MLS shows the way forward for A-League
Every now and then you read an article that really makes you think. Matthew Doyle, the armchair analyst for the MLS had this effect on me when I read his recent article Existential questions answered by now.
The main point of the article was the MLS has grown hugely recently, when in 1994 no one gave it a chance.
To play in the MLS today you need to come from a lower professional league, which is kind of like a second and third division. It’s not promotion and regulation as we know it, but who can prove they can make it as a bigger club.
The clubs playing in these divisions also get to prepare themselves for the big day when they are ready to go to the MLS.
How sensible is this approach? Simply develop the lower level leagues. Support them but don’t give them the burden of relegation and promotion, which can perhaps occur before they are ready.
Everybody can see when you are ready to come into the major league. You have your stadium, fan-base, coaches and a basic squad, to which you could add a few players of a higher class.
But your team is established before you enter the league.
What is most interesting about this system is, as these lower teams grow, so does training and talent spotting.
Doyle said, “And it means that the next generation of Dempseys, or Donovans, or De Rosarios will have come from professional academies.”
“That’s not meant as a knock on the amateur clubs out there – many of them do a fine job of developing the talent they have.
“The smart money, though, is on professional academies – a network of them from coast to coast – doing better. That’s the way it’s done all over the world; precedent, after all, is relevant.
“And here’s the other part of the precedent: A number of these kids will someday turn into adults who are very good at soccer, and they will move from the third tier to the second tier to the first.”
Doyle went on to say that not only will this system strengthen the US national team, but the entire structure of MLS.
“In the international football community, talent flows uphill. Then teams on the bottom reinvest to create more of that talent. Success perpetuates success.” Doyle said.
You can do the math from there, and you should – it’ll be the relevant storyline of the next 15 years.”
How does this plan fit with Australian football development? The Associations and NSL clubs that want to be involved will be given the chance to prove themselves.
If a club can get a crowd of, say 12,000 to a match, as well as sponsors, then they are ones to go up. Additionally, having a large number of training clubs to create pathways will help keep our best in football.
It is so simple and so brilliant. Let all new clubs and their fans prove themselves before they come in. It’s transparent will provide pathways for players, coaches and officials, and considerably strengthen Australian football.
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