5 Points Press, This is Cosmos Country Blog — July 27, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Ask The Question: Combining the NASL and MLS


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Aidan Sullivan asked: 

What are your thoughts of combining NASL and MLS into one league and making it Two tiers with relegation? 

Please do not reply that American culture won’t accept it. I don’t believe that because it has never been tried/done and it works for every other country in the world. 

On topic, what are your thoughts of the MLS player loan policy? You saw what happened to the Rhino’s when they faced New England for the US cup.

Here’s my answer to his question: 

Greetings Aidan,

Don’t let the wordsmiths from the Ivory Towers deceive you that our American culture won’t accept a promotion & relegation model. It’s poppycock! I’m not saying this as an outsider who’s never covered a match from the Press Box. I have a handsome collection of Press Credentials and behind-the-scenes stories that would impress you. 

What makes our country fantastic is that we embrace change. Granted some change is easier to accept than others but change is accepted. We’ve accepted bottled water, the Real Housewives and Chipotle into our culture. Sure, you have that small percentage who are set in their ways but they don’t represent America as a whole.

In my opinion, the problem with how soccer is covered in America is that the powers that be feel the yearn to dummy down the sport to the masses. What I’m saying is that if you’re already following a club or national team from another country and league, then you have an idea or two how the beautiful game is played and the off-the-pitch politics.

The reason the NASL and MLS isn’t going to merge anytime soon comes down to money. MLS owners will make the argument of the millions of dollars they’ve invested outweighs the NASL contribution. In addition, MLS will flex their muscles and point out their T.V. and sponsorship deals.

The best thing the NASL can do for now is build the quality of their league, attract rival sponsors and have each NASL team in Chael Sonnen-esque form  publicly challenge their MLS counterparts. Think about it, people love drama and a good old fashioned trash-talk.

Ultimately, what needs to happen is both league Commissioners need to have an open public discussion about the possibility of working together. I believe both sides can reach an agreement of having a Champion versus Champion match. A one-match showdown between the MLS Cup Winners and the NASL Soccer Bowl Winners would generate enough interest from fans of both leagues. 

Answering your question about MLS’ loan policy, I like the fact that it gives younger talent the opportunity to get the necessary playing time. As far as the Rhinos and Revolution U.S. Open Cup match, it was a cold well-played calculated move on New England’s part. Whether it was right or wrong, in the end, it’s about winning.

Image Credit: New York Cosmos

One Week Away! (Image Credit: New York Cosmos)


  1. Since at the moment there is no Pro/Rel, why don’t we have the MLS get 2 seeds for the CONCACAF Champions League which would be the supporters shield winners and the MLS Cup Champions, and NASL gets 1 spot for the Soccer Bowl Champions? The structure isn’t fair toward the NASL because the no pro/rel keeps them isolated and enclosed from competitive international soccer unless they win the USOC.

    Secondly why don’t we have a Champions Cup where the NASL Champions play the MLS Cup Champions? I think thats a fair thing to do for the moment until we get a pro/rel system.

    Lastly here’s how I think promotion and relegation would work in this country.

    Here’s the link


    P.S. MLS Snobs always try to find a new B.S. reason why it wouldn’t work. Culture, Acceptance, or Stubbornness

  2. Thanks for your reply,

    I blog quite a bit about soccer and lived and played in Brazil. As an American, I agree with your points, especially the MLS money hungry machine. I hope the Cosmos continue with their grassroots approach to soccer in the area. Such things as The Cosmo Cup and youth development programs are important promotionally, as well as soccer as a whole in the community, the later especially. I feel that the MLS does not do nearly enough for youth development and thus the improvement of US soccer is not a priority, taking a back seat to bottom lines and other agendas. I hope the Cosmos see how youth development will not only improve soccer in the area but also create a loyal fan base. I like what I have seen from super Y and premier leagues but club expenses along with travel expenses and a relatively small amount of teams are a major set back here. These are national leagues trying do something in such a huge geographic and demographic arena. New York has many advantages such as population density and ethnic cultures that will support soccer. I hope to see the Cosmos take advantage of this to the fullest extent, the dividends will come back ten fold down the line. The NYC area has 4 times the population of Uruguay. Developing great players means big money payouts for clubs when sold. New York I believe is a prime area that has not been taken advantage of. The cosmopolitan league has a great name and 3 or 4 divisions, just an example. New York needs a competitive league for the masses and a filter system that allows for cream of the crop to rise without the elitism of academy travel programs.

    Excited for August 3rd.

    Aidan Sullivan

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