Kevin James Baxter
Do you see a time when the MSL will merge with the NPSL and CISL?
No. When you write MSL, I assume you mean MLS (it's a mistake we make all the time, too). MLS is concentrating on outdoors and the NPSL and CISL are indoor leagues. There has to something of value that these leagues see in each other, and there just isn't anything MLS would have interest in at this time other than a few players.
What's the SA email list?
Several e-mailers have asked us about this. This was intended to be used to allow us to send out notice about updates and new features in Soccer America On-Line. At this time, we have no plans to offer an e-mail service for our news updates.
A recent posting on the North American Soccer mailing list (firstname.lastname@example.org) has generated a flurry of email debate on the following topic: Since Soccer America is the flagship publication of soccer in the U.S., shouldn't it publish articles in standard American English? Just as Daniel Webster's first American Dictionary was a landmark in establishing an American language and culture, shouldn't American soccer coverage help establish the sport in the US? Do you think SA's in-house style manual should replace all references to kit, pitch, draw, etc. with American English (uniform, field, tie, etc.)? It would seem to benefit SA, and benefit the sport in the U.S., if the articles were more accessible. What do you think?
Many a red pen has been spent replacing British soccer terms -- draw, pitch, ground, tie, table, etc. -- in the copy we receive over our Reuters news service. It is in our style guide to replace all these terms, though a few slip in. Some people would argue, though, that these terms should be used -- you will see it in copy that appears in newspapers.
How will MLS's playoff format be organized?
There will be best-of-three quarterfinal and semifinal series, and the championship game will be a single game played at a neutral site. No announcement has been made of the host of the championship game, but we expect it will be Foxboro Stadium, home of the New England Revolution.
Dan Woog, help: I borrowed a good friend's 3.5-year collection of Youth Soccer Letter, edited by Dan Woog. Unfortunately, my girlfriend used this fantastic information source to start a log fire --AGGHHH. How can I get back issues or archive Youth Soccer Letters?
It would be nice to be able to buy binder covers for collecting issues, or sections. How about it?
A-League draft: My younger brother Ian Spooner was a sixth-round draft by New York. How does the draft process work in the A-League? What does this mean for him? Is the MLS going to have a college draft? If so, when?
Great to see you out here in cyberspace. There are many active coaches out here. Any chance of good links you guys have access to.
Sorry about your situation. For information on ordering back issues, call Soccer America's Colleen Walsh at 510 528-5000. Unfortunately, we don't sell binders.
Regarding the A-League draft, they held 10 rounds, plus a "territorial round" at the beginning. If a player drafted wants to play in the A-League, the club that drafted him has first rights to him.
MLS will hold its draft in early February, following its combine in January. It could be 20-25 rounds, with some "local phase" included.
We do not currently offer links to other soccer websites. Your browser or on-line service search engines should be able to link you to other soccer sites.
Does Soccer America have a fixation with European soccer? What is the cause of this bias? There are many people in this country that love South American soccer.
Having more articles about South American soccer might improve your distribution. Paul Gardner probably agrees with me.
Even though South American national teams rank among the top teams in the world, most of their best players still compete in Europe. That's one factor why we concentrate in European clubs -- they have most of the stars our readers are interested in following. Secondly, most of the best Americans (with the except in the last year of the Americans in Mexico) have been there in recent years.
Finally, there are many excellent news sources for Spanish-speaking fans that already exist in the United States, and it would be difficult for us to ever top that coverage. We are expanding our coverage of Mexico and Central America, especially in light of the upcoming France '98 qualifying series.
Has MLS made a final decision on kick-ins, 15-yard walls and other rule changes? Please tell me that there will be no kick-ins. I saw enough of those in a couple of USISL games to last me a lifetime. Thanks.
You are in luck, we think. No announcement has been made, but we'd be very, very surprised if kick-ins are used. The one rule change that probably will be implemented is the 15-yard wall.
As time has gone on, MLS has come around on this issue. The recent Internet survey was read closely by MLS officials, and they've come around to what we have written in Soccer America for the last few years: Rule changes are simply gimmicks; the bottom line is that an outdoor league needs quality players and quality play to succeed.
What should the relationship be between MLS and the USISL as regards to "farm teams" and/or reserve teams.
Again, no announcement has been made, but we've heard that MLS and the USISL will probably enter into an agreement that allows MLS teams to sign any USISL players in exchange for a developmental fee paid to the league.
MLS teams may not adopt individual USISL clubs as farm teams, but extra MLS players will be loaned to USISL clubs. There's a fear that if a few USISL clubs are given MLS extras, they will dominate the league.
Many European pro teams take youth players, teams, and/or clubs under their wings.
What can children in the U.S. do to get more exposure or really get noticed? Is it legal for a pro club to take a player and train him for when he gets older? I have three sons, they play no other organized sport except for soccer. They just can't get enough.
The NCAA has regulations -- too lengthy to recite here -- concerning tryouts or training with pro clubs.
Bottom line: You'll have to appear in a tournament or competition that scouts or coaches from European clubs will be attending to get noticed.
Some players are discovered by accident, e.g. Espen Baardsen, whom we feature in the Dec. 25 cover dated issue of Soccer America. The Lafayette, Calif., high school goalie has signed a three-year pro contract with English club Tottenham. He was discovered playing in his parents' native Norway four years ago by Erik Thorstvedt, Spurs' long-time Norwegian goalie. Manchester United saw young U.S. star Jovan Kirovski playing in England with a U.S. regional ODP team.