Monday, March 3, 2008

Philly on my mind

I just filed me Press-Enterprise column. I wrote about the ever-changing league that is MLS these days. It's funny how much things change. In 2005, we were getting ready for teams number 11 (Real Salt Lake) and 12 (Chivas USA) and now we've got 13 (Toronto FC), 14 (San Jose), 15 (Seattle) and 16 (Philadelphia). Before long, we'll have 17 (possibly St. Louis) and 18 (who knows? Montreal, San Diego, Portland, Las Vegas, Miami, etc.), and then who knows.

Anyway, Philadelphia won't being play until 2010 which may not seem like a long time from now. But consider, when Philadelphia MLS begins play, we'll be about two months or so from the World Cup, we'll be more than a year into the next president's tenure and the Winter Olympics will have just been completed.

With such a long time to go before joining the league, can there possibly be any planning done in the near future or at some point this year about putting together an actual roster? Is it even worth it for owners to hire a coaching staff this year? I mean, this team doesn't even have a name yet.

One thing the new club should plan for is to have in place a youth developmental system by 2009. Start the process of cultivating young talent in the Philadelphia area so that when the team starts play in 2010 the youth system will already have been in place for a year.

In terms of a roster, I wonder if there are any plans to try and get a Philly-area product to play a prominent role on the team. Would bringing Bobby Convey into the fold be a viable option, even if it means having to pay to get him?

I know, these questions aren't really going to be answered soon, but they were just lingering from having written about Philadelphia.


Anonymous said...

I would be curios to hear your thoughts on MLS expansion. I personally don't agree with going beyond the 16 we currently have. I think a better effort would be to use that money to strenghten the finances of the MLS (and the players) and to synch up the season a little better with the EPL or other European leagues.

Instead of getting more cities, maybe we should look at those cities we currently have teams in and figure out if they could be better served in other markets. I know, I know, we need more teams to grow the popularity of the game. However, I also know that the more we expand the more we head toward the danger of "diluting" the talent in the league absent some major Blanco-type transfers.

Anonymous said...

The Philly owndership group does, indeed, already have those plans for a youth development system. They have already formed a relationship with Tony Williams, president and founder of the Starfinder Foundation which has been dedicated to coaching soccer with thousands of urban Philadelphia youths. At the press conference, they announced that Williams will head up the club's youth academy. I think that is a great thing and a good sign for the start of this club.