Did you know the indoor soccer season starts tomorrow? You probably did not. Even the handful of true aficionados of the six-a-side game with walls find themselves paying more attention to lingering drama from the offseason than excitement in thoughts of the new season.
Archive for the ‘soccer’ Category
The Commissioner of the North American Soccer League is a really special kind of crazy. He’s at it again, this time opining about how great the US Open Cup could and should be:
“Here is a chance to get three leagues and the amateurs involved and light up over 70-80 communities at once.”
No, absolutely no communities get “lit up” over the first two rounds of the Cup when it’s Red Force against the Colorado Rovers.
“It has the capacity to be followed by the whole country.”
Absolutely ridiculous. The Super Bowl is followed by just over half the country.
“You have got 340 million people in the United States alone…”
2013 estimate from the US Census bureau: 316M. Only off by 24 million. And it doesn’t matter, because there aren’t 340 million soccer fans.
“Why can’t our champions have a direct entry (to the CONCACAF Champions League)?”
With the North American Soccer League’s Fall Season a month away from completion, here is a look at the second-division circuit’s crowd numbers for all of 2014, and the Spring and Fall campaigns:
- The fall average (5,748) is about 7.5% higher than the spring average, but it’s skewed a bit by two major outliers: a doubleheader in Minnesota with an announced 34,047 crowd and the opening of Ottawa’s new TD Place, to which 14,593 flocked on July 20. The fall median is quite a bit lower than the spring median, which aligns with the fact that nearly every team has a lower average in the fall than it did in the spring. Thanks to those large one-off crowds, Minnesota (up 95%) and Ottawa (up 138%) are up significantly, while San Antonio’s average is up about 9%. The rest of the league has seen drops ranging from insignificant (Indy -.5%, they’ve sold out every game) to somewhat alarming (Carolina off 28%, Ft. Lauderdale off 24%, Atlanta off 20%).
- The New York Cosmos, who used to be able to draw a crowd of nostalgiaphiles on the road (which, oddly enough, they’ve been unable to do consistently at home), have played to an average of 5,904 – slightly above the league average – for 11 road games. They were the opponent in Ottawa’s new stadium opener, though, so in the other 10 road matches, the average is 5,035. The bloom has worn off that rose.
- Other Things Skewing The League Average: Without Indianapolis, the league average is 4,965.
- The NASL will surely break the second division record for average attendance by a league (5,164 by the USL First Division in 2008) and Indy will become the fourth Division II club to average 10k (and fifth overall after Sacramento did it this season in USL Pro.)
- If you’re curious about the impact of the FIFA World Cup, the NASL averaged 5,346 for 45 games prior to the tournament, 3,497 for a handful of games during the tail end of it and 5,945 afterwards (with both the Ottawa stadium opener and the Minnesota doubleheader falling in the “after” timeframe).
The fourth season for USL Pro is now complete and here are the final unofficial attendance numbers for the Division III league. (As always, additions, corrections and comments are welcomed.)
|Sacramento Republic FC||14||158,107||11,293||8,000||20,231||8,000|
|Orlando City SC||14||66,402||4,743||4,818||5,029||4,206|
|OKC Energy FC||14||52,975||3,784||3,819||4,722||2,813|
|Arizona United SC||14||33,528||2,395||2,225||3,588||1,482|
|Harrisburg City Islanders||14||27,289||1,949||1,934||2,518||1,417|
|Orange County Blues FC||14||10,719||766||714||1,226||431|
|LA Galaxy II||14||8,359||597||530||1,259||127|
|Dayton Dutch Lions||14||7,455||533||488||1,026||213|
|MLS Reserve Teams||6||12,668||2,111||358||11,202||100|
|USL PRO TOTAL||202||623,019||3,084||2,367||20,231||100|
- Division III cracked the 3,000 per game barrier for the first time (beating the 2012 mark of 2,658), thanks in part to Sacramento’s record-breaking season. Without the Republic, the other 13 teams averaged 2,485 per game.
- Sacramento became the first Division III team to ever break the 10,000 per game barrier and joined Rochester, Montreal and Portland as the only lower-level clubs to ever accomplish it. (Indianapolis will join that group at the conclusion of the NASL season.)
- The biggest gainer year-over-year was Arizona United (which technically is a new franchise and not a continuation of 2013’s Phoenix FC, but just for comparison’s sake), which finished up 56% from a year ago. Harrisburg was up 34% (though they’re still under the 2,000 line), Orange County was up 7% (though still under the 1,000 line) and Richmond and Charleston both finished up about 6%.
