Today's interview is brought to you by MeritFit. MeritFit.co is a Kansas City based fitness and nutrition blog run by one of my good friends and certified Personal Trainer, Dustin Duewel. He played soccer for 12 years, inspiring his passion for fitness and nutrition. Check out his blog for all kinds of useful information to up your game and get ahead of the competition.
First things first, huge thanks to John and all at American Pyramid for letting me ruin the blog.
As a newcomer to the States, chances are most of you reading this already know more than I do about the lower league scene here. So if I start stating the obvious, I apologize. Humo(u)r me and my British ways, please!
This inaugural interview is with Steve Siomos, President of the Metropolitan Soccer League here in Chicago. The league has been in existence for over 40 years now, and has given rise to some of NL Chicago’s mightiest sides. I hope you enjoy it.
First off, can you tell me a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you're from, and what your role is with the Metropolitan Soccer League?
I am from Greece, I play Amateur soccer in Chicago. I refereed in the Pro indoor League the NPSL, I am now the President of the Metropolitan Soccer League.
When did you first get interested in soccer in general and how did you end up helping run a city league rather than a club?
I started playing soccer when I was a kid, I do have a Club, Hellenic United, which I support and am the President of the League.
What's the story of the Metropolitan Soccer League?
They were created in 1981, majority of the teams are European based, now we have some American Youth clubs that have joined our League.
Do you get any fans or casual observers at games? Or are clubs purely recreational in intent?
We get some fans for indoors, outdoors we get very little.
How would you describe the soccer scene within Chicago?
I think there are a lot of teams playing Amateur soccer in Chicago, they just don't draw many fans.
Do you follow the Fire at all?
Yes I do.
Do you think there is a market for more pro or semi pro soccer in the area?
No. The USL and NASL is not on the same level as the Fire, even though the Fire are not that good at this point. The Hispanic population does not support the teams unless there are Hispanic players in it. The European population doesn't support as they are too spoiled watching games from Europe.
What do you think differentiates the Metropolitan Soccer League from other leagues within the city, like the NSL? Do you see them as direct rivals, like the USL and NASL, or is there any collaboration between you?
Definitely direct rivals, I think the Metropolitan Soccer League is more organized. USL and NASL is a higher level.
Does the league have any interest in the Promotion and Relegation conversation that is bubbling away elsewhere? Is there any way in which a move toward a national pyramid could be a good thing for the league?
I don't think we can compete with any of this, especially with money.
If someone is reading this and thinking they would like to set up their own club, what one piece of advice would you give them?
Email me and I will tell them the best league to play in.
Favorite player ever?
Where can people find out more about the MSL?
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