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Weather scores another “W” over calendar change advocates

Jan 4, 2013, 11:56 AM EDT

Rio Tinto snow

Let’s add Real Salt Lake president Bill Manning to what I will call the “Coalition of the Sensible” regarding a switch to the international soccer calendar.

I have long been on record on this: we may be at a point in 15 or 20 years where a conversation on synching up to the FIFA calendar makes some sense. But not now. Remember when we talked about it just a few short days ago?

In the Salt Lake Tribune this morning Manning addressed the topic, referencing the fact that it was 17 degrees outside. That’s Fahrenheit, by the way! Allow me to translate that into universal language: “Brrrrr!”

Here’s what Manning said about the possibility of regular winter kickoffs at Rio Tinto Stadium in suburban Sandy, just outside Salt Lake City:

Do you want to play a soccer game here in January? There’s idealism, and then there’s realism. This is a very large country with different time zones and different weather climates. For me, it’s just not feasible to play the calendar they play in England or Spain.”

  1. alpacafarmerslc - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    The best thing about snow and soccer, goal celebratory snow angels. Just ask Wambach and the rest of the USWNT.

    • Steve Davis - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      Orange soccer balls. Love it when they have to break out the orange soccer balls. It’s the soccer nerd inside me … what can I say?

  2. orbmech - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Actually, you only have to look at the playoff game between NY and DC. Yes, the snow was unusual for early November, but how about January and February? And then there is the travel during winter and the possibility of teams getting stuck because of snow storms. The MLS schedulers would have no hair left!

  3. wesbadia - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    http://exittheforest.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/formatting-mls-part-4-global-tradition-american-appeal/

    • charliej11 - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      What dumb article.

      In the end he states in order for US soccer to steal a piece of the soccer pie they MUST switch to winter soccer. Why ? No reason really given, something about player health, as if playing in the winter on ice will be better for that.

      I am convinced that people wanting the US to switch to winter instead of summer cares more about foreign leagues, so they can see the US players play over there easier.
      Nothing wrong with that, but screw them…..I don’t want to watch soccer in the cold, I want to watch in the summer.

      • wesbadia - Jan 5, 2013 at 12:17 PM

        It says NO WHERE in the article about switching to a “winter” schedule. Winter has nothing to do with it. And, if you read the comments, the author elaborates his position that a mid-winter break between mid-December and mid-February is probably the smartest way to approach it.

        The idea being that if MLS wants to increase the importance of CCL in the league, that aligning the schedule in a way that DOESN’T award a league champion 9 months before the start of the CCL cycle will be best for our presence in that tournament.

        Not only this, but avoiding the two worst climates our country faces (brutally humid and hot summers in the south; brutally cold and snowy winters in the north and mountains) by NOT scheduling matches in either July or January (at least). Pair this with offset home matches in contrast to the rest of this extreme weather (ie, no home matches for northern and mountain teams during February, December, maybe even March; same with southern teams in August), and I think we have a recipe for a proper format for a calendar.

        To the possible argument about teams not getting home to have a home-opener for a few weeks at the start of the season: that’s already the case. RSL doesn’t play at home until Week 3 in 2013. Others are similar.

        By the way… the author of that article is me…

      • charliej11 - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:27 PM

        Um Mid February IS winter and it is very stupid idea for no reason whatsoever. The CCL schedule should change…and probably will.

      • wesbadia - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:36 PM

        Technically, March 2nd is winter, too. FYI, Spring Equinox is March 20th, which marks the end of winter. And, if I’m not mistaken, many northern MLS teams still get snow in March. I know my area does…

        Also, why on earth would CONCACAF chance the dates of CCL when every other league participating has a fall-spring schedule, usually with some sort of apertura/clausura system? Your point is based on absolutely nothing and, from my knowledge, has never been talked about by CONCACAF.

