slight bump in the fall (to 5,608). With this spring running 22% above last year’s, there are plenty of reasons for optimism, despite the well-publicized issues regarding Traffic USA.
  • Most teams were up, average-wise, year-over-year versus last spring. Ft. Lauderdale (up 66%, thanks to a huge home opener), Minnesota (up 65%), Ottawa (up 63% largely because they played last spring in a smaller venue) and New York (up 33%) saw big gains, while and Tampa Bay (up 14%) was also up. Atlanta, Indy and San Antonio were virtually unchanged from last spring (Carolina was down just 4%) and Edmonton (down 23%) is the only real red flag.
  • Miami FC and Puerto Rico FC3 have already been announced as expansion clubs for next year4. Supposedly there will be more new clubs announced by season’s end, presumably for starts in 2017.

blog_white_barrier

Something To Play For

me_klinsi_smallerAs he is wont to do, US Men’s National Team Coach Jurgen Klinsmann has offered another “Here’s how Major League Soccer should run its business” take, this time telling German paper Rheinische Post that he intently followed the relegation battle of his hometown club, VfB Stuttgart and that there would be many benefits to American soccer if we’d only mimic that setup:

“I got up at half-past six in the morning to see their [final] match [of the season] in Paderborn. That clubs like Stuttgart were down there, shows how close the Bundesliga is, how much quality it has. This thrill of the relegation battle is nonexistent in the U.S. league. The risk for club investors to all of a sudden play in the second league would be too high. But the sporting side would benefit from it. Our players from Europe know that. That furthers our national team. Something is at stake week in, week out. Be it at the top or at the bottom, you always have to perform.”

I’m sure this is catnip to the prawns who latch onto any prominent soccer person’s statement of support for promotion and relegation and trumpet it to the heavens, but a few points should be noted on this:
Read more »

Steven Souza, Jr. Strikes Out A LOT

strikeoutYes, Tampa Bay’s Steven Souza, Jr. is the leading home run hitter among American League rookies, but he also has a shot at being among the all-time single-season leaders in terms of strikeout percentage. In 50 games this year, the outfielder1 has struck out 74 times in his first 201 plate appearances, a rate of 36.80%. Only six players I can find in major league history2 have struck out in a higher percentage of their plate appearances in a season.

Here’s the top 12:

SINGLE-SEASON STRIKEOUT PERCENTAGE, 200 PAs
Player Year Club G PA SO KPct
Javier Baez 2014 CHN 52 229 95 41.48%
Melvin Nieves 1997 DET 116 405 157 38.77%
Mike Olt 2014 CHN 89 258 100 38.76%
Dave Nicholson 1962 BAL 97 202 76 37.62%
Brad Eldred 2005 PIT 55 208 77 37.02%
Jon Singleton 2014 HOU 95 362 134 37.02%
STEVEN SOUZA, JR.3 2015 TBR 50 201 74 36.80%
Russell Branyan 2001 CLE 113 361 132 36.57%
Brett Wallace 2013 HOU 79 285 104 36.49%
Bo Jackson 1987 KCA 116 434 158 36.41%
Juan Francisco 2014 TOR 106 320 116 36.25%
Chris Carter 2013 HOU 148 585 212 36.24%

If he gets 600 plate appearances, Souza projects to strike out 221 times, just two fewer than the record set in 2009 by Mark Reynolds (and Reynolds struck out in 33.69% of his plate appearances for Arizona that year). (None of the guys on the list above actually got 600 plate appearances, and Chris Carter of the 2013 Astros is the only one who got 500. Adam Dunn and Reynolds are the only guys to strike out a third of the time and get 600 plate appearances.)

