Hello everyone and welcome back to American Pyramid! It's been a long, long time since my last interview, but that doesn't mean I haven't been working on them!
It's with great pleasure that I can now release this A Nation Whose Time Has Come: Vernon Kapuaʻala of the Hui Kanaka Pōwāwae, or Hawaiian Football Federation. My best friend is a Hawaiian Islander, so when I heard about this organization, I knew I had to do an interview. And now, it is finished, and ready for your reading pleasure! Click 'Read More' for my interview with Vernon.
Tell me a little about yourself. Who you are, where you're from, and what your role is with the Atlanta District Adult Soccer League.
My name is Matt Laczko, I'm currently living in Kennesaw, but I'm originally from South Florida. My current role is more of a communications/marketing director role. It ranges from taking photos to live-streaming games to being the marketer for the league on a freelance basis.
What can you tell me about the ADASL? What's the league's origin story?
The ADASL is a 52 year old Promotion-Relegation league that started due to the Atlanta Chiefs want to grow the game of soccer in Atlanta. Since then, the league has been an active member of the Georgia State Soccer Association.
The League started with 9 teams in 1967. In that first year, the league played two seasons, split between the fall and spring. The final was played before an Atlanta Chiefs home game in the old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. The Lockheed Tornado overcame the UGA club team by a score of 1-0 to win the inaugural league championship! Current membership averages between 25 to 30 teams for the Major Season in two divisions. The Major Season is the main competitive season starting the third Sunday in September and running through late spring.
How many teams are currently in the league, and how is it structure?
Currently we have 10 Division 1 teams that compete all over the Atlanta area and 16 Division 2 teams that are competing for promotion this season with the newest addition to our Pro/Rel league with the inclusion of a Top 5 playoff that includes the teams that finish 2nd through 5th being in a playoff for the final promotion spot in Division 1. The team that finishes 1st will be an automatic promoted team. The teams in the bottom 2 of Division 1 will be relegated at the end of the season.
We also have an intra-league tournament called the Perrin Cup which was named after a former ADASL player, manager, and league officer that lost their life to cancer in the 80s. Chris Perrin optimized a ADASL lifer and we are glad to honor him with the tournament now named after him being an automatic qualifier to the USASA Region 3 Tournament via the Georgia State Soccer Association and ours partnership! The biggest part of this tournament is that it is a single-elimination tournament so that means anything can and will happen due to the stakes!
What can you tell me about the Perrin Cup? When did it start, and how do the teams respond to a knockout competition?
The Perrin Cup started two weeks ago (October 27th) and will go on throughout the season. Last year it ended following the end of the season in the Spring. This year it will probably have the same timing. It’s basically the EFL’s Carabao Cup but in our league it leaves more room for teams in D2 to get the chance for upsets! Teams either are all in, like Fury FC last season who went to the semi-finals as a D2 team last year, or can be all our before the tournament. All of our players love it because they get to test their mettle against Division 1 teams and see if they’re ready to take that leap.
How did the opportunity come about for the Perrin Cup to become the qualifier for the USASA Region 3 tournament? I'm sure there will be a lot of teams competing in Cups like this who would love to know how they could get something like this going for their Cup competition.
The Perrin Cup is more where rivalries are made, with Majestic SC and Fury FC became more of a rivalry when Fury had an early upset against the team that had won four titles previous that season.
The Opportunity came for the Perrin Cup to become a region 3 Qualifier via the Georgia State Soccer Association and our leagues close affiliation and the fact that the Georgia Amateur Cup was not bringing enough competition. So the GSSA decided on letting our intraleague cup become a Qualifier since it brings more parity and ensures the quality of play from Georgia is top-tier.
This really began from the ground up with our leagues board, players, and managers all bringing out the best in each other and allowing for the GSSA to see our league as a viable state independent league that enables more competition between amateur teams.
Are there any rivalries that really stand out to you in the league, either in League play, or when teams meet in the Perrin Cup?
Rivalries are really found more in league play with teams such as Revily FC, Majestic SC, Wings SC, and Club ATLetic being more of older rivalries since they have been in the league longer than most other clubs. The Georgia Revolution FC and ATLetic rivalry seems real and they also have a rivalry with Terminus FC now since they lost to them in the Summer League.
How you describe the level of play in your league, and in Atlanta and Georgia as a whole?
I would personally describe the level of play being slightly lower level of play you see on the NPSL or USL2 level for our Division 1 teams. Games are very tight or very wide open with a lot of the players being former collegiate, professional, or semi-professional players. In Division 1, we have teams like the Georgia Revolution FC who use their club as a development team for their NPSL season and teams like Club ATLetic, Majestic SC, and Revily FC who all have veteran players and players who currently coach at the youth level playing either still in their prime or slightly past their prime. You can’t really tell that part of their game because the pace is still breathtaking and the tactics are there.
Where does the league hope to see itself in the next 3 to 5 years?
