Wassink: NYC FC – MLS’ own ‘plastic franchise’

IMAGE, DAVE MARTINEZ, EMPIRE OF SOCCER

Zac is a freelancer who has been covering sports since 2006 and (the) MLS since 2010. His support of the New York Red Bulls played no factor in the creation of this piece. He also supports Tottenham Hotspur, Perth Glory, Juventus, the “Mark Fishkin for MLS Commissioner” movement, and New Jersey bagels. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those held by anybody associated with the EoS website.

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BY ZAC WASSINK
Guest Columnist

COMMENTARY: A badge unveiling. That’s what makes for front page Major League Soccer news these days.

While I only recently became an official member of the Pro Football Writers of America, I have been on the NFL media list since 2008/09 (I couldn’t remember which year it was nor did I care enough to go back to see). NFL press blasts occur when the league is happy to announce that 30 million viewers tuned in to watch a Sunday Night Football broadcast, or when the league releases monthly Health and Safety Updates.

For MLS, a team that won’t play meaningful football at any point during the calendar year picking one of two badge designs is a significant moment, one worthy of a media event.

It’s not difficult to understand why MLS fans who visit the league’s official website or who follow Twitter accounts belonging to American soccer journalists cannot escape New York City Football Club. NYCFC are the darling franchise of league commissioner Don Garber, a pet project born from the demands of silent supporters who have apparently wanted a team of their own for years despite never doing anything of merit in order to get one.

Turn the clock back to 2007, and then imagine a world where the MLS headquarters were in Philadelphia and not New York City. The Sons of Ben would have held “Occupy MLS” protests in the lobby of the league offices until their demands were met. They would have made national headlines.

No such events, staged or otherwise, occurred in Manhattan. The “MLS to Queens” movement which was supposed to bring a franchise to that borough quietly died a death before NYCFC were officially announced. Even now, with the cornerstones of the club in place, NYCFC cannot get a mere mention from anybody outside of:

  • Credentialed MLS writers who have obligations to cover Mr. Garber’s new toy.
  • Kids, wannabe soccer journos who don’t get paid for their blogs/articles and who also get press passes to NYCFC events because MLS hands those things out like they are candy (seriously, the league has even offered them to me.).
  • A handful of people genuinely interested in the team.

Those in the front offices of MLS and NYCFC have insisted that the team formerly referred to as NY2 will make history. You have to give everybody involved credit, because that objective is already being met and then some. The preferential treatment afforded to and the blind eyes turned toward Manchester City and their bid for a MLS franchise have been unlike anything I’ve witnessed as long as I have actively been covering the league.

A bid for a MLS team that included no landing spot for a stadium and one that had close to zero noticeable public backing was accepted. The current mayor of New York could not possibly care less about NYCFC getting a shiny new venue to call home. Oh yeah; there are also those pesky human rights issues that conveniently get swept under the rug.

It’s amazing what we humans tell ourselves to justify morally questionable behavior. We are here in the United States, and thus we can’t do anything about what occurs in far off lands such as the United Arab Emirates or Abu Dhabi. Make no mistake about it, everybody who reads this:

Every piece of NYCFC merch you buy represents you financially supporting a “’black hole for basic human rights.‘”

But that badge looks pretty sweet, right?

“Would you take a job with NYCFC if one was offered to you?” That was the question asked to me by a friend who works in MLS HQ last year a few days after the club was officially introduced. “I honestly can’t say,” I explained. Working for a top-flight football organization, let alone doing so on US soil, would be an incredible opportunity. It would also, were NYCFC to be involved, include having to ignore what I know about those providing a bulk of the funds for the existence of the club.

At least I would be willing to own up to what I was avoiding to address, something far too many of you refuse to do.

Most hilarious of all is that, since there were no fans clamoring for this specific team, there remain no real NYCFC “fans.” Anybody claiming to be one is, rather, a mark, the type of WWE viewer who takes to message boards to rant about how Triple H is actually going to screw Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania, somebody who says he likes Arsenal but cannot be bothered to venture 30-45 minutes from his home to watch THIERRY HENRY play live and in-person, a self-conscious MLS defender who will accept anything suggested by the league as gospel; the type of fake supporter quietly mocked by diehards who frequent pubs such as The Football Factory at Legends.

