Canadian Division Two Study by Rethink (Phase 1) - League Framworks
Let's focus the discussions on what is in the Rethink Study
Here are the proposed league frameworks that were explored. Instead of recommending any one particular model, they chose to develop four league frameworks that are composites of the various models that were studied or that were submitted to us by study respondents. In no particular order, the four general league frameworks are:
3.Regional Under-23 Developmental League
4.Expansion of PDL League
Option 1 – National League
The National League framework is based largely on the structures of previous attempts to create a national professional football league in Canada with some modern innovations that could increase its likelihood of success. The features of the National framework are quite similar to those of the current Canadian Football League (CFL) and a possible league model could feature:
• Clubs owned by private investors that must meet the budget and capital requirements imposed by the CSA for a Professional league ($1.5 million annual budget, $500,000 player payroll, $200,000 letter of credit, etc.).
• Eight to ten clubs, growing eventually to 12 (as specified by CSA guidelines), that are geographically dispersed and located in Canada’s large metropolitan centers.
• A sufficiently flexible import player quota that allows owners to acquire foreign talent to enhance attendance and media coverage.
• Minimum facility size of 4,000 - 5,000, possibly expandable, as stipulated by CSA guidelines.
• Western and Eastern Conferences that play a majority of games within conference.
• A playoff format with a championship game between the Western and Eastern Conference champions.
• The anticipation of sufficient attendance, media revenues and sponsorship monies to cover expenses without revenue sharing of local revenues.
Option 2 – Club Canada
The Club Canada framework has a youth development focus and does not require the establishment of a wholly new and independent football league in Canada. Instead, it simply proposes expansion of two new Canadian teams into already existing North American football leagues. A possible model could feature:
•Two new teams known as Club Canada, or some similar brand, that would focus on developing a cohort of Canadian under-19 and under-23 players for international competition.
•The Club Canada under-19 team would compete in the USL Pro, while the under-23 team would compete in the NASL.
•The two Club Canada teams would be managed and paid for by the existing Canadian MLS and NASL clubs in cooperation with the CSA and feature Canadian national team eligible players not playing regular first-team football with their respective clubs.
•Players would be able to move freely between Club Canada and their professional clubs as needed or as performance dictated.
•Facilities could be shared with one of the existing professional clubs or could be separate, smaller facilities that still meet league guidelines.
i like the second option but that only creates 2 teams. we need 8-12 teams that have a foucs on the youth development. maybe on day we will have 60 plus teams that solely focus on YOUTH development im talking about the ages from 16-21 and thats it like the CHL
Everyone knows I would support something like option C as a means to eventually get to something like their option A so I'll try and be brief.
Option B has it's merits, but on it's own, I don't think it's enough. It would have a significant effect very quickly but it's still going to be 2 teams, out of like 6 over two divisions, for a 35 million person country?
Our solutions need to take advantage of our large population, not ignore it. We literally ignore our strengths and wilt at our disadvantages (geography) and for who? Croatia, Holland, Paraguay? CONCACAF minnows? any 5 million people that can manage a dozen top teams?
We need numerous clubs where there's numerous people at whatever level they'll take by the division because were currently building without a base (eggs in a basket? boom and bust anyone?).
I don't even think 50 roster spots is enough now (it'd be great, sure... enough, no)? What about in 20 years? Do we take our demands to the USSF?
Finally, sorry to be a jerk. But joining the PDL is not a solution, it's just whats going to happen if we remain disorganized. Not perfect but use Ontario as an example: we have 16 semi pro teams in a smaller division for the CSL then the coexisting ?6? amateur PDL teams travelling further to take on lesser teams for fewer games? . On top of that, our PDL teams tend to be better then their american counterparts, and therefore helping prop up our RIVAL'S lower divisions to ignore our own???
I know that Winnipeg for example is no-brainer for the pdl because of geography. But I think with a bit more organization, BC and Quebec could definatly maintain a semi pro club model, and maybe the maritimes and Alberta could do better with a division then a couple pdl teams for that level. After those big condensed markets though I'm willing to admit the pdl could be a good solution to fill in a few cracks.
One last thing, the U-23 isn't compulsory right? Because if a region can sustain a stronger men's league it should be encouraged.
Last edited by Juby; 04-08-2012 at 07:35 PM.
- I desperately want a national league but I don't think its worthwhile until we have 10 owners, properly geographically spread and decent stadiums (no football lines or tracks). After these owners are found, we need proper sponsors and perhaps most importantly, a decent TV deal to fund this beast.
- Conference idea is brilliant. I would even suggest 3 divisions to really cut down on costs for the first few years.
- I also question the success of teams put in MTL, VAN or TOR. Perhaps reserve teams? Would this teams be able to draw?
- If this league was created they desperately need to look not only at the CFL but the new NBL. The NBL was worse off than a national soccer league would be but it has surprised everyone by doing very well in its first year.
