Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Lessons for MLS in NASL's Demise
San Diego Union-Tribune, September 20th, 2006 5:05PM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

Tonight (9 pm ET), ESPN2 will air the documentary "Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos," which chronicles the spectacular rise and fall of U.S. soccer's most famous team. For Major League Soccer, there's an interesting lesson in the film, writes Mark Ziegler of the Union-Tribune: it warns against the dangers of selling celebrity instead of soccer here in the States. The possible move of David Beckham, Ronaldo and other aging stars has been talked about by MLS big-wigs in recent months, especially since the commercial success of the World Cup. Ziegler points out that the North American Soccer League's demise started when Steven Ross, the Philip Anschutz of the 70's, started scooping up big-name players for ridiculous sums of money. When Pele entered the league, his contract with the Cosmos was worth anywhere between $2.7 and $4.5 million, depending on whom you believe, says Ziegler, at a time when NFL players barely made six figures. Other players earned exponentially less than that: Cosmos goalie Shep Messing, for example, made just $2,100 in his first season. So what happened? Soccer became the novelty of the moment in the U.S. once the likes of Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia arrived. It was really popular for a while, but once that novelty wore off, the league had very little to stand on financially -- the American public was clearly not ready to embrace soccer as a sport. By 1984, the Cosmos and the NASL were history. MLS, by the way, has been a bit more careful: it's expansion has been slow and calculated, it's sticking to a strict salary cap of about $2 million per team (compare that to Pele's salary), and investors are forced to sink their money into the league rather than individual teams. However, the temptation of celebrity, glitz, marketing and novelty are never too far away. League officials should remember how history has a habit of repeating itself. Read the original story...


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Section 2 Around the Net
Youth soccer fights back against 49ers    
Northern California youth soccer advocates, including Santa Clara Youth Soccer League President Tino Silva, have launched ...
Cal South TOPSoccer Program Turns 25    
"We're all soccer players, special needs or not," says Sandy Castillo, chair of the Cal South ...
How Neymar Played in Childhood     
Neyrmar: "I used to pick up the ball, set up the furniture and go around dribbling ...
Roma Partnering with U.S. Youth Clubs    
Italian Serie A club Roma, which has American ownership, aims to forge partnerships with seven U.S. ...
LVG: Falcao "Has to Prove Himself"    
Manchester United coach Louis van Gaal has responded to criticism over dropping Radamel Falcao by claiming ...
Report: Adidas to Assist Messi Move?    
According to Spanish sports daily AS, Lionel Messi's sponsor Adidas could be the key to the ...
Toure Admits Man City Future in Doubt     
Speaking ahead of the opening games of the African Nations' Cup in Equatorial Guinea this weekend, ...
Ronaldo Blasts 'Defensive' Atleti Tactics    
Cristiano Ronaldo blasted Atletico Madrid for its unattractive style after the Rojiblancos ousted Real Madrid from ...
Fabian Johnson's 'Spat' with 'Gladbach Coach Favre    
According to Bild, USA defender Fabian Johnson is in a "spat" with Borussia Monchengladbach coach Lucien ...
Serie A to Introduce Goal-Line Technology     
Serie A will introduce goal-line technology next season after the Italian soccer federation (FIGC) gave its ...
>> Section 2 Around the Net Archives