Archive for February, 2011

Programming Note

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

I’ll be broadcasting the Class 4A Division II basketball championships this morning on www.aia365.com and KAZG-AM 1440. The girls’ game (at 10am MT, Noon ET) features defending state champion Chandler Seton Catholic against Thunderbird (you can see that game here) and the boys’ game (scheduled for Noon MT, 2pm ET) matches #1 seed Tucson Amphitheater against Tempe (you can see that one here). KAZG doesn’t stream its audio online, unfortunately, but if you could have listened, you could watch, I guess.

Let’s Twist Again…

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

It was 15 years ago today – February 22, 1996 – that the Continental Indoor Soccer League announced an expansion franchise for Indianapolis, Indiana that eventually became known as the Twisters. I was fortunate enough to be the team’s radio announcer for the two summers that it played in the CISL, and am considering producing a documentary on the team’s short but interesting history.

You can see several video highlights from the Twisters’ two seasons on my YouTube channel, and I’m finishing the process of digitizing as many of the original radio broadcasts as still exist. Look for those as the summer goes on.

So, You Want To Be A Broadcaster?

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

The latest installment of The Things We Do For Love features a look at my broadcast position for five games of this past weekend’s President’s Day Invitational youth hockey tournament.




Trust me: it’s even less fun than you might think calling five kids’ games from a corner of the rink at floor level starting at 6:50 am would be. But we got through it (thanks to the always-awesome Malik Robinson) and by the fifth game it was almost okay.

This weekend, things will get quite a bit better, as I’ll be calling the boys and girls 4A-II state basketball championships on www.aia365.com and KAZG-AM 1440 on Saturday. It’ll be in a real arena with a partner and multiple cameras and all that good stuff.

Crime And Punishment

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Ever since the news Monday that the five US-based North American Soccer League teams won’t be eligible to play in this year’s Lamar Hunt US Open Cup competition, the blogosphere has been in an uproar. Those who haven’t been hopping mad have been espousing conspiracy theories or suggesting Open Cup exclusion was either a way to push the sanctioning vote through (which happened, narrowly) or punishment for causing this whole mess in the first place.

I’ve been thinking about these things, starting from the position that USSF’s official explanation – that there wasn’t time to work the NASL teams into the Cup format this year – was disingenuous. US Soccer hasn’t released the Open Cup format until late April or early May in each of the last two years and, to my knowledge, MLS hasn’t yet announced how it’ll determine its competitors, so the “Sorry, we were so efficient this year that we actually had this all planned out well ahead of time, maybe next year” excuse didn’t ring true. (To be fair, USSF announced the 2007 USOC format on January 29, so there is precedent). Since then, I’ve been told by two people closer to the situation than I am that USSF actually does have the thing worked out and the explanation is true. So maybe Occam’s Razor is in play here. In which case, I was totally wrong on that and my tweet about it probably started more of a brouhaha than it should have.

If that explanation doesn’t ring true to you, though, then we’re down to “USSF has it out for the NASL and wants it to fail,” “USSF is punishing the NASL for dragging everybody into this whole unpleasantness” or, my particular favorite, “MLS is afraid of playing NASL teams in the Open Cup because of the potential embarrassment if they lose.” I can’t think of another possibility. But let’s look at them one at a time after the jump.

(more…)

More Or Less Liveblogging The USSF Conference Call On NASL Sanctioning

Monday, February 14th, 2011

The US Soccer Federation and North American Soccer League are holding a joint teleconference at 3pm ET to discuss USSF’s provisional sanctioning of the NASL as a Division II league for 2011. Follow the proceedings here.

Keep in mind I’ll be listening, writing and (probably) snarking all at the same time, so I may not be as “real time” as someone tweeting. But it should be worth it.

(Hold music. I’m told our moderator this afternoon will be Neil Buethe. Good luck, Neil. We’re all counting on you.)

Waiting for #USSFConferenceCallIsLateBecause to start trending on Twitter.

Here we go….(this will all be paraphrased, I’m sure USSF will have a transcript eventually).

Gulati: Thanks for joining us on short notice. We were pleased to admit the NASL on a provisional basis. It’s a difficult environment on many levels, but we’re excited that Aaron and his colleagues have put together a group of investors, so congratulations to them.

Davidson: We’re very happy and excited, this has been a very cooperative journey with the Federation. Very grateful, looking forward to working with them so we have a second division not only for 2011 but for years to come.

Richard Alder, San Antonio Express-News: Looking ahead to 2012, how important with Montreal leaving that San Antonio be in place with 2012?

Gulati (I think): We have no reason to believe that won’t be the case. We fully anticipate they’ll be part of the NASL in 2012.

Brian Quarstad, Inside Minnesota Soccer: On restrictions – or requirements that have been placed that must be met within a year on single team, single ownership. Is Minnesota subject to that?