- On the flip side, Charlotte (in their final professional season before dropping to the PDL) fell about 8%, Rochester was down about 10%, Pittsburgh (which declared bankruptcy several months back) finished down 18%, Wilmington was down an alarming 26%, and Dayton (still a mystery) was down 29%. Then we have annual attendance leader Orlando, which was down 41%, but that was because they moved to a much smaller venue while Citrus Bowl renovations are ongoing. The Lions still played to 86% capacity, one of the top marks in the league. (Sacramento 98%, OKC 95%, Harrisburg 89%).
- May was the best month for the league overall, with a 3,474 average for 36 matches. April (2,712) was the worst.
- Thursdays beat out Saturdays (3,937 to 3,261) for the best day of the week, but that’s a bit misleading because there were only nine Thursday matches and three of them were in Sacramento. In all, weekends (Friday-Sunday) beat weekdays (Monday-Thursday) by about 20%.
- It’s hard to discern a true “World Cup Bounce,” if you were looking for one. USL Pro averaged 3,167 for 85 matches prior to the World Cup, 2,901 for 37 matches during it and 3,081 for 80 matches after it.
- I only have data for five of the 14 league matches hosted by MLS Reserve teams this year, and outside of Real Salt Lake’s 11,202 for their July 25 match against Pittsburgh, they were nothing to write home about.
- Next year, we will see a bevy of new teams, many of them owned and operated by MLS clubs. If the LA Galaxy II experiment is any indication, some of these secondary teams may struggle to find an audience (not that that is their raison d’etre). Real Salt Lake, Montreal and possibly Seattle and Dallas will have their own teams in the league in 2015, to be joined by clubs in Louisville, Colorado Springs, Austin, Tulsa and St. Louis. Going forward, league numbers are probably going to require a bit of deeper analysis when comparing them to prior years because a situation is developing where a third or more of the league’s teams may eventually be focused primarily on player development and not operating as a ticket-selling business.
With the Houston Dash and Sky Blue FC completing a weather postponed-game last night, the second National Women’s Soccer League regular season is officially in the books. Here are the (unofficial) final attendance numbers for the women’s Division I pro league:
|Portland Thorns FC||12||160,341||13,362||13,633||19,123||9,672|
|Seattle Reign FC||12||43,581||3,632||3,592||5,957||1,754|
|Western New York Flash||12||38,125||3,177||3,121||4,339||1,786|
|Chicago Red Stars||12||35,393||2,949||1,918||15,743||1,039|
|FC Kansas City||12||24,215||2,018||1,825||3,107||1,212|
|Sky Blue FC||12||19,682||1,640||1,339||3,471||582|
Here are the current (unofficial) attendance figures for each of the men’s professional leagues – Major League Soccer, the North American Soccer League and USL Pro – through last night’s games. Additions and corrections are always welcome.
|MLS (DIVISION I)||G||Total||Average|
|Los Angeles Galaxy||10||211,143||21,114|
|Real Salt Lake||12||242,885||20,240|
|New York Red Bulls||10||185,169||18,517|
|San Jose Earthquakes||12||201,473||16,789|
|New England Revolution||10||151,262||15,126|
|NASL (DIVISION II)||G||Total||Average|
|San Antonio Scorpions||8||55,070||6,884|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||7||33,755||4,822|
|New York Cosmos||8||38,182||4,773|
|Ft. Lauderdale Strikers||7||24,298||3,471|
|USL PRO (DIVISION III)||G||Total||Average|
|Sacramento Republic FC||10||126,107||12,611|
|Orlando City SC||11||52,163||4,742|
|OKC Energy FC||11||40,726||3,702|
|Wilmington Hammerheads FC||11||26,188||2,381|
|Arizona United SC||12||26,532||2,211|
|Harrisburg City Islanders||12||22,981||1,915|
|Orange County Blues FC||10||7,817||782|
|LA Galaxy II||11||7,401||673|
|Dayton Dutch Lions||12||5,901||492|
|USL PRO TOTAL||154||483,397||3,139|
Notes to follow in a bit.
