Let us be soccer champions of the U.S.

Piddling around waiting to see what the big cheeses of the U.S. Soccer Federation are going to do with the divisional status of the country’s professional soccer teams is driving me crazy!

These guys (I’m assuming it’s guys, right? How many women are actually involved in any of this?) are sitting there, ostensibly wringing their hands, waiting till the last minute, delaying their decision about whether the North American Soccer League will keep its second-division status and if United Soccer League can shed its third-tier moniker — as staff layoffs among some clubs are happening and everyone is in a weird, suspended state, not sure what to do next.

This Hoosier writer’s guts are twisted at the idea that these soccer chiefs will decide whether the world considers Indy Eleven and its NASL peers to be division two — or three! Being forever stuck as second or third tier is puke inducing. We thrive on our drive to taste glory! (Promotion/Relegation makes everything more fun, right?)

Tight-fisted legislators weren’t willing to support a major stadium when lawmakers had only known the team for two seasons, but Indiana fans will rally to meet any first-division demands U.S. soccer chiefs want to make in exchange for considering Indiana in the proper light, which is as a contender for the top prizes in U.S. soccer each and every year. We have the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, thank God, in which Indy Eleven, a so-called second-division team, demonstrated playing ability on-par with its so-called first-tier Major League Soccer rival, Chicago Fire.

Support what we’re doing, soccer chiefs. Don’t kneecap us by pretending we’re third division.

Perhaps the soccer chiefs would like to come to Indiana and settle this on the field. (I’ll play!)

Diplomatic, business-friendly solutions are possible. Building regional rivalries makes sense. We need efficiency and decent travel schedules for players. That’s basic business and effective human resource management. Cooperate, people.

Let’s use the resources we have to pay all our players and front-office staffs as wisely and humanely as possible, regardless of league. (And would someone please make a line item in the budget for Rebecca Townsend Therapeutic Massage?)

Now, if everyone cannot play nicely: Here is my radical proposal for all you North American Soccer League renegade team owners …  hold on. The New York Cosmos and the Tampa Bay Rowdies don’t want to come play us anymore? OK. Let’s ship in all kinds of crazy, fun international teams. JAMAICAN NATIONAL TEAM!!! We could pack a soccer SunSplash at The Mike! Re-open diplomatic talks with T.C. Mazembe … Do positive soccer diplomacy work. Continue to think outside the system and tap underutilized resource channels. Continue to put our best on the field, let’s pack the house, sell tons of shwag and give our visitors a nice cut. Let’s continue to pack big soccer parties no matter what the soccer chiefs say!

Let’s be better than we ever imagined we could be!

I believe that we will win again, again and again!

(P.S. Invest more in women’s soccer. And massage therapy.)

Thanks for reading/indulging.


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