Gulati: We haven’t put a provision on that. We will sit down and work with them on that, no timetable for that.

Quarstad: Would Minnesota be subject to that, though?

Gulati: We would like to see individual investment groups for all eight teams or however many they have.

Ridge Mahoney, Soccer America: Can you give us your perspective, Aaron, in light of Sunil’s comments, what will you do to maintain competitive integrity going forward?

Davidson: We’ve been very clear all along that it was out of necessity that Traffic had to invest in additional teams to make this all work. We are very cognizant that the sport is the most important thing. In the markets that we’ve actually stepped into – Atlanta and Carolina – they have local operator/investors that are absolutely independent from Traffic. Those teams and Minnesota will retain integrity.

Mahoney: Will this be the year they’ll have to hit standards in attendance and things to prove viability?

Gulati: It’s not for the Federation to say that attendance should be A, B or C or that sponsorship or player costs should be X, Y or Z. If it’s stable, then there will be increased interest. That’s what’s happened in MLS and what Aaron and NASL leadership are hoping will happen with the NASL.

Davidson: No one is under the impression that all of our teams are going to be profitable right away. We want to show we’re headed in the right direction.

Fred Dryer: What are your primary first year goals?

Davidson: The job didn’t start today, most of our teams have been playing for a while. This year is all about focusing on the nuts and bolts and make sure the teams are happy with the direction we’re going so we can build a plan going forward. To run a league where our teams make it through this year and have a stable platform to grow in their markets.

Simon Evans: Last year the Federation got quite involved in the temporary structure. This year, are you stepping back and letting them run themselves? And, Aaron, what will you do differently? Do you have deals with television, sponsors, or is it going to be pretty similar to 2010?

Gulati: This is a more natural situation. Last year was a temporary intervention by the Federation. Neither side last year met the standards, and we would administer the league and admit clubs. So we ran that directly. It’s not something we wanted to do long-term. I’m glad we were able to step back. This year, USL and the NASL will run their own leagues and have relationships with the Federation.

Davidson: Number one priority is to stop the churn rate and to maintain eight teams on a year-to-year basis so you can keep track of teams and a platform for them to grow. We’ve had so much churn at the second-division level that has created a huge difficulty of following the game at the second-division level. The owners own and govern the league and are buying into the NASL brand and you’ll see us promoting it a lot more proudly. The fans will be able to follow their teams and the league.

Neil Morris, Independent Weekly: Are the five US-based NASL team eligible for the US Open Cup?

Gulati: No, because it’s simply too late to include them. The timing doesn’t work. There is no place in the structure, they’re not going to be included.

John Boschini, Soccer By Ives: How important is a second division to MLS and the National Team?

Gulati: It can be very important on both counts. If we want to see American soccer grow and having additional outlets for fans, may be very different cities than MLS or at a different level. Having both the NASL and USL playing is a big plus, it covers a bigger area. I don’t think it’s directly the feeder system for the National Team, but it’s more opportunities. There are American players playing on those teams.

(I should note here that this call hasn’t been particularly enlightening, except for the Open Cup thing.)

Jeremiah from SB Nation: In the past we’ve had pseudo financial promotion of teams going from the second division into MLS and I’m wondering if that’s something USSF prefers? For Aaron, how sustainable is that going forward?

Gulati: I think the model is just completely different than a European or South American model where teams can just come in and work their way up. None of the four teams came into the USL with the primary goal of moving up to MLS, it certainly worked out that way. I think it’s helpful to have staff and administration in place to already be established in the market is a plus. I think in all four cases, the fact local ownership has been there can only be a positive. But that’s going to be a different model from many other teams that have joined or will join MLS? In theory it can be repeated, but it’s not a coincidence nor was it planned that those four teams for any number of years. But in a whole bunch of other places it wouldn’t be practical. The international teams are in a unique situation yet again.

Buethe: Thank you all for joining the call today.

That’s it, boys and girls. Well, that was particularly non-noteworthy, except for the part about the Open Cup, so the very few of you who care about the USOC will go off and have your conspiracy theories about it. For me, I am not sure I buy the explanation that February 14 was “too late” to include the NASL teams in the Open Cup format for 2011 when last year the Open Cup format wasn’t released until May 5. Maybe the NASL just didn’t want to deal with it? I don’t know. But this year’s Open Cup just got a whole lot less interesting.

As for the rest, everybody said all the right (and expected) things. The NASL wants to be stable, they’re effusive in their praise for the Federation and the Federation wants a stable second division. Nothing you didn’t know before last week. Nothing about what they looked at, what the concerns were that forced the removal of sanctioning in the first place.

Thanks for joining us. Take care of your waiters and waitresses.