Just for comparison, here are the career strikeout rates for the players with the most total strikeouts in MLB history:

CAREER STRIKEOUT PERCENTAGE, PLAYERS W/MOST SOs
Player PA SO KPct.
Reggie Jackson 11418 2597 22.74%
Jim Thome 10313 2548 24.71%
Adam Dunn 8328 2379 28.57%
Sammy Sosa 9896 2306 23.30%
Alex Rodriguez 11553 2121 18.36%
Andres Galarraga 8916 2003 22.47%
Jose Canseco 8129 1942 23.89%
Willie Stargell 9027 1936 21.45%
Mike Cameron 7884 1901 24.11%
Mike Schmidt 10062 1883 18.71%

Obviously, we are in what you might call a Golden Age of Strikeouts now, with batters whiffing at record rates for a variety of reasons. But Souza’s strikeouts4, combined with his haphazard baserunning and adventurous outfield play, threaten to outweigh his propensity for the longball.

Still, the Rays have won three straight and are in the race in the weak American League East, so manager Kevin Cash, who doesn’t complain about much, probably won’t be complaining for now about Souza’s strikeouts5.
blog_white_barrier

Taking Attendance 6/1/2015: USL Numbers Through May

Now that every team in the United Soccer League has played at least one home game (and I have all the data points), here’s our first complete look at the attendance figures for the Division III1 league through the games of May 31:

Team G Total Average Median High Low
Sacramento Republic FC 6 66,980 11,163 11,242 11,442 10,906
Louisville City FC 6 33,902 5,650 5,489 7,185 4,772
Tulsa Roughnecks FC 5 26,517 5,303 5,067 8,335 3,335
Rochester Rhinos 3 15,850 5,283 5,179 6,184 4,487
Saint Louis FC 5 24,154 4,831 4,994 5,280 4,096
Charleston Battery 6 24,649 4,108 4,253 5,455 3,026
OKC Energy FC 4 16,399 4,100 4,050 6,797 1,502
Arizona United SC 4 15,283 3,821 3,159 6,108 2,858
Portland Timbers 2 4 14,207 3,552 3,381 4,944 2,501
Richmond Kickers 6 18,833 3,139 3,059 4,683 1,632
Real Monarchs SLC 5 13,682 2,736 2,615 4,279 1,001
Austin Aztex 7 18,812 2,687 2,739 4,105 1,439
Wilmington Hammerheads FC 5 12,561 2,512 2,526 2,985 1,789
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 3 7,290 2,430 2,200 2,990 2,100
Harrisburg City Islanders 2 4,767 2,384 2,384 2,589 2,178
Seattle Sounders FC 2 5 11,823 2,365 2,304 2,951 2,043
Charlotte Independence 4 8,580 2,145 2,176 2,241 1,987
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 5 9,436 1,887 1,502 3,208 1,217
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 6 11,184 1,864 1,953 2,855 995
Orange County Blues FC 6 6,381 1,064 963 1,873 674
Toronto FC II 1 986 986 986 986 986
LA Galaxy II 8 7,240 905 845 1,352 533
New York Red Bulls II 8 4,736 592 503 1,028 355
FC Montreal 5 2,266 453 265 1,301 112
USL TOTAL 119 376,518 3,164 2,696 11,442 112

NOTES:

  • Extending a trend we see in Major League Soccer2, four of the top five teams in average announced attendance in USL are teams of recent vintage, in either their first or second season. Sacramento leads the league again in year two, but Louisville (2nd), Tulsa (3rd) and St. Louis (5th) are all expansion teams. Louisville (which had a season-high crowd of 7,185 over the weekend) and Tulsa are both over 5k a game, which is something that just didn’t happen at the Division III level until recently.
  • On the flip side, the bottom four teams are all MLS developmental squads, who have made player development their priority over ticket sales. (And I can’t say I blame them.) Overall, the “MLS2″ teams have averaged 1,570 per game, while the “independent” teams are at 4,002 at the moment.
  • If every team in the league held its average the rest of the way, USL would draw over one million fans for the season, something no Division III league has ever approached. (Yes, they have more teams than any Division III league has had since 1999, it’s still worth mentioning.)
  • After a slight spike in April (when the league averaged 3,497), May’s overall average (2,974) was right in line with March’s (2,957).
  • Austin, which moved up from the PDL this year, has averaged 2,687 for their first seven home games. That’s well above what the old Austin Lone Stars did in the best year for which I have data (1998, when they averaged 1,630 in the old D3 Pro League). Maybe the Aztex will be one of those rare teams that moves up from the amateur ranks to the pros and makes it work.
  • Without Sacramento, the league’s average would be 2,739, which would still be the second-highest for a DIII league in history.

