Wednesday, October 21, 2015

MLS By New Era

So a conversation between my friend Gus and I about caps went something like this.

"Do you have a cap template?"
"Yeah, but it's not great. I may make a new one"

And sure enough, that's what I did. I took a little break from my Yakball thread since it wasn't getting notes(but should) to make a new cap template. I copied the New Era cap preview on their site and created this. Here's a basic look at it.

The conversation with Gus started because we both thought it would be cool if New Era and Major League Soccer teamed up and made caps using initials, or partial logos of the crest. Over time, they'd become iconic, and recognizable like MLB caps.

So here are 20 MLS 59Fifties

EDIT - Expansion teams count too

Monday, October 19, 2015

Tim Horton's Yakball Canada

When Major League Yakball formed, all the 16 teams were all American. This angered some Canadians, due to the growing following of the sport. The game was picking up steam in Quebec, and the Canadiens' ownership group persuade a club. When they were denied, Patrie Montreal formed and started up a small league. This quickly formed under the Yakball Association umbrella.

National Hockey League owners began following suit, because they could give themselves discounts on arena leases. Many of the teams are similar to their hockey brothers. In 2019, the league started. There were 16 teams, split into 3 divisions. The West was the largest, stretching from Winnipeg to Victoria. The Ontario division was 5 teams located around the province. The East included both Montreal teams, and stretched to St. John's. It was decided the top 2 in the division would make the tournament, then the top 2 wild card teams advanced too. Each team would play 46 games over the course of the summer.

The national team grew rapidly with 16 teams producing Canadian talent, and made the league easy to promote the league with. Companies jumped on board with naming rights and sponsorships for teams. The Canadians would go on to host, and beat the Americans in the 2024 World Yakball Cup. This was huge for the country, as they would be known for a non-winter sport.

The Championship rotated to a different division every event, and this one took place in Montreal.

It felt right that the two Montreal teams won the East. Ottawa and Hamilton won in Ontario, and Vancouver and Calgary moved on in the west. The wildcards were tight. The best wildcard team was St. John's, which only was 2 games clear. Rapid Saskatchewan lost on the last day of the league to Toronto, letting Winnipeg into the playoffs.

The teams were seeded, setting up the tournament that started the next Sunday. Patrie Montreal was the first seed, and lost to Winnipeg at home. Vancouver took care of St. John's, Calgary beat Hamilton, and the Montreal Maroons beat Ottawa. They were the last hope to defend the Bell Centre. Calgary got to play the 8th seed, and they won by 12, embarrassing the Patrie fans who bought tickets to the semifinals. Vancouver played the Maroons, and they ended the hopes of the city.

Vancouver had a core of players since day one, they had one of the best passing attacks in the league. Calgary became a huge producer of talent, only to sell their players to richer teams. Vancouver had beaten Calgary 5 of the 6 meetings this season, and didn't come out in their best form. Calgary United was hard hitting, and controlled possession. They went into half 6 points clear. Vancouver couldn't get any rebounds, and couldn't get points. Calgary, as a 4 seed, went out and won their first title.

Calgary has the traditional striped sleeves, same as the original series. The crest is based off of the city crest, and pays homage to the Flames. Vancouver is similar to the original look, but with straight stripes on the chest. The pattern also was introduced to the sleeve, to give more of a hockey look.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Major League Yakball

The original league is still considered the strongest club league in the world. The American Major League Yakball is full of original players, and attract the big names in the world's yakball scene.

The league was officially formed in 2018 by 16 teams, the 16 teams were assembled by the best club teams in the country, or financial backing by investors who saw a future of the sport. Typically played in large arenas, the league fits between the NHL's regular season and the opening of the next.

In 10 years, the league produced some of the best talent in the sport. With 16 stable teams in the league, they had youth teams that produced talent to fill the depth chart, and the money to bring in top talent from around the world. The league refused several attempts to expand th league to keep the 16 team rule, and several bootleg leagues formed. They, obviously, became a source for talent that MLY teams used to bring up players. In 2022, the league decided to split the teams into two 8 team divisions. 

The regular season starts the first week of May. The teams play in division opponents 4 times, and out of conference division opponents twice. The 42 game season lasts until the first week of October. Then the fun begins. Modeled after the NCAA's conference tournament, the MLY had the original Yakball Championship week. Eventually, the first week of October became the biggest event in the sport. With the division split, the top 4 teams in the division would travel to a neutral location decided the year before. Each team would get a chance to host the Yakball Championship before a team hosts it a second time. The 2028 event took place in Raleigh, home of the struggling Carolina Flyers.