NASL Gets A Year To Get It Together

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Inside Minnesota Soccer reports USSF narrowly approved a one-year provisional sanctioning for the new North American Soccer League as a Division II outfit for 2011, with a set of standards they’ll have to meet to be fully sanctioned for 2012.

Details should be in an official announcement later today, but presumably the standards include “hire your second employee.”

Kidding, kidding.

I’ve said this would be the prudent way to go. Denying sanctioning outright would have been messy for all concerned, with displaced players, the possibility of a rogue league and potential lawsuits. And providing clear direction with a year to meet the standards gives everybody a road map to follow that’s the first step toward cleaning up the second division mess.

Now the onus is on the NASL. Let’s see what ya got.

Slightly Easier-To-Deal-With MLS Schedule

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

If you’re like me, the schedule on MLS’ website is too broken up to be of any use to me. So if you’re like me, please to enjoy this (perhaps) slightly easier to deal with schedule table.

# Day Date Visitors   Home ET Local TV
1 Tue 3/15/11 Los Angeles at Seattle 9:30 6:30 ESPN
2 Sat 3/19/11 Toronto at Vancouver 6:30 3:30  
3 Sat 3/19/11 Columbus at DC United 7:30 7:30  
4 Sat 3/19/11 Seattle at New York 7:30 7:30  
5 Sat 3/19/11 Philadelphia at Houston 8:30 7:30  
6 Sat 3/19/11 Chicago at Dallas 8:30 7:30  
7 Sat 3/19/11 Portland at Colorado 9:00 7:00  
8 Sat 3/19/11 Kansas City at Chivas USA 10:30 7:30  
9 Sat 3/19/11 Salt Lake at San Jose 10:30 7:30  
10 Sun 3/20/11 N. England at Los Angeles 8:00 5:00 Galavision
11 Sat 3/26/11 Portland at Toronto 2:00 2:00  
12 Sat 3/26/11 New York at Columbus 4:00 4:00  
13 Sat 3/26/11 Kansas City at Chicago 4:00 3:00 Telefutura
14 Sat 3/26/11 Vancouver at Philadelphia 4:00 4:00  
15 Sat 3/26/11 DC United at N. England 4:30 4:30  
16 Sat 3/26/11 San Jose at Dallas 9:00 8:00  
17 Sat 3/26/11 Los Angeles at Salt Lake 9:00 7:00  
18 Sat 3/26/11 Houston at Seattle 10:00 7:00  
19 Sat 3/26/11 Colorado at Chivas USA 10:30 7:30  
20 Sat 4/2/11 Chivas USA at Toronto 1:00 1:00  
21 Sat 4/2/11 Dallas at Columbus 4:00 4:00  
22 Sat 4/2/11 Kansas City at Vancouver 7:00 4:00  
23 Sat 4/2/11 Portland at N. England 7:30 7:30  
24 Sat 4/2/11 Houston at New York 7:30 7:30  
25 Sat 4/2/11 Philadelphia at Los Angeles 10:30 7:30  
26 Sat 4/2/11 Seattle at San Jose 10:30 7:30  
27 Sun 4/3/11 DC United at Colorado 7:00 5:00 Galavision
28 Wed 4/6/11 N. England at Vancouver 10:00 7:00  
29 Sat 4/9/11 Chicago at Seattle 4:00 1:00  
30 Sat 4/9/11 New York at Philadelphia 7:00 7:00 ESPN2
31 Sat 4/9/11 Los Angeles at DC United 7:30 7:30  
32 Sat 4/9/11 Salt Lake at N. England 7:30 7:30  
33 Sat 4/9/11 Colorado at Dallas 8:30 7:30  
34 Sat 4/9/11 Columbus at Chivas USA 10:30 7:30  
35 Sat 4/9/11 Toronto at San Jose 10:30 7:30  
36 Sun 4/10/11 Vancouver at Houston 7:00 6:00 Galavision
37 Wed 4/13/11 Los Angeles at Toronto 8:00 8:00  
38 Wed 4/13/11 Colorado at Salt Lake 9:00 7:00  
39 Thu 4/14/11 Chicago at Portland 11:00 8:00 ESPN2
40 Sat 4/16/11 Seattle at Philadelphia 4:00 4:00  
41 Sat 4/16/11 DC United at Toronto 4:00 4:00  
42 Sat 4/16/11 Chivas USA at Vancouver 7:00 4:00  
43 Sat 4/16/11 Kansas City at Columbus 7:30 7:30  
