Yesterday I posted a thread on Twitter about an idea for a league built around making sure teams have a low cost and prize money. It was not meant to be in anyway a comprehensive, detailed idea, just the bones of one.
But the nitpicking! My goodness, the nitpicking!
So, since it's Friday the week before Christmas and I have nothing else to do, here is a more detailed breakdown of the Cash Money Prize League.
16 Teams, 2 divisions, 8 teams per division, promotion and relegation, 14 games per season.
$1,500 per year. $500 to the league for operations, support, website, etc. $1,000 into league play prize pool.
League Play Prize Pool: $16,000.
First Division Champion: $10,000.
First Division Runner Up: $3,000.
Second Division Champion: $3,000.
All teams would live stream, so you could actually sell league naming rights because you could guarantee your sponsor consistent advertising. It wouldn't be a ton of money, but who knows? Maybe you can throw another $1,000 or $2,000 into the prize money pot? That could even turn into a little extra for the third place team, you never know.
Yes, I'm aware there are other costs related to running a team like field rental and referee costs. I do work for a club after all, so I'm very aware of that.
The more league grows, the bigger the prize pot gets. By the time you reach 3 Divisions, you're looking at $22,000 in the prize pot.
Now, one argument I got was that teams would drop out after one year if all they had to play for was prize money. Teams drop out of leagues without it all the time, so the combination of promotion for second division teams and prize money for division champions would hopefully be enough to combat that kind of turnover. Maybe there's eventually a league, and a prize for winning that to give all the teams something to aim for?
One other thing: This league would automatically cover the costs of it's champion entering the US Open Cup and National Amateur Cup, which is $1,100 in entry fees and bonds, I believe, plus an extra $1,500 that the team can use as needed for each competition.
This mean you are looking at....
First Division Champion: $10,000 + covered entry cost for USOC & NAC, + $1,500 for expenses
First Division Runner Up: $3,000.
Second Division Champion: $3,000.
Now, there's big incentive to stick it out, bring your A game, and work to rise to the top, isn't there?
My only question now is, who wants to help me build this thing?
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!
The amateur scene is a hot mess right now. NPSL going after GCPL teams. USL going after NPSL teams. UPSL teams leaving to start their own league. UPSL expanding like crazy. It's getting legitimately ridiculous at this point.
What are all these leagues and clubs to do?
I believe there a few simple things clubs can do to help better connect with their communities to ensure longevity and connection.
But first, college.
College fans are a rabid, invested lot who will put up with a surprising amount of losing because it's their local school and local players. There is a real connection there between the fans and community and the team itself.
1. Allow fan ownership. We all take something we own more seriously and passionately than something we don't, right? So let fans buy into the team! Don't be crazy with it. Start small and simple. 25 people can buy in at $50 a year. The next season, another 25 can buy in, but at $75, and etc, etc. Get your community to invest in the club itself!
2. Use as many local players as possible. Sure, it's great to win games. But winning games as a team in, say, Iowa, with players from Tennessee, Florida, and Ohio, isn't the same as a team fighting every game through thick and thin with players from your city and state.
This is an easy thing for clubs to do. Just give yourself limits. If you plan on having 25 players on your roster, decided to only use a maximum of 3 from outside your USASA Region. Then 5 to 10 from within your USASA Region, and 5 to 15 from within your city and state. Obviously, these are guidelines, not set rules, because every situation is different, but do not underestimate the power of connection and investment from your local community.
3. Stop with the stupid names. Don't be Force FC. Don't call yourself Dallas if you play in Flower Mound. If you're playing in an established neighborhood, like Hyde Park in Kansas City, you don't want to call yourself Kansas City, you need to call yourself Hyde Park! Start thinking far more local with your naming, and remember: this isn't Backyard Soccer for the PC. Clip art logos and dumb nicknames like Swerve, Synergy, or Power scream 'I really don't know what I'm doing or who I'm trying to market to.' It's looking for the soccer mom crowd in an age when the kids are savvy and smart enough to spot something phony and say no.
Also, do you see any colleges using nicknames like Storm, Force, Synergy, Legends, Premier, or Elite? No? Then don't make that part of your teams name either.
As for leagues, I think the easiest thing to do is....affiliation. Let existing leagues affiliate with you for a small fee per team. NPSL, work with them to give your teams a home for spring and fall play. Put their standings on your site, and give their champions a spot in your playoffs.
I've long thought this is what UPSL should do. Build leagues where there are none, and work with the existing ones to create a solid structure. Work with the Cosmopolitan Soccer League. Charge them $50 per team in the top flight, put their standings on your site, promote the champion to your regional league, and allow them to decline it if needed. Let the leagues keep running and doing their thing at the local level, focus on overseeing things at the national level.
Anyway, those are just a few ideas for what clubs and leagues could do to help stabilize the amateur scene, before it all burns to the ground.
Top 5: Fixing the US Open Cup
Hello everyone, and welcome back to American Pyramid! Currently I'm on the second of four articles focusing on fixing things in lower league soccer in the United States. As voted on by you, the readers, the first piece came out last week, Let The Conflict End, and you can read it by clicking Here.
Before we go any further, I'd also like to encourage you to check out my other site for the National Amateur Cup. I'm trying to help generate more interest in, and put more eyeballs on, a competition run exclusively for amateur teams in the United States. Not only will you be able to see how the tournament progressed this year, but you can review all kinds of history, too. You can check that website out by clicking Here.
Today's article will focus on something that seems to be endlessly debated. Fixing the US Open Cup. There are a lot of things wrong with it, but for the sake of keeping things moving, I'm only going to discuss the five changes that I believe need to be made. Before we get started, here's an interesting point of comparison for a Cup competition in another country with a, for now, closed system, Australia.
A comparison of the Round of 32 for the US Open Cup & Australia's FFA Cup.
A-League teams in Round of 32: 10. Only 7 can advance, 3 all A-League games in the Round of 32, 9 teams from lower leagues can advance to the Round of 16. In the Round of 32, 3 teams are from what Australia considers Tier 3, 1 from Tier 4, 18 are from Tier 2.
MLS teams in Round of 32: 21. 5 all MLS games, 14 advanced to Round of 16, only 2 teams from lower leagues advanced, only 11 teams from the lower leagues competed in the Round of 32, 10 from USL Championship, 1 from the NPSL. The Round of 8 features 6 MLS teams, 2 USL Championship teams, and 2 all MLS games.
Granted, the A-League is smaller than MLS, but this will still give you a good idea of what level of imbalance exists in the US Open Cup.