The USL Premier Development League regular season is in the books, and here (with some missing data) are the final attendance numbers for the top summer amateur league in the US and Canada. The Des Moines Menace led the league for the fifth time in the last six years, with an average announced attendance of 3,340 for their seven home games this season.
|Des Moines Menace||7||23,377||3,340||3,333||3,711||2,871|
|Portland Timbers U-23s||7||16,291||2,327||756||8,207||130|
|Ventura County Fusion||7||9,256||1,322||1,121||2,100||900|
|Victoria Highlanders FC||7||9,201||1,314||1,378||1,461||1,057|
|Midland/Odessa Sockers FC||7||7,838||1,120||884||1,969||587|
|Albuquerque Sol F.C.||7||6,554||936||936||1,520||400|
|Western Mass Pioneers||7||6,367||910||1,048||1,456||317|
|Forest City London||7||5,436||777||650||1,307||369|
|Long Island Rough Riders||7||4,624||661||647||985||276|
|Thunder Bay Chill||#6||3,691||615||615||690||557|
|Lane United FC||7||3,192||456||400||800||300|
|Sounders FC U23||7||2,895||414||308||1,012||234|
|Las Vegas Mobsters||@3||1,125||375||350||450||325|
|SW Florida Adrenaline||@3||1,104||368||380||403||321|
|Ocean City Nor’easters||@3||1,097||366||424||521||152|
|Reading United AC||7||2,546||364||316||609||209|
|GPS Portland Phoenix||2||650||325||325||400||250|
|K-W United FC||$4||1,225||306||283||437||222|
|Panama City Beach Pirates||7||2,043||292||265||450||215|
|San Jose Earthquakes||@3||871||290||286||400||185|
|St. Louis Lions||7||1,884||269||280||396||160|
|Cincinnati Dutch Lions||7||1,754||251||235||352||151|
|Northern Virginia Royals||**5||1,018||204||189||323||126|
|Real Colorado Foxes||#6||1,145||191||175||400||20|
|SWVa King’s Warriors||7||1,203||172||188||204||125|
|Seacoast United Phantoms||7||1,200||171||100||350||100|
|LA Misioneros FC||#6||980||163||100||400||80|
|River City Rovers||!2||325||163||163||175||150|
|Real Boston Rams||7||1,114||159||150||224||75|
|West Virginia Chaos||7||965||138||135||220||50|
|Puget Sound Gunners FC||@3||400||133||60||300||40|
|Houston Dutch Lions||7||833||119||113||200||80|
|Pittsburgh Riverhounds U23||#6||660||110||93||175||75|
|NJ LUSO Parma||#6||650||108||100||150||50|
|IMG Academy Bradenton||7||740||106||100||150||90|
|Vancouver Whitecaps U-23||7||667||95||77||177||77|
|Montreal Impact U23||#6||550||92||88||150||25|
|Chicago Fire U-23||**5||353||71||78||116||16|
|OC Pateadores Blues||7||325||46||50||50||30|
|Orlando City U23||&0||0||0||0||0||0|
|SC United Bantams||&0||0||0||0||0||0|
|# Missing 1 game|
|** Missing 2 games|
|$ Missing 3 games|
|@ Missing 4 games|
|! Missing 5 games|
|& Missing 7 games|
- Orlando City U23 and the SC United Bantams did not announce attendance figures for any of their games this season. I am missing 55 other data points for 2014, ranging from one to five missing games for various clubs. I don’t think the missing numbers reasonably impact the conclusions we can draw in most cases.
- While 10 teams averaged 1,000 or more per game this season, more than half the league can’t get 300 a game on average.
- If the World Cup raised interest in the sport throughout the country, it wasn’t expressed in PDL attendance. The league averaged 621 per game before the Cup, dropped to 556 during and then rebounded a bit to 585 afterwards.
- FC Tucson has quietly built something over time. From an average of 681 in their first season (2012), they grew to an 800 average last year and ranked seventh in the PDL this season at 1,388. They’ll host the Western Conference semifinals and final this weekend.
- Austin (with a game missing – anyone who can help a brother out, it would be appreciated) averaged 1,804 in its final season in the amateur ranks. The Aztex will move up to USL Pro next season, and hopefully it goes better than other PDL clubs that have tried their hand at turning pro.
- As always, additions and corrections are welcome.
Here are highlights of the most recent USL Pro webcast I did, last Saturday night’s win by Arizona United over the Orange County Blues.
Thus endeth my three-game mini-engagement with the local pro team. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to get back in the booth one last time and had fun.
|Arena Corinthians||Sao Paulo||6||375,593||62,599||62,601||100.00%|
|Arena da Baixada||Curitiba||3||117,680||39,227||39,631||98.98%|
|Arena Fonte Nova||Salvador||6||300,674||50,112||51,900||96.56%|
|Estadio Beira-Rio||Porto Alegre||6||254,280||42,380||43,394||97.66%|
|Estadio das Dunas||Natal||4||158,167||39,542||39,971||98.93%|
|Estadio do Maracana||Rio de Janeiro||7||519,189||74,170||74,738||99.24%|
|Estadio Mineirao||Belo Horizonte||6||345,350||57,558||58,170||98.95%|
|Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha||Brasilia||7||478,218||68,317||69,349||98.51%|
|WORLD CUP TOTAL||64||3,429,873||53,592||98.40%|
Above, you’ll see where this year’s event ranks among them all in terms of average attendance. Twenty years on, the tournament hosted by the United States is still the best attended.