Taking Attendance 5/11/2015: First Look At NWSL Numbers

Now that every team in the National Women’s Soccer League has played a home game, let’s take a look at the attendance figures for the women’s top flight through games of this past weekend.

Team G Total Average Median High Low
Portland Thorns FC 3 40,770 13,590 13,386 14,236 13,148
Chicago Red Stars 4 21,923 5,481 2,252 16,017 1,402
FC Kansas City 2 10,955 5,478 5,478 8,489 2,466
Houston Dash 2 10,198 5,099 5,099 6,012 4,186
Washington Spirit 1 4,136 4,136 4,136 4,136 4,136
Seattle Reign FC 2 5,345 2,673 2,673 2,703 2,642
Boston Breakers 1 2,376 2,376 2,376 2,376 2,376
Western New York Flash 2 3,639 1,820 1,820 1,837 1,802
Sky Blue FC 3 4,057 1,352 1,562 1,742 753
NWSL TOTAL 20 103,399 5,170 2,554 16,017 753


NOTES:

  • Now in its third year, the NWSL has shown much more stability than its predecessors, but still has three very pronounced trouble spots: Chicago, New Jersey and Rochester. Don’t let that 16,017 crowd in Chicago this past weekend fool you. The doubleheader with the Fire at Toyota Park (by the way, NWSL, Toyota Park isn’t in Naperville) was nowhere near being indicative of how the team draws out in Lisle, where they have averaged 1,969 this season. Sky Blue can’t break 2,000 most nights (only three times last year, none this year). And while the Western New York Flash wasn’t exactly packing them in when they did have Abby Wambach, they’re doing even worse at the gate since trading her west. While they averaged 3,177 last year, two games this season have drawn 1,837 and 1,802 in a stadium badly in need of repair. That’s a third of the league and that’s a bad sign.
  • Portland hasn’t missed a beat, averaging 13,590 for its first three home matches. Houston is still solid and we’ll see how Kansas City’s move to a better venue works out. (They played their opener at Sporting Park, so we’ll need more data on Swope Soccer Village before drawing any conclusions.)
  • If every team in the NWSL held its current attendance average (not likely), the league would draw just over 420,000 for the season and average 4,667. That would be the highest in its brief history and the highest for a women’s league since the first year of WPS. But Chicago’s not likely to average its doubleheader-boosted 5,481 and Kansas City will probably be lower as well. I’d expect the league’s final number to be in the 4,200 range, or right about where it’s been for its first two years.
  • The NWSL has four more weeks of play before it takes a break for the group stage of the Women’s World Cup in Canada. Many stars1 won’t be around much longer, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to believe the league and its stakeholders are counting on a post-WWC boost. Not only in attendance (WPS average attendance nearly doubled in a small post-WWC 2011 sample) but in sustainable interest on the part of fans, sponsors and the federations of the United States, Canada and Mexico. Because the federations are fronting the player salaries for their respective star players, it will be interesting to see if their interest in continuing that setup survives the summer. If Mexico qualifies for the second round2, Canada makes at least the semifinals3 and the US wins it4, that might be enough to make USSF, CSA and FMF continue their investment. Poor performances might call for some serious soul-searching.
  • (Just to digress for a second…I know the women’s game often gets short shrift much of the time, but maybe you don’t have to be quite so ungrateful toward people who say they’re genuinely happy there’s a pro women’s league. They’re not the problem.)
  • Keep in mind, no pro women’s soccer league has made it to Year Four yet. How the rest of Year Three and the Women’s World Cup go will be big determinants of whether or not NWSL pulls it off.

blog_white_barrier

Math Is Hard In Cosmos Country

New York Cosmos COO Erik Stover has made it clear his team doesn’t aspire to join Major League Soccer, and won’t ground share with the vagabond New York City FC.