44 Sat 4/16/11 San Jose at New York 7:30 7:30  
45 Sun 4/17/11 Los Angeles at Chicago 4:00 3:00 Telefutura
46 Sun 4/17/11 Dallas at Portland 6:00 3:00  
47 Sun 4/17/11 N. England at Houston 7:00 6:00  
48 Thu 4/21/11 New York at DC United 8:00 8:00 ESPN2
49 Fri 4/22/11 Seattle at Colorado 9:30 7:30  
50 Sat 4/23/11 Chivas USA at San Jose 4:00 1:00 Telefutura
51 Sat 4/23/11 Columbus at Toronto 4:00 4:00  
52 Sat 4/23/11 Dallas at Vancouver 7:00 4:00  
53 Sat 4/23/11 Kansas City at N. England 7:30 7:30  
54 Sat 4/23/11 Houston at Chicago 8:30 7:30  
55 Sat 4/23/11 Philadelphia at Salt Lake 9:00 7:00  
56 Sat 4/23/11 Portland at Los Angeles 10:30 7:30  
57 Fri 4/29/11 DC United at Houston 8:30 7:30  
58 Sat 4/30/11 San Jose at Philadelphia 4:00 4:00  
59 Sat 4/30/11 Vancouver at Columbus 7:30 7:30  
60 Sat 4/30/11 Kansas City at New York 7:30 7:30  
61 Sat 4/30/11 Chicago at Colorado 9:00 7:00  
62 Sat 4/30/11 Toronto at Seattle 10:00 7:00  
63 Sat 4/30/11 N. England at Chivas USA 10:30 7:30  
64 Sat 4/30/11 Salt Lake at Portland 10:30 7:30  
65 Sun 5/1/11 Los Angeles at Dallas 7:00 6:00 Galavision
66 Wed 5/4/11 Seattle at DC United 7:30 7:30  
67 Wed 5/4/11 Colorado at Houston 8:30 7:30  
68 Sat 5/7/11 Chivas USA at Salt Lake 4:00 2:00 Telefutura
69 Sat 5/7/11 Houston at Toronto 7:00 7:00  
70 Sat 5/7/11 Seattle at Columbus 7:30 7:30  
71 Sat 5/7/11 Dallas at DC United 7:30 7:30  
72 Sat 5/7/11 Colorado at N. England 7:30 7:30  
73 Sat 5/7/11 Vancouver at Chicago 8:30 7:30  
74 Sat 5/7/11 Philadelphia at Portland 10:30 7:30  
75 Sat 5/7/11 New York at Los Angeles 11:00 8:00 ESPN2
76 Wed 5/11/11 Los Angeles at Philadelphia 7:30 7:30  
77 Wed 5/11/11 Toronto at Dallas 9:00 8:00  
78 Wed 5/11/11 San Jose at Vancouver 10:00 7:00  
79 Sat 5/14/11 Chicago at Toronto 7:00 7:00  
80 Sat 5/14/11 Colorado at DC United 7:30 7:30  
81 Sat 5/14/11 Vancouver at N. England 7:30 7:30  
82 Sat 5/14/11 Philadelphia at Dallas 8:30 7:30  
83 Sat 5/14/11 Houston at Salt Lake 9:00 7:00  
84 Sat 5/14/11 Kansas City at Los Angeles 10:30 7:30  
85 Sat 5/14/11 Columbus at San Jose 10:30 7:30  
86 Sat 5/14/11 Portland at Seattle 11:00 8:00 ESPN2
87 Sun 5/15/11 Chivas USA at New York 7:00 7:00 Galavision
88 Sat 5/21/11 Chicago at Philadelphia 8:00 8:00 Galavision
89 Sat 5/21/11 New York at Houston 8:30 7:30  
90 Sat 5/21/11 Los Angeles at Chivas USA 10:00 7:00 ESPN2
91 Sat 5/21/11 Kansas City at Seattle 10:00 7:00  
92 Sat 5/21/11 Columbus at Portland 10:30 7:30  
93 Sat 5/21/11 N. England at San Jose 10:30 7:30  
94 Sun 5/22/11 Toronto at Colorado 7:00 5:00  
95 Sun 5/22/11 Salt Lake at Dallas 7:00 6:00  
96 Wed 5/25/11 Colorado at New York 7:30 7:30  
97 Wed 5/25/11 Dallas at Seattle 10:00 7:00  
98 Wed 5/25/11 Houston at Los Angeles 10:30 7:30  
99 Sat 5/28/11 Philadelphia at Toronto 7:00 7:00  
100 Sat 5/28/11 New York at Vancouver 7:00 4:00  
101 Sat 5/28/11 Chivas USA at Columbus 7:30 7:30  
102 Sat 5/28/11 Los Angeles at N. England 8:00 8:00 Galavision
103 Sat 5/28/11 Dallas at Houston 8:30 7:30  
104 Sat 5/28/11 San Jose at Chicago 8:30 7:30  
105 Sat 5/28/11 Kansas City at Colorado 9:00 7:00  
106 Sat 5/28/11 Seattle at Salt Lake 9:00 7:00  
107 Sun 5/29/11 DC United at Portland 5:00 2:00  
108 Wed 6/1/11 Vancouver at Chivas USA 10:30 7:30  
109 Sat 6/4/11 Kansas City at Toronto 7:00 7:00  
110 Sat 6/4/11 Columbus at New York 7:30 7:30  