The league hopes to continue to grow in the next 3-5 years and build out our divisions as we have had in the past. Introducing more opportunities for amateur teams across the Metro Atlanta area. In the long term that means having up to three divisions, introducing more high level competition across the board, having our leagues players being recognized as the talent they are and possibly signing for professional teams (I.e. Clayton Adams of Austin Bold FC and Jordan McCreary of the Sacramento Revolution), and the best part of all of this is ensuring that we continue to reward teams for their play with paying for travel and entry fees into US Open Cup, USASA Regionals, etc.
What's the best for people to find out more about the league and the Perrin Cup?
The best way to find out more about our league is our website www.adasl.com, follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), watch our games of the week on MyCujooTV, and of course come out to any of our games during the season because they are free to the public! We host games across metro Atlanta from September to May and we can be anywhere from Peachtree City to Marietta to Alpharetta to Downtown Atlanta!
Welcome back, faithful readers of AP! It's been a long time since I've done one of these. Today's interview with Oakland Roots SC is actually the first since this May, and the first since the baby was born.
There are going to be some changes at AP moving forward. I am going to continue doing interviews, but they will be fewer and farther between, as I'll be focusing on trying to make sure interviews are higher quality, to make it worth the wait, while also doing more op-eds, which seem to draw a lot of interest.
Now, back to today's interview. I've actually worked with Benno on doing an interview to discuss his project in Oakland once before, and we didn't get it all worked out. This time we did. You'll also hear from Mike Geddes of Street Soccer USA and Edreece Arghandiwal, two of the other guys behind Roots SC. Oakland Roots SC also have an affiliate playing in the US Open Cup this year, Oakland Leopards, and they're first game is against Oakland Stompers on Saturday, September 22, 7:00pm PST at Castlemont High School in Oakland. Details of a live stream should be forth coming. And now, without further ado, I give you the Roots.
Happy Friday everyone, I've got a surprise interview for you! As you may have seen, the United Premier Soccer League, or UPSL, announced some changes to their playoff format this past week. Prize money has gone from $5,000 per championship winner twice a year to $10,000 per championship winner twice a year. A significant improvement and amount for the amateur scene.
Ahead of this weekends final UPSL Championship under the old playoff format, Yan Skwara took some time to answer a few questions about the new format and some other potential changes for the league in 2019.
UPSL has grown quite a bit since we first talked, leading to a serious revamp of the UPSL's playoff format. Can you walk us through what prompted those changes to increase prize money and get rid of a more 'March Madness' style championship structure hosted in one place?
The UPSL has obviously grown so we have to adjust to our growth and do whats best in the interest of our league and team members. As far as the announcement of the revamped playoff format goes its no different that other leagues who have been in our shoes and grown out of their shoe size. We need to now go to a regional / national - one game final format for a handful of reasons but high on the list is the economics. Also, having a one game final really gives the UPSL and its sponsors the opportunity to showcase a final and build a event that is powerful and meaningful with sizable crowds. With that being said we are excited about our finals this weekend in Colorado as it will be the last "August Madness" style playoff format but we will have eight great teams from all across the country flying in and squaring off to see who will be crowned 2018 UPSL Championship.
On the prize money side, we have always been a leader in the market as far as being one of the few National leagues that offers a cash prize to the winner at the end of the playing season. Because we have grown, we are now blessed to be able to invest back into our league for our members. Outside of players wanting to complete for a championship cup, owners need to be rewarded for their efforts and annual investment and a cash prize of $10,000 twice a year gives clubs the opportunity to put some cash in the bank and continue to invest in their players and the club itself.
Do you feel these changes are going to make for a more competitive and intimidating playoff atmosphere?
I think the stakes will go up each time we are able to increase our UPSL Championship cash prize and we certainly are not stopping here at $10,000 as our goal is to keep working with our sponsors so we can coninue to increase the cash prize in the future because we know it will make a difference in not only the level of competition but it the size of our crowds and spur sponsorship.
As the league grows into new places, like the Dakotas and Alaska, do you see this new playoff model as more efficient and cost effective?
Having four conferences and keeping playoffs regional will clearly benefit the league and its members from a cost standpoint keeping cash in the bank and not going out on travel.
The NPSL does offer some help to teams to cover travel costs. Is that something the UPSL would consider doing if needed?
We did announce on top of the $10,000 cash prize each season, the UPSL will provide an initial $5000 travel per dium to cover travel costs for the visiting finalist. As far as a travel per dium for the regional's, we are looking at that and will see what we can come up with but for now we are set with a $10,000 championship prize twice each season (two seasons in a 12 month period) and a $5000 travel per dium twice per year so total budget set aside for Finals is $30,000 for 2019 between the cash prize and travel per dium.
Any plans to have a Championship Game naming rights sponsor to increase the prize money on offer?
We are meeting with title sponsors as we speak and look to have some good news in the near term. For me this is the fun part and an exciting opportunity to continue to grow the league and set a whole new standard for the game in America.
Anything else exciting that the UPSL is working on for 2019 that you can share to the people reading this so they have something to look forward to? A league naming rights sponsor, perhaps, or a Hawaii conference?
We have several major announcements coming forward that gear around additional new league title sponsorship's not to mention some very exciting new teams in markets that are new to the UPSL and some great management team additions.