He’s also made it clear he’s not very good at math or objective reality.

In a recent talk at a local high school (covered by Empire of Soccer), the Cosmos’ honcho made it clear the North American Soccer League is where his club wants to be because of its enormous upside and recent growth, but he seriously overstates that growth.


“Our league is growing,” Stover said. “Just four years ago, average attendance was 1,500. It’s now 8,000.”

That’s just an out-and-out exaggeration.

Here’s what NASL average announced attendance has actually done since the league first stood on its own after the breakaway from USL and the ramshackle USSF D2 Pro League of 2010:

NASL Average Attendance

NASL average announced attendance was not 1,500 in 2011 – it was 3,770. It’s been on the rise ever since, and, to their credit, the NASL has added teams in markets that have become relevant and proven they can draw a crowd, while adding stability to the second division that hasn’t been the norm in many years. They’ve done well.

But they haven’t gone from 1,500 a game to 8,000 a game. They’ve gone from 3,770 a game to 6,501 a game. It’s a 72 percent increase (through games of last weekend), not a 433% increase.

Here’s what each of the 13 markets that have been part of the NASL since its inception have done in terms of average attendance, year-by-year:

NASL MARKET AVERAGE ATTENDANCE FROM 2011-2015
Market 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Growth
Atlanta 2,866 4,505 4,677 4,053 4,688 63.6%
Carolina 3,353 3,883 4,708 4,551 4,574 36.4%
Edmonton 1,817 1,492 2,437 3,385 2,610 43.6%
Ft. Lauderdale 3,769 3,615 4,265 3,626 7,290 93.4%
Indianapolis N/A N/A N/A 10,465 10,524 0.6%
Jacksonville N/A N/A N/A N/A 12,154 N/A
Minnesota 1,676 2,796 4,445 8,088 9,233 450.9%
Montreal 11,507 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
New York N/A N/A 6,859 4,962 8,915 30.0%
Ottawa N/A N/A N/A 4,492 4,058 -9.7%
Puerto Rico 2,161 1,864 N/A N/A N/A N/A
San Antonio N/A 9,176 6,937 6,754 6,014 -34.5%
Tampa Bay 3,010 3,116 4,044 4,550 6,235 107.1%
NASL TOTAL 3,770 3,806 4,670 5,521 6,501 72.4%

Every existing club is up over their inaugural season average except for San Antonio (the 35% drop is a bit overstated, as they moved into a smaller – and better – stadium in year two, but they’re still down 13% from that) and Ottawa (off 10%, but they had a big new stadium inaugural last year and have only had two home matches this year). In some cases, the growth has been tremendous, as in Minnesota, where United (nee NSC Minnesota Stars) have gone from moribund to MLS in the space of four years.

That’s something to which the Cosmos don’t aspire, because, to hear Stover tell it, “We don’t view our league as second division or minor league in any way,” he told the assembled students.

Except that it is, and in many ways, which are both quantifiable and obvious. The NASL has done well for a second-division league, but that’s what it is, and no matter how much saber-rattling they do, it’s going to remain true. The NASL has (for the most part) second-tier markets with teams full of (for the most part) second-tier players playing for (for the most part) second-tier coaches in (for the most part) second-tier stadiums in front of (for the most part) second-tier crowds and audiences on (for the most-part) second-rate media outlets. The league draws not quite a third of the attendance Major League Soccer does (MLS’ average is 20,802 as of this writing), gets far less media attention, doesn’t have an actual national television contract, and started out 15 years and several billion in investment behind MLS. When you can’t reach USSF’s Division I standards, I’m sorry, you’re not Division I. (And they weren’t even before USSF came up with those standards – the facts of the case haven’t changed.) (EDIT: Oh, and they’re apparently not actually going to be in FIFA2016, either. Oops.)

