Empire XI: On New York Soccer and the Big Questions for 2015


9. Does the NASL attempt to centralize?

Since the NASL’s main attempt at establishing a following comes from claiming to be the opposite of MLS, the idea of being decentralized is foundational to the league. There comes a point when you have to stop following your own talk to a ‘t’ and adapt and the NASL is at that point regarding its stance on centralization.

The league needs to better assert itself as an administration in order for it to grow and maybe back some of its bold proclamations. It needs to further its attempts at on-field governance as shown by the embarrassing rain delay protocol that allows the host to determine whether or not a game should be suspended and a disciplinary committee does not publicly discuss its actions. Add to that the lack of central sponsors or media partners and instead of a decentralized league, it will become clearer that this is a powerless league.

10. Does Fox Sports get it right?

Signing Alexi Lalas is a sign that Fox Sports wants to get its MLS coverage right and sees it as an investment for the future. Lalas, along with Grant Wahl, are two of the most well-connected figures in American soccer actually making a Fox-entity a worthwhile and legitimate source of news for an audience.

I’m as shocked as you are but it’s true.

Additionally, the network continues to lean on John Strong and J.P. Dellacamera to lead its broadcasts. Lastly, the prospect of this summer’s Women’s World Cup in Canada being telecast on the Fox network shows that there is some hope for the network.

Fox Sports 1 is already starting to turn things around from its tumultuous start and is expanding its soccer programming both domestically and abroad. Fox being Fox, there will always be concerns about the network’s inability to consistently put out a well-produced broadcast. If Fox takes each broadcast seriously, it will have a product that rivals ESPN for the duration of its television rights contract and position itself well for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. In that regard, next summer will be a major test for the network regarding consistency and professionalism.

11. Who opens up first?

The transparency complaint will continue to linger from fans and the media. While MLS’ front office faces this criticism the most, they are not the only ones worthy to face that criticism. Face it, there are three teams and two league offices in the New York area and no one is really sure what moves the people inside those office are going to make in the coming year. That uncertainty leads to the usual columns, tweets etc. on the need for transparency because a glimpse at the hand provides material to satisfy the restless crowd.

The great thing about calling for transparency from a business entity such as a professional sports team or a professional sports league is that it is self-serving and safe for all concerned. The media and fans have the satisfaction of having their requests answered while the entity can open the door enough to neutralize the requests. Since full transparency will never happen, this cycle will never truly cease.

Take all that into consideration as 2015 continues as it will be a formative year on a variety of fronts. The end of 2014 fostered an atmosphere that justifies scrutiny on all fronts in and out of professional soccer. That atmosphere can lead to some revelations if there is genuine investigating put into it. It is doubtful that will be the case here because the repeated calls for transparency have now made that concept one that can be exploited by a team or a league that needs a fresh message to send to the public and a bone to throw to the media. That bone will probably confirm a few preconceived notions held by a growing tribalistic fan community and growing presumptive media contingent.

However with the MLS, NASL, NYCFC, the Red Bulls and the Cosmos all needing a new message to send in light of fresh criticism, the question is who throws the bone first?

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  • Anthony

    Christian, you should be banned from ever even talking about the #NYCosmos. Every time you try to write anything about them you do so from such a ridiculously condescending standpoint that no one can even take you seriously. You are a NYCFC apologist and gloss over the very real drawbacks of that club, the insulting way they and MLS have treated this farm team franchise…i can think of about 30 local soccer writers and bloggers than are more qualified to write this article than you..you a a fucking hack of the highest order. Why Dave even allows you to get space on his page is a mystery.

  • Dave from Dix Hills

    Hey I missed the XI! Good stuff but should have added an ALI WATCH point. Red Bulls committing suicide should be a top headline.

  • Jim F

    Agree, Ali Curtis is shooting the Red Bulls in their own foot, or head – suicide.
    Getting rid of Mike Petke (our #1 connection to the club and most successful coach) is disgraceful!

    Maybe Ali is doubleagent working to make NYCFC and Cosmos look better relative to him – he is doing a fine job of it!


    What new message do the Cosmos need to send ? I don’t get it. Ship has been sailing along pretty well. Only setback would be the SSS wait. If anything they’re the most stable of all the NY area soccer teams.

  • Lou

    “The second play is to capitalize on the frustrations of Red Bull and NYCFC fans.”

    At what point have the Cosmos demonstrated this as a “clear play”? City and Bull fans have voiced their displeasure and some have said they’ll go watch the Cosmos instead. Cosmos supporters have had their laugh at the misfortunes of those two. The FO have sniped at MLS as an institution, but not made a play for these fans. Look at their communications, ticket offers. Nothing indicates this.

    Araos at it again.

    • Smith

      The Cosmos need not worry about Man City Lite or Ali’s Army. They will play well & without ridiculous weeknight games on the schedule, they will draw better crowds to see Raul & the rest.

      I will say this, though:

      I know several Red Bulls fans who are buying Cosmos tix in protest of Arrogant Ali.

  • Not a farm club?

    Give me a f****** break… NYCFC is a minor consideration and will be for the foreseeable future. There may be valid economic reasons for it… I say “valid” but I really mean in THIS unacceptable situation.

    We shouldn’t be in the business of allowing clubs to be in a situation where their baby is given priority and we are second.

  • Larry The Turd

    And with all the screw ups made by Man Lite and the Red Bulls the Cosmos still can’t make a dent in the sports conscience of NYC. LMFFAO. You clowns are still going to struggle to get more than a couple thousand fans out to Shuart. Raul? Really? What’s he going to do, raise the attendance from 2,000 to 2,025? Nobody is going out to Hofstra to see the Cosmos, you think they’re going to beat a path to that mythical world famous Cosmos Academy? Dream on saps! New York is red ladies!

    • Smith

      Yes, Ali Curtis is here. All is wonderful. God bless all he stands for.

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