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Montagliani’s vision: A Canadian Division 1A that “coexists” with MLS, NASL
By Steven Sandor

The second issue of Plastic Pitch, released today, features a 16-page section on Canada’s bid for the 2026 World Cup, with stories from five different writers.

But, there’s one part of that World Cup section that’s sure to get a lot of attention. And that’s the stated Canadian Soccer Association goal of an all-Canadian Division One — or “1A,” as CSA President Victor Montagliani called it in our interview.

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I'm confused. Did you forget the little winky ( ;) ) or do you actual think that this is any way a realistic or reasonable proposal?

 

 

My thoughts on the concept:

 

It seems to me that it is very hard to tell where Sandor's idea start and Montagliani's end but either way this is bat-**** crazy.

 

The idea is to create a new, fully professional league and pretend it is D1 while teams contnue to play in internationaly recognized D1 and D2 leagues?

 

Effectively we would start a national D3 and call it a first division?!!?!

 

This idea is so embarrasingly stupid I thought for a moment I was reading The Onion or some other parody website.

 

I mean c'mon, how in the f#@k are you going to get any sponsorship money, TV coverage or fans to a league that does not include teams in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and Ottawa? And even if the MLS/NASL clubs put teams in the league how are we supposed to pretend it is D1? Fans are not that stupid. Sponsors are not that gullible and the media, well if Sandor is an example maybe they will buy this crock of $#!t.

 

 

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It's more talk but at least they're talking.

 

Honestly I think they have to build something that would include NASL; a partnership of D2 leagues.  Call it Canadian League 1 if you like and play a common table with the NASL but expand it to the next tier of Canadian cities.

 

It requires some vision and more importantly some investors, but I believe there is an appetite for it from a consumer perspective. 

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There is absolutely no way it could happen without including the 5 existing cities with pro teams though.  That's 5 of our 6 biggest cities that we would be excluding.  Attracting investors for this would be almost impossible.

 

In many ways MLS has helped Canadian soccer because they filled the void that the CSA didn't do anything about for 80 years.  But it also really screwed Canadian soccer because they took away the cream of our cities and limited the upside of everything that's left.

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It's a great article but this has been known for a while. 

 

Many don't want to believe it but Montagliani is as ambitious as they come and is doing things properly.

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It's a great article but this has been known for a while. 

 

Many don't want to believe it but Montagliani is as ambitious as they come and is doing things properly.

 

Really, "known for a while"? By whom exactly? I have asked repeatedly on these forums for the last year or so if anyone has any actual information on this sort of thing and so far none has been forthcomong. Is there some secret society of insiders?

 

I would ask you, seriously, what exactly you mean by "doing things properly"? Talking batshit crazy stupid ideas does not seem "proper" to me but perhaps you or another member of the secret society will let us mere mortals in on what has been happening since the CSA used the Easton Report for toilet paper.?

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Where the hell is the money going to come from?  No infrastructure or stadiums in 80% of the communities you'd need and the startup costs alone... staggering.  Should just try to take over the provincial associations and clean up/standardize senior mens league provincially... grow from the grassroots.

 

God help us if the CSA tries to bankroll it themselves, our program will be bankrupt for decades to come.

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I have a couple of thoughts on this on both sides. Garber has said he's done expanding into Canada, but I wouldn't be so definitive about this:

 

-After the Atlanta & Miami expansion, MLS will be in every top 25 US market except Phoenix, Detroit, Minneapolis, San Diego, St. Louis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, and San Antonio.

-Some of these look like great MLS markets, but others are suspect; San Diego has competition from Club Tijuana; Detroit, Pittsburgh and Baltimore are rapidly shrinking;

-That leaves Phoenix, Minneapolis, Charlotte, and San Antonio are likely clubs American clubs 21-24

-After this, you have Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary with 2%+ annualized population growth; very few US regions can compete with this.

