One of the most common retorts to the movement for an open, promotion/relegation system in USA soccer is that the nation’s soccer landscape is “not ready yet.” It is natural to look at the extremely unstable closed USA soccer system of today and falsely conclude that there is a lot of work to do before an open system can happen, but the “not ready” brigade is looking at the equation completely backwards. Open systems are not a response to open system successes, they are a response to closed system failures (USA soccer today).
All risk with no reward
From a cost-benefit point of view, investors and fans have very little incentive to contribute their time, money and energy into “making USA soccer ready” for an open system. There is no tangible and realistic return on investment opportunity for those contemplating investment into a lower-division soccer economy that is stuck beneath a glass ceiling. If you do well as a club or individual, why does it matter? There is no upward mobility and reward for success. If you win your league (AKA have the best product in the marketplace) you are simply resigned go back and do it all over again the next year.
It is absurd to ask people to sacrifice for nothing. A few outlier people and clubs are willing to take the fall today, but we should not expect all constituents to undertake this labor of love at scale. USA soccer must have open-market incentives that reward hard work and excellence. Sure, a few people are investing in them now and breaking even or suffering losses, but the expected behavior of most of the market would be to avoid lower division USA soccer investment. The key to an investment is a chance at ROI (return on investment), and lower division USA soccer has no concrete ROI opportunity on the horizon.
Closed-system victim blaming
The onus is not on the captives to prove that they deserve freedom, nor is it the responsibility of the disenfranchised to earn the right to a fair chance in their particular ecosystem. USA soccer, and sport as a whole, is a real-world industry just like any other. Tangible consequences of jobs, social opportunity, and increased GDP are at stake. It is not right to dismiss sport as “just a game” or mere entertainment. USA soccer’s closed system is economic, social and sporting discrimination. We cannot blame people for not being able or willing to participate in the USA soccer ecosystem when U.S. Soccer Federation policy rigs the entire system against them in the first place. Stop blaming victims and start blaming the perpetrators – the USSF governing federation that is supposed to be fighting for all constituents in the USA soccer ecosystem.
Who sets the “ready” goalposts?
What exactly does “ready” look like and who decides it? The “not ready yet” claim is merely a delay tactic put forward by those who oppose an open USA soccer system. Notice how responses from the USSF, MLS, and open system open system opposition always…. Since these people have no factual and logical arguments to refute the idea of an open USA soccer system, they resort to disingenuous delay tactics like this in hopes that the rising tide for equality and opportunity in USA soccer will just go away.
needs to be either an A) open system or B) a concrete date announced by the USSF (U.S. Soccer) governing federation that makes it clear when exactly the ecosystem (division 1) will be open to all clubs. While USSF avoids or vaguely addresses the potential of opening the USA soccer system, it is 100% understandable that investors and fans ignore the lower divisions of USA soccer.
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