Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Promotion and Relegation in American Soccer

Since everybody and their brother has an idea of how promotion and relegation should work here in the States, I figured it was time for me to publish my idea of how it should be done. Here we go:

1. Move to a single table and scrap the play-offs as they are now. Just crown the regular season champion as your league champion. (As for the CONCACAF Champion's League, three berths would go to the top three teams from MLS with the fourth going to the US Open Cup Champion. If a team from outside the US is one of the top three teams, that team would get it's country's berth [ie- Toronto FC] and the next US-based team would go.)

2. The bottom three teams in MLS and USL-1 are in the relegation zone. The top three teams in USL-1 and USL-2 are in the promotion zone.

3. Take the bottom three MLS teams and randomly pit them against the top three USL-1 teams in a home-and-home series. Winner moves up, loser goes down. Do the same thing with bottom three in USL-1 and top three in USL-2. After all, if a lower division team isn't good enough to beat a higher division team head-to-head, does that lower division team really belong in the higher division? (And this gives Americans, who love post-season play, something to scratch that "play-off" itch.)

That's it, folks. Pretty simple, eh?

Now, I know that we are about ten to fifteen years from seeing promotion and relegation here. And, I know that many don't feel that USL-2 is strong enough to compete against the likes of USL-1 alone- to say nothing of MLS. But, I like the idea of three leagues (at least) being involved in a promotion and relegation system.

Instead of play-offs, these would be Battles. And, as we all know, cream rises to the top.

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