- I don't like the regional idea for division 2 but for division 3 its fine.
Last edited by kodiakTFC; 04-08-2012 at 09:11 PM.
This here is very true. It seems like debates about a national league always has to involve talk about it being coast to coast, but that doesn't have to be the case. The GTA has a population of well over 5,000,000 alone. I know everyone is going to say we have the CSL which is mostly GTA-based and that doesn't work as a professional league, an assessment that isn't inaccurate by any means. However, I was pondering the other day about the Alouettes move to Mcgill University, the Bombers future transition to the University of Manitoba and the Argos' failed plans to join either York University or U of T. The CFL has this plan to try and capture the university crowd for spectator purposes which I think is a great idea. I think soccer should do this as well and take it one step further for the purposes of the GTA.
Originally Posted by Juby
I think we could get multiple professional teams off the ground in this region if they all partnered up with a university. I know this is easier said than done but I could see three professional teams in Toronto partnered with York, U of T and Ryerson being successful by catering to those crowds. They could even indirectly associate with those universities like the York team having a Lion in their patch and the Ryerson team having a Ram in their's. I have a hunch that university rivalry would kick in for something like this.
The NBL is exactly the model they need to go with. Start off regional and associate with the universities.
Originally Posted by kodiakTFC
Last edited by Macksam; 04-08-2012 at 10:27 PM.
Option 1 option 1 option 1.
Ok now that I've spilled that out.
Yes, Option 1 is ideal. Certainly. Pending sufficient ownership and facilities. Not to mention it'd have to have respectable TV and online streaming deals, as well as access to the Canadian Championship for entry into the CCL. Option 1 should not be regional East-West. 10 teams is easy enough to balance travel.
Teams in Option 1: Whitecaps Reserves (Victoria-based?), Calgary, FC Edmonton, Winnipeg &/or Regina, Hamilton, Ottawa, TFC Reserves (based in TO should be fine due to population and sponsorship access?), Quebec City, Montreal Reserves (might struggle if there is a QC team....), A Maritimes representative? = 10-11....12th team could be Victoria as separate, and WFC reserves play out of Surrey BC (fastest growing city in Canada, and is soccer-mad. Would draw lots of fans from the Fraser Valley, Richmond, and Coquitlam/Burnaby as well I'm sure).
Option 2 is a great idea and plays on the PRO-40 team the Americans had for a while. I remember them beating Whitecaps 3-2 in playoffs with still great frustration!
Option 2 could still go ahead with the u19's playing in the USL Pro, while the u23's played in the Canada D2? That would basically eliminate the MLS reserve teams though....? Players, such as Davies, could basically be snapped-up by these teams immediately if released by parent-club. Guys like Diesel could sign-on and be mentors. Salaries would be an issue in such cases though (referring to Diesel).
-Expanding entry to PDL makes no sense and doesn't get us any further ahead. WSA Winnipeg appears to be doing great but did they have any reps at the u23 OQ's? No. (someone can chime in here and point out likely prospects for the upcoming u20 WCQ or future u17's?).
-Regional u23 development league is fine, if standards are met. The u19 Option 2 team could play all those teams and/or in one of the leagues specifically.
@Macksam - can you expand on your linking with university idea further? Provide details? If you really like your own idea submit it to ReThink. Don't have to post it here for our approval! Thanks, I'd appreciate to hear it. No, I am not linked with ReThink.
I am leary and doubtful of any potential success by linking with universities. Unless of course CIS can start being MLS draft-eligible?
As for the remarks about these "minnow" countries having 5 million people and being able to support a league. They do it on the cheap, first off. Second off, the teams are located very close to each other so game-days and what not are no problem. Third, they'll be paying the players peanuts in most cases.....and yes, these are soccer-mad countries so that helps loads too. Not particularly applicable to Canada. Which DOES support such leagues....they just happen to be called WHL, OHL, and QMJHL.
Interesting stuff; I have been aware of the D2 study via this forum and the occasional CSN article, but I wasn’t previously aware of whom it was being conducted by, or that updates were being posted on line, so thank you @DigzTFC for posting.
A few initial thoughts:
1. A bit off topic but an interesting point I extracted from their report was that “19 of 23 of Japan and 13 of 23 of South Korea’s 2010 South African World Cup squads played their club football in their country’s respective domestic leagues”. I think it’s time we start asking ourselves what the opportunity cost is of bringing in players like Ledgerwood or Pacheco or Beaulieu-Bourgault, as compared to building a team based mostly out of North America (i.e. MLS/NASL), and then adding European based players ONLY when they clearly bring something extra to the table. I bet a team of ~14 MLS/NASL players + ONLY our top 6-7 Euro players would cost way less (in terms of travel), and therefore could be assembled twice as often. This should in my mind lead to less underperforming, and true the MLS isn’t a top league, but neither is the Romanian league, or B3. Maybe we’re not quite there yet in terms of our NA base, but perhaps every time we fly a guy like Mike klukowski into Toronto on 1st class flights from Turkey we should think, “sure he’s better than Morgan, but what’s the opportunity cost?” Just a thought, but perhaps a topic for a different thread.
