Welcome to the Pyramid, and our first article of 2016! Before we go any further, let us pause and consider the madness of professional soccer in the modern day. Rafa Benetiz, he who has a record of 17 wins, 5 draws and 3 losses, with a team 4 points off the lead, has been fired. Rumors are swirling of Louis Van Gaal being fired and replaced by Jose Mourinho, himself fired earlier this winter. Silly season is truly upon us.
Now, this weeks interview was a surprise. After the interview with the Milwaukee Barons a couple of weeks ago, Andreas Davi of the Milwaukee Torrent reached out to me and we spent New Years Eve doing a rolling interview, covering some German soccer, the American Soccer League 2, and what the plan is for soccer in Milwaukee. Check it out below.
American Pyramid: Tell me about yourself. Who you are, where you're from, what your roll is with the Torrent.
Andreas Davi: My name is Andreas Davi, I'm a former soccer player from Leverkusen in Germany. Been in the US since 2009. I am the Owner and head coach of the Torrent.
Can you recap the history of the Torrent for us? Basically, what is your team's 'origin story?'
I started the Torrent February 2015 after a well known league asked if I could help and start a team. I made the decision to start pro soccer on a lower level to build it up. It will be a program for home grown players. I want that current youth players have the goal to play one day for the Torrent.
That's good to hear. What league are you going to start out in? I don't recall seeing what league the Torrent will be playing in come 2016
We will play in the American Soccer League 2.
ASL2? I'm not really familiar with that league. I know it's a branch of the ASL, but that's about it. What can you tell me about the league, and where the other teams are that you'll be playing against?
We start a new division in the Midwest with the goal to play in the normal ASL in 2017. The ASL plays year round. I will be also the league manager. Can't tell you the teams because we are still in the process of taking applications but that will be done in the next two weeks.
Okay, I understand that. I've been talking with Tim Singleton at FC Fargo all year, are they still joining ASL2? I know he had said that's where they wanted to play, but it was never really confirmed.
Yes they are.
Awesome, that's really good to hear. Now back to the ASL2. Is this an amateur league, semi-pro, or something else entirely?
The purpose of the ASL is to have a pro team and a reserve team.
We made the decision to do it like the NPSL. Most of the NPSL teams pay their players and are a pro organization.
What made you pick the ASL over a more established league, like the NPSL, PDL, or Premier League of America?
The PLA is strictly amateur. The NPSL had some problems with the central division in the Midwest. PDL doesn't allow paid players.
The best fit would have been the NPSL. I don't think people know here that 80% of the teams pay their players. When I was the commissioner in the Midwest we were the only division who didn't pay players!
Really? That's good to know. Find out something new everyday I guess. Does that mean the Torrent are a pro team, or are going to be a pro team in the near future?
All of our players are paid! We are a pro team. I pay tax for every single player. People have to stop thinking that you're only pro if you do mls, USL or nasl
We pay our players through the LLC and not by running camps, and all our salaries are guaranteed, not only when you play!
That's exactly why I do these interviews. Knowledge is power, and now everyone will know your team is pro. Are all the teams in ASL2 the same way?
No, we have to mix it up. We have one other pro organization for sure and it's not Fargo.
Okay, doing a mix sounds like a good thing for everybody. Where do you hope to see the Torrent 5 years from now?
USL pro is the goal because they're affiliated with the MLS. NASL would be great too, that is and has to be the ultimate goal.
What do you think of Pro/Rel in the US? Can it work, and will it happen?
That's what I think we need. It can't be about who has the most money. I don't think it will happen and it makes me sad. You keep teams on a lower level only because they don't have the money.
Do you think the lower level national and regional leagues, along with state and metro leagues, should start working together on some type of Pro/Rel?
They should but it will be hard to pull it off. Everybody has different ideas and visions. US soccer has to step up and make a simple pyramid. It works everywhere in the world but not here. Germany is organized to a 10 league system with promotion and relegation.
10 leagues? Shows I need to look into Germany's system more. What's your favorite league and or team to watch?
German Bundesliga and my team is Bayer Leverkusen.
You must be enjoying having Chicarito around this year. Who's your favorite player to watch? One present, one past.
Andrea Pirlo and Bernd Schneider.
Favorite book, soccer relayed or otherwise?
Not really in to reading.
It's alright. You have a favorite soccer show or podcast?
I try to catch every soccer show on TV, like a lot hallo Bundesliga and the fox Bundesliga show.
Very cool. I need to find a way to get a package that's cheap that will give me some soccer channels. Last question for today. What would say to people wondering why the should support a lower level team in lower level league?
That's easy. If you like what the club stands for, the commitment to the town, make it accessible to all kind of soccer fans and you want to tailgate, cheer in the stands with your friends, meet other people who are crazy for soccer, see a great level of soccer with kids who work their rear end off because they play in and for their city, then it doesn't matter what league you are in! Amen.
And amen to that. No matter way to finish an interview. Thanks for taking the time to do that today, I know it's a crazy day. Now it's time to party and bring in a new year.
Thanks again for reading American Pyramid folks. In order to find out more about the Milwaukee Torrent, check them out on Facebook or Twitter, or at milwaukeetorrent.com. As always, give us a 'Follow' or a 'Like' on Twitter and Facebook, or, to humor me, do both. Keep an eye out on this space for more interviews and op-eds, along with updates on other websites I'll be doing some writing for in the near future. Until next time, Stay Loyal, Support Local.