CHICAGO -- On the heels of yesterday's shock announcement by Don Garber about the next 4 expansion teams being given to New York City, the Soccer Don, along side US Soccer President Sunil Gulati, followed it up with news about a reorganization of the US Soccer pyramid. Major League Soccer will acquire the North American Soccer League to form one unified first league, made up of two conferences. The new combined league will begin play in 2015.
The 19 current MLS teams will join what will be named the National Soccer League, while the 13 current NASL teams, and the 5 incoming New York teams will form the American Soccer League. The 2014 season will also see the USL Pro campaign result in the top 3 teams being promoted to even out the new MLS at 40 teams. Number 1 will be placed in the NSL and numbers 2 and 3 in the ASL. The American Soccer League will be split up and named the Lalas, Wynalda, Ramos, & Twellman divisions. The National Soccer League will be split into the Beckham, Pele, Beckenbauer, & Messing divisions.
Promotion/Relegaion internet activist Ted Westervelt was asked about the merger. "I'm glad that more teams are getting a shot at top division soccer in the US. However, what about the USL PDL, and other Amateur teams? Don't they deserve a chance to make MLS? What about beer league teams? Won't anyone think of the kids teams?"
Of course with a new alignment of teams must come a new way of scheduling. When Garber was asked about possibly having a balanced schedule for each league he stated, "No, we're not going to stoop as low as having balanced schedules. What kind of mickey mouse soccer league do you take us for?" The new schedule format will be modeled after another top American league, the NFL.
- Home and Away against all teams in same division (8 games)
- One division in the same conference (5 games)
- Same placed team in other two divisions in conference (2 games)
- One division in opposite conference (5 games)
This 20 game schedule is less than the current 34 games played, but don't worry, Garber has already thought of that. "Moving to a 20 game schedule allows us to make each game matter more, avoid FIFA dates, and avoid any Bruce Arena complaints about schedule overload." Additionally, MLS will be looking into playing one to two matches a year at Loftus Road, home of Queens Park Rangers. Gulati chimed in on the schedule saying that he hoped the new schedule would allow more teams to actually try for the US Open Cup.
Along with the merger, Garber hinted at some rule changes. Sources say that fans can expect some old favorites like Goalkeeper substitutions and the old NASL shootout. Some of the rule changes will also be limited to one conference ala Major League Baseball. For example, sources are mentioning moving to a 4 substitution rule for the ASL stadiums only.
Looking at the changes locally, the changes are not being met with happiness. One source has reported overhearing designated player Tim Cahill mumbling to himself, "I left England for this?!". When Petke was asked about the changes, he said "This isn't real soccer. I don't want to live in this country anymore." Surprisingly, Thierry Henry was seemed OK with the changes, "As long as games are scheduled home & away, and I don't play on turf, I don't care."
- - -
The above is clearly a work of fiction.