2. I think Juby’s probably right about option 4 (Expansion of PDL League), although granted we haven’t seen their elaboration on it yet.
3. It would also appear to me that option 3 (Regional U23 leagues), would likely amount to something akin to a regionally based Canadian PDL, and would probably be the preferred choice of those seeking a “CHL type” framework/strategy.
4. I personally would advocate strongly for the creation of a national league, and would caution against the other options, which ultimately focus on the development of junior players, as opposed to the employment of senior ones.
Consider the following:
Why focusing on youth development alone, without seeking to establish domestic professionalism is limited, and I believe ultimately a non-solution (i.e. with respect to options 3 & 4):
There are currently 4 professional clubs in the world, at which Canadian players are not considered “foreign”. This presents a young Canadian elite soccer player, without an American or European passport, with sparse options for pursuing a career, and as we’ve seen the representation of Canadian players even on these clubs is not necessarily always in line with the national interest. We can produce as many elite junior, and U23 players as we like, but unless they have domestic professional opportunities, they will continue to face the same barriers currently faced when looking to progress in the game. A Canadian player would still need to live a vagabond life and overcome the odds in order to ply his trade professionally; the Canadian National team would still be faced with a greater propensity towards loosing it’s top end talent; and assembling a hog-pog of players from across the globe, as well as “club conflicts” would still be the norm when assembling the CMNT. IMO, that is why the CHL comparison falls short. There are no such barriers to opportunity encountered by Canadian hockey players as a result of their nationality.
An additional consideration is the establishment of a domestic base of soccer expertise on the coaching/technical/admin side of things. I’m not saying that a U23 development model would fail to foster such a base, but I would think that we not only need to be providing Canadian players with jobs, but also Canadian coaches, and this would be far easier done in my mind under a professional/profit driven model.
Why I am strongly not in favor of the “Club Canada” approach (i.e. Option 2):
I am a recreational soccer player, but I played rugby at a reasonably competitive level for several years, and my perspectives on the questions being addressed by this study, and in particular option 2, are informed in part by many years considering what holds back the development of Canadian rugby globally and professional rugby in North America.
At the 1991 Rugby World Cup Canada made it to the round of 8, marking the start of a decade that would see Canada legitimately compete on the world stage as a top 10 nation. About that time something else occurred, Rugby Union was officially allowed to go professional, and ever since that time we’ve failed to adapt and drifted steadily off the pace of development in the world game. Many of the same arguments that have been sighted for why professional soccer has struggled to take in Canada have been proposed with respect to professional rugby, and I won’t go into that here. But what I will say is that Rugby Canada’s approach (IMO) has been very similar to the “Club Canada” approach… I.e. centralize resources to support the development of a finite group of elite players, as opposed to supporting fundamental change to the domestic club structure. Overtime failure to foster change at the grassroots level has led to a regression in the overall quality of domestic play, as well as the dwindling of our foreign pro player base (high of ~28 in ~2002, to ~10 current oversees pros), and our world ranking has dropped accordingly, no matter how much we (continue) to centralize and maximize the training of this handful of players.
Analogously, I would argue that the creation of a “Club Canada” would at first provide a useful stop-gap solution, but would not foster the grassroots changes necessary to develop the game to a global standard, and would ultimately in fact become an impediment to the development of those changes. Club Canada would serve a useful purpose for the MLS clubs, providing them with a reservoir for player development between the ages of 18 to 23 (currently non-existent in Canada/USA at the professional level), but beyond this finite nucleus would do little to provide greater professional and/or development opportunities to Canadian players (and coaches). Furthermore, I would argue that with buy-in to this model from the three MLS clubs and the CSA, it would in fact become institutionalized as an impediment to the expansion of domestic professional soccer, beyond this narrow interest group.
In summary, I think there is a significant risk that “Club Canada” would ultimately detract from, as opposed to serve the national interest.
A national league format I would be in favor of:
Perhaps a mutually beneficial hybrid could be arranged between Option 1, and the player development focus proposed in option 2. In Germany, B1 and B2 clubs can enter their reserve teams into the lower professional divisions. Likewise, the MLS clubs could be granted “farm team” franchises in a Canadian domestic league. This would provide the league with three prospective clubs (and their deep pocketed and experienced ownership groups) upon which it could build its foundation. The MLS clubs would benefit from a player development standpoint, and would also be given a larger stake in – but not a controlling interest in – the expansion of professional soccer in Canada.