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USLPRO and Canadian D3


Redcoatsforever

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Does anybody have info one what is required to launch a USL PRO club in terms of finances and facilities?

I get the impression that a fair number of Canadian cities could support a USL PRO franchise, and some of them already have popular PDL teams to lay the groundwork. I recall Forest City London specifically expressing a desire to go fully professional. How many USLPRO capable cities do you think Canada has?

As a follow-up, if say, most of Canada's midrange (150,000-500,000 people) cities were capable of launching and sustaining a USLPRO club, would the implications be that Canada could support a USLPRO-esque Canadain D3?

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My gut instinct is that FC London and the Victoria Highlanders would follow much the same trajectory as the Calgary Mustangs if they tried to turn fully pro right now and moved away from the PDL model. Worth bearing in mind that 4000 paid attendance is the realistic break even point for that sort of operation and examples of it happening anywhere in North America are few and far between. The next natural evolutionary step is more whether pro soccer can be sustained at a D2 sort of level in cities like Edmonton, Ottawa and Hamilton. Even that remains to be seen. I'm confident that fully pro soccer will eventually be viable in midrange cities and that the critical mass of teams required to have some sort of national league will eventually be there but it isn't going to happen overnight especially in the middle of a severe economic downturn.

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Not sure whether I should reply or not based on past experiences but I'll give it one last go. Odds on the only team that will break even or actually make money in the NASL this summer will be Montreal. In a USL-Pro context the same comment applies with Rochester. Montreal are headed to MLS and the latest news from Rochester is that based on backing of a new long-term sponsor they are now one additional wealthy co-owner away from being able to bid seriously for MLS expansion again.

Right now D2/D3 soccer is usually a way to lose a lot of money and the few exceptions tend to try to exit upwards and many others have exited downwards to PDL over the years. It will probably always be possible to put together a dozen or so teams at that sort of level across Canada and the United States combined for any given season but a sustainable economic model has yet to emerge and I suspect is unlikely to do so until MLS maxes out in numbers terms and the few strong franchises that do develop can be expected to actually hang around.

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I wish the CSA would help define the overall pyramid. Some of it is really easy, MLS=1, NASL=2, div3? I'm not convinced that PDL or USLPro or CSL are all fighting for D3. If they are does that make the senior amateur D4? If that's the case than that needs to be the target for the next set of standards. The jump from Senior to USLPro seems like a big one to me (outside fan). With NB, NS and NL all sporting strong senior leagues at a provincial level, it would be interesting to see a Regional Cup. A way for teams to travel a bit farther, get more press and have the players get more experience.

Standards off the top of my head

-enclosed field, press box, 3 locker rooms with showers and seating for 1000.

-enclosed field, press box, 3 locker rooms with showers and seating for 500.

These appear to minor differences in standards. Comparing to Conference in England, stadium capacities run generally from 10,000 and less. I'm guessing 80% across the 3 divisions would be 6,000 or less. Getting these "little" stadiums ready to meet the standards, I think is very important. With CIS, Canada Games, Colleges, Academies and senior clubs that host Nationals there should be 75 of these venues across the country.

- 9 paid players on the roster for $10,000

- 9 paid players on the roster for $25,000

Fairly minor pay range but if the owner wants to go cheap and use University players who "can't" be paid then the PDL is the answer isn't it?

Back to the original question of USLPro capable cities ... with TOR, VAN and MTL in MLS and NASL on the rocks, why not got for a full division (or 2) based on the current USL scheme.

Canada West - Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Victoria, Saskatoon, Regina, Kelowna and Abbotsford.

Canada East - Ottawa, Quebec, Hamilton, London, Kitchener, St. catharines, Oshawa, Windsor, Sherebrooke, Barrie, Sudbury, Kingston, Saguenay.

All these cities are above 150,000 as of 2006.

Just on the outside? Trois-Rivieres (former CSL), Moncton (stadium), Brantford (CSL), Thunder Bay (PDL). I also didn't include Halifax and St. John's; they are top 25 in metro population but some how economy and travel costs seem to defeat them (ie American Hockey League).

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Not sure whether I should reply or not based on past experiences but I'll give it one last go. Odds on the only team that will break even or actually make money in the NASL this summer will be Montreal. In a USL-Pro context the same comment applies with Rochester. Montreal are headed to MLS and the latest news from Rochester is that based on backing of a new long-term sponsor they are now one additional wealthy co-owner away from being able to bid seriously for MLS expansion again.

