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Proponents for new college season lobby MLS
by Paul Kennedy, August 4th, 2014 8:30PM

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TAGS:  college men, mls

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[PORTLAND DAILY] West Virginia University athletic director Oliver Luck, father of NFL star Andrew Luck, former MLS club president Kevin Payne, and the NSCAA's Rob Kehoe are in Portland to push for support for a plan to restructure NCAA Division I men's soccer. They will on Tuesday present a proposal to turn NCAA Division I men's soccer into a full-year sport to the MLS Technical Committee.

NCAA Division I Men's Soccer: MLS Technical Committee Presentation

The move comes as more and more players skip all or part college soccer to turn pro early. MLS clubs are doing so much on the Homegrown front that the league organized its first Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game in conjunction with the All-Star week.

It is expected that many MLS teams will form their own full-time reserve teams that will only increase the likelihood that they will stock them with young players who might otherwise be in college. And the college game could soon face competition as the amateur PDL has announced plans to expand into the fall.

“The general approach is they’re supportive and want to know a little more about the specifics,” Luck said before the MLS meeting.

The proposal provides for 15 dates in the fall and 10 in the spring, spreading out the time between games to make them more meaningful. Many teams now play one or more fall tournaments on Fridays and Saturdays. The new plans would eliminate them, requiring a minimum of three nights between games. The proposal would also limit mid-week games to three per semester.

The two seasons would begin in September and March, and the postseason NCAA Tournament would begin in May and culminate with the Men's College Cup on a Friday and Monday in the first week of June.

Among the benefits the proponents of the proposal:

-- Better training for players as the gaps between matches would be extended.
-- Better environment for students, particularly incoming freshmen, to concentrate on their schoolwork.
-- Better season -- i.e. better weather -- to make the NCAA Tournament a showcase event.

The question marks:

1. Will the NCAA membership -- its presidents -- give the proposal the time of day?
Soccer remains a non-revenue sport, out of sight and out of mind to many presidents. Will the NCAA want to address the "development" needs of one sport when many other sports would seek similar changes in format?

Do members even care? Many big Division I schools don't even have men's soccer. West Virginia is the only school in the 10-member Big 12 that sponsors men's soccer.

2. Has the MLS development train left the station? MLS is not going to oppose the college soccer proposal, but again, does it care? Clubs are pushing ahead fast with plans that will make the college game more and more irrelevant.

On Monday, MLS All-Stars coach Caleb Porter, who made his name as a college coach at Akron, said college soccer was "relevant," given the role of college in the American education system, but he acknowledged the difficulties for players turning pro at 22 or 23 after having been at the top of the heap all their careers.

That is one aspect of the player development conundrum that will not change with the current proposal.


10 comments
  1. Joe Goss
    commented on: August 4, 2014 at 10:15 p.m.
    I think you mean "Andrew Luck" for the 2nd "Oliver."

  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: August 5, 2014 at 9:02 a.m.
    Any plan to improve college soccer is a good plan and will improve the overall status of soccer in this country. There are tens of thousands of college students that will not have a place on MLS or any other leagues reserve teams and they will definitely benefit from these changes and no doubt that some of them will come to MLS later and help the league also.

  1. Douglas Mohrmann
    commented on: August 5, 2014 at 9:54 a.m.
    My son just completed his fourth year in the USSF DA. I know of what i speak! I btw am not referring to my son who started and played FT 23 of 25 games they are making the same mistake in this proposal that plagues the academy. they are setting up a system where the players get bored of practice, believe me they do! they want to play games. they are not delicate flowers No matter what happens in practice the same 11 go out and play in the games. When a political outsider does get minutes he has 20 minutes and the question inevitably is: coach can you please tell me why i am not getting to play, response: well i gave 20 minutes two weeks ago and what did you do with them?, missed a trap, failed to see a runner in the box and got out jumped on a challenged head ball. therefore you will never get in again! Of course the joke among the parents is : well what did the started do with the 1500 minutes he has to date, 1 goal and 1 assist? this system is not competitive, is breeds stagnant players, bored players and political favorites. I know this for a fact!

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: August 5, 2014 at 9:59 a.m.
    It is more likely that the college system will not care, because there is NO MONEY in it for them.

  1. ROBERT BOND
    commented on: August 5, 2014 at 11:01 a.m.
    maybe it would make money if they played more games......

  1. Raul Donoso
    commented on: August 5, 2014 at 2:04 p.m.
    ...it is a great idea to evaluate the college soccer game status. ... soccer possibly has the abilty to be a revenue making sport at the college level. ...The American fan would go and see college soccer games if the level would be that of MLS or better! ... We need to bring the game level up at the college level!MLS would be drafting more from our colleges if the players come out with better soccer abilities to go pro. ...Coaches need to learn at a pro level to coach college soccer.

  1. John DiFiore
    commented on: August 5, 2014 at 3:01 p.m.
    Maybe there should be a connection with PDL. BYU has a team in the PDL..

  1. Eduardo Castro
    commented on: August 5, 2014 at 4:44 p.m.
    How about semi-pro club teams that are formed at colleges. No NCAA rules to abide by re soccer or academics. Salary would pay for schooling not scholarships. Schools would make money renting facilities. Club owners would make money and with ticket and paraphernalia sales, and player development would be high priority as they would own the player contracts.

  1. Joey Tremone
    commented on: August 5, 2014 at 5:13 p.m.
    Oliver Luck is also a former MLS club president (Dynamo).

  1. John DiFiore
    commented on: August 7, 2014 at 1:15 a.m.
    I still dont't see what kind of "support" they are after from MLS and why MLS would give anything.. @eduardo - sounds good!


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