"I'm all about growing the game with everyone."
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Hello again and welcome back to American Pyramid! This is going to be the last new interview for a couple of weeks, as I will be out of state next week in Cheyenne, Wyoming for Thanksgiving. Recently Texas has seen an explosion of teams joining amateur leagues, with the UPSL starting a Texas Conference that includes three new teams, and more on the way. Brendan Keyes, the head honcho behind the Texas Premier Soccer League, (You can read my first interview with Brendan by clicking Here) reached out to me to provide an update on how things are going with the TPSL, the addition of two new teams, plans for the future, and some details for anyone out there reading this that might be thinking about starting a team and joining a league in Texas. Check it out.
t's been awhile since our first interview. Looks like the league has been going through a lot of changes. You moved the Hurricanes back to Galveston, had some teams go, and new ones come in. What's been going on with the TPSL in the last year?
Well Texas is a huge state and TPSL is really the only league doing a set up like a national league within Texas itself. NPSL and PDL are not really competition for us as they are summer programs with only 3 month leagues. UPSL on the other hand they are from what I've been told a two season league doing winter/summer seasons, so they would be more competition for us than the other leagues. TPSL would have the edge as I am here in Texas as they run the UPSL from California. Obviously they would have someone on the ground in each State but that's not the same as having the president of your league accessible in person at all times. Our league is the best option in my opinion for teams in Texas. Why would you want to spend more money to do the same thing? Texas teams to me should play in TPSL, it's a great league, a fair price with strong competition. I know some of the teams going into UPSL and they are below our level. I'm not saying UPSL is a bad option or a bad league; quite the opposite. I have spoken to UPSL Commissioner Yan Skwara about them coming to Texas, and he seems like a nice guy.
This is what we are doing next season which was always the goal for league. Offering a $3,000 prize to the league winner will help teams and you can also get $1,500 for wining the lower division.
Moving the Hurricanes FC back to Galveston is a big change. I made a huge mistake moving to Houston and I have said that openly many times, including to you. Houston already has so much and also Galveston was much more receptive towards us. I'm very happy to be back in Galveston. Houston still has a team in TPSL called Houston Fury, so it all worked out in the end. Twin Cities and Austin are still with us and FC Knights are still here, while we added Fury and Genova from San Antonio to make it 6 teams. The League is very competitive with 5 strong teams and one which is developing each year in FC Knights.
Right now to join the TPSL Premier League for 2018/19 season it's $2500 per team. Once we reach our tally on teams we will start promoting teams from our Championship division, which will cost $1500 per team with the opportunity of promotion to top division. That was always the idea from the beginning.
The team that win's the TPSL Premier League will receive a $3,000 check. The winnings will help teams buy uniforms, balls, whatever gear they need, etc. The money is for club not players.
The winners of the Championship will win $1500 and also promotion to the Premier League. We want to be the first to have promotion and relegation in a league spread across this great State of Texas. If you want to know more, don't hesitate to contact me, I'm more than happy to talk and provide for more info.
You've got a lot of competition in Texas now. The NPSL, PDL, and now UPSL and even, to an extent, the Gulf Coast Premier League. Is there something going on in Texas that's turning it into such a battleground? Has the state just been under-served?
Texas is big enough for everyone, what we need to understand is we have to work together and not try to go against each other by tapping up each others teams. The one thing I have never done is try to get a team from another league in TPSL. We advertise our league to all teams and if someone calls we listen but I will never contact a team and ask them to leave a league and promise the world just to get them to come in. That's why if you look on our website you will read clearly what our goals are and our cost. No hidden agenda, I do this because I love the game, it's all I know and all I do. I am an honest, hard working man that has been involved in the game all my life, teams come to our league because they know what they get upfront. Players have the opportunity to move on up the ladder or get scholarships. I help them if they are good enough to move on.
As a former pro player and a current pro coach, I have added more to CV in the game. General Manager of Leagues, President of League, Owner of teams, Scout and agent, National Coach with USSF and FAI. I have done it all in the beautiful game. I want to see Texas Soccer grow, but most important for me is to see players have fun and try to help them grow in life and in the game. I give coaching courses for new coaches and also for coaches looking to further their education in the game. It's a full time gig and I love it.
