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Is Our Future in Our Hands?


Shway
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I’m obviously no journalist. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and just wanted to started a discussion based on why I think it’s important that the MLS clubs join the CPL at some point. 

What do you think?

Are Canadians so engraved into American culture that it’s more prestigious to play Charlotte, Columbus, Cincinnati over the likes of Calgary, Edmonton, or Manitoba?

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CanPL is not at a high enough level to sustain the fully funded academy systems that helped Alphonso Davies develop and have done so much to keep more of the top youth players that are future CMNT level prospects playing at an appropriate level into their early 20s. Having the three MLS clubs join CanPL would be a disastrous course of action as things stand at the moment. Different story if CanPL teams were drawing 10,000+ but they are not so we have to deal with reality rather than emotionally preferred fantasy scenarios on matters like this.

Edited by Ozzie_the_parrot
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Eventually maybe. If there is a point that the CPL is as strong as the MLS.

Right now, I like having our cake and eating it. We have multiple opportunities for Canadians getting developed at different playing levels with different opportunities. The exposure to a far greater standard of coaching, facilities and players is too beneficial to take away. If the CPL gets to a similar level playing field, absolutely pull them though. We are surely talking decades though.

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5 hours ago, yellowsweatygorilla said:

Theoretically I want the three with CPL but how do you ensure the same level of spending? I can't support a move if it means we lose almost 90 jobs that start with salaries at 70k+. I would be fully on board when CPL is able to pay a living wage.

I agree with the liveable wages, but that starts more at 50K. Especially with the makeup of the league. With Bob Young and the guys in Vancouver funding multiple teams.  Is it far fetched that an "MLSE "could be an initial Lamar Hunt.

 

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9 hours ago, Ozzie_the_parrot said:

CanPL is not at a high enough level to sustain the fully funded academy systems that helped Alphonso Davies develop and have done so much to keep more of the top youth players that are future CMNT level prospects playing at an appropriate level into their early 20s. Having the three MLS clubs join CanPL would be a disastrous course of action as things stand at the moment. Different story if CanPL teams were drawing 10,000+ but they are not so we have to deal with reality rather than emotionally preferred fantasy scenarios on matters like this.

Again, Davies is an anomaly. We haven't produced a player like him ever. So it's kind of hard for me to even say that he was developed by Whitecaps/MLS academy system. 

I believe Canada has always had the players to play at the top levels, we just haven't had the infrastructure to present those opportunities. Attendances will increase overtime...we are in year 3. With the added value of the bigger clubs, that too would also increase attendances.

My sentiments come from following MLS since 2005 - we need to rid ourselves of the American system, as it still will stifle our development. I feel its the defeatist/second rate mindset Canadians have in comparison to USA that makes these ideas disastrous.  

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10 hours ago, Shway said:

Are Canadians so engraved into American culture that it’s more prestigious to play Charlotte, Columbus, Cincinnati over the likes of Calgary, Edmonton, or Manitoba?

With hockey we made the decision to profit/benefit from the massive US market 100 years ago. Only one of the major US sports leagues doesn't have team/s in Canada. I'd say it's pretty ingrained within the culture of both countries to have teams on both sides of the border, and nothing from CPL has convinced me that we'd be better to go soccer alone. I'd absolutely love for that to change, but currently I'm fairly certain we're benefiting from having teams in MLS

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11 hours ago, Shway said:

I’m obviously no journalist. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and just wanted to started a discussion based on why I think it’s important that the MLS clubs join the CPL at some point. 

What do you think?

Are Canadians so engraved into American culture that it’s more prestigious to play Charlotte, Columbus, Cincinnati over the likes of Calgary, Edmonton, or Manitoba?

Read the article earlier this morning and enjoyed it.

One concern I have is about perception. More specifically, I would be concerned that pulling out of MLS and going All-Canadian in that way could actually work against us.

I think we already have an All-Canadian solution, which I will get to further below.

Here's my issue: rightly or wrongly, I think Canadians view "major" as being linked to the Americans (think NBA, NHL, MLB, etc.). If the CPL is viewed as minor league, wouldn't TFC, MTL and VAN leaving Major League Soccer be viewed as a downgrade for those teams?

Indeed, I do believe we are THAT engraved into American culture. I do think playing Charlotte, Columbus and Cincinnati is viewed as being more prestigious than playing Edmonton, Calgary or Winnipeg. I think the general public takes interest in matching up against the Americans. There's a natural tension which draws the Canadian public in, simply because they are American teams.

I agree with the other points in the article, such as having enough talent to go it alone, etc., but I subscribe to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mantra when it comes to this topic.

Canadian soccer is rising. Clearly the current situation is working, even if our pyramid is confusing.