 

If Edmonton and Calgary get new or refurbished CFL stadiums in the next 10 years, and TSN is willing to pony up a similar TV deal somewhere north of what they gave the CFL, I think there's a case for a 6 Canadian clubs in a 32 team MLS. I'm not sure that FIFA would insist on 10 team stand alone league as a condition of 2026, if you could have 6 clubs in MLS who play a home and away tie every season. Perhaps these clubs could field reserve squads who compete against the remaining PDL sides.

 

10 years ago, we would never have thought we'd have 3 Canadian ownership groups investing millions in expansion fees, stadiums, academies, training centres, and players. As the TV and gate dollars go up, more groups will come forward -particularly if we can get a decent 2026 bid.

 

If MLS has truly shut the door on Canadian expansion, I'm not sure we should close the door on a D1 league with the existing 3 MLS clubs. By 2017, MLS will be 24 clubs getting roughly $4 million each from TV revenue. If TSN comes along and says we'll give $100m to split 10 ways, I think people would take interest. Especially if they can sell their existing franchise into a US market for $50-100m. We've already seen from hockey we can generate almost 5 times this TV revenue for a sport we really care about. Is the ceiling any higher in the US? I'm not sure that it is given all the competition from other sports, and the number of parties you need to share with.

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Suspect some of the people responding haven't taken the time to read the linked article and don't understand why it's referred to as 1A rather than 1.

 

I read the article more than once and have no ******* clue what "1A" is supposed to mean and how it is supposed to be seen by sponsors, media or fans as equal to or superior than MLS and NASL.

 

Please tell me how a league that, at best, has reserve teams in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and Ottawa is going to be perceived as anything higher than a third division?

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It's referred to as "1A" because whatever it would be it definitely wouldn't be a division 1 if it is going to co-exist with both MLS and the NASL. Montagliani's path to the top was to wrap himself in the flag and play the populist offering a form of Messianic deliverance to Canadian soccer by championing the need for a national league. Now he's there he needs to deal with the cold hard reality that it's a non-starter, but he still needs to keep the national league zealots on board in case somebody tries to knock him off his perch by using the same strategy he used against him. John McGrane appears to be the next would be messiah at the moment.

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It's referred to as "1A" because whatever it would be it definitely wouldn't be a division 1 if it is going to co-exist with both MLS and the NASL.

 

So...your comment about people not reading the article in mind, where was that distinction made in the article, at all?

 

Because people in this thread have been discussing how ludicrous it is to call something either "1" or "1A" when you really mean "3".

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Because people in this thread have been discussing how ludicrous it is to call something either "1" or "1A" when you really mean "3".

 

 

Yes.

 

You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig.  Insisting it is NOT a pig at best makes you look like a moron, at worst, a candidate for the looney bin. In neither case would serious journalists, potential sponsors or fans being willing to spend any money, time or effort supporting your delusions.

 

I am most disappointed in Sandor who appears to have taken some hopeful (and mildly delusional) ramblings by Montagliani and fleshed them out into a full-on nutbar proposal without any critical thought. Someone might want to let him know that journalists (and I use the term loosely when discussing sports reporting) are supposed to ask questions and actually check facts.

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Yes.

You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig. Insisting it is NOT a pig at best makes you look like a moron, at worst, a candidate for the looney bin. In neither case would serious journalists, potential sponsors or fans being willing to spend any money, time or effort supporting your delusions.

I am most disappointed in Sandor who appears to have taken some hopeful (and mildly delusional) ramblings by Montagliani and fleshed them out into a full-on nutbar proposal without any critical thought. Someone might want to let him know that journalists (and I use the term loosely when discussing sports reporting) are supposed to ask questions and actually check facts.

Does it matter what it is called? Do you take offence by the Welsh premier league as the top flight in Wales despite the level of football being a lower standard that Wrexham in the football conference? You seem to take offence easily by what tier leagues call themselves, when the important part is that there are clubs or will be clubs playing in a league.

