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!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Footy as Football - Liverpool

So the last team I have is Liverpool. I wasn't sure how I wanted to do the Liverbird. I thought about doing a Seahawks style logo, but ended up cutting it's head off. 

The team is name the Reds, but I chose a white helmet. On white, the red logo would look just like it does on the crest. I put the Hillsborough flames on the back of the helmet just for symbolic reasons too. The rest of the uniforms are red, like you'd see a Liverpool kit. My idea was a "red and white USC", so I used that template with white instead of red.

This is my last one, so thank you to everyone who followed!

Footy as Football - West Bromwich Albion

This one was one of the hardest I had. There's only so many ways to make a bird logo. I wanted to do a spread wing logo, and figured it'd be funny for a small song bird to look super mean. 

The color scheme with brown and tan would be unique, and would let me differentiate it from other teams. I really wanted put a lot of details into this one, so I threw numbers on the back of the helmet, a bird logo patch, and some Texas A&M stripes. The gold pants are the only one of it's kind in this series, and it only took till 19 to do it!

Footy as Football - Manchester United

For United, my goal was to make a mean looking devil. The devil on the crest is a nondescript blob, so I had to go from scratch. I played around, tweeted my result, then realized everything I did wrong while I was at class, and made this. My favorite part is the MU as the wrinkles on the forehead.

The uniforms are pretty bland, but I wanted them that way. I put a pitchfork on the helmet, horns on the jersey, and made everything on red black. Like the real team, the pants are white with black accents.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Footy as Football - Everton

I really wanted to put the tower on this, but it just wasnt working. 

I figured that I could make a boring E logo and carry on like they were the Colts. The helmets have wreaths as pride stickers on the back, something I haven't used yet. The uniforms are a mix of classic and modern. Plain white pants, and abnormal white stripes on the sleeves with the Broncos number font

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Footy as Football - Stoke

Stoke is all about tradition and the fact they were formed in 1863, so I went super old school. I made a wishbone S, inspired by the bears. It was symmetric and felt like I could get away with it.

The uniforms are classic though. I thought a winged helmet would represent the traditional Stoke stripes in a way I hadn't yet. The uniforms are SUPER boring, but I felt like it was necessary on such a storied look. This one may not stand out like the others, but I thought that if any team could rock it, it would be Stoke.