Here's the good news: The Canadian Championship forms a bridge, I think, and that can serve as a counterweight to the negative perception of CPL being "minor".

I see allure in "minor" CPL teams taking on and beating the "major" MLS teams in the cup. I think Canadians in particular like a good underdog story, so beating these Major League teams, from the American league, captures the imagination. We are already seeing this emerge as a reoccurring theme (Calvary beating Vancouver, Pacific beating Vancouver..).

The Cup is the All-Canadian affair you and others are looking for, I believe. For me, what we have right now is novel, unique and exciting!

That's my two cents, anyway!

 

Edited by Obinna
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12 hours ago, Shway said:

I’m obviously no journalist. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and just wanted to started a discussion based on why I think it’s important that the MLS clubs join the CPL at some point. 

What do you think?

Are Canadians so engraved into American culture that it’s more prestigious to play Charlotte, Columbus, Cincinnati over the likes of Calgary, Edmonton, or Manitoba?

This is a great topic.

I would say in the long run it would be better if the 3 MLS clubs joined the CPL.

However I don't think now is the time to do that.

Let the CPL grow and get close to MLS's level first.

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7 hours ago, Dominic94 said:

Also, our only pipeline to MLS and Europe is those teams, even the Sigma guys for the most part went there first, David is an exception to the rule basically.

Johnston, Buchanon, Miller, Larin, Lareya, all NCAA kids.....way more guys on CMNT that had nothing to do with MLS academies that ones that did.  Not to say that it isnt an important pipeline....but you could argue NCAA to MLS route is almost as important.  

12 hours ago, Shway said:

Are Canadians so engraved into American culture that it’s more prestigious to play Charlotte, Columbus, Cincinnati over the likes of Calgary, Edmonton, or Manitoba?

No, not the teams mentioned, but there is also, New York, Boston, LA, Miami, Chicago in there as well eh?  The big cities with big ambitions and big owners will want to compete in the cross border league, that is ingrained in our culture.  Hell, TFC outspends MLS by millions of dollars etc....let alone outspending Winnipeg or Halifax.  If we can grow to where we are building new soccer specific stadiums, packing IG and THF with fans, getting big TV contracts and spending millions on payrolls, come back and we'll see if Van and Montreal want to be part of our party eh??  

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I sit squarely on the fence on this topic. I don't know which is the better option for soccer in this country. I'm sure if the switch happened today, and media that covers the 3 MLS teams today continues to do so (TSN and Sportsnet covers CPL in their news shows, etc.) then there will probably be a drop in support of some degree for the 3 MLS teams, and an increase in support for the 8 CPL teams. How big the drops and increases would be, I have no idea.

I do hope that someday the league gets rid of the salary cap. All you really need are minimum salaries for individuals, and I'm fine with the domestic and U-21 rules. I think if CPL were to absorb the MLS teams, there would have to be some sort of elimination of the salary cap, or at least mechanisms for having a big disparity in salaries beyond allowing 3 DPs. Like a salary floor of 800k and a ceiling of 8 million (I have no idea what the cap is at in MLS these days) +DPs or whatever nonsense.

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1 hour ago, Bison44 said:

Johnston, Buchanon, Miller, Larin, Lareya, all NCAA kids.....way more guys on CMNT that had nothing to do with MLS academies that ones that did.  Not to say that it isnt an important pipeline....but you could argue NCAA to MLS route is almost as important.  

No, not the teams mentioned, but there is also, New York, Boston, LA, Miami, Chicago in there as well eh?  The big cities with big ambitions and big owners will want to compete in the cross border league, that is ingrained in our culture.  Hell, TFC outspends MLS by millions of dollars etc....let alone outspending Winnipeg or Halifax.  If we can grow to where we are building new soccer specific stadiums, packing IG and THF with fans, getting big TV contracts and spending millions on payrolls, come back and we'll see if Van and Montreal want to be part of our party eh??  

This is an important point, of course, but it's worth mentioning the smaller American markets can also be hot tickets as well, especially if they are a top team.

Consider Seattle, a mid-sized market but with the success and spending of a big market (in MLS).

Nashville is a smaller market, comparable to Edmonton, Calgary or Ottawa, but having them roll into town on occasion may be more interesting, depending on who you ask, than seeing Calgary multiple times a season. Maybe more "prestigious" is not the right way to describe it - but perhaps more "interesting" in the eyes of some people. 

Most importantly, you can't pick and choose between the small and big American markets. You either get all of them or none of them. That's most important. I think people understand that you can't play a New York without playing a Charlotte from time to time. 

