Soccer Stateside

January 1, 2000

With the Football Season in the UK and other European nations drawing to a conclusion, soccer in the United States kicks off this weekend with the first fixtures being played in Major and North American Leagues.

For one Stuart Campbell, yet another gruelling pre season is over and the action is about to begin; Tampa Bay Rowdies are up and running 2012.

Clicking onto Wikipedia I found an overview of what is happening Stateside and also an insight into American Soccer Leagues and Associations. This is what I discovered:

The professional first division league in the United States is Major League Soccer, which as of 2012 has 16 teams in the US and three in Canada, with expansion possibly bringing a 20th team by 2013.

The second tier league is a new(ish) incarnation of the North American Soccer League. This league was formed in late 2009 by disgruntled team owners from the former second level league, the USL First Division. US Soccer initially sanctioned the new NASL in November 2010, revoked its sanctioning in January 2011 due to financial issues surrounding the ownership of several teams, and re sanctioned it in February 2011.

The NASL launched with eight teams, five on the US mainland, one in Puerto Rico (a US commonwealth that has its own national federation), and two in Canada. One of the Canadian teams left the NASL after the 2011 season to enter MLS; that team was replaced for 2012 by a US based team. Another Canadian team will enter the league in 2013 or 2014, with the possibility of further expansion in the US during that time frame.

All sounds a bit complicated to me and plenty for Stu to get his head around. I surf the web a little more to delve deeper into the US Soccer mist.

I ask, what is the standard for Cams then, where is he in the Stateside pyramid, who is he playing for exactly and who will he be playing against? I think I have it. Following the conclusion of the 2010 NASL Annual general meeting, the league announced its formal bid to the USSF for Division 2 sanctioning with the required minimum eight teams, including the NSC Minnesota Stars and the revived Atlanta Silverbacks.

With provisional approval for the league to begin play in 2011, eight clubs were officially confirmed to launch the inaugural season: Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, FC Edmonton, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Montreal Impact, NSC Minnesota Stars, Puerto Rico Islanders and FC Tampa Bay.

What’s wrong with United or Rovers then? Not in America, Silverbacks and RailHawkes sounds much more like them and so does a spelling with an uppercase letter plonked right in the middle of a word; get used to it Stu.

On April 9, 2011, expansion side FC Edmonton debuted in the inaugural NASL match with an away win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The league no longer had a team in Vancouver, as the Vancouver Whitecaps FC had joined the Major League Soccer. In Minnesota, the Thunder ceased operations due to financial problems and have been replaced by the Minnesota Stars FC in the Twin Cities suburb Blaine, under different ownership.

So that’s it then, Whitecaps have moved up to the MLS so Cams will be playing in the second tier of Soccer USA, a kind of Championship. This is how it is for him in the 2012 season that begins today with an away fixture against Puerto Rico.</span>

New club recently reformed, English manager, lots of long distance travelling, plenty, of sunshine, evening kick offs, gates of around 3,000. a right Rowdie reception at Progress Energy Park and possible promotion to the MLS.

All the very best mate,take care and enjoy.

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