The following is a brief chat I had with Terry on one of the many misguided notions out there surrounding why American soccer doesn’t need promotion and relegation.
Specifically, the argument goes something like this.
“Gary, the other team sports in the US operate as closed systems without promotion and relegation. And they are the best in the world.”
Hence, the thought goes:
“Soccer in the US doesn’t need promotion and relegation.”
Again, I have to emphasize that if you are a parent of a youth player, it is essential to understand that how the system is governed at the pro level, directly impacts what opportunities – or lack thereof – your child has or will have within this ecosystem, at any level.
The regulations and policies established at the highest level, sets the incentives throughout the system.
All that stuff you read about how youth soccer in the US is broken, all of that frustration you feel within your immediate environment, all of that, is a consequence of how the system is governed at the highest level.
It is a direct consequence of the professional level being monopolized and closed to domestic competition.
This also holds for every other touchpoint in the ecosystem.
So if you are a player youth to pro, or a coach, or a club, an employee within a club, a vendor, or any business in the American soccer space, anyone really outside a specific tiny minority, you are being adversely impacted in both your wallet and in your opportunities.
This is why it is essential we have these ongoing episodes centered on how the system in the US is a closed monopolized one, where gatekeepers get to decide who the winners and losers in the marketplace are.
Outside an exception here or there, who the winners and losers are in the marketplace has nothing to do with merit.
And the preservation of this status quo depends on the participants and consumers continuing to be unaware of this fact.
So I repeat, if you want to be better equipped to successfully navigate the waters of American soccer and contribute towards moving the system towards one of diversity, openness, inclusion and merit. A system where a monopoly doesn’t get to decide how far you or your child can go, it is incumbent on all of us to learn as much about the issue of promotion relegation as possible. And do whatever we can to move our country in that direction.
As I mention in this episode, it is a moral imperative.
Lastly, it’s important for me to express I can appreciate the other side. I can appreciate the side of MLS. The side of the monopoly. If I had an ownership stake in a monopoly, I too would likely work to preserve that status.
And I would appreciate those who would like me not to have that status.
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