I get that Stover was talking to high school kids. But grown-ups were listening, too.

RIP Neil Gilbert

Neil Gilbert as an Indiana Twister Those of you who frequent this blog for its information and opinion about indoor soccer may be interested and saddened to know of the death today of longtime indoor professional player Neil Gilbert, who succumbed to complications from liver failure this afternoon in Michigan.

Neil played 13 years professionally indoors after beginning his pro career outdoors at age 15 in Argentina with Independiente. When Major League Soccer started up in 1996, he was offered a contract by the (then) MetroStars, but family commitments in Argentina kept him from signing. He would continue playing until 2008, when he appeared in 25 games for Monterrey La Raza of the second Major Indoor Soccer League at age 38. In 358 career regular season indoor games, he scored 74 goals, added 73 assists and blocked 422 shots. He probably led the league in feigned devastating injuries as well, but that was just part of the appeal.

But numbers (which you can see below) don’t tell the whole story of a person. Neil could appear menacing (on and off the field – when he was in Indiana with us for one season, we always wanted to have Neil with us when out walking at night in some of the cities we played in, as his presence outstripped his 6-1, 175 frame), but was a really sweet, funny guy. When he once told our coach that he had missed the previous day’s training session because he was at the dentist, we all broke up at the look on his face when we (and then he) realized the previous day had been July 4. But that was Neil. Nobody held it against him.

He’d been battling liver problems for a while and was awaiting a transplant, but he passed away today at age 451 He leaves behind a wife and children and many teammates and friends. The family could sure use your prayers, but they could also use some help with all the expenses that have piled up, so if you are so moved, click here to contribute.

Adios, Neil. Vaya con Dios.

Neil Gilbert’s Career Indoor Soccer Statistics
Season Team Lg Age Yrs GP G A Pts SH PIM Fls Blk PPG SHG GWG OTG
1994-95 Canton Invaders NPSL 25 1 33 5 7 12 56 35 72 36 0 0 0 0
1995-96 Canton Invaders NPSL 26 1 9 3 2 5 24 10 26 9 0 0 0 0
1995-96 Chicago Power NPSL     13 1 3 4 21 8 40 8 0 0 0 0
1995-96 Detroit Rockers NPSL     13 2 1 3 9 15 36 12 0 0 0 0
1996-97 Columbus Invaders NPSL 27 1 33 11 14 25 54 23 93 41 1 0 1 0
1997 Indiana Twisters CISL 27 1 28 2 4 6 0 18 81 36 0 0 0 0
1997-98 Detroit Rockers NPSL 28 1 29 16 8 24 67 50 123 38 1 1 1 0
1998-99 Detroit Rockers NPSL 29 1 32 9 6 15 47 18 129 43 1 0 0 0
1999-00 Philadelphia Kixx NPSL 30 1 32 5 7 12 37 16 103 17 0 0 0 0
2000-01 Detroit Rockers NPSL 31 1 30 2 3 5 39 19 113 41 0 0 0 0
2001-02 DID NOT PLAY
2002-03 Harrisburg Heat MISL2 33 1 14 2 4 6 24 5 38 25 0 0 0 0
2003-04 Baltimore Blast MISL2 34 1 27 6 2 8 34 29 53 25 0 0 1 0
2004-05 Baltimore Blast MISL2 35 1 25 3 4 7 34 31 51 32 0 0 0 0
2004-05 Cleveland Force MISL2     8 2 3 5 10 0 12 7 1 0 1 0
2005-06 California Cougars MISL2 36 1 7 1 0 1 5 2 13 6 0 0 0 0
2006-07 DID NOT PLAY
2007-08 Monterrey La Raza MISL2 38 1 25 4 5 9 13 12 33 46 0 0 0 0
  CAREER TOTALS   13 358 74 73 147 474 291 1016 422 4 1 4 0


blog_white_barrier

Taking Attendance 4/27/2015: Blame Canada

Every team in the three men’s outdoor professional leagues has played a home game except for Toronto FC and its reserve team in USL (TFC doesn’t have a home game for another couple of weeks, the reserves for almost a month), but that shouldn’t stop us from our first look at attendance figures for each of the leagues in 2015.