Michael Taylor was winding up his final season in 2028. He was no longer the best center in the league due to the 34 year old showing age. He captained the Tampa Bay Tridents to the Championship as the 3 seed. A victory against rival Empire NYC put them in a game 2 days later against Boston YC. Boston was the strongest team in the league, built up from years of poor play and high draft picks. Boston put an end to his career with a 49-41 win. In the west, Seattle and Sporting LA were on a collision path. They brushed off Dallas and Denver in the first round. Sporting LA played from behind the first 3 quarters, but came back with a 10-1 run to start the 4th quarter. Los Angeles held on to win 43-39 and advance to their 3rd all time championship.

Boston's halves remained the same for the 10 years between events. They formed in 2012 as the local club team. A group of supporters built up support and found the funding to join the league. Sporting LA was an attempt by a wealthy group of celebrities to start the European model of a sporting club. The only difference from year 1 to 10 is the replacing of navy with a darker grey. The sashes still remain on the kit. The crest eventually was replaced by the monogram on the crest.

Boston had a strong attack lead by an enforcer out of UConn they got in the draft. But Sporting LA had the best defense in the league. This was built up by money and age. The core starters played together for 6 years, and they had the money to keep them. Boston went into half down 21-15. There must have been a motivated half time speech, because Boston played much better. The passing rate after the half was up 25%, and Boston began using their size to come back. Los Angeles couldn't match it, and lost grip of the game. Boston would go on to in 42-35 for their first championship.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Adding to the Yakball Canon

As mentioned before, there are 16 top tier leagues in the world. Originally, the Yakball Association started Major League Yakball in 2018. They decided that there would be leagues in Canada and the British Isles as the 2nd and 3rd leagues. These leagues would be known as the Charter 3. In the Magna Carta of yakball, it was written that these 3 countries would host the first 3 World Yakball Cups. The USA hosted in 2020, Canada in 2024, and the UK in 2028. The first two hosts won.

They're the 3 leagues I completed in full on my original run. Here are their new logos.

As interest grew from other countries, the sport recognized that it would be hard for countries to meet the 16 team limit alone. Yakball carefully set up a league in Southern Europe called the Orange MediLeague. They had teams in Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland, and Portugal. Though not traitionally Mediterranean, the geography worked and travel wasn't bad. Yakball established the 3.1 rule. Vancouver and St. John's are roughly 3,111 miles apart. Leagues couldn't pass this, all teams had to be within this distance to be logistically playable.

After the MediLeague started, leagues in Central Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, and China started. This brought up an interesting strategy. Teams saw that national teams could be built on domestic leagues, such as the USA and Canada. But since they couldn't support 16 teams, some national teams opted for one team in their country. That way, their national roster could play together year round, if not broken up. A typical yakball roster has 12 players, but only 10 can dress for the game. The good players would be bought by bigger leagues, and they could just slide in a young player in replacement. Iceland was the first to come up with the strategy when Reykjavik was admitted to the SKF Nordic Liga.

Over the next 5 years, many new leagues started up. Brazil and Mexico started 16 teams domestically. Russia has 14/16 when they started their league. Japan shared a league with Korea, with the majority being Japanese due to the national player pool's depth.

Yakball always said that each league must have 16 teams or nothing. The sport single handily brought world peace, allowing "pan-leagues" to form. Pan Leagues are leagues that span several countries, some with troubled pasts. The Union League in Southeast Europe is a good example. Teams in Greece, Turkey, and all over the Former Yugoslavia allowed the citizens to finally have top level yakball. The Arab League spans over Islamic nations, and two from Israel. People believed they should not judge based on religion, and just play yakball (I had to write this in for any of this to make sense). The Air Asia Yakball League spans 7 countries from India to the Philippines.

The newest league is the Vodaphone PanAfro League. Sixteen teams began playing in Africa last year, with 11 national teams wanting to bring teams to their country. South Africa has 4 teams, and is considered a rising team in the Yakball world.

So why am I telling you all this? I wanted your help.

I need suggestions for names before I post the polls for the teams. I relied a lot on the followers for team names last time, and want you guys involved in as much as possible. So if you have any suggestions for teams in the 13 new leagues that just have a pin on the map(those that do are off the table), please send them in below

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Yakball Revolution

You guys, it's back.

A few weeks ago, I started reading back the historical fictional football league threads on the boards. It was so cool because they decided the teams, brands, and performances. I wanted to do a similar series based around Out of the Park Baseball, but I wasn't in love with the idea.

Then I remembered something I had complete creative control in.