For this week’s Taking Attendance update, we’re going to look at all the teams in MLS, the NASL, USL Pro, the PDL, the NWSL, the W-League and even a handful of NPSL teams and see where they all rank in terms of average announced attendance.
Caveats: There are two teams (Orlando City U-23 and SC United Bantams, both from the PDL) for which I have no data points and I have almost no crowd figures for the NPSL. I have included the few NPSL teams for which I have data just because I’m making an effort to include them and this is another step in that process. Announced attendance does not always equate to actual butts in seats or tickets sold. And outside of MLS, the NASL and the NWSL, there are some clubs for whom I am missing a game or two (or three or four). Not everyone is as reliable about announcing attendance figures as I wish they were.
With that said, here’s the list, from 1-144:
|3||Los Angeles Galaxy||MLS||6||128,862||21,477|
|6||Real Salt Lake||MLS||8||161,475||20,184|
|7||Sporting Kansas City||MLS||9||178,574||19,842|
|10||New York Red Bulls||MLS||7||127,278||18,183|
|14||Sacramento Republic FC||USL PRO||6||94,107||15,685|
|15||New England Revolution||MLS||7||107,483||15,355|
|17||San Jose Earthquakes||MLS||9||131,658||14,629|
|20||Portland Thorns FC||NWSL||8||100,054||12,507|
|23||San Antonio Scorpions||NASL||5||32,381||6,476|
|25||Rochester Rhinos||USL PRO||7||38,189||5,456|
|27||New York Cosmos||NASL||5||25,203||5,041|
|28||Tampa Bay Rowdies||NASL||5||24,991||4,998|
|30||Orlando City SC||USL PRO||9||42,215||4,691|
|32||Chicago Red Stars||NWSL||5||21,265||4,253|
|33||Charleston Battery||USL PRO||6||23,250||3,875|
|34||OKC Energy FC||USL PRO||7||26,841||3,834|
|35||Ft. Lauderdale Strikers||NASL||4||15,301||3,825|
|38||Seattle Reign FC||NWSL||8||27,240||3,405|
|40||Des Moines Menace||PDL||4||12,708||3,177|
|41||W.New York Flash||NWSL||8||24,655||3,082|
|42||Detroit City FC||NPSL||5||14,082||2,816|
|43||Pittsburgh Riverhounds||USL PRO||7||19,265||2,752|
|45||Portland Timbers U-23s||PDL||6||15,816||2,636|
|46||Richmond Kickers||USL PRO||8||20,069||2,509|
|48||Wilmington Hammerheads FC||USL PRO||8||18,169||2,271|
|49||Arizona United SC||USL PRO||10||22,406||2,241|
|52||FC Kansas City||NWSL||9||18,122||2,014|
|54||Harrisburg City Islanders||USL PRO||8||14,112||1,764|
|57||Washington Spirit Reserves||W-League||4||6,570||1,643|
|58||Sky Blue FC||NWSL||9||13,143||1,460|
|59||Ventura County Fusion||PDL||5||7,156||1,431|
|61||Victoria Highlanders FC||PDL||7||9,201||1,314|
|62||Midland/Odessa Sockers FC||PDL||7||7,838||1,120|
|63||Albuquerque Sol F.C.||PDL||6||5,034||839|
|64||Charlotte Eagles||USL PRO||8||6,348||794|
|66||Orange County Blues FC||USL PRO||8||6,005||751|
|68||Forest City London||PDL||6||4,129||688|
|69||LA Galaxy II||USL PRO||10||6,866||687|
|70||Long Island Rough Riders||PDL||6||4,077||680|
|71||Seattle Sounders Women||W-League||6||3,955||659|
|75||Thunder Bay Chill||PDL||6||3,691||615|
|76||Charlotte Lady Eagles||W-League||3||1,846||615|
|78||Santa Clarita Blue Heat||W-League||6||3,461||577|
|79||Long Island Rough Riders||W-League||5||2,668||534|
|80||Dayton Dutch Lions||USL PRO||8||4,214||527|
|81||Sounders FC U23||PDL||5||2,353||471|
|84||Lane United FC||PDL||5||2,317||463|
|88||Las Vegas Mobsters||PDL||3||1,125||375|
|89||SW Fla. Adrenaline||PDL||2||724||362|
|90||FC Dallas Reserves||USL PRO||2||716||358|
|91||Reading United AC||PDL||6||1,937||323|
|93||San Jose Earthquakes||PDL||3||871||290|
|94||Ocean City Nor’easters||PDL||2||576||288|
|95||K-W United FC||PDL||2||566||283|
|97||Panama City Beach Pirates||PDL||6||1,593||266|
|98||New Jersey Wildcats||W-League||4||1,032||258|
|99||Cincinnati Dutch Lions||PDL||7||1,754||251|
|101||GPS Portland Phoenix||PDL||1||250||250|