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I think seeing AJ and Tajon emerge out of nowhere, particularly the way they handled Costa Rica at the Gold Cup, has made me rethink my zealot position on the CPL. Ten years ago, it wasn't hard for a Costa Rican to walk into MLS (say Kendal Waston). That doesn't really happen anymore. MLS is so far ahead of Liga FPD. I think MLS is close to on par with Liga MX, and this will mean players from MLS are top quality in CONCACAF. It's been a long road, and MLS isn't perfect by any means, but they have done something for the CMNT. I'm not sure this continues if the 3 Canadian clubs depart.

CPL needs to get to 3rd in CONCACAF and get into the Leagues Cup. This will require spending and some more professionalism across the board, but I don't think it requires the MLS clubs. If we get there, maybe it makes some sense?

While I was trolling around reading Mexican fan reactions to the WCQ match, many people were down on Liga MX and felt a merger with MLS was inevitable. It would certainly make me feel better if our three were in a pan North American league full-time.

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32 minutes ago, youllneverwalkalone said:

I think seeing AJ and Tajon emerge out of nowhere, particularly the way they handled Costa Rica at the Gold Cup, has made me rethink my zealot position on the CPL. Ten years ago, it wasn't hard for a Costa Rican to walk into MLS (say Kendal Waston). That doesn't really happen anymore. MLS is so far ahead of Liga FPD. I think MLS is close to on par with Liga MX, and this will mean players from MLS are top quality in CONCACAF. It's been a long road, and MLS isn't perfect by any means, but they have done something for the CMNT. I'm not sure this continues if the 3 Canadian clubs depart.

A lot of people rip NCAA as a development pathway but Canada probably isn't where it is now without Miller, Johnston and Buchanan emerging the way they have.

But perhaps this is another anomaly that can't easily be duplicated. 

 

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47 minutes ago, Obinna said:

This is an important point, of course, but it's worth mentioning the smaller American markets can also be hot tickets as well, especially if they are a top team.

Consider Seattle, a mid-sized market but with the success and spending of a big market (in MLS).

Nashville is a smaller market, comparable to Edmonton, Calgary or Ottawa, but having them roll into town on occasion may be more interesting, depending on who you ask, than seeing Calgary multiple times a season. Maybe more "prestigious" is not the right way to describe it - but perhaps more "interesting" in the eyes of some people. 

Most importantly, you can't pick and choose between the small and big American markets. You either get all of them or none of them. That's most important. I think people understand that you can't play a New York without playing a Charlotte from time to time. 

I personally think MLS is too big now.

The sweet spot for a soccer league is 18-20 teams.

Fans have zero knowledge of the opponents from the other conferences. You can go years without seeing some teams in person. 

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11 minutes ago, narduch said:

I personally think MLS is too big now.

The sweet spot for a soccer league is 18-20 teams.

Fans have zero knowledge of the opponents from the other conferences. You can go years without seeing some teams in person. 

Agreed. I hope they one day break it into 2 divisions, but I am not holding my breath. 

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I think a big question is what is the percentage of players in the CPL that are Canadian?

What is an amount of foreign players that is considered acceptable in order for the CPL to still effectively be what it is intended to be?

How many teams should be in the CPL first division?

As mentioned above.. the MLS has completely diluted itself. I find it hard to follow so that should negatively effect their revenue. It also restricts opportunities for domestic players both on and off the field. They should be funneling their best domestic talent to the best teams playing in the most competitive situations and gaining a profile with the public

Edited by SpursFlu
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23 minutes ago, Obinna said:

Agreed. I hope they one day break it into 2 divisions, but I am not holding my breath. 

Not holding my breath either but even checking in with the USL playoffs, there are some good teams there. 2nd division would be interesting and still provide a lot of opportunities 

I think MLSE are so corporate TFC in CPL would never happen. Mtl and Whitecaps likely not but it would be awesome 

Edited by SpursFlu
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4 hours ago, Shway said:

I agree with the liveable wages, but that starts more at 50K. Especially with the makeup of the league. With Bob Young and the guys in Vancouver funding multiple teams.  Is it far fetched that an "MLSE "could be an initial Lamar Hunt.

 

Not sure if I am getting your point - are you suggesting that investment from the Big 3 could lead to increases in salary across the board? That could certainly help, but I just worry that the direction of current CPL leadership and no guarantees that the Big 3 want to spend more than necessary (if anything there may be downward pressure from other CPL teams to limit Big 3 spending in the name of parity), we may more likely lose a whole bunch of these player jobs at 50k+ salaries. I could see starters like Oso, Teibert, Laryea, ZBG etc. moving to American MLS teams in that event, with fringe or younger players being pushed to take much lower salaries (or leave for USL).

