In Limbo: Q & A
|by Tim Froh|
Question: Ought the United States accept its invite to the 2007 Copa America?
Answer: Without doubt, yes. Many cite the MLS scheduling conflicts as a reason why the U.S. Men’s National Team cannot participate in the Copa America. This is absolutely backwards thinking. Without even moving to a new Autumn-Spring schedule, MLS could easily accommodate the Copa America with a very simple solution made possible by the addition of the Toronto franchise for the 2007 season. What I mean is this: With thirteen teams, an odd number of clubs, MLS can move to a single table and significantly shorten its season to twenty-four games. Not only will this make the playoff race tighter and more important, but it will also free up enormous amounts of time in the summer months. Certainly a twenty-four match season would free up sufficient time for the Copa America?
Some might question the feasibility of this plan. It’s true that the chances of MLS switching to even so much as a single table format are probably 50-50 at this point. It’s also true that MLS brass and owners would be reluctant to lower the number of regular season games and hence, (theoretically) ticket revenue. However, a shorter season could be beneficial in a number of ways, not least of which is the aforementioned strengthening of the playoff race. Each game in a shortened season takes on more meaning, and with each club facing the other an even number of times, the Supporter’s Shield winner also takes on an added significance. Also, with the lower possibility of playing Wednesday games, average attendance should receive a significant boost, always a popular position in the league office.
Question: What does Jersey sponsorship mean for MLS?
Answer: Nothing but cash in the bank. Honestly, those of us who understand MLS’ financial goals understood that this day was coming. If each team can receive even so much as one-half million dollars per year, this will have been a big success. Now whether this translates into bigger paydays for the players remains to be seen. MLS has seen an enormous influx of new money this off-season, and it’d be a shame if the average team payroll did not increase along with it. Until this money can translate into success on the pitch, it will have only been a partial success. You’ve got to wonder what these jerseys are going to look like next year though.
Question: What happens if Juergen Klinsmann becomes the next coach of the Mexican National Team?
Answer: Nothing, because it probably isn’t happening. Rumors have been swirling lately that the Mexican FA has been considering Klinsmann for their vacant coaching position. But, as with the United States, all these are right now are rumors. I’ve never gotten the impression that Mexican National Team fans have been particularly thrilled with foreign coaches (although I don’t want to generalize, this is just my personal experience), and the situation just seems a little odd, especially since, as far as I know, Klinsmann does not speak Spanish. However, if the money’s there, Klinsmann may be there as well.
Question: What happens if Sven-Goran Eriksson becomes the next coach of the U.S. National Team?
Answer: I kill myself. No, Eriksson would not prompt mass suicides among the U.S. faithful, but we would all completely lose our faith in Sunil Gulati to make rational, sane decisions as head of the U.S. Soccer Federation. Eriksson, to my way of thinking, is just a big name that Gulati can throw around while he interviews more serious candidates such as Klinsmann, Pekerman, Nowak, Yallop, and Querioz. It’ll be interesting to see what he decides, but please Sunil, for the love of God, don’t hire Sven.