Major League Soccer should resist Blatter’s winter schedule

October 16, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Posted in General Football, Major League Soccer | Leave a comment
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I love watching summer soccer. One of the things I love about Major League Soccer is that it keeps soccer going all year round without a break. When the season in Europe winds down, Major League Soccer is just getting into the meat of the season. When the MLS cup is awarded, things are well under way in Europe. A nasty fellow called Sepp Blatter wants to put and end to this non-stop party.

Blatter, who is the President of FIFA and the undisputed Clown Prince of Football, wants us to change soccer in North America to correspond with the winter schedule the rest of the world plays. This would mean starting the league in August, taking a six to eight week break at winter, and then starting up again in the new year with the final in spring.

This is a recipe for disaster for MLS, which has recently enjoyed a fantastic boom in growth due to the David Beckham effect. Why would MLS squander this growth and risk alienating its fans through radical changes to its schedule?

I realize that some MLS fans want things to be just like they are in Europe, with no salary cap, promotion and relegation, and winter football. In my view there would be nothing more foolish and destructive than trying to emulate European football. What makes MLS soccer so interesting is the fact it is a laboratory for new football ideas. The conservatives of FIFA don’t like this creativity. I say they should back off.

There is no doubt the MLS schedule should be created so as not to interfere with World Cup qualifiers, Major World Cup tournament matches, and FIFA sanctioned international friendlies. This means more mid week games should be played so that fans don’t have to watch their MLS teams play without their stars who are absent for international duty.

If ratings drop off in winter due to NFL pointy-ball, the MLS and its owners will just have to compete and win by providing entertaining football and by gaining fan loyalty. There are signs that this is working, with loyal fan groups in particular in Portland, Seattle and Kansas City. The majority of these fans will be packing their stadia whether NFL is on or not.

The prospect of watching football games on plastic pitches in domed stadia because of winter weather does not appeal to me at all.

Don Garber should resist the evil advances of Sepp Blatter and retain the summer schedule for MLS.


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