BALTIMORE (Map, News) - Steve Ryan has been Major Indoor Soccer League commissioner for eight years, and almost each one has ended the same way: with the league embarking on a major change.
This offseason, its the likely loss of one of nine teams the California Cougars, whose owner has requested his squad be dropped from the league and the possible addition of several teams, including another franchise in Mexico.
The MISL likely will hold its annual meetings later this month, but Ryan said the league is drawing interest from several cities, including Louisville, Ky., and several other cities in the midwest he refused to identify. The league also could use a team in the southeast specifically in North Carolina as there are no franchises between Baltimore and Orlando, where the expansion Sharks were last in attendance.
Id love to see this league continue to add well-managed, effective clubs, Ryan said. The key is not the number. I think geographically, we need to concentrate in areas. Travel and the cost of oil is an issue that has people concerned.
Mexico could become a viable option because the expansion La Raza of Monterrey had a tremendous season, as the squad generated interest by reaching the championship game, where it lost to the Blast, 14-11, last month.
We have lots of cities exhibiting interest, including one more in Mexico, and some others. We have some momentum, Ryan said. You want to sit down and evaluate, and some of the things well evaluate are the playoffs, the number of games, and the championship strategy.
Ed Hale, the Blasts investor/operator, however, wants the league to change its playoff format by playing the championship game at the higher seed. This past season, the championship game was played in Milwaukee a location the league picked months before the season enabling it to be broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel.
They needed a time and a place, and we had to give it to them six months ago, Hale said. I thought it was wrong then and I think its wrong now. But thats what TV told us. Im a team player when it comes to league matters, but I will vote against it again next year.
and put franchises into venues despite attendance issues.
Teams would almost have to be showcased in a way which they can gain
followers. However, past attempts never seemed to help that either.
As I'm too lazy to wikipedia right now, but I believe there was a W.I.S.L. or
something like that....
Another interesting list -- How many MISL teams went to the finals, then
folded in the off season.
Two off hand -- 1988 Cleveland Force, 2005 Cleveland Force II.
I'm sure there's others....
I find it heartening that an American-based soccer channel has enough programming- paid for, no less, a miracle in itself given how that channel was 5 years ago- demands the MISL championship match fit into a predetermined time slot. Honestly, it's a good thing. It's not good for MISL...