        To address another of your points elsewhere, maintaining the current calendar because of the college system would be like the computer manufacturer’s yielding to typewriter manufacturer’s for the sake of “historical preservation”. The fact about the college system is that it’s quickly becoming a relic; a relic which produces sub-par products compared to academies and club systems, at that. Accommodating the college system by refusing a change in the calendar would effectively give approval to how the NCAA and college programs have been conducting business. Are you going to defend how NCAA soccer is currently run, unlimited subs and all? I have my own ideas about how college soccer players should be treated by MLS, but I’ll only say here that having college players come in halfway through a season would fit into my plans, namely having all SuperDraftees spend their initial seasons with their club’s reserve team. There are many ways to do it, but bowing down to an organization that runs the sport in an adverse way is not a legitimate one.

  4. charliej11 - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    If we could just get MLS to agree to take a break for Dec-Feb we would be set…..wait eh minute.

    ps. Why does the guy say there is idealism and there is realism ? They are same damn thing. Ideally I am sitting in the sun watching soccer while drinking a nice chilled beer. Realistically I can and do.

    Enjoy the offseason, for those that are bitter we are not watching soccer now, they will never be happy anyway…..

    • valiantdraws - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:41 PM

      Dec-Feb.

      Is that guy mental? It’s the SAME SCHEDULE!!! Only the beginning of the season is in August, and ends in July? That’s like the Mexican Apetura/Clausura schedule (Yes, I spelled that wrong!) I don’t think the American sportscape is ready for that. I have a feeling it’s gonna be rough going for NASL’s experiment with that. Well, their whole scheduling experiment is something we could write oodles on.

      People who want MLS to switch aren’t thinking about the health of the LEAGUE. Attendance would drop like a stone, and that would lead to MLS slow death. It would look terrible on TV. It’s be 2004 all over again. FUCK THAT!!

      Unlike Mr. Davis, I am NOT optimistic about adopting the European calendar EVER. I think it should remain as it is, except to maybe stretch it a couple of weeks to ease fixture congestion. This is AMERICAN soccer, and it’s time we started prioritizing American soccer health. MLS’s offseason is short, it’s going to get shorter, and American players will be just fine.

      Plus, I gotta say…I *like* watching foreign soccer in the MLS off season. I love year-round soccer.

  5. dfstell - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    I like to watch the rare game in the snow with the orange ball, but I wouldn’t want to do too much of it. It’s like really snowy American football games: kinda fun, but it so changes the game that I wouldn’t want a season full of it.

    • Steve Davis - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      That’s exactly right. I LOVE to see the orange balls being broken out, but that’s mostly due to the novelty of it. (I probably should said so in that comment.) Absolutely correct … I certainly don’t want to see a steady diet of it.

      • tylerbetts - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        Yes. Change of pace to have a game in the snow. Not repeated over and over again. Would be fantastic to have a USMNT-Mexico game in the full-on snow. Would be bad to have three consecutive games at DSGP against Columbus, Kansas City and Portland in the Snow. You’d probably get … oh, I don’t know. The Supporters Section for attendance and not much else.

  6. kb57 - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    “Coalition of the Sensible.” How pretentious and misguided. Why? Say it with me now everyone:

    W
    I
    N
    T
    E
    R

    B
    R
    E
    A
    K

    How many times must this obvious implementation be ignored by those who blindly oppose change? The weather argument is so disingenuous that it’s insulting. As of right now, we play from early March, through the global international break month of June and the sweltering heat of July, to early December, with our most important games played in the cold and swallowed up by NFL and college football coverage. Why not play the same months we ALREADY play in, only reverse which ones we start in and which ones we end in? Start in late July, play until the second week of December, pick up again in the last week of February, and finish at the end of May when we can get much better coverage and more viewers for our playoffs and MLS Cup? The Bundesliga and Russian Premier League already do this, only this has nothing to do with “wanting to be like Europe,” it has to do with what’s best for our league’s exposure.

