Wow. It’s starting to look like we could be seeing a profound moment in the history of American club soccereven if Jack Bell of The New York Times‘ Goal blog hasn’t noticed anything yet, busy as he is. Fortunately, there’s a platoon of bloggers and full-time reporters at work on these stories.
I was buried with my normal editorial responsibilities today, but this is what came over the Twitter wire:
- J. Mike Blake of the Cary News seems to have been first out of the gate with the news that the USSF had stepped in to order a meeting today between representatives of the Team Owners Association and the United Soccer Leagues. We haven’t heard anything about how that meeting went down.
- In USL-2 news, WECT television in Wilmington, N.C. reported that the Wilmington Hammerheads had been kicked out of the second flight due to the alleged failure of its owner, Chuck Sullivan, to meet his obligations to the league.
- And finally, the biggest fish of the day was hauled in, wet and flopping, just in the last hour or two by Inside Minnesota Soccer’s Brian Quarstad. The thing to which I refer would be a copy, an actual replica, of the notorious email sent by the USL last Friday to Carolina, Miami and Minnesota. It’s a sharp-toothed thing that bears further scrutiny. Here are the money grafs:
Section 5 of the USL Standard Contract for Professional Players requires that the Club “shall operate a professional soccer team in USL” and further states that “Should Club fail to operate a professional soccer team within USL, this contract shall be terminated.”
Consequently, all Players under Contract with the (Team Name) have been released by USL. The U.S. Soccer Federation has been advised of the same and has also released all Players from their USL Contracts and USSF Registrations.
We’re going to show this to our lawyers (leave your assessment in the comments, please). But non-lawyers following this case have noticed three things. First, we’d like to see a copy of the USL Standard Contract for Professional Players. Second, there seems to be a disagreement about whether the USSF has released the affected players. This letter says yes, the RailHawks’ Brian Wellman says no. And third, the same RailHawks official characterized this communication as being a “middle-management” (same link, scroll down) kind of thing. The signer of this letter identifies himself as Tim Holt, president of USL.
There will be more, surely much more, to come.