"I firmly believe institutions, much like people, must have character."
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Hello again AP Readers! I was a little worried that due to work busy-ness today's release would have to be delayed until tomorrow. But through sheer force of will (a quieter than expected morning) I was able to get everything together and out on time!
Before you launch into reading this interview with Tim Sas of Duluth FC, I want to recommend that at some point you listen to this excellent podcast interview he did with Flakoglost, now known as Non-League Colorado. You can listen to that by clicking Here. Also, just so you are aware, Tim is a Priest in the Orthodox Christian Church, so there is a religious slant to this interview and the team. I encourage you to read with an open mind, and not make any judgement. Soccer is a universal language, regardless of race or religion. Check it out.
AP Power Rankings: Week 5
Well, well. The times, they are a changin', but our Number 1 team in USASA Elite Leagues is not. That's right, for the first time this year, we do not have a change at the top of the rankings.
Strikers FC continue a blistering run of form to hold onto the Number 1 spot. Santa Ana Winds are right on their tail with the same amount of points, but a lower goal differential, claiming the Number 2 spot for the second week in a row. Moreno Valley FC are two points behind both, staking out Number 3.
FC Arizona continue to blitz NPSL Southwest opponents, winning 4-1 over the weekend. They have scored 19, and given up 1, jumping them 4 spots from last week to Number 4. Colorado Rush dropped the hammer as well, rolling to a 4 point lead in the USPL Colorado conference and the Number 5 position.
Riverside Coras did not play this week, dropping to Number 6. LA Wolves hold onto Number 7, and Ozzy's Laguna climbed out off the bottom to Number 8. The only thing keeping them this low is the lowest Goal Differential in the Power Rankings.
Finally, we have two new debutantes at the bottom. California Victory have been crushing teams in the UPSL's Northwest Conference, and make their Power Ranking debut at Number 9. Thanks to a loss by Vereinigung Erzgebirge, Phoenix Sport Club take Number 10 while VE fall into On The Brink territory alongside fellow weekend loser La Maquina.
No major changes in our On The Brink list this week.
What do you make of this weeks Power Rankings? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Population Control, or The Population of Cities Housing MLS, NASL, and USL Stadiums
As I'm sure you can tell by the title and subject of this article, it's a slow work day. That and I've been reading an interesting book about baseball that also explains how modern day American Sports came about. I'ts called 'The Outlaw League and the Battle That Forged Modern Baseball.' It contains some strikingly similar things to what's happening in American Soccer today, and some really interesting population breakdowns.
These population breakdowns got me thinking. 'What if I counted the combined populations of the cities with MLS, NASL and USL teams individually to see who has the largest potential supporter base?' But then I decided to dig a little deeper, and actually narrow things down. Rather than use Metro Areas, what if I only counted the community the teams stadium is located in?
I did this for a couple of reasons. 1 - I was curious to see where these stadiums are really located. 2 - I believe the larger the immediate surrounding area, (10 to 15 minute radius) the better equipped you are for sustained support. 3 - I'd find out which league has the most teams in actual major city limits. I also applied one rule: no counting of USL cities that also contain an MLS franchise. 4 - I did count cities containing confirmed expansion teams and stadiums.
Behold, the total population of cities that are home to stadiums hosting MLS, NASL and USL teams!
Thanks to Excel's handy color coding, you'll notice what cities are largest and smallest in each league. I'll break it down for you anyway to be nice and recap.
One thing really stood out to me after doing this. Even though they have the fewest teams, NASL has the most stadiums located within actual major city limits, even more so than MLS. And in spite of having the fewest teams, NASL is only trailing USL by about 1.3 Million people, despite having 16 fewer teams.
Part of the reason NASL has such a presence within legitimate city limits, such as Miami and Jacksonville, is thanks to their lack of requiring teams to have soccer specific stadiums. This allowed them access to the urban core that MLS would love to have. Could that urban core acces be a potential selling point for the NASL to expansion groups, and to the USSF for continued Division 2 sanctioning?
MLS, were it not for LAFC's stadium within LA City Limits, would not have had near as high a population as I thought. And the boroughs of Brooklyn and the Bronx are HUGE.
USL surprised me with the size of some of the cities that their teams stadiums are located in. San Antonio is way bigger than I thought, and Cincinnati much smaller. Overall, USL seems to have found a niche in terms of the size of their cities.
After looking at these numbers, each league, to me, has one big advantage in it's favor for new teams. MLS gives teams the prestige of being 'Major League.' NASL gives you the ability to locate a team anywhere in the urban core. USL gives smaller big cities a chance to have professional soccer.
What do you think of all this? Anything interesting that you noticed that I missed? Let me know in the comments below!
"So you want all our secrets, huh?"
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Hello faithful AP readers! Got a good one for you today. Guerrilla FC is part soccer team, part brand, all funky fresh. You've probably seen their killer uniforms already, and if you haven't, you'll see them in the interview. Justin Salhani graciously took some time to answer questions over email about the design process of their uniforms, the importance of a team's identity, and his love of Arsenal. Check it out.