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER G Total Average Median High Low
Seattle Sounders 4 160,268 40,067 39,821 41,451 39,175
Orlando City SC 4 157,312 39,328 31,947 62,510 30,908
New York City FC 4 113,313 28,328 24,673 43,507 20,461
Montreal Impact 1 25,245 25,245 25,245 25,245 25,245
Los Angeles Galaxy 4 93,105 23,276 23,509 27,000 19,087
Portland Timbers 4 84,576 21,144 21,144 21,144 21,144
Houston Dynamo 5 104,331 20,866 21,046 22,407 18,924
Vancouver Whitecaps 5 103,583 20,717 21,000 22,500 18,083
New York Red Bulls 2 41,098 20,549 20,549 21,036 20,062
Real Salt Lake 3 61,489 20,496 20,414 20,794 20,281
Sporting Kansas City 4 80,264 20,066 19,936 20,848 19,545
San Jose Earthquakes 3 54,000 18,000 18,000 18,000 18,000
Philadelphia Union 4 70,762 17,691 18,064 18,603 16,031
Columbus Crew 4 65,367 16,342 15,741 18,333 15,553
Chicago Fire 4 61,488 15,372 14,775 19,124 12,815
FC Dallas 5 76,823 15,365 15,236 18,333 12,929
New England Revolution 4 55,931 13,983 13,641 17,982 10,668
DC United 4 55,362 13,841 13,755 16,304 11,549
Colorado Rapids 4 55,220 13,805 13,039 17,692 11,450
Toronto FC 0 0 0 0 0 0
MLS TOTAL 72 1,519,537 21,105 19,574 62,510 10,668
 
NORTH AMERICAN SOCCER LEAGUE G Total Average Median High Low
Jacksonville Armada 1 16,164 16,164 16,164 16,164 16,164
New York Cosmos 1 12,550 12,550 12,550 12,550 12,550
Indy Eleven 2 21,048 10,524 10,524 10,524 10,524
Minnesota United 1 9,233 9,233 9,233 9,233 9,233
Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 2 16,574 8,287 8,287 11,691 4,883
Tampa Bay Rowdies 2 12,470 6,235 6,235 7,010 5,460
San Antonio Scorpions 2 12,028 6,014 6,014 6,723 5,305
Carolina Railhawks 2 9,679 4,840 4,840 5,190 4,489
Atlanta Silverbacks 3 14,063 4,688 4,711 5,511 3,841
Ottawa Fury 2 8,116 4,058 4,058 5,093 3,023
FC Edmonton 2 4,843 2,422 2,422 2,492 2,351
NASL TOTAL 20 136,768 6,838 5,383 16,164 2,351
 
