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Word On the Street About Lower-League Soccer

Well, we’re attempting to fill the content void once again this week.

Today, I thought it might be amusing to ask some of my friends and family how they feel about lower-league soccer. The catch? I purposely picked people that I knew would have little to no understanding of American lower-league soccer.

I asked everyone who agreed to participate one or both of two questions.

  1. How do you feel about lower-league soccer in the United States?
  2. Do you think promotion and relegation in America is a good idea?

Here’s what normal people had to say about a topic that’s anything but.

First, I decided I’d ask my mom. Within my nuclear family, she’s the least likely to follow or care about soccer, but she’s a casual fan and keeps up with it because the rest of our family does. Here’s what she said when I asked her Question 1.

*looks confused*

*eyes widen* Oh wait, I’ve been to a lower-league soccer game! It was at… wait, don’t tell me… Tormenta! I was very surprised by how much the tickets cost. But it was fun! By the way, there’s really good Mexican food in Statesboro.

My mother

Well, fortunately for students like myself, Tormenta has an excellent program where any student at any level of school gets in for just $1. And even at the adult price, it’s high-quality soccer in a fun atmosphere compared to MLS soccer in my opinion.

And next, her thoughts on Pro/Rel:

It’s complicated. Yes, it would be a fun thing to have more excitement and competition, but it could possibly lend itself to more corruption.

Mommy

I then proceeded one room over to my younger brother, 14-year old Jake. He’s a pretty good player himself, but doesn’t follow the lower leagues much. I asked him the lower-league question, but he was mad at me at the time, so I got a somewhat different tone here.

You’re wearing it on your shirt!! BOOM ROASTED!

Jake, roast master

I was wearing a Nashville SC shirt. When I told him that Nashville was actually in MLS, his comeback was:

Well they play like they’re lower league!

Jake

And that was probably the best answer to any question I’ve heard this month.

Next, I texted a few friends to gather their opinions.

First, I heard from Mrs. J, a friend who taught me in high school. She’s just as well-known for being the “cool teacher” on campus as she is for knowing next to nothing about sports in general. She’s one of my favorite people ever, and her responses here only reinforced that:

I’m assuming that lower league means soccer for younger kids? If so, I think it’s a great way to help kids develop physically, emotionally, cognitively, and relationally.

Mrs. J

She’s also a counselor, if you couldn’t tell. I mean, she’s not wrong about soccer being all of those things for kids. Her opinion on pro/rel was golden, though.

Promotion… Of soccer leagues? Sure. Regulation… Yeah. If that means helping establish best practices, safety, continuity of decisions, a basic standard for refs, etc.

Mrs. J the counselor

So basically, since SmallWorld promotes soccer league, she’s saying SmallWorld puts the pro in pro/rel. We might use that. And add her to the list who think I mean “regulation” when I talk about relegation…

Next, I talked with another good friend of mine and a fellow Georgian. She’s a college student and has working knowledge of soccer because of my love for it, but not much interest outside of that. She actually had some glimmers of insight that surprised me a bit!

Lower-league soccer… I remember it was something you were doing in your job [I work as a sports data reporter, so she is right about that]… I remember it’s less-known and less-publicized, not part of the major league, I guess. I think it’s a good idea that you have opportunities for people who maybe couldn’t make it into the professional leagues or a step towards going into professional leagues.

My insightful friend

And about promotion and relegation: I remember you explained this whole system to me… I did understand it, I just don’t remember it… it was like a different way of how we would do sports.

And then the most beautiful sentence of them all:

I’d say that if it works for other countries, than it should work for America too.

THE HIDDEN WISDOM FROM MY NON-SOCCER FRIEND THAT USSF NEEDS TO HEAR

That just about sums up what people have been trying to say about pro/rel for a long time. And she just said it better than I ever have. So there’s that.

And then there’s my friend who said that I shouldn’t expect anything insightful. And I took her word for it. But then she hit me with this:

From the very little that I know about lower-league soccer in Europe, it seems to be a significant matter of community pride and connectedness. I think that by its very nature it brings people together and encourages community, and I don’t think anyone would have a problem with that.

My friend who humbly lied about her actually insightful response to lower-league soccer

Agreed on all counts! And guess what, friend – the same goes for lower-league American soccer! That’s kinda exactly the sort of thing she’d know if she read my blog, like, at all. But I digress. This is what she had to say about pro/rel.

I think the promotion and relegation system is in place for the sake of keeping leagues balanced, and that makes sense to me. I think that “cementing” leagues in place would cause issues with an imbalance of team skills, which makes promotion and relegation a logical solution.

Same person who told me she wouldn’t have anything insightful to say

I think I’ve taught her well. It seems there’s a pretty strong correlation between pro/rel and logic among our non-soccer interviewees.

All that to say, from “regulation” to good Mexican restaurants in Statesboro to the best roast of Nashville SC I’ve heard in a long time, there have been plenty of great moments to glean from today’s collection of thoughts from average people on lower-league soccer.

I hope you’ve enjoyed it and I hope you’re ready for some more content to come over the next few days! Make sure to follow SmallWorld Social, especially our Twitter account, to keep up with what we have planned.

As always, but especially as clubs try to weather the lack of revenue from matches,

Support local soccer, unify those around you, and seek out diversity!

Blessings,

Danny

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By danny kotula

danny kotula is an aspiring sports writer and play-by-play commentator. unfortunately, he is not good at either one. his interests include watching soccer and listening to obscure music genres, and those aren’t even his most boring ones. he was born in Tacoma, Washington but has called South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, California, Georgia, and Costa Rica home over the course of his life. he generally knows where to put a comma, which is by far his most redeeming quality. he is writing this in third person as if he were famous enough for someone to write him a biography, but don’t be fooled. he’s not famous.

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