Right now D2/D3 soccer is usually a way to lose a lot of money and the few exceptions tend to try to exit upwards and many others have exited downwards to PDL over the years. It will probably always be possible to put together a dozen or so teams at that sort of level across Canada and the United States combined for any given season but a sustainable economic model has yet to emerge and I suspect is unlikely to do so until MLS maxes out in numbers terms and the few strong franchises that do develop can be expected to actually hang around.

I'm not trying to pick on you about this, but your 4000 avg. attendance break even is more relative to NASL than USL PRO. USL PRO is a weird mix of USL 2 and PDL clubs with Rochester and Charleston thrown in for good fun. It has been devised to have shorter travel and lower expenses (hence the reason it's D3 not D2). There will be teams in the league that spend more (Rochester, Charleston, Richmond, and possibly Orlando) but the majority of the league will operate on a much smaller scale.

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Let's see how long USL-Pro lasts in its current format. In the absence of the $750k bonds that the NASL teams are having to put up and given USL's track record of accepting any new team as long as the expansion fee cheque clears at the bank odds on there will be teams that struggle to make it through to the end of the summer. None of the regions are small enough to make CSL style bus travel with semi-pro players with regular jobs a viable option and one involves a team in LA being grouped with three Puerto Rico clubs and a team based in Antigua.

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If that's the case than that needs to be the target for the next set of standards. The jump from Senior to USLPro seems like a big one to me (outside fan). With NB, NS and NL all sporting strong senior leagues at a provincial level, it would be interesting to see a Regional Cup.

...I also didn't include Halifax and St. John's; they are top 25 in metro population but some how economy and travel costs seem to defeat them (ie American Hockey League).

What? NB, NS, NL having strong provincial leagues? Please tell me you weren't being serious.

NB is just getting their league going, this will be their first legitimate season (the one before was an exhibtion sked)...if last years provincials were any indication, the Southern teams all dominated except Saint John who were having an off weekend and a short bench.

NS - I agree with their league being strong

NL - It's a joke league. Take away St. lawrence and Holy Cross (who stumbled to a dismal last place finish at nationals last year) and it isn't much better than NB's league. I'm serious. Mt. Pearl (maybe) and Felidians would be fortunate to break a mid-table finish in the NS league.

St. John's i agree with lack of inclusion (although they have a Rugby Canada Super League team called the Rock and they do fine, thank you very much...so a soccer team has potential here), but Halifax is only a 90 minute drive from Moncton and is twice the size of Moncton

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I beleive that the Highlanders could make that number if they were in a renovated Royal Athletic Park.

Wasn't paying too close attention but I did notice quotes from ownership that turnout at a friendly game against FC Edmonton last summer was going to be used to gauge the potential viability of turning pro. I think 1500 or so was the announced attendance and have wondered whether that may have been a factor in not pushing for USL Pro or NASL entry prior to Victor Montagliani's moratorium.

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Wasn't paying too close attention but I did notice quotes from ownership that turnout at a friendly game against FC Edmonton last summer was going to be used to gauge the potential viability of turning pro. I think 1500 or so was the announced attendance and have wondered whether that may have been a factor in not pushing for USL Pro or NASL entry prior to Victor Montagliani's moratorium.

There was talk about moving to USL Pro and lots of hype around that game. I think the owner has a plan and is working slowly but surely to make it happen over a number of years. This summer will be only the third season so the moratoriaum was irrelevant to planning here I suspect.

And BTW, our regular game crowds were as large or larger than that exhibition. Victoria supports competitive matches - although the upcoming Port Vale match might get a bigger response.

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There was talk about moving to USL Pro and lots of hype around that game. I think the owner has a plan and is working slowly but surely to make it happen over a number of years. This summer will be only the third season so the moratoriaum was irrelevant to planning here I suspect.

And BTW, our regular game crowds were as large or larger than that exhibition. Victoria supports competitive matches - although the upcoming Port Vale match might get a bigger response.

FC London drew something like 4,300 for their first ever game and it has sort of thinned down to an average of 1,400, I believe. One of my main wonders in starting this thread was about what people think of attemption a CHL-style league for D3 (probably with more regions, covering smaller areas, though) getting would-be USL PRO owners and things like that?

We know Highlanders have expressed a desire to go pro, as have FCL, neither look like NASL material at a glance, but then again, I could be way off in that assumption.

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