Portland. Vancouver. Montreal. Orlando. Perhaps Pittsburgh down the road. MLS teams in those regions were/will be organic creations. In NYCFC, MLS has its first plastic club and the league’s first true plastic fans.

Congratulations.

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117 Comments on "Wassink: NYC FC – MLS’ own ‘plastic franchise’"

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Guest
1 year 10 months ago

RT @EmpireOfSoccer: Guest columnist @ZacWassink: #NYCFC – #MLS’ own ‘plastic franchise’: http://t.co/3RlrRQwtkm — have at it!

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

@EmpireOfSoccer @ZacWassink The simpitude…

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

@EmpireOfSoccer @ZacWassink This is great

Guest
Dave from Dix Hills
1 year 10 months ago

I think Zac put all my thoughts into words in an actual readable way. Wow.

Guest
PASSION CORNER
1 year 10 months ago

We support NYCFC.

RBNY is a bunch of nerds whining about tifo and parking lot tailgating. If you want to be cool like us, join up with NYCFC.

Guest
Captain Plastic
1 year 10 months ago

No registered trademark symbol? Impostor!

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

And I thought I was being provocative about #NYCFC? @ZacWassink wins the “Provocative Derby” with this one: http://t.co/wpiH86zC4N

Guest
1 year 10 months ago
Guest
1 year 10 months ago

I am not sure de Blasio is against the stadium as much as he is against the public subsidies Bloomberg was willing to hand out like candy.

New York City is a finicky place. It can choose to ignore you at will (as most are with Red Bull) and with NYCFC, I think most people are taking a build it to believe in it approach especially when it comes to soccer.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

A different perspective via @empireofsoccer by @zacwassink: NYC FC – MLS’ own ‘plastic franchise’ http://t.co/0KcoPFUQ3O

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

From @ZacWassink on @EmpireOfSoccer about the new MLS club in NYC. http://t.co/sk8DoX4NW1

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

“@EmpireOfSoccer: Guest columnist @ZacWassink: #NYCFC – #MLS’ own ‘plastic franchise’: http://t.co/A2pf0flKCc — have at it!” Please read!

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Paul Andersen liked this on Facebook.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Dan DaRocha liked this on Facebook.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Annie Aguilera liked this on Facebook.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Seth Huling liked this on Facebook.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

So it is to be assumed that the only time MLS, a fledgling professional sports league in an insanely competitive American sports landscape that’s tasked with making money, growing its audience, luring bigger talents, etc., should launch a new club is when there are fan uprisings from supporter groups demanding expansion in their town? Organic grassroots-supported clubs only, and “true” long-suffering, truly established MLS diehard fans will accept no substitutes? Hilarious! Also interesting that the first graf of this lays out supposed journalistic bonafides, yet there seems to simultaneously be no basic understanding of how a) marketing and PR and… Read more »

Guest
Captain Plastic
1 year 10 months ago

Boo Hoo New York 2 Crew!!!!! LOL

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Wassink: NYC FC – MLS’ own ‘plastic franchise’ http://t.co/wX7qTTXBEU This pretty much sums it all up.

Guest
Daniel
1 year 10 months ago

“His support of the New York Red Bulls played no factor in the creation of this piece.”

Haha what is credible journalism

Guest
Anthony Buckley
1 year 10 months ago

I bet Zac sings the full 90.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Wassink: NYC FC – MLS’ own ‘plastic franchise’ http://t.co/sKHyLdlaZx

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

@NYCFCWatch @EmpireOfSoccer “His support of the New York Red Bulls played no factor in the creation of this piece”

Of course, yes :-)

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

This is ridiculous. The team doesn’t even START PLAYING for a year. You can’t ALREADY say they don’t have real fans. http://t.co/lx62AVLGtU

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

RT @NYCFCWatch: “@EmpireOfSoccer: Guest columnist @ZacWassink: #NYCFC – #MLS’ own ‘plastic franchise’: http://t.co/A2pf0flKCc — have at it…

Guest
JP
1 year 10 months ago

Well that’s one way to tell someone F*#$ Y*#

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

@NYCFCWatch @EmpireOfSoccer @ZacWassink Such a distasteful article.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

“@amunti: @ZacWassink Such a distasteful article.” Says something about @EmpireOfSoccer for posting it.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

This is the most accurate piece yet on NYCFC ! Enough Said > well done Zac !