UNITED SOCCER LEAGUE G Total Average Median High Low
Sacramento Republic FC 4 44,296 11,074 11,074 11,242 10,906
Rochester Rhinos 1 6,184 6,184 6,184 6,184 6,184
Arizona United SC 1 6,108 6,108 6,108 6,108 6,108
OKC Energy FC 2 11,180 5,590 5,590 6,797 4,383
Louisville City FC 3 15,716 5,239 4,877 6,067 4,772
Tulsa Roughnecks FC 4 20,762 5,191 4,546 8,335 3,335
Saint Louis FC 2 10,281 5,141 5,141 5,280 5,001
Charleston Battery 3 11,750 3,917 4,188 4,536 3,026
Richmond Kickers 3 9,848 3,283 3,533 4,683 1,632
Portland Timbers 2 2 6,168 3,084 3,084 3,667 2,501
Real Monarchs SLC 3 8,590 2,863 3,310 4,279 1,001
Austin Aztex 4 10,612 2,653 2,534 4,105 1,439
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 2 5,264 2,632 2,632 3,208 2,056
Harrisburg City Islanders 1 2,589 2,589 2,589 2,589 2,589
Seattle Sounders FC 2 3 7,662 2,554 2,407 2,951 2,304
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 2 5,090 2,545 2,545 2,990 2,100
Wilmington Hammerheads FC 3 7,254 2,418 2,480 2,985 1,789
Charlotte Independence 2 4,416 2,208 2,208 2,241 2,175
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 4 7,174 1,794 1,953 2,274 995
Orange County Blues FC 3 3,697 1,232 968 1,873 856
LA Galaxy II 4 4,294 1,074 1,146 1,352 650
New York Red Bulls II 4 2,496 624 557 1,028 355
FC Montreal 3 1,824 608 265 1,301 258
Toronto FC II 0 0 0 0 0 0
USL TOTAL 63 213,255 3,385 2,589 11,242 258


NOTES:

  • MLS hit the one million mark on April 10 in its 46th game of the season, the earliest in league history. (The old record was the 47 games it took to hit a million in the inaugural season of 1996. The second-fastest was the 51 games it took in 2012.)
  • The league’s average attendance for March (22,188) was a record for that month and the April average (20,022) was second only to April of 1996 (when the first-month excitement led to a 29,394 average that MLS has never approached in any month since.)
  • Seven of the top eight teams in the MLS attendance averages did not play in the league or did not exist just ten years ago.
  • Jacksonville’s inaugural set an NASL standalone record of 16,164 on April 4. (Minnesota played a doubleheader last year at TCF Bank Stadium that had an announced 34,047.) They won’t be playing every game in the big stadium there, so their average will drop, but they have a chance for a nice first season.
  • The Cosmos drew a “modern era” (as if this is an “era” – it dates back exactly 622 days) record crowd of 12,550 to their Hofstra opener on April 18, proving once again that the Cosmos can draw big numbers when they trot out the old guys. This Saturday, they play at MCU Park on Coney Island.
  • I don’t know how much longer Edmonton can go on. They’re far and away the worst-drawing team in Division II, and lifetime they’re only slightly better at the gate than the late, lamented Puerto Rico Islanders, who averaged 2,012 in 28 games their last two years. Unless there’s a new stadium on the horizon of the Alberta plains like, right away, I don’t know if they are viable long-term.
  • The NASL averaged a robust 6,838 for 20 games in April, up from 5,566 a year ago.
  • The USL has had 12 crowds of over 5,000 in the early going after only reaching that figure 15 times in their entire inaugural season back in 2011.
  • While some of the MLS owned-and-operated clubs have pulled in respectable numbers (not surprisingly, Seattle, Portland and Vancouver lead the way there), the average of the “independent” teams is 4,213, while the reserves are at 1,728.
  • Before you ask….I have an NPSL schedule and it’s very nearly complete. (Their season was well underway before the various pieces got released.) I am going to make yet another attempt to compile as many NPSL attendance figures as I can, but it is not easy. Very few teams report them and there is no central place to find them. If you know any numbers and can send them to me with sourcing, I will make an attempt to include them in the regular roundup here when appropriate.
  • Between MLS, the NASL, USL and the NWSL, an average of 277,935 people attended pro games in each of the last three weeks. That’s another figure I track, and with the PDL starting this week (whose numbers are slightly easier to find than the NPSL, but still not super simple), we’ll be well over 300,000 week-in and week-out. That was just unfathomable not that long ago.
  • As we embark on the 2015 installment of “Taking Attendance,” I want to thank you for reading and contributing. Say what you want about someone who takes the time to compile and present all these numbers, but I think they’re important to preserve and no one else I’m aware of does it as extensively as I do. You want to do it yourself? Do it yourself.