How many teams do you want to have in the Premier League before starting a Championship, and also, if I'm a team interested in joining the TPSL, why would I join now? Why not wait until the Championship opens up and pay less money?
Championship is opened up, teams can come in for 2018/19 season for 1500 right now and gain promotion by winning league. Some teams might prefer that option and some would rather play right away in Premier league. Once we get 10 teams in Premier league we will close that door of going straight in and teams would have to win or come second. The top two will go up and bottom two go down.
Thanks for asking pal, good question.
Have you considered shutting down direct entry to the Premier League to focus on building the Championship, and do promotion only for a couple years? Say, two teams going up and zero going down for the next two seasons to build things up a little faster?
I think with the promotion that we have going, $1,500 to come in for 2018/19 we will have 4 teams in championship right off but I get you and understand and love the feed back from you. It's a possibility obviously we would have to see how it goes. But what I want is at least 6 teams in Prem for next year and 4 to start in lower level that's the goal. We will have to wait and see.
Are there any particular areas of Texas that seem to be more interested in starting soccer teams than others?
I don't think so pal, I mean the four main cities obviously you have big market but Texas in general is open and plenty of room for all leagues to do it the right way without tapping up teams from each others league. That's one thing I hate and won't put up with. If it happens again I will go public but don't ask me who as I am keeping it quite unless it happens again. That's so unprofessional and should never be done. I would never do that it goes against my principles
How do you plan on making sure certain parts of the state, like West Texas and El Paso, don't get left behind and miss out on opportunities to play in the TPSL?
If you re-read my original text I said we will set new goals as we grow, we are obliviously open to grow north, west, east and south. Remember we have PDL, NPSL and UPSL so teams have options which is great I have no problem with that. I just don't want other leagues tapping up my teams, that's unprofessional and needs to be stamped out.
Let's dream for a minute. If everything works out the way you want, everyone gets along, and their are no roadblocks or speed-bumps of any kind, what does the TPSL look like in five years?
My hopes are a league that gives teams everything they want, to support the teams to the best of my ability. To give players the opportunities to play abroad and progress here in American Soccer. For the TPSL to have at least two divisions of 10 teams with promotion and relegation with top two going up and bottom two going down. A lot will depend on the geographical area we will play in, it could be four divisions of 6 or 8 teams North and south east and west. We will see but I think what gets lost in all this is players want to move on up the ladder to full time pro or get scholarships, and TPSL and my own team has done that on more than a few occasions which is an amazing achievement for a such small league.
I'm all about growing the game with everyone, always have been open to grow the game but when leagues and people only have own interest at heart and dollar signs it's gut wrenching because I work so hard to help these players and do most of it out of my own pocket. I have 6 teams in my academy and not one of the Academy players pay a dime, I even donate the uniforms to them, the only players that chip in some money is the TPSL players, they pay for uniforms and registration, all food, travel, hotels, training, fields, refs balls, gear everything else I could go on and on is paid for by me. I even sponsor some of the TPSL players uniforms and registration, no player is turned away because they can't afford to pay for uniforms.
So the potential TPSL players have something aim, who are some of the success stories you've had in the TPSL that have made the move up the ladder to full time players, or have gotten scholarships?
Well the most recent one's are the two Indian players Kean Lewis and Pratik Shinde, both to ISL. Weirdly enough, Kean ended up playing for same team that Pratik got cut from, FC Pune City.
Alex Mendoza who played MLS but got cut because of injuries came to us and then went back to USL pro and to Mexico to play, he also played in Romania he was a fantastic player I was his agent in the deal. Blane Nauck is playing in Paraguay, I coached him from 10 years old.
We have also sent many players over to Europe in exchange programs with English, Irish and German clubs, not only my team but other teams in the TPSL.
Also the other way around. As you already know we've had Gary Doherty, former Spurs player in the EPL play for us and also an assistant coach, Paul Byrne the former Celtic player. Both well documented so you can google to see stories.
Brendan, thanks again for taking the time to do this interview, I really appreciate it. Remember, if you are enjoying the content I'm putting out, I'd encourage you to click here to Follow me on Twitter, or here to Like the page on Facebook. Make sure to spread the word by sharing these interviews, telling friends about the blog, those kind of things. I can't accomplish my goal of maximum exposure for all levels of the American Soccer Pyramid without YOU. Until next time, Stay Loyal, Support Local.