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5Jan/12Off

MLS Schedule Ideas

By: Ed Blythe Twitter: ed_blythe

In my previous blog I posted about the lengths of break that MLS teams take compared to other teams from across the world. Now coming up with a list of complaints and no solutions is useless and annoying to me. Below are two solutions that I have come up with that anyone would help the MLS. For any solution the first question raised is going to be the weather problem in MLS cities compared to Europe. (We will use the same teams as last time: MLS Teams: LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders, Sporting KC; Manchester United, English Premier League; Barcelona, Spanish La Liga; AC Milan, Italian Serie A; Nottingham Forrest, English Championship; Tigres UANL, Primera de Mexico) As you can see below for most of the cities it is not that big of a difference in the winter months.

 

Monthly Average Temperatures:

 

TEAM

H/L

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUN

JUL

AUG

SEP

OCT

NOV

DEC

ManU

H

43

43

48

52

59

64

67

67

62

56

48

44

L

34

34

36

39

45

50

53

53

50

45

38

35

Bar

H

55

57

60

62

68

75

81

82

78

70

62

57

L

40

41

44

47

53

60

66

67

62

54

46

42

AC M

H

40

46

55

63

71

79

84

81

75

64

50

41

L

28

32

37

44

52

59

63

62

56

47

38

30

NF

H

40

45

50

54

60

65

70

70

64

57

49

46

L

34

34

37

39

43

48

52

52

50

45

39

36

Tigres

H

67

72

81

86

90

94

94

95

89

83

75

69

L

48

51

58

65

70

74

74

74

71

64

56

50

KC

H

39

45

56

67

76

85

90

89

80

68

54

42

L

22

26

36

47

57

67

72

70

61

49

37

26

SEA

H

47

50

54

59

64

70

76

76

71

60

51

46

L

37

37

39

43

48

52

56

57

53

47

51

36

LA

H

68

69

70

73

74

78

83

84

83

79

73

68

L

48

49

51

54

57

60

64

64

63

59

52

47

 

Now there are also some traditional MLS teams that play in colder weather cities. Below are two that I consider to be the worse for temperature to play soccer in.

 

TEAM

H/L

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUN

JUL

AUG

SEP

OCT

NOV

DEC

COL

H

45

46

54

61

71

81

88

86

77

64

52

43

L

18

20

26

34

44

53

59

57

48

36

25

17

MTRL

H

22

24

36

52

65

75

79

76

67

55

41

37

L

04

07

19

32

43

53

58

55

47

37

27

11

 

The two cities above, plus possibly more, make it very hard for the MLS to change their schedule to match that of Europe and the FIFA calendar.  That being said there are options available that can make the MLS more competitive in keeping the US talent and also bringing in foreign talent.

 

The first solution that I came up with was to stretch out the season a couple more weeks on each end.  This year MLS is starting around the second weekend in March.  If you move that forward to the end of February then you can add a game or two at the front end.  Now on the back end if you had the finals on the second weekend of December this would give you almost another month of playing time.  With the top five teams making the playoffs and a total of six needed game days.  Even with the added amount of time needed for the playoffs you can still add regular season games.  The whole purpose of stretching out the season would be to make the regular season a little longer and so that you can play a complete balanced schedule.  This will just add two regular season games but also give more time to play a few friendlies, take an off week every so often, and take a break when National Team tournaments come around, i.e. World Cup and Olympics.

 

The second solution that I came up with is the creation of a winter league in either Florida or Southwest or both.  This would be primarily for players that are not injured, able to secure a loan or transfer to Europe, or players invited to National Team camps. Just thinking about this off the top of my head you could start a week or two after the finals and run for about six to eight weeks, ending about the end of January.  Then take another week or two off and come back for preseason training.  This would allow teams to continue to be together and train together while giving the coaches a chance to look at their younger players in game situations that don’t count for the regular season or playoffs.  You can have a staggered start for teams also.  For teams that don’t make a playoffs (plus the loser of the first game) on one date then after the finals the playoff teams.  Play a total of just 10 games or so. Enough to keep the rust off but not so much that it hurts players and keeps them out of the regular season.

 

Major League Baseball has used the Arizona Fall League and Caribbean Winter League for years as chances to get younger players more playing time and help them work on their development.  Another good thing about this is that the coach would be able to see their players and know what players need a break here and there.  They know how hard the players work during the regular season.  If a player goes on loan or training with a European team then the coach does not know how much work they were able to get in.

 

For the long run I think the idea of a winter league in the US would be more beneficial. It will give the coaches and players more time together and improve the quality of play.  Even if two teams would like to combine forces and just produce one team then it would help all parties involved. The main idea is to keep the players playing and not taking such a long break between the end of their season and the beginning of the next.

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