111 Sat 6/4/11 Seattle at Chicago 8:30 7:30  
112 Sat 6/4/11 N. England at Dallas 8:30 7:30  
113 Sat 6/4/11 Philadelphia at Colorado 9:00 7:00  
114 Sat 6/4/11 Vancouver at Salt Lake 9:00 7:00  
115 Sat 6/4/11 DC United at Los Angeles 10:30 7:30  
116 Sat 6/4/11 Houston at San Jose 10:30 7:30 Galavision
117 Sun 6/5/11 Portland at Chivas USA 8:00 5:00  
118 Wed 6/8/11 Salt Lake at Columbus 7:30 7:30  
119 Thu 6/9/11 Chicago at Kansas City 10:00 9:00 ESPN2
120 Sat 6/11/11 Salt Lake at Philadelphia 4:00 4:00  
121 Sat 6/11/11 San Jose at DC United 7:30 7:30  
122 Sat 6/11/11 N. England at New York 7:30 7:30  
123 Sat 6/11/11 Chivas USA at Houston 8:30 7:30  
124 Sat 6/11/11 Vancouver at Seattle 10:00 7:00  
125 Sat 6/11/11 Toronto at Los Angeles 10:30 7:30  
126 Sat 6/11/11 Colorado at Portland 10:30 7:30 Galavision
127 Sun 6/12/11 Chicago at Columbus 4:00 4:00  
128 Sun 6/12/11 Kansas City at Dallas 7:00 6:00  
129 Wed 6/15/11 Toronto at N. England 8:00 8:00  
130 Sat 6/18/11 Seattle at Toronto 7:00 7:00  
131 Sat 6/18/11 Philadelphia at Vancouver 7:00 4:00  
132 Sat 6/18/11 Chicago at N. England 7:30 7:30  
133 Sat 6/18/11 Columbus at Houston 8:30 7:30  
134 Sat 6/18/11 San Jose at Kansas City 8:30 7:30  
135 Sat 6/18/11 Los Angeles at Colorado 9:00 7:00  
136 Sat 6/18/11 DC United at Salt Lake 9:00 7:00  
137 Sat 6/18/11 Dallas at Chivas USA 10:30 7:30  
138 Sun 6/19/11 New York at Portland 7:00 4:00 Galavision
139 Wed 6/22/11 Kansas City at Philadelphia 7:30 7:30  
140 Wed 6/22/11 Salt Lake at Chicago 8:30 7:30  
141 Thu 6/23/11 New York at Seattle 10:00 7:00 ESPN2
142 Sat 6/25/11 Chivas USA at Philadelphia 7:30 7:30  
143 Sat 6/25/11 Houston at DC United 8:00 8:00 Galavision
144 Sat 6/25/11 Portland at Dallas 8:30 7:30  
145 Sat 6/25/11 Vancouver at Kansas City 8:30 7:30  
146 Sat 6/25/11 Toronto at Salt Lake 9:00 7:00  
147 Sat 6/25/11 Los Angeles at San Jose 10:30 7:30  
148 Sun 6/26/11 New York at Chicago 2:00 1:00 ESPN
149 Sun 6/26/11 N. England at Seattle 4:00 1:00  
150 Sun 6/26/11 Colorado at Columbus 8:00 8:00  
151 Wed 6/29/11 Vancouver at Toronto 7:30 7:30  
152 Sat 7/2/11 Philadelphia at DC United 7:30 7:30  
153 Sat 7/2/11 Columbus at Dallas 9:00 8:00  
154 Sat 7/2/11 Chicago at Chivas USA 10:00 7:00 Galavision
155 Sat 7/2/11 New York at San Jose 10:30 7:30 ESPN2
156 Sat 7/2/11 Kansas City at Portland 11:00 8:00  
157 Sun 7/3/11 Houston at Colorado 9:00 7:00 ESPN2
158 Mon 7/4/11 N. England at Salt Lake 8:30 6:30 ESPN2
159 Mon 7/4/11 Seattle at Los Angeles 10:30 7:30 ESPN2
160 Wed 7/6/11 Toronto at New York 8:00 8:00  
161 Wed 7/6/11 Colorado at Kansas City 8:30 7:30  
162 Wed 7/6/11 Columbus at Vancouver 10:00 7:00  
163 Wed 7/6/11 San Jose at Chivas USA 10:30 7:30  
164 Sat 7/9/11 Chivas USA at Kansas City 7:30 6:30 Galavision
165 Sat 7/9/11 DC United at New York 7:30 7:30  
166 Sat 7/9/11 Toronto at Houston 8:30 7:30  
167 Sat 7/9/11 Vancouver at Colorado 9:00 7:00  
168 Sat 7/9/11 Dallas at Salt Lake 9:00 7:00  
169 Sat 7/9/11 Chicago at Los Angeles 10:30 7:30  
170 Sat 7/9/11 Philadelphia at San Jose 10:30 7:30  
171 Sun 7/10/11 Seattle at Portland 5:00 2:00 ESPN
172 Sat 7/16/11 Colorado at Seattle 4:00 1:00  
173 Sat 7/16/11 Salt Lake at Vancouver 4:00 1:00  
174 Sat 7/16/11 San Jose at Columbus 7:30 7:30  
175 Sat 7/16/11 Philadelphia at N. England 7:30 7:30  
176 Sat 7/16/11 Kansas City at Houston 8:30 7:30  
