This is not growth

It must be spring, because Bill Peterson is again making asinine comments about how fast the league is growing. As I pointed out last year, the pace of the league’s growth has been glacial from its inception, and it hasn’t gotten any faster.

Last season, we had eleven clubs. Two dropped out after the season ended: the Atlanta Silverbacks (who will field an NPSL side this year) and the San Antonio Scorpions. Two teams are joining at the beginning of the 2016 season: Rayo OKC and Miami FC. Puerto Rico FC will join mid-way through the season.

From eleven teams to eleven and two-thirds. Peterson says this is growing the league, “[A]t a pace that is very fast but manageable.”

This is not manageable growth. It is stagnation due to  mis-management. Allowing a team to join in mid-season was a bad idea when they let the Cosmos do it, and it’s a bad idea now. That’s aside from the questionable decision to add a team that will drastically increase the travel budgets for every team in the league, including some that barely made payroll last season. Meanwhile, we still don’t have the west-coast team that US Soccer requires, and Minnesota United will leave for MLS after this season.

Peterson was Traffic Sports’ pick for commissioner. I’d hoped that after it divested itself of its last team in the NASL, that the NASL owners would jettison the buffoon. Why do they keep this guy around?

 

Growth so slow you can’t see it

In this article on the growing popularity of lower-division soccer in the U.S., North American Soccer League commissioner Bill Peterson is quoted as saying, “We are growing quickly… I don’t think it’s too quickly.”

He’s right that the NASL isn’t growing “too quickly,” but I take issue with the idea that it’s growing “quickly” at all. The league launched in 2011 with eight clubs. Four years later, there are only eleven. In 2012, the San Antonio Scorpions joined, but the Montreal Impact moved up to MLS the same year. The next year, the league gained the New York Cosmos for half a season, but lost the Puerto Rico Islanders. Two more teams joined last year, and one more this year. Next year, the long-promised Virginia Cavalry and Oklahoma FC are supposed to start play, but neither actually looks likely. Not only is this NOT “growing quickly,” it’s barely growth at all.