MLS Rivalry Week and Promotion/Relegation: Shut up about it!!!

by Peter Marus

Last week was the media-created MLS "Rivalry week".  It's to focus on three major "Rivalries" in Major League Soccer.  It's stupid because of the three games aren't TRUE rivalries.  Let me explain of each:

LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes-This used to be a real rivalry, but San Jose as an inactive franchise for a few years (the team moved to Houston and became the Dynamo). It's not the same as if both teams were still active for the entire time.  This one could be considered a rivalry in a few years, but now it's now in my opinion

Portland Timbers vs Vancouver Whitecaps-One that the media claims this has lasted since the 70s in the old NASL.  Again, one or both teams have been inactive for some time between then and now, on top of the names and logos may be the same of the original teams, but the ownership, leagues they both played in over time, and time "dead".  Along with this is either teams' rivalry with the Seattle Sounders.  Once again, has potential to be a big rivalry but needs time with current forms.

NYCFC vs. New York Red Bulls-this has only been around for two seasons.  The rivalry between them is as created organically as the NYCFC team was (just created with disregard to MLS' own rules for accepting franchises-I won't get into that).  Could be a rivalry but again, no history.

I hate "Rivalry Week", mostly for the stupidity and uncreative nonsense the fans throw out between each other  It's almost caused me to leave social media, and reminded me why there was a time I almost stopped watching soccer, and had to step back from being a more devoted fan.  I wrote a rant on Twitter and I'll post them in the order I wrote it.  It came at the point when the banter wasn't witty but stupid on my timeline about the "rivalry" between NYCFC and Red Bulls fans:

-Everyone talking about team’s ownership in MLS: you all realize MLS is 51% owner in ALL teams, everyone else is just investor, right?

-Also, maybe I’m older and from my BJJ experience, but I don’t HATE teams or players, I don’t like some but I still RESPECT them.

-Maybe things would be better if all fans do that, and focus on growing a league/sport than trying to cut it down in dumb ways

-Here’s the thing: MLS, and pretty much all teams and leagues are businesses, and businesses need $ to run.

-Esp. in soccer, some want to invest in the sport, fans don’t want that? OK, what do you want? back to shoddy leagues where no one cares?

-Or worse, anyone remember the 90s where ill-fit “businessmen” started a team, had no $ to run it, and the team didn’t least a full season?

-MLS, NASL, and USL for the most part have their reasons they only want big $ owners: to make $ and not have teams fold like old A-league.

-It just irks me seeing the stupidity “fans” throw at each other in sports with vitriol especially in a sport that can’t afford stupidity.

-It actually makes me ashamed sometimes to see those who call themselves “fans” of a team that is a business fight for it like it’s a cause.

-It’s not a cause, it’s a fucking business in entertainment that only cares your check clears for the ticket. Time at a game should bring joy.

-Ball busting between fans is fine, but when one tries to make it like it matters for their lives to where it consumes them? get help dude.

-Entertainment, and sports is just that, should be a small break from what’s wrong, not be another basis for more problems.

-I know many who are fans of rivals, we can talk in an intelligent way to each other. You know what? Its actually cool and you enjoy others

-Ranting tonight because A) I can, B) “rivalry week” reminds me of why I started to hate going to RBNY games, C) The talk btw fans is garbage

Part of this stream of conscience is from the other group of fans I am not happy with: those who want the promotion/relegation system in US pro soccer.  It's a system when good teams move to the higher league, while bad ones move to a lower league.  It's common around the world, but not here.  Some of the Euro jock sniffers want this in the US because "that' show the rest of the World works", and it's a more "fair" system.  Lower league teams for the most part are not stable organizations, and remind me of the pro teams that came around in the "dark ages" of US soccer.  They would set up shop in a league, have zero promotion budget (and budget to pay their players) and last the season.  People would be conned out of money and the owner either went bust or ran away with the money.  Promotion/relegation wouldn't change this.  Say what you want about the closed systems of MLS, NASL, and USL, but they work hard to make sure they accept ownerships who are stable and have the capital to run their teams.  For the most part, this system works. 

Again, I'm sick of the banter between soccer fans on this subject.  It's stupid, childish, and drags the entire sport down.  I wish everyone would shut up, enjoy their local teams no matter what level of soccer they play, and work together to grow the sport.  And fans should stop trying to be British Hooligans and try to recreate an era and culture that almost brought down soccer in the world during the 70s and 80s.  

Again, enjoy the sport for what it is, and Internet "soccer supporters" SHUT UP!!!