177 Sat 7/16/11 Portland at Chicago 8:30 7:30  
178 Sat 7/16/11 DC United at Dallas 9:00 8:00  
179 Sat 7/16/11 New York at Chivas USA 10:30 7:30 Galavision
180 Wed 7/20/11 N. England at DC United 7:30 7:30  
181 Wed 7/20/11 Dallas at Toronto 8:00 8:00  
182 Wed 7/20/11 New York at Colorado 9:30 7:30  
183 Wed 7/20/11 Vancouver at San Jose 10:00 7:00  
184 Wed 7/20/11 Columbus at Los Angeles 10:30 7:30  
185 Sat 7/23/11 Dallas at New York 6:00 6:00 Galavision
186 Sat 7/23/11 Portland at Columbus 8:00 8:00  
187 Sat 7/23/11 Toronto at Kansas City 8:30 7:30  
188 Sat 7/23/11 N. England at Colorado 9:00 7:00  
189 Sat 7/23/11 San Jose at Salt Lake 10:00 8:00  
190 Sat 7/23/11 Philadelphia at Seattle 10:00 7:00  
191 Sat 7/23/11 Houston at Chivas USA 10:30 7:30  
  Wed 7/27/11 All-Star Game at New York 8:30 8:30 ESPN
192 Sat 7/30/11 Colorado at Philadelphia 7:30 7:30  
193 Sat 7/30/11 Los Angeles at Vancouver 7:30 4:30  
194 Sat 7/30/11 Seattle at Houston 8:30 7:30  
195 Sat 7/30/11 N. England at Kansas City 8:30 7:30  
196 Sat 7/30/11 Columbus at Salt Lake 9:00 7:00  
197 Sat 7/30/11 DC United at San Jose 10:30 7:30  
198 Sat 7/30/11 Toronto at Portland 11:00 8:00  
199 Sun 7/31/11 Chivas USA at Dallas 7:00 6:00 Galavision
200 Wed 8/3/11 San Jose at N. England 7:30 7:30  
201 Wed 8/3/11 Salt Lake at Kansas City 8:30 7:30  
202 Wed 8/3/11 Philadelphia at Chicago 9:00 8:00  
203 Wed 8/3/11 Los Angeles at Portland 11:00 8:00  
204 Sat 8/6/11 Toronto at DC United 7:30 7:30  
205 Sat 8/6/11 Chivas USA at N. England 7:30 7:30  
206 Sat 8/6/11 Houston at Philadelphia 7:30 7:30  
207 Sat 8/6/11 Seattle at Kansas City 8:30 7:30  
208 Sat 8/6/11 Columbus at Colorado 9:00 7:00  
209 Sat 8/6/11 New York at Salt Lake 9:00 7:00  
210 Sat 8/6/11 Dallas at Los Angeles 10:30 7:30  
211 Sat 8/6/11 Portland at San Jose 10:30 7:30  
212 Sun 8/7/11 Chicago at Vancouver 7:00 4:00 Galavision
213 Sat 8/13/11 Chivas USA at Seattle 4:00 1:00  
214 Sat 8/13/11 Salt Lake at Toronto 7:00 7:00  
215 Sat 8/13/11 N. England at Columbus 7:30 7:30  
216 Sat 8/13/11 Vancouver at DC United 7:30 7:30  
217 Sat 8/13/11 Chicago at New York 7:30 7:30  
218 Sat 8/13/11 Dallas at Philadelphia 7:30 7:30  
219 Sat 8/13/11 Los Angeles at Kansas City 8:30 7:30  
220 Sat 8/13/11 Colorado at San Jose 10:30 7:30  
221 Sun 8/14/11 Portland at Houston 9:00 8:00 Galavision
222 Wed 8/17/11 Houston at N. England 7:30 7:30  
223 Wed 8/17/11 Portland at Kansas City 8:30 7:30  
224 Thu 8/18/11 DC United at Chicago 9:00 8:00 ESPN2
225 Sat 8/20/11 Philadelphia at Columbus 7:30 7:30  
226 Sat 8/20/11 New York at N. England 7:30 7:30  
227 Sat 8/20/11 Salt Lake at Houston 8:30 7:30  
228 Sat 8/20/11 Chivas USA at Colorado 9:00 7:00  
229 Sat 8/20/11 Seattle at Dallas 9:00 8:00  
230 Sat 8/20/11 Vancouver at Portland 10:00 7:00  
231 Sat 8/20/11 San Jose at Los Angeles 10:30 7:30  
232 Sun 8/21/11 Toronto at Chicago 7:00 6:00  
233 Sun 8/21/11 DC United at Kansas City 7:00 6:00 Galavision
234 Wed 8/24/11 Chivas USA at Portland 11:00 8:00  
235 Sat 8/27/11 Columbus at Seattle 4:00 1:00  
236 Sat 8/27/11 San Jose at Toronto 7:00 7:00  
237 Sat 8/27/11 Houston at Vancouver 7:00 4:00  
238 Sat 8/27/11 Portland at DC United 7:30 7:30  
239 Sat 8/27/11 Colorado at Chicago 8:30 7:30  
240 Sat 8/27/11 Dallas at Kansas City 8:30 7:30  
241 Sat 8/27/11 Salt Lake at Chivas USA 10:30 7:30  