The year is 2028. This year is significant because it has a few milestones. It will be the 10th year of Major League Yakball, the original league based in the United States. Founder and GOAT Michael Taylor(that's me, let me have that one) has announced that he will retire by the end of the year to become the Yakball Association president. The sport is booming. Sixteen recognized top level leagues exist. Major sporting clubs like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have bought local clubs and put them under the umbrella organization. The 3rd World Yakball Cup begins play in the UK in mid December, the last of the original nations to host. This is the last time it will be on the original 4 year sequence, as the sport will begin being played at the Olympics in 2032.

Yakball is played in the summer, between April and October. The leagues are always 16 teams, they play between 40 and 50 games a regular season, depending on the structure of the table. Each season ends the same week with a tournament at a neutral location, much like conference tournaments in college basketball. The winners in each league advance to the Super League, a week long tournament between the 16 champions.

For those of you still confused by what's going on, search yakball. Just about any search engine will bring up the old concept series I did based on a sport I made up.

A quick run down - I invented this sport in high school. It's a 4 on 4 game similar to half court basketball. The goal is to throw the ball in the target located in the center of a wall. The wall is playable, and can be used in passing, or provide a backboard for missed shots. The field is broken up into three zones. There is a face off dot, used at the beginning of every quarter, outside the 2 point line. Then closest to the wall, there is a box. The box is where the center plays/lives. They aren't allowed to leave unless a teammate raises their arm when the center has possession, running the ball out to behind the line. The center acts as a goalie on defense, and the best attacking option on offense. Each point results in the other team taking it out behind the 2 point line.

Here's the nitty gritty. The clock is running, four 20 minute quarters. There's on the fly substitutions too, with the substitute zone being made bigger. Each team has to pass the ball twice before a shot is allowed. Shots before then will be waved off and possession will be given to the opponents. Only 2 players on the attacking team can be in the box at the same time. If a third is there, the shot will be waived off. No one on offense is allowed in the crease in front of the box, or possession will be lost. The game is physical, but no tackling. If a player gets tackled, tripped, or hit by a player who ran up to them, the offender will have a penalty and have to sit in the sub-zone for 2 minutes. 

I think that's it, I haven't played in 3 years. Here, have a diagram.

The sport has been ever changing. Simple rules have been adapted to make the game better. As mentioned, the sub zone has been made bigger. The wall has been updated to a more stable netting. Much like an arena football goal post net. The target now has censored pads that will easily tell if a ball went in. The uniforms have also changed. The referees decided that sleeve numbers would help differentiate players. The Yakball Association crest now is moved between the team crest and manufacture logo.

Check it out.

I was going crazy not having a series up, and I miss the sport. 

Here's how the concept series will work. I'll post a voting link. You all will vote for a final of the year end tournament. So each league will have 2 teams done, determined by the most votes. I'll do a little write up of the league since I last left off. I'll post the competition logo, the teams, and who advanced. After the Super League is decided, I'll post full concepts of all 16 teams and how the Super League went. Eventually, I'll post the international teams that have a shot to qualify for the World Yakball Cup. We'll end it then, with the 16 team international tournament. How does that sound?

Thank you for reading, and vote for your favorite Major League Yakball teams. Go read that thread for full sets.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Taylor Model - Restructuring Soccer in the US

This post comes after multiple things happening in real life. I started taking classes as a Sport Management major, so I'm getting an idea of how sports franchises and leagues work. The US Soccer Landscape is also a mess. Major League Soccer is expanding. The NASL is crumbling, yet expanding to saturated markets. The USL is half reserve teams, and will be at 28 teams next year. Then, the USSF doesn't regulate amateur leagues. They all play with different season structures, and people STILL say they should have promotion/relegation. It's a mess.

So here is how I say they should fix it.

I'm calling it the Taylor Model because that's my name, and when I take over the US Soccer Federation, I'll get to implement it and be like "wow what smart son of a gun came up with this".
I believe there's still tons of room for soccer to grow domestically, but everyone is fighting for the same real estate, even though the space seems to be pretty occupied.

