Archive for the ‘soccer’ Category

Final MISL Attendance Numbers 2013-2014

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

The Major Indoor Soccer League Championship will match the Baltimore Blast and Missouri Comets for the second straight year. (The Blast won last year’s series in two games.) Here are the final attendance numbers for the league for the 2013-2014 season:

Team G Total Average Median High Low
Rochester Lancers 10 73,471 7,347 7,532 8,910 5,169
Baltimore Blast 10 61,234 6,123 6,135 8,780 4,030
St. Louis Ambush 10 56,361 5,636 5,673 7,347 3,247
Milwaukee Wave 10 49,065 4,907 5,098 5,632 4,149
Missouri Comets 10 41,803 4,180 4,164 5,893 3,102
Syracuse Silver Knights 10 28,697 2,870 2,757 3,779 1,989
Pennsylvania Roar 10 15,492 1,549 1,088 4,632 922
MISL TOTAL 70 326,123 4,659 4,609 8,910 922


  • Rochester led the league for the second straight year, and saw an increase of about 16% in its announced average attendance for the year. Their 7,347 average marked the first time a team has cracked the 7,000 average barrier since Baltimore five years ago.
  • Baltimore was also up, just over 10%, while the rest of the league was either basically flat (Milwaukee was down 3%, Missouri just over 1%) or saw a big drop off (Syracuse, down 16%). The league itself was up 7% over last year, thanks to a strong showing (third in the league) by the expansion St. Louis Steamers.
  • Pennsylvania’s announced 1,549 average (boosted by a crowd of 4,632 for their only win of the season) wasn’t the lowest in recent years, but it was close. Rockford (1,112 in 2009-2010 and 1,242 in 2008-2009), the Chicago Riot (1,083 in their only season of 2010-2011), Chicago Storm (1,530 in 2005-2006) and, of course, the Massachusetts Twisters (459 in 2008-2009) were all worse at the gate. They weren’t all as terrible on the field as the Roar were, though.

As, seemingly, with every indoor offseason, this one will bring change. With renewed rumors of a merger with the PASL, the Milwaukee Wave’s owner being sued (not a problem, she says), no talk of expansion teams and an uncertain future for the MISL-USL relationship, there will be no lack of drama between now and next fall.

I Was Going To Write 3,000 Words On My Soccer Hall Of Fame Ballot, But Then I Said ‘Screw It’

Monday, February 10th, 2014

For the ninth straight year, I have a Players Ballot vote for the National Soccer Hall of Fame. It’s an honor I take very seriously. Every year I make my selections and rationales public, so I’m going to continue that, but the long post I was going to write just isn’t going to happen.

So after the jump, you’ll find my take on each of the players on this year’s ballot.

Beckham, Miami Are #22 Caliber

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Don Garber, David Beckham, Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez

We don’t know exactly when, but Major League Soccer is back in Miami. Just over 12 years after the contraction of MLS’ original South Florida team, the Fusion, the league announced Wednesday morning that its 22nd team, one owned by David Beckham, will join the league….at some point.

No time frame was given, as everything hinges on negotiations for a stadium site (Beckham said during the presser that they won’t be looking for public funding). With Orlando and New York City FC joining in 2015, the league will be at 21 teams. While a symmetrical 22 would be great, it seems highly unlikely for 2015 and more likely for 2016 at the earliest. (Beckham even joked, “Obviously, we can’t build a stadium in two weeks,” even though that’s what Sacramento is apparently planning to do for its USL Pro team.)

Here’s a look at how long MLS’ previous 13 expansion clubs took from their official announcement to their first league match:

# Announced Team Came From? 1st Game Days
22 2/5/2014 Miami Expansion ???? ????
21 11/19/2013 Orlando USL Pro *3/7/2015 473
20 5/21/2013 New York Expansion *3/7/2015 655
19 5/7/2010 Montreal NASL 3/10/2012 673
18 3/20/2009 Portland USL First Division 3/19/2011 729
17 3/18/2009 Vancouver USL First Division 3/19/2011 731
16 2/28/2008 Philadelphia Expansion 3/25/2010 756
15 11/13/2007 Seattle USL First Division 3/19/2009 492
14 7/18/2007 San Jose II Expansion 4/3/2008 260
13 5/11/2006 Toronto Expansion 4/7/2007 331
12 8/2/2004 Chivas USA Expansion 4/2/2005 243
11 7/14/2004 Salt Lake Expansion 4/2/2005 262
12 4/9/1997 Miami# Expansion 3/21/1998 346
11 4/9/1997 Chicago Expansion 3/21/1998 346
#Later contracted along with Tampa Bay

The “from scratch” expansion teams have had an average of about 400 days from announcement to first kick. The “promoted” teams from lower divisions have had about 619 days.

