I’ve posted a couple of things about MLS expansion lately (as have a lot of other folks). One related topic that I can’t seem to shy away from is promotion and relegation. For this to ever work though, it’s not just the MLS that needs to expand. The USL1, USL2, and PDL all need to get bigger and improve their geographic coverage—the USL 2 is a particularly bad case.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the PDL (and especially the Northwest Division) recently. As part of that I’ve noticed something, the Northwest Division is geographically unbalanced:
It’s also three teams smaller than the Southwest Division. In the interest of shooting the breeze with other folks interested in the PDL, I decided to ask around and see where people would like to see three additional teams added. Here are the tally’s, along with some commentary:
|Salt Lake City, UT||2|
I think Boise would be a good place. That is solely based on geography, I don’t know if they would have the input from NCAA colleges or have the local player pool to draw from. Right now, Ogden has a difficult time getting players in town from their colleges in time to get quality training with the team. ... Many of the teams in the northwest have local colleges that feed the PDL teams with players, and since they are local, they are able to train with the team. -Daren Moon
If I were the one choosing the First place that jumps at me is Boise, ID. Pocatello as well, ISU is there and you would probably get some sort of response out of that. After that, either Logan, UT or Missoula, MT. I think college towns make a lot of sense in that just looking around at RSL games, the majority of fans would fit into that age demographic and also that is the potential talent pool a PDL team would look at. -Donk
Good question. I think Victoria, BC would have good support. Eugene, OR seems like a natural fit, although a team in Corvallis might work better since Oregon State has men’s soccer and U of O does not. As a third option I would go with a team in Vancouver, WA, preferably one that is associated with an USL or MSL Portland Timbers club. -Bob Kellet
So, what does all this prove? If you ask a dozen soccer fans where they’d like to see another team, and you’re likely to get twenty answers. There is some overlap though:
To name names, I’d plop a team in the Tri-Cities (Pasco, Kennewick, Richland), Boise, Idaho (why not give Idaho a team? I played my first tournament in Sandpoint), and…to be honest, it gets a little tricky after that, but I’d go with either the Eugene/Springfield area, or perhaps and Olympia/Tacoma thing. -Jeff Bull
- Boise seems like it’s got the geography right, and has both the potential player and fan population to make it work
- Salt Lake City is also up on a couple of lists, maybe something like the Chicago Fire Premier or the Rapids U23 sides
- Missoula, MT is an intriguing idea that a couple of people mentioned—would the beautiful game work in cowboy country?
- Eugene, OR is another interesting choice, though it doesn’t really break up the geographic imbalance that already pervades the division
- a local college/university with a men’s soccer program
- a decent level of soccer support/interest in the community
- in Idaho, ‘cuz, well, they deserve it.
Will the PDL Northwest expand? I sure hope so. Where? I don’t know, but I think we’ve got a few ideas. Will a bigger PDL Northwest suddenly make promotion and relegation in US soccer happen? No, but it’s a start.