Lets start from the top. MLS has 23 confirmed teams, and with the edition of either Miami or Sacramento, it'll be a cool 24. Even with that being larger than most, if not all top level leagues. But MLS is set on two things, conferences and playoffs. One thing that I personally hate about MLS is how cluttered summer months are. You either have your international stars leaving for tournaments, or the LA Galaxy playing in tournaments like the Guinness International Champions Cup. How can I fix that? Split season. Now hold your horses, the NASL's split season is dumb because the team that leads 1/3rd into the season makes the playoffs 6 months after. I say put a month gap into the schedule. That way, teams can lose their stars without hurting their season. They can play friendlies to keep fit. Hell, even throw a mid season transfer period there while the team knows what they need. You could move the break around according to the summer tournament that would most likely cause the most players to leave. With 12 teams in the each conference, it would work out well. 11 games in conference, then play half the teams in the other. 17 games before and after the break. 34 total is how many teams play in leagues like the Bundesliga. Have the top 4 teams in each conference into a playoffs. Adjust accordingly for the number of teams in the league until there is 24, and do that for the top 3 leagues in the country. Oh, and one more thing. Make a reserves league. The "2" teams are drawing 50 fans (actual stat) a game, and its bringing the league down. A reserve league has players playing like players, and have spaces for new markets to get into the business.

You might be wondering why I mentioned the 4th amateur leagues. The NASL and PDL are the same on paper to me, and then there's tons of really good teams in regional leagues. What I say is blow both leagues up.  I'm calling this the "Super League". Picture this, a 16 team league of teams in the Great Lakes made up of the best of the 2 current leagues. Under that? The NEXT 16 best teams in the Great Lakes. I imagine the teams could apply and get placed accordingly, like how the Bundesliga was formed. Now do that on the West Coast, South West, South East, Atlantic, and North East. Promotion/Relegation between the leagues would give teams incentive to play, and not throw teams up into a level they couldn't compete. Right now this is the only pro/rel I have, but it's structured to where it could happen down the line. Hypothetically, there could be a Super League 3 if you have the teams, but for time sake, I'm making the 6th tier regional leagues like the Great Lakes Premier League for now.

Okay, I think I covered those 3 charts. Next? The Super Draft. Did you know that there's over 200 NCAA Men's Soccer teams? That way more than I thought. Some people don't like college soccer because it may stunt growth of players that aren't in academies. But college soccer still is bound to produce quality players. This country is so big that academies are going to miss some gaps in scouting. Those players would hypothetically go play in college. That's why I included college in my pyramid like chart. College players are amateurs, and they typically play in the NPSL type leagues in the summer. So they're gaining experience, and eventually could register to enter the draft to higher leagues.

What I say is a true Super Draft. Four rounds in one day. Two rounds of 24 picks for MLS. Then a round for NASL and USL. It'll help teams address needs immediately in the off season. Hypothetically, MLS teams would loan college players down leagues as a trickle down effect.

One last thing before I go. I know exactly when EPL games are on the weekends. They have set times, and it's just ingrained at this point. MLS has poor television ratings currently, and I think that's just because no one knows what time games are. So I would implement set weekend times. Four game times for Saturday and Sunday, plus a possible 2 on Friday Night for a thing I like to call "Friday Night Footy". I feel like Friday night is an untapped market, unlike Sunday is an that's why MLS is struggling. Put it on Friday and promote the hell out of it. Of course this country has time zones, but one would adjust accordingly. These times are Eastern, just because that's where I am. 
So after a month of planning, this is what I got. How does it look? Let me know @michaeldanger19

Monday, September 28, 2015

Keepin' it Simple, FIFA

So I was watching 2014 World Cup highlights with my roommate this weekend. One thing I noticed was how FIFA's light/dark rule took some classic match ups away from us fans. If you aren't familiar, each team must have a uniform classified by light, and dark, and no light/light, or dark/dark match ups could happen. For example, Colombia had a "light" yellow kit, and a "dark" navy one.

The biggest issue I had was Spain vs the Netherlands. Spain had a red and white kit, and the Netherlands had an orange and navy one. Red/navy, and orange/white wouldn't clash, yet they did under the FIFA rules. These rules lead to companies making monochrome looks, like Germany's white shorts when they classically wear black.

So my friend Gus and I worked this out. Here is my FIFA Clash Kit Color Wheel. Basically, you wear your primary kit, UNLESS the following.

The two jersey colors touch, whether it is left/right/up/down or diagonal. No two teams can wear colors on the same ring, unless it's the middle ring with primary/secondary colors. Lastly, for teams with stripes, both colors would have to check out.
Believe me, the system is far from perfect, but I just needed to get the idea into a visual.

So that wheel lead me to think about classic looks. I was looking up old World Cup kits and was like "man, forget all these gradients and stripes, that's a really good look" over and over again. Clearly, kit manufacturers are gonna have their own thing like Adidas stripes and stuff, but I mean, it'd be great if there was a locked in traditional scheme all the classic teams were locked in to. No mixing, but a look that each team would wear 8/10 games. So here's 18 concepts I did in 2 hours and here they are!