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Does it matter what it is called? Do you take offence by the Welsh premier league as the top flight in Wales despite the level of football being a lower standard that Wrexham in the football conference? You seem to take offence easily by what tier leagues call themselves, when the important part is that there are clubs or will be clubs playing in a league.

I think you're actually highlighting the issue here though: We don't want to be Wales to America's England forever. It's great we have some Swanseas and Cardiffs in MLS and NASL, but adding in a supposedly "top flight" league parallel to those is just creating another CSL (not the 1987-1992 one, either).

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Does it matter what it is called? ... You seem to take offence easily by what tier leagues call themselves, when the important part is that there are clubs or will be clubs playing in a league.

 

Actually it matters a lot. We have lots of teams playing lots of leagues already so by your logic we don't really need any new teams or leagues.

 

It matters because people are kind of fickle, they do get offended when they are lied to. They don't like false advertising. People would react badly if you sold them tickets to a hockey game for NHL* which turned out to be two teams of college kids.

 

I have to ask you, why do you object to truth in advertising?  What is wrong with starting a national D3 league (as was supported by the Easton Report and promtptly rejected by the CSA) and calling it a national D3?

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Actually it matters a lot. We have lots of teams playing lots of leagues already so by your logic we don't really need any new teams or leagues.

 

It matters because people are kind of fickle, they do get offended when they are lied to. They don't like false advertising. People would react badly if you sold them tickets to a hockey game for NHL* which turned out to be two teams of college kids.

 

I have to ask you, why do you object to truth in advertising?  What is wrong with starting a national D3 league (as was supported by the Easton Report and promtptly rejected by the CSA) and calling it a national D3?

Completely agree with this. The initial intent should not be to create a domestic "NHL" equivalent out of the gate (like Sandor seems to be tooting), but rather something like the "CHL" model, which has development/semi pro teams across Canada, playing against regional foes, and having a "Memorial Cup" like tournament at the end. Looking at attendance figures alone (this isn't a great example, I know), one can see that there's a difference in audience perception in whether a team plays in the MLS, the NASL, or the PDL. So yea, calling it a Division 1 league is irresponsible, because it isn't the reality.

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Actually it matters a lot. We have lots of teams playing lots of leagues already so by your logic we don't really need any new teams or leagues.

 

It matters because people are kind of fickle, they do get offended when they are lied to. They don't like false advertising. People would react badly if you sold them tickets to a hockey game for NHL* which turned out to be two teams of college kids.

 

I have to ask you, why do you object to truth in advertising?  What is wrong with starting a national D3 league (as was supported by the Easton Report and promtptly rejected by the CSA) and calling it a national D3?

How is it lying if it is the top national flight in Canada?  Are the Welsh lying when they call the the Welsh Premier League the top flight in Wales?

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The priority has to be building D3 & D4 to develop the talent to make D2 possible in Canada.  Whether it's billed as D2 or 1A or something else we are still many years away from achieving the player and fan bases to support the upper tier of our Canadian pyramid.

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How is it lying if it is the top national flight in Canada?  Are the Welsh lying when they call the the Welsh Premier League the top flight in Wales?

 

They are not pretending to be on par with or even close to the English Premier League.

 

It is a lie to say that they are on the same level as the MLS or NASL teams when they are not, in any legal or sporting sense.

 

Again I ask, why do you have a problem with reality? You can call them Canada League One as the title while still acknowledgeing that they are a D3 in the official pyramid.

 

 

The priority has to be building D3 & D4 to develop the talent to make D2 possible in Canada.  Whether it's billed as D2 or 1A or something else we are still many years away from achieving the player and fan bases to support the upper tier of our Canadian pyramid.

 

You are correct we need to build D3 (we have plenty of D4 already) but please pay more attention. Montagliani (or Sandor, it is still unclear) is talking about a D3 but calling it a D2&1/2 or 1a.

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