Beckham, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez seemed optimistic that negotiations could go fairly quickly (and when you’re not asking for public money, I guess it helps). How quickly, we’ll see. It’s a funny game.

My Only Quibble With The San Jose Earthquakes’ Rebranding

Friday, January 31st, 2014

From the earliest days of American soccer

I’m happy for the San Jose Earthquakes that they have a great tradition and have a wonderful new stadium on the way and have passionate fans and a history that goes back to 1974. But my only quibble with the explanation of their new look is in the video they created to explain it, as seen in the still above.

1974 was not “the earliest days of American soccer.” A team that (rightly) touts its own history should have a better handle on the history of the game in this country. We’ve had professional soccer – in one form or another – since as far back as 1894, when the first league, the American League of Professional Football, first kicked a ball. Even though it didn’t last (few have until recently), it’s a history that needs to be remembered and celebrated. Correctly.

Take Your Shot In Syracuse: Everybody Else Does

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

I told you last year about possibly-embellished statistical totals in the Major Indoor Soccer League, where players in Chicago and Syracuse were being credited with near-record save numbers and teams were, for some reason, racking up shot totals that were way out of the norm. (Disclaimer: this only matters to people like me, historians who would like some semblance of reality – or, barring that, consistency – with the numbers that go along with our favorite sports.)

After the initial post, a league official said they would have a talk with the stats crews in Syracuse and Chicago. While Syracuse’s totals after that point did come back towards the mean, Chicago’s did not. Chicago has since folded, but Syracuse is back, and back to their old ways. The average number of total shots recorded in games in Syracuse this season is nearly double the average number of shots recorded in games in the other six MISL cities. More after the jump.

Twitter: GPS For Crazy People

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

a crazy person tweets at Pele

Looks Like 13 Teams (Again) In USL Pro

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

With the official word yesterday that Antigua Barracuda FC has gone to the great beyond, it appears as though USL Pro will again field 13 teams in 2014. They won’t be the same 13 that played in 2013, though. New clubs in Oklahoma City and Sacramento replace the departed Barracuda and (apparently) VSI Tampa Bay (whose demise has not been officially announced yet). With Phoenix saved from oblivion (for now), the league will apparently line up like this:

Charleston Battery
Charlotte Eagles
Dayton Dutch Lions
Harrisburg City Islanders
Los Angeles Blues
Oklahoma City Energy
Orlando City
Phoenix FC Wolves
Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Richmond Kickers
Rochester Rhinos
Sacramento Republic FC
Wilmington Hammerheads

There was talk of an FC Dallas reserve team in the league in 2014, but FCD opted not to pull the trigger on it. The Galaxy’s rumored reserve team is the last remaining piece (as is whether they would replace or merely eventually drive the LA Blues into the ground).

Orlando is on the way out in 2015, but Colorado Springs and Tulsa will join then, along with (potentially) several MLS reserve sides.

Last year the USL Pro schedule came out on January 24, so we shouldn’t be too long from knowing exactly which teams will make up the third division in 2014. The last time we had more than 13 third-division clubs was 2002, when 18 teams played in what was then known as the D3 Pro League.

The 10 Worst Indoor Soccer Teams Ever

Monday, January 6th, 2014


The Major Indoor Soccer League’s Pennsylvania Roar is halfway through its inaugural season and fell to 0-10 with a 16-5 loss in Baltimore Saturday night. (This actually marked an improvement for the Reading-based expansion team, as their three previous losses to the Blast were by a combined score of 74-2.)

The Roar has a chance to be the worst professional indoor soccer team of all time, but which of the teams of the last 35 years would currently hold that title? And where would Pennsylvania rank among the 10 worst teams ever?

After the jump, one man’s bottom ten based on a combination of the teams’ records, point or goal differentials, losing streak(s) and general instability.

A Bit More Soccer History

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

There’s quite a bit of American Soccer history on this site that you may not be aware of, as most of it is in the links to the right —–> and not all of it shows up here in the actual blog posts. In an effort to let you know when historical stuff gets added, I’ll start calling your attention to it in regular blog posts here.

The latest addition is the (in-progress) standings and playoff results from the Premier Development League (PDL), USL’s longest-running league. When Francisco Marcos’ indoor league took its first steps outdoors in 1989, it did so with eight teams. In 1995, the outdoor teams split into professional and amateur divisions, with the amateur side taking the name “Premier League.” The next year, it became the Premier Development Soccer League (PDSL), and in 1999 it took its current name, becoming a far-flung, nationwide (US and Canada) league composed largely of college-age players.

I’m working backwards, and so the years 2013-2003 are up now, with the rest to follow eventually. Eventually this work will join the all-time third division standings and results as the repository of stuff no one else seems to have in one place takes shape.