    • Mark Thompson - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      Other than having a 2 month+ break in the middle of the season (which, admittedly, is a pretty big deal), doing this seems to have a lot of upside aside from syncing with FIFA’s calendar. Going up against the NBA from a TV perspective and having your showcase game played in prime weather conditions are pretty big positives.

    • charliej11 - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:47 PM

      KB7: Say it with me…MLS already takes a winter break and it works perfectly. Some system that plays in the end of February and then finishes the week before it starts again ( your schedule is shorter than the current schedule ) isn’t just ackward, there is no reason for it, it will draw less fans and it is a stupid idea.

      Repeat after me there is nothing wrong with the current season, evryone os enjoying the heck out of it…you should too.

      • kb57 - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:23 PM

        There’s plenty wrong when no one watches our playoffs.

      • forked - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:31 AM

        Read his idea again. He’s not proposing that you play the championship in Feb and then immediately start the next season in March. The remainder of the season is played from Feb to May, then a summer break and then the next season starts again in July (which seems to soon to me…August would be better). So, for example:

        Season 2013a: July 2013 – Dec 2013
        Season 2013b: Feb 2014 – May 2014 (MLS Cup)

        Moving to a schedule like this means you have to have a shortened transitional season (ie Feb 2013 to May 2013 is a mini season).

        A two month break is still a little concerning. On one hand, teams lose momentum they might have built and probably some other negative consequences that elude me (losing fan interest?). On the other hand, it does give injured players some time to heal for a second half push.

        This may not be the right time for a change but it at least seems like a feasible alternative.

      • charliej11 - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:23 PM

        No one watches the playoffs, then why couldn’t I find a parking spot. I just quit walking to my car a week ago.

        Quit making up problems. The season is fine the way it is. Anyone trying to change it are doing so because they like other leagues better and want players to move over there instead of playing here.

    • valiantdraws - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:51 PM

      That’s basically already our current schedule, except for when the season begins and ends. And it’s not a bad idea…BUT…for the health of MLS it is. I think this idea could feasibly be introduced in 10 years. The whole break over the summer thing would definitely throw a lot of people for a loop, and could have a really negative impact on attendance, coverage, etc.

      I think a lot of this swelter-july-heat-humidity stuff could be somewhat cured by simply playing all games at night in those cities where the temperature can get too damn hot for a game.

      • wesbadia - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        Have you ever felt 90% humidity in Texas or Florida at 9PM? The heat may dissipate, but the humidity does not. Playing at night still saps the energy from players, even personnel on the side lines, or fans for that matter. Granted, it’s not nearly as bad as 95 degree heat in the sun on top of it, but the extreme is still there.

        Why not just schedule games away from those humidity-infested areas during the month of July and maybe even August? The health of the PLAYERS would be best provided for, and it could actually contribute to better performance on the field for all involved.

    • wfjackson3 - Jan 5, 2013 at 6:26 PM

      Do you have any idea how long the winter break would need to be in Kansas City? From early December through the end of March, the temperature is frequently in single digits or teens with extremely strong winds. It is simply not practical.

      • kb57 - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:11 AM

        So you’re saying no MLS Cups in KC, and no home games for Sporting KC for the first month of the current MLS season?

  7. charliej11 - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    Five things wrong with taking the break during the middle of the season insread of the logical place for an offseason.

    One, the college players would come in mid season ? Or sit out half a season. Dont screw the college feeder system, it has been awesome for MLS.
    Two, the is no pre season training, no preaseason games to go to. That sucks.
    Three, It is very ackward to have a championship then start the season immediately after. Why should we settle for that ? We shouldn’t.
    Four, unless you take the whole current winter break, and NO break in the summer, you are trading summer games for winter games, no player and no fans want that….maybe Houston fans.
    Five, away from the weather you are subbing mid week games during the summer for school nights ?

    Ok there are a lot more reasons than five, but I gotta eat supper.

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