As the season approaches, we wanted to take a look at the challenges facing Major League Soccer (MLS). First and foremost, the struggling world economy threatens every major sport. The National Football League (NFL) and its teams have made significant reductions in staff. Even worse The Arena Football League (AFL) Board of Directors decided to suspend the 2009 season. Some remain optimistic, but it is clear that this league’s future is in serious doubt. Our local American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) team, the Canton Legends, have cancelled their 2009 season with the hopes of being back in 2010. Nothing is for sure considering the uncertainty of our economic situation.
Here is a possible solution that would improve the longevity of MLS that has been discussed by many involved in American soccer. What about an agreement with the United Soccer Leagues (USL)? What would a MLS-USL merger do for both leagues?
I think it would be great for all involved. The U.S. would have a legimate 1-2-3 division, similar to the English system. MLS would be the 1st division, USL-1 would become a solid 2nd division, and USL-2 rounds out the league as a 3rd division. American soccer needs promotion and relegation. All of the legitimate leagues around the world use it; it adds an emotional, passionate flavor to the game. The U.S. game is missing something. Maybe this is the secret ingredient.