I’m always interested in corrections and additions, so let me know if you have any information that can add to the historical record.

Taking Attendance 1/1/2014: The Indoor Leagues

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

With an eye towards blogging more in 2014, I give you now the first look at indoor soccer attendance numbers for the 2013-2014 season. With the PASL much better these days at providing numbers, I’m able to include them along with the MISL figures. As always, corrections and additions are welcomed.

Team G Total Average Median High Low
Rochester Lancers *4 27,432 6,858 7,026 8,212 5,169
Baltimore Blast 3 20,441 6,814 6,023 8,780 5,638
St. Louis Ambush 4 23,372 5,843 5,673 7,109 4,918
Milwaukee Wave 3 14,340 4,780 4,559 5,632 4,149
Missouri Comets 4 16,686 4,172 3,846 5,893 3,102
Syracuse Silver Knights 3 8,315 2,772 2,837 3,489 1,989
Pennsylvania Roar #3 3,266 1,089 1,088 1,241 937
MISL TOTAL 24 113,852 4,744 5,027 8,780 937
Team G Total Average Median High Low
Monterrey Flash 4 24,577 6,144 5,081 9,627 4,788
San Diego Sockers 4 16,679 4,170 3,803 5,658 3,416
Dallas Sidekicks 4 16,368 4,092 4,231 4,514 3,392
Hidalgo La Fiera 4 7,829 1,957 1,152 4,500 1,025
Ontario Fury 4 7,055 1,764 1,910 2,026 1,210
Wichita B-52s 3 5,116 1,705 1,691 1,943 1,482
Harrisburg Heat 5 7,284 1,457 1,581 1,605 1,050
Tulsa Revolution 4 3,554 889 882 1,007 783
Las Vegas Legends 5 4,228 846 618 1,836 324
Chicago Mustangs 5 3,811 762 627 1,216 565
Detroit Waza 4 2,541 635 664 1,011 203
Cleveland Freeze *3 1,851 617 700 703 448
Saltillo Rancho Seco 3 1,739 580 550 652 537
Turlock Express 5 2,579 516 550 730 320
Bay Area Rosal *4 1,584 396 376 652 180
Illinois Piasa 4 1,544 386 432 538 142
Texas Strikers 4 1,429 357 384 422 239
Cincinnati Saints 5 1,375 275 250 426 114
Sacramento Surge 4 970 243 260 300 150
Toros Mexico 3 725 242 218 300 207
PASL TOTAL 81 112,838 1,393 700 9627 114
*=Missing 1 game
#=Missing 2 games


  • Rochester – which broke Baltimore’s stranglehold on the top spot in the MISL attendance standings last year – continues to lead the league this year (though I’m missing the crowd figure for their December 14 game against St. Louis). Given that game apparently was played during a snowstorm, it’s likely including the number would drop the Lancers back into second place, as Baltimore’s current average isn’t too far behind Rochester’s. In either case, those continue to be the two best teams in the league at selling tickets.
  • In terms of percent of capacity, the Missouri Comets (who play in the 5,800-seat Independence Events Center, the league’s smallest venue) lead at about 72%. Since their founding four years ago (making them the third-longest-running team we have), the Comets have consistently pulled in about 4,000+ a game.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, we have the (Reading) Pennsylvania Roar, whose most recent home crowd (announced at 937) you see pictured above. The Roar were shut out for the second time this season (24-0 by Baltimore) and are 0-9. They can’t play, can’t win, can’t draw and have all the earmarks of a one-and-done club (as four of the last seven expansion teams have been).
  • In Monterrey (where the old Fury led the second MISL in attendance in 2003-2004) the new Flash leads the PASL with 6,144 per game, including a league-record 9,627 crowd for their home opener. San Diego and Dallas are neck and neck for the second and third spots, and four others are over 1,000 per game. Of course, 65% of the league draws under 1,000 a game, with a handful attracting little more than friends and family. But the PASL has built a handful of successful franchises and after a near-merger with the MISL last year, shows some positive signs.
  • The old saw has always been that indoor soccer attendance picks up after the first of the year. We actually do see something like that when looking at the numbers, but it’s influenced largely by the fact that December is such a bad month to draw fans that the effect appears more pronounced than it actually is. Here is a chart that shows average attendance by month in what is now MISL 3 going back to the 2001-2002 season:

    (It’s worth noting that there have only been two September games, but they’re included for the sake of completeness.)

    So you see a nearly perfect decline that bottoms out in December and then an uptick after that. But overall, the averages on either side of December are nearly identical.

    September-November 242 1,179,074 4,872
    January-April 749 3,654,038 4,879

    So while post-January 1 average indoor soccer attendance is about 9% higher than the pre-January 1 average, it’s December that bolsters the effect.