242 Sun 8/28/11 Los Angeles at New York 7:00 7:00 ESPN2
243 Sun 8/28/11 N. England at Philadelphia 7:00 7:00 Galavision
244 Fri 9/9/11 Colorado at Los Angeles 10:30 7:30  
245 Sat 9/10/11 Houston at Kansas City 4:00 3:00 Telefutura
246 Sat 9/10/11 Salt Lake at Seattle 4:00 1:00  
247 Sat 9/10/11 Toronto at Columbus 7:30 7:30  
248 Sat 9/10/11 Vancouver at New York 7:30 7:30  
249 Sat 9/10/11 Portland at Philadelphia 7:30 7:30  
250 Sat 9/10/11 DC United at Chivas USA 10:30 7:30  
251 Sat 9/10/11 Chicago at San Jose 10:30 7:30  
252 Sun 9/11/11 Dallas at N. England 7:30 7:30  
253 Wed 9/14/11 Houston at Columbus 7:30 7:30  
254 Fri 9/16/11 N. England at Portland 10:30 7:30  
255 Sat 9/17/11 Chivas USA at Chicago 4:00 3:00 Telefutura
256 Sat 9/17/11 Columbus at Philadelphia 7:30 7:30  
257 Sat 9/17/11 Colorado at Toronto 7:30 7:30  
258 Sat 9/17/11 San Jose at Houston 8:30 7:30  
259 Sat 9/17/11 New York at Dallas 8:30 7:30  
260 Sat 9/17/11 Kansas City at Salt Lake 9:00 7:00  
261 Sat 9/17/11 DC United at Seattle 9:00 6:00  
262 Sat 9/17/11 Vancouver at Los Angeles 10:30 7:30  
263 Wed 9/21/11 Chivas USA at DC United 7:30 7:30  
264 Wed 9/21/11 Salt Lake at New York 7:30 7:30  
265 Wed 9/21/11 San Jose at Portland 10:30 7:30  
266 Sat 9/24/11 Houston at Dallas 4:00 3:00 Telefutura
267 Sat 9/24/11 Los Angeles at Columbus 7:30 7:30  
268 Sat 9/24/11 Salt Lake at DC United 7:30 7:30  
269 Sat 9/24/11 Portland at New York 7:30 7:30  
270 Sat 9/24/11 Seattle at Vancouver 7:30 4:30  
271 Sat 9/24/11 Philadelphia at Kansas City 8:30 7:30  
272 Sat 9/24/11 San Jose at Colorado 9:00 7:00  
273 Sat 9/24/11 Toronto at Chivas USA 10:30 7:30  
274 Sun 9/25/11 N. England at Chicago 4:00 3:00  
275 Wed 9/28/11 Columbus at Kansas City 8:30 7:30  
276 Wed 9/28/11 Chicago at Salt Lake 9:00 7:00  
277 Thu 9/29/11 DC United at Philadelphia 8:00 8:00 ESPN2
278 Sat 10/1/11 Chicago at Houston 4:00 3:00 Telefutura
279 Sat 10/1/11 Seattle at N. England 7:30 7:30  
280 Sat 10/1/11 New York at Toronto 7:30 7:30  
281 Sat 10/1/11 Dallas at Colorado 9:00 7:00  
282 Sat 10/1/11 Salt Lake at Los Angeles 10:30 7:30  
283 Sat 10/1/11 Kansas City at San Jose 10:30 7:30  
284 Sun 10/2/11 DC United at Columbus 4:00 4:00  
285 Sun 10/2/11 Portland at Vancouver 4:30 1:30  
286 Sun 10/2/11 Philadelphia at Chivas USA 8:00 5:00  
287 Wed 10/12/11 Dallas at Chicago 8:30 7:30  
288 Wed 10/12/11 DC United at Vancouver 10:00 7:00  
289 Fri 10/14/11 Salt Lake at Colorado 10:30 8:30 ESPN2
290 Fri 10/14/11 Houston at Portland 10:30 7:30  
291 Sat 10/15/11 New York at Kansas City 4:00 3:00 Telefutura
292 Sat 10/15/11 Chicago at DC United 7:30 7:30  
293 Sat 10/15/11 Columbus at N. England 7:30 7:30  
294 Sat 10/15/11 Toronto at Philadelphia 7:30 7:30  
295 Sat 10/15/11 Vancouver at Dallas 8:30 7:30  
296 Sat 10/15/11 San Jose at Seattle 10:00 7:00  
297 Sun 10/16/11 Chivas USA at Los Angeles 9:00 6:00 ESPN
298 Thu 10/20/11 Philadelphia at New York 8:00 8:00 ESPN2
299 Sat 10/22/11 N. England at Toronto 12:30 12:30  
300 Sat 10/22/11 Colorado at Vancouver 7:00 4:00  
301 Sat 10/22/11 Kansas City at DC United 7:30 7:30  
302 Sat 10/22/11 Columbus at Chicago 8:30 7:30  
303 Sat 10/22/11 Portland at Salt Lake 9:00 7:00  
304 Sat 10/22/11 Seattle at Chivas USA 10:30 7:30  
305 Sat 10/22/11 Dallas at San Jose 10:30 7:30  
306 Sun 10/23/11 Los Angeles at Houston 7:00 6:00 Galavision