A better transitional solution might be to coax MLSE (and others) to invest in the CanPL and develop an incentive to row in the same direction (perhaps MLSE can fund a team independent from TFC in London for e.g.). At the same time, the success of the MLS Canadian teams can be better harnessed to promote the CanPL through the Canadian Championship by increasing the match-ups (perhaps by including a group stage whereby each or most CanPL teams play one of the MLS teams at least once). 

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3 hours ago, narduch said:

This is a great topic.

I would say in the long run it would be better if the 3 MLS clubs joined the CPL.

However I don't think now is the time to do that.

Let the CPL grow and get close to MLS's level first.

Spot on

There's no arguing that CPL having the monopoly on Canada would take the league as a whole to new heights in all metrics. Now's not the time as you said, this will be revisited once their sanction exemption expires forcing them to reapply. Where CPL will be by that time will have big ramifications.

You're also right that they need to be "close" / comparable - not necessarily equals which is IMPOSSIBLE. Both leagues plays by totally different sets of rules. If CPL can become consistently the 3rd best league in the region by then, it will be worth exploring that.

MLS might spend lots of money on their rosters but main is it spent poorly with all those rules. They are always 2 DPs injuries/absences away to look beatable. I don't buy our young domestics are that significantly weaker than theirs and Forge Internationals shows how a well built squad can be dangerous. Increase the wage while having the rest of the league reaching somewhat that level while top clubs keeps improving and you aren't that far*

**Ok - I need to say this before I get "you're dreaming". If MLS dropped their DP, GAM, TAM bs, they'd be way further ahead and quite possibly the best league in the region. Too many owners comfortable with status quo to see a change within this decade IMO

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7 minutes ago, yellowsweatygorilla said:

Not sure if I am getting your point - are you suggesting that investment from the Big 3 could lead to increases in salary across the board? That could certainly help, but I just worry that the direction of current CPL leadership and no guarantees that the Big 3 want to spend more than necessary (if anything there may be downward pressure from other CPL teams to limit Big 3 spending in the name of parity), we may more likely lose a whole bunch of these player jobs at 50k+ salaries. I could see starters like Oso, Teibert, Laryea, ZBG etc. moving to American MLS teams in that event, with fringe or younger players being pushed to take much lower salaries (or leave for USL).

Spending are tied to revenues. CPL having a monopoly in Canada with all the soccer attention on them would boost revenues across the board while attracting more potential investors who wouldn't have to worry about MLS competition in the big 3 markets. If revenues increase substantially, wage and infrastructure will follow

 

9 minutes ago, yellowsweatygorilla said:

A better transitional solution might be to coax MLSE (and others) to invest in the CanPL and develop an incentive to row in the same direction (perhaps MLSE can fund a team independent from TFC in London for e.g.). At the same time, the success of the MLS Canadian teams can be better harnessed to promote the CanPL through the Canadian Championship by increasing the match-ups (perhaps by including a group stage whereby each or most CanPL teams play one of the MLS teams at least once).

Not sure where this belief that we can't do anything without being in a US league... It's ok to be like the overwhelmingly majority of leagues out there and build this thing up together. Canada is frustratingly allergic to starting things from scratch like everyone else, hence this foolish idea of NWSL franchise here.

Side comment - I love how everyone fell in love with the NHL "North division" and lots of fans wanted it permanent. Heck, that even led to a boost of interest. It's not like we'd never see MLS again, we have CCL for that

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2 minutes ago, Ansem said:

Not sure where this belief that we can't do anything without being in a US league... It's ok to be like the overwhelmingly majority of leagues out there and build this thing up together. Canada is frustratingly allergic to starting things from scratch like everyone else, hence this foolish idea of NWSL franchise here.

Side comment - I love how everyone fell in love with the NHL "North division" and lots of fans wanted it permanent. Heck, that even led to a boost of interest. It's not like we'd never see MLS again, we have CCL for that

To be clear, I said "transitional solution". I ultimately want the three MLS teams in CanPL - I am in agreement with everyone else here that it's just about timing and now might be too soon.

I was offering up a suggestion on how CSA might leverage the resources and visibility of the MLS teams to help build the CPL through the Canadian Championship and through financial investments (I am thinking if MLSE has investments in CPL and that these investments yield returns, they'd be more willing to voluntarily move the TFC when the time comes).

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1 minute ago, yellowsweatygorilla said:

To be clear, I said "transitional solution". I ultimately want the three MLS teams in CanPL - I am in agreement with everyone else here that it's just about timing and now might be too soon.

I was offering up a suggestion on how CSA might leverage the resources and visibility of the MLS teams to help build the CPL through the Canadian Championship and through financial investments (I am thinking if MLSE has investments in CPL and that these investments yield returns, they'd be more willing to voluntarily move the TFC when the time comes).

I think the 2.5 CCL berths will fast-track this. Those games will help the clubs and league a LOT

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