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Wassink: NYC FC – MLS’ own ‘plastic franchise’ http://t.co/JGCPU2RXj6 #NYCFC All i can say is #TruthHurts !

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

@EmpireOfSoccer you once told me that you were impartial to all 3 NYC soccer teams in your coverage of soccer.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Yeah, I TRULY believe he wasn’t bias as a RB supporter. Give me a break! Plus I do believe the US has its own Human Rights Issues. Most of this article was a load of crap. Garber and MLS knew a team in NY proper would help the league immensely and its starting to become fruition.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

@EmpireOfSoccer it’d clear to me now that you lied

Guest
1 year 10 months ago
Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Applause. Why is no one in soccer journalism asking MLS the tough questions? We have to come to this awesome, but ultimately low readership site to see some truth. Why is MLS doing business with a man described by Human Rights Watch as someone who uses his sports teams to launder his image as a human rights abuser? Since the Queens stadium was rejected in part because Sheik Mansour is the Deputy Prime Minister of a nation that has laws punishing homosexuality with castration, why do you think politicians will be more sympathetic now? Why have you changed the rules… Read more »

Guest
Vinjay
1 year 10 months ago

“His support of the New York Red Bulls played no factor in the creation of this piece.” Course not. Surprised you missed out Chivas USA references and the laughable suggestion that SC members are all being paid by NYCFC. This article from December 2012 proves there were are people who wanted a professional club in the state of NEW YORK. No doubt that meeting included some of those who are involved with the supporters club right now. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/sports/soccer/mls-sets-sights-on-team-and-stadium-in-queens.html Perhaps there was some complacency when it came to MLS awarding the city with a new club. It was inevitable at some… Read more »

Guest
James in Long Island
1 year 10 months ago

Oh yes, let’s all wait for the Sheikh to announce his personal feelings on torture and violent homophobia. It’s not like he’s in a position to actually change anything, being the deputy prime minister and all. I don’t care what one of your SC leaders condemned. If he still supports the team, he is still complicit in their efforts to sanitize their public image for the West. Your comparison of the practices of the Sheikh’s government to Red Bull’s ownership of soccer teams is a joke and is downright insulting to the victims of the Sheikh’s regime. But hey, whatever… Read more »

Guest
Vinjay
1 year 10 months ago

He’s the deputy PM correct does that give him power to draw up any kind of legislation he wants without approval? Would the Vice President in the US have the power to rip up an entire constitution? Not even Obama himself would. I don’t know how he feels but this is ingrained in the UAE culture and religion. Its not going to change overnight. As a heavy handed corporation are you saying Red Bull have no record of infringing human rights? As for Salzburg their protests were cruelly referred to as “kindergarten stuff” by prominent RB offciais. I never said… Read more »

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

RT @ZacWassink: #NYCFC: #MLS’ own plastic franchise – http://t.co/c3OOYnBYBt #sports #football #futbol #RBNY

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Bitter bastard. Upset because the rag bulls will no longer be NYCs premier football (soccer) club.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

RT @ZacWassink: #NYCFC: #MLS’ own plastic franchise – http://t.co/c3OOYnBYBt #sports #football #futbol #RBNY

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

RT @EmpireOfSoccer: Guest columnist @ZacWassink: #NYCFC – #MLS’ own ‘plastic franchise’: http://t.co/3RlrRQwtkm — have at it!