Letting The Air Out

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

This story in Durham’s Independent Weekly is a must-read if you’ve ever wondered what life is really like in the business of minor-league soccer. (Honestly, this paper and its Triangle Offense blog have done great work throughout this whole USL/NASL kerfuffle: actual, you know, reporting.)

Almost anyone who’s ever worked in soccer in this country can recognize the arc of this story: good intentions and optimism are almost invariably followed by poor decision-making based on inexperience, revenues and expenses going in opposite directions, management panicking, staff turnover and the whole thing collapsing, leaving fans and partners feeling burned.

Every single team I have worked for has followed this exact same script.

I probably don’t lead the league in having worked for failed expansion soccer franchises, but I’ve seen this story time and time again. Every single time someone’s going to start a soccer team, they say all the right things, say they’re going to do this and that and the other, and it’s all good for a season (if you’re lucky – I’ve seen management panic when Opening Night didn’t sell out and the stuff hit the fan shortly thereafter) or so before the inevitable decline and collapse.

If you’ve worked in this game in this country for any length of time, you can probably change the names in Neil Morris’ piece to those of owners, GMs and marketing people you’ve worked with (or been yourself, perhaps) and the story still rings true.

Make no mistake about this: this phenomenon is not exclusive to USL, it’s not exclusive to the NASL, it’s not exclusive to indoor soccer or the PDL or (probably) even to soccer. But it’s very much the nature of the beast when it comes to this sport in this country.

The people who run the various leagues quite often have the best of intentions, but they’re dealing with market forces and the reality of human behavior (and, sometimes, a lack of human self-awareness) that make these things almost inevitable. And, yes, some of this goes on at the MLS level as well, but an MLS franchise isn’t going to fold (not anymore) and has enough money to cover up a lot of these issues for a while, or to get a new stadium built that obscures the blemishes for a time. Those teams are quite literally too big to fail.

That’s not the case in the minors, where, by my unofficial count, 80 of the 123 teams that have played at the Division II and/or Division III level since 1996 have folded. Fans in the Raleigh-Durham area can be glad theirs isn’t one of them.

Yet.

More Of The Glamorous Life

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Ah, the life of a bigshot sports announcer. Analyst Chet Gole and I were fortunate enough to call a really good high school basketball game last night between Boulder Creek and Deer Valley on AIA365.com. The surroundings were kind of spartan, but we were thrilled to have the opportunity and hopefully will get to do more games together in the future. If you’re so inclined, you can see the game here.

I Would Pay Real Money To Hear This Press Conference

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

(Thanks to the always-gracious Andy Mead of YCJ Photo for the image.)