Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What's Going On In The NASL

Freddy can now suck at the touch of a button!
By: Aaron Gunyon

This NASL off-season has a different feel to it. There are always massive roster changes at the end of the Fall, but even that is not what I mean.  Three new teams will begin NASL play for the first time in 2016, but even that isn't where I am getting this feeling from.  Something has changed with pace of the off-season activity and the flurry of signings is causing more reactions from fans.

I like it and I will hit some highlights as I move from team to team in a manor that resembles six degrees of Kevin Bacon. 

The bulk of the teams in the NASL appear to be making a statement with their recent activity.  I am careful to remind myself that there is much more time left on the clock prior to 2016, but lets try and read into a few situations around the league.  Feel free to follow along on this NASL Transactions Page which is where most of the basis of this speculation comes from. 

I follow one team more closely than others, but I don't want to bore the rest of the league with Tobacco Road FC.  I will start elsewhere. I could choose to go by season rankings or alphabetically, but this is Bloody Shambles so I will address the State of the League at random.  Haphazardly and without punctuation

San Antonio Scorpions FC

The lack of off-season activity combined with internet rumors made this a slam dunk speculation for most of December.  A new deal for their stadium was going to make the Scorpions homeless.

The NASL dealt with this news the same way they always do.  They pretend not to notice and hope no one else does.  We noticed NASL!

The new ownership group has MLS aspirations and they think that USL is the best fast track to that end.  USL has a partnership with MLS and that certainly explains why USL exploded last year.  

Puerto Rico FC

The NASL is expanding too.  Well...They have an owner we have all heard of in Carmelo Anthony.  They have website with a clock on it. They have a coach and Wikipedia page containing less information than this particular blog post.  

So, should we be excited about PRFC?  Probably not yet at least.  I know FC Edmonton isn't thrilled to travel a distance of 5,603 Km.  I have no interest in converting that to miles.  I am told its quite far.

A team with no players is not a team and a doughnut without a hole is a Danish.  I am concerned that PRFC have no news to share at all.

FC Edmonton

I like this one.  The Eddies are one of only two teams that could take the field right now and compete 11v11.  That is one heck-of-a stat for a league that might or might not have 13 this year.  Maybe they like their players and where they finished in the league.  Nothing is wrong with that.

Lance is gone.  Edmonton made him an off that he could refuse.  Jamaicans love the NASL so it wont be long before that need is filled.  I have no doubt his midfield creativity will be missed, but not the International Call-Ups.

Minnesota United FC

This is a team trying to prepare to make a splash in the big kids pool.  They are also the rich kids that pay for their friends right now.  

Lance Laing and Stefano Pinho are big signings for NASL standards. Even though those players might not be MLS material, they will help to improve the perception of the Loons on a national scale. 

Minnesota will have a big stadium to fill in the next few years and that means they have to sell some tickets.  I consider this shopping spree part of the marketing budget for the MLS version of this team. 

Ft Lauderdale Strikers FC

One Brazilian leaves and another may fill the void left behind.  There is a rumor that Kleberson may make his way to the Strikers and help Ronaldo start their very own over 30 league with all 7 international slots.

Strikers have a few friendlies in January so...

What we do know is that Ft. Lauderdale will fire their coach at the end of 2016.  It will probably be Gunter Kronsteiner if recent trends continue.

Atlanta Siverbacks FC

Atlanta is another returning team with very little news about returning players.  They are the a lost puppy being sheltered by the NASL Humane Society and Sarah McLachlan is busy writing a song for them right now.

Good effort from the NASL Atlanta Trust.  However, it looks like the NASL will operate the club for another year and Jaime Chavez got out just in time.

Miami FC

The list of teams using FC is at an all-time league high and Miami wanted a piece of that action.  Miami FC are building a roster with talented players like Jaime Chavez, Blake Smith and Dane Richards.

Thankfully, those guys look good in orange and blue.  No one will ever have to guess which team is from south Florida...ever.

They are set to enter the league as an expansion team in the Spring of 2016 which is an actual start date for an actual team playing soccer professionally in Miami.  Beckham is jealous.

Jacksonville Armada FC

Meanwhile...In yet another part of Florida...Tony Meola is preparing to take the NASL by storm. It will be the first team he takes anywhere.

Maybe his friend Juergen Sommer (Former Head Coach of Indy Eleven) told him how easy it was.  I am assuming they were friends. I don't really know but they were both goalies on the USMNT so they probably spoke once.  I guess.

Tampa Bay Rowdies

Meanwhile...On the other side of Florida...Freddy Adu is vacuuming away what is left of his career, but he will be joined by Tom Heinemann.  Heinemann was rumored to and "linked" to almost every NASL team at one point.

Tampa does mean business and I have no doubt they will score some very expensive goals this year. They are doing their part to raise operating costs for the entirety of the NASL.

Thanks Tampa.
Sincerely, San Antonio and Ottawa.

Ottawa Fury FC

"Sell Sell Sell... anything that isn't nailed down.  We can't afford this stuff."

Indy Eleven

The best fans in the NASL are following some of the worst performers in the league.  Not anymore.

The team has a new coach with decades of experience and hair that reminds you of a majestic snowy peak.

Good news for Wojciech Wojcik as he no longer has the most cumbersome name on the roster. He will be joined by SINIŠA UBIPARIPOVIĆ and the duo will be creating havoc for spellcheckers everywhere.

New York Cosmos

The Cosmos get plenty of coverage.  They won the league, but they might be destroying it by pricing other teams out of the competition.

The Cosmos should also probably let Pele rest a bit.  He is retired after all.

The new stadium looks cool though.

Rayo OKC

This expansion team has hasn't played yet but it has already created headaches for their parents back in Spain.

The crest for OKC is derived from the original crest of Rayo Vallecano de Madrid and that reminds me how bad team crests can be without Photoshop or Illustrator.

The teams home games will be played in a high school stadium which is top notch, but beer sales are a real concern of mine. It is Oklahoma so I imagine guns will be sold at the concessions stand.

Carolina RailHawks FC

I haven't met one person that knows what a RailHawk is.  I also haven't met one RailHawks supporter.  Do they exist?  I refuse to write about a team with no fans.

We wont know until someone comments on this blog.

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  1. From San Antonio so following the NASL now is like keeping up with an old friend hoping they do good things with their life. That being said, with connections to the SAS front office, I was told the 2013 SAS players felt completely uncoached under Hankinson, that he just hired good players and just expected them to perform and know their roles, i.e. a lack of coaching. Hope that is different for the sake of Indy fans.

    1. probably depends who you are "told" by, and Hankinson's opinion of their FO at the time was not a good one. Topped table in 2012, 1 point from top in spring of 2013 and then it all fell apart, probably all the coaches fault right? And everything I have ever heard about Scorpions FO is bad, not saying you are wrong, but if you have a bad reputation from 2012 to 2015 there may be a slim chance it wasn't the coaches fault (I'm not the author of this piece)

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