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Complaining about “plastic clubs” in MLS is rich. They aren’t clubs, they’re franchises of McSoccer Corp. And former clubs gave up that status to join the corporation. Real clubs don’t give up independence and the power to have their fate in their own hands. In fact most of the franchises are probably happy to have the Sheik cash flowing in. They’re all partners in McSoccer Corp.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

@NickChavezMLS @NYCFCWatch It’s an article on Empire of Soccer….http://t.co/jMzZp5IL2r

Guest
James in Long Island
1 year 10 months ago

Great article. NY2 is worse than just a lame, unnecessary attempt to milk slightly more money out of the USA’s largest media market. It’s an actual disgrace to the league and the sport.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

@NickChavezMLS @NYCFCWatch http://t.co/0MFsUjecao prob not worth your time, but here is the article

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Great write MT @ZacWassink: NYCFC: MLS’ Own Plastic Franchise – http://t.co/1gI3tICdlI #MLS

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

RT @ZacWassink: #NYCFC: #MLS’ own plastic franchise – http://t.co/c3OOYnBYBt #sports #football #futbol #RBNY

Guest
MikeDatTiger
1 year 10 months ago

I posted this on the NYCFC forums and someone there suggested I should post it on here. Basically, this article isn’t backed up by some pretty basic facts.

http://nycfcforums.com/index.php?threads/empire-of-soccer-opinion-on-nycfc.94/#post-824

Guest
the "plastic" fan
1 year 10 months ago

What I got from this article —

Hi I’m Zac, I’ve been following soccer for 8 years, MLS for 4. I support 4 teams, 2 of which co-compete in European competition. But I’m going to write a diary entry about how you’re all plastic fans.

Guest
Vinjay
1 year 10 months ago

Strange too how the detractors only response to “human rights” is to target a football/soccer club. Surely if you feel ever so strongly about the UAE why not form pressure groups on the US government and trading standards? Is it because its faked outrage by Red Bull and Cosmos fans who really couldn’t give a toss about human rights and are simply threatened by a new club?

Guest
Rufus T Firefly
1 year 10 months ago

Cosmos fans wailing about human rights violations? You can’t make that stuff up! I reckon it was okay for the Cosmos to take their slave labor manufactured Nike kits with the Emirates logo and wing on over to the UAE to collect a paycheck. BTW when do they take Emirates off the front of the jersey and replace it with Hindenburg?

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Incorrect Rufus Firefly. Air Emirates is not a government owned company. Nobody who owns the Cosmos is a government official in a repressive government. We are not bigots, we don’t discriminate because a person comes from an Arab country. But if you are personally responsible for a law that calls for the castration of homosexuals, no matter where your from, we ought to not be doing business with you. It’s that simple. I’m sorry morality is so ambiguous to you.

Guest
Rufus T Firefly
1 year 10 months ago

Fail Leo. The Cosmos did business in the evil UAE. The we’re not the government excuse is the same crap the people of Germany used back when the Nazis were in power. Wrong then, wrong now. I guess as long as the checks cleared those sheikhs aren’t bad guys, are they?

BTW how much did you pay for your Cosmos jersey? Doesn’t it bother you that you spent 100 bucks on something that was made by a child getting paid 30 cents a day?

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Rufus, sorry, we don’t hate Arabs. We don’t believe that playing a soccer game against a UAE league team is a bad thing, we think it’s a good thing. We think being the Deputy Prime Minister of a country that castrates homosexuals isn’t as bad as buying a pair of nikes. You’re now comparing me and others who buy a cosmos shirt to nazis. Well done, you’re power of argument is impressive. if I were you I would stay anonymous.

Guest
Rufus T Firefly
1 year 10 months ago

Leo it isn’t difficult to understand. Show us where Emirate Airline has spoken out about human rights violations in their own country. Had any of the teams the Cosmos played spoken out against their government and human rights violations? You mean they haven’t? That’s rather complicit, isn’t it? You should ashamed if your conscience doesn’t bother you the next time you put on that Nike jersey.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

RT @ZacWassink: #NYCFC: #MLS’ own plastic franchise – http://t.co/c3OOYnBYBt #sports #football #futbol #RBNY

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

@EmpireOfSoccer @ZacWassink Well done Zac. Spot on.

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

So mad. RT @ZacWassink: #NYCFC: #MLS’ own plastic franchise – http://t.co/QtcBZkKd1Z #sports #football #futbol #RBNY

Guest
1 year 10 months ago

That was awesome.

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