Indoor Soccer: Go Big Or Go Home!

June 03, 2008 |

So Monday came and everyone finally confirmed what we broke here on WNST on Saturday morning that the MISL indeed ceased operations. In fact even ESPN had it on their update crawl last night. Isn’t it sad when the only time this league makes national news is when it’s going out of business not when it’s in business? So all the owner/investor operators are touting the same line in their respective papers today. Even Ed Hale the owner of the flagship franchise here in Baltimore had the locals in his office dressed in Under Armor to address the league situation. Again a sad state of affairs when you get the most coverage when it’s bad news. Anyway in the words of Brian Billick “it is what it is”. The question is now is how do you fix it?

The first words of advice are to not shrink the schedule down to less than 30 games or reduce the salary cap from the amount you had this past season. This league lacks and needs star power and you don’t get champagne on a beer budget. Here is a quote from Michael King from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

(Credit: Charles Gardner Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

“One Wave player who might be difficult to sign under a revised salary cap is league most valuable player Greg Howes, who also played outdoors last season with the Seattle Sounders. The Wave also has several foreign players, including Brazilians Marcio Leite, Deco and Jonathan Santos.”

“If it’s going to be a regional league, I don’t see how you’re going to be able to attract the big names or the international players,” said former Wave forward Michael King, who retired at the end of last season as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer.

“The fact you’ve got a number of owners who haven’t been able to solidify it, that’s the disappointing thing. There comes a point when you can’t expect people to act professionally when they’re making amateur money.

I think that speaks volumes of how the players will react to any proposed discount for their services. My fear is the caliber of player will be reduced so much you might as well go to your local soccer arena and watch those weekend warriors play for free.

#2 The idea of limiting travel is fine but can’t we arrange a schedule so geographically you travel to the cities closest to each other on your road trips to save cost or play the same team twice in the same weekend in the same city?

Open the game up by eliminating the 3 line pass for everyone and the pass back to the keeper once it crosses the defensive red line. Promote scoring chances like they have in hockey the past 3 years.

I will help the defense out by going back to the old MISL goal dimensions and the goal box not the arc. Make it look and feel like soccer. One of the biggest complaints I hear from new fans or curiosity seekers who come to a game occasionally is they don’t understand multiple point scoring in soccer?

Experiment with not playing music during the game while it’s in play and kill the walking commercial guy. They did that in New Jersey and it worked well during the playoff game. The game was important enough not have the distraction of music playing or some guy trying to sell you stuff or encouraging you to cheer. Believe it or not ”Fans get it”! Do you see this at DC United games? NO…The fans understand and are passionate about their sport.

Go back to single point scoring. That’s soccer enough said.

6 team fouls in a quarter should be a shoot-out.

The ball is placed from the spot it was kicked out not the spot it left the playing area to prevent players from icing the ball in soccer so to speak. This will be needed with the 3 line rule being eliminated.

Work out cooperative television broadcast for as many road games as possible. Then the bars and restaurants etc can have Blast viewing parties. A good way to market the game to adults since it seems all we do is market the indoor game to kids now. We’ve forgotten about our adult fans in many cases.

Open the arena at 5PM on Saturdays and have mini- clinics or player signings with both teams before the game not after the game when it’s 10:30PM and time to leave downtown, etc.

These are just a few ideas of many to make the indoor game bigger and better. I ask that you the fans speak as well. The one thing the Blast has always done is to listen to its fans and now more than ever they need that support from you!