|102||St. Louis Lions||PDL||6||1,488||248|
|108||Real Colorado Foxes||PDL||4||845||211|
|109||LA Misioneros FC||PDL||4||800||200|
|110||Dayton Dutch Lions||W-League||5||997||199|
|113||Braddock Road Stars Elite||W-League||4||786||197|
|115||Real Boston Rams||PDL||6||1,114||186|
|116||Sedona FC Strikers||W-League||3||550||183|
|118||K-W United FC||W-League||4||676||169|
|119||New York Magic||W-League||6||1,008||168|
|120||SWVa King’s Warriors||PDL||5||820||164|
|121||River City Rovers||PDL||2||325||163|
|122||Carolina Elite Cobras||W-League||4||636||159|
|123||Quebec Dynamo ARSQ||W-League||5||776||155|
|124||Bay Area Breeze||W-League||4||602||151|
|126||Seacoast United Phantoms||PDL||6||850||142|
|127||West Virginia Chaos||PDL||6||830||138|
|128||Puget Sound Gunners FC||PDL||3||400||133|
|129||Houston Dutch Lions||PDL||4||513||128|
|130||Toronto Lady Lynx||W-League||6||750||125|
|131||North Jersey Valkyries||W-League||5||608||122|
|133||Gulf Coast Texans||W-League||3||348||116|
|134||Montreal Impact U23||PDL||4||450||113|
|135||NJ LUSO Parma||PDL||6||650||108|
|136||Pittsburgh Riverhounds U23||PDL||4||410||103|
|138||IMG Academy Bradenton||PDL||5||490||98|
|139||Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23||PDL||7||667||95|
|142||Chicago Fire U-23||PDL||5||353||71|
|143||OC Pateadores Blues||PDL||7||325||46|
A FEW NOTES:
- Chivas USA continues to slide into oblivion, drawing 4,201 for its game Saturday against Montreal, just over a month after announcing 5,231 against Philadelphia and an MLS-record low 3,702 against Portland. They’re a pretty safe bet to break the MLS record for lowest average announced attendance, currently held by the 2000 Miami Fusion (7,460) and to be only the second MLS team to go sub-10,000 in the last seven years (the Earthquakes- in their temporary facility – did so in 2010).
- Sacramento Republic FC has moved from the 20k+ capacity Hughes Stadium to its own yard (capacity 8,000), so their numbers will be down, but they’re doing great. They should break Orlando’s Division III record for average (8,056) pretty easily.
- The NASL’s Fall Season gets going this weekend, and Ottawa is hoping for a crowd of 15,000 for its first game at TD Place on the 20th. We’ll see. Tampa Bay drew an announced 4,105 and 3,033 over the weekend for friendlies against Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando City, respectively. And Minnesota United drew 8,059 for a friendly against Mexico’s U-21 team (what, El Tri‘s senior team wasn’t available?). And San Antonio drew 6,397 for a friendly against Monterrey on Sunday evening.
- Fresno hosted a friendly between Mexican clubs America and Morelia last week, with the Fuego playing Ventura County as part of the doubleheader. The Mexican League friendly drew 13,013, but I’m not including that in the Fuego’s totals (they didn’t announce a figure for the PDL match) because that would be ridiculous.
- FC Tucson of the PDL drew a club-record 2,983 for their match against Albuquerque on Friday, pushing their average to 1,382 for the season. At the other end of the PDL spectrum, FA Euro announced a crowd of 25 for its match Sunday against Long Island, while Vancouver’s U23 team is just trolling. They’ve announced a crowd of 77 for each of their last five home matches, after announcing 177 the match before that (and 105 for their opener). I’m missing 50 PDL games, but the league is right around its historical average (582 at the moment).
- The National Women’s Soccer League projects out, if every team holds its average the rest of the way, to finish with a 4,068 average, just below last year’s 4,270. But considering WUSA’s attendance dropped 14% from year one to year two (2001-2002) and WPS’ dropped 23% from 2009-2010, that’s a sign of progress.