The Coach Hank piece will have to wait. I just deleted it all. I kept the title for tonight. I'll start again on Sunday.
This is just too nutty to ignore. My Friday night was perfectly planned out. I plugged in my laptop and placed it on an expensive T.V. tray. My wife calls it a C-table and That's probably why it costs more, but I am not fooled. It's a T.V. tray. My Boston Celtics lounge pants are on and I had strategically placed a whiskey bottle within arms reach. My headphones were in and I was mining my Hankinson recording for nuggets of wisdom. Pork chops are in the oven and I have to listen for the timer. But...the chaos was calling and I couldn't miss the #SoccerTwitter train wreck as it unfolded.
Today was the day. We had been given plenty of warning. A decision was looming in the first week of the new year. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday ticked by quite quickly on the calendar which left lower division soccer with a potential First Friday to remember. #Sources had confirmed it would be today. Friday morning came and it was filled with the usual silence from the powers that be and the usual suspects filling the void on social media. The decision was left until Friday afternoon until it wasn't. The delayed announcement had been delayed yet again and then it was to be tonight.
Tonight was the night! The momentum built steadily again. The story had been playing out for months. Or 7-10 days. Whichever one is longer. I'm not even using sentences anymore. Is it the whiskey or the fact that I have been refreshing 140 characters for the last three hours? It was wonderful really and I am sorry if you missed it.
Delicious memes, hashtags and gifs create a perfect storm of madness, euphoria, hope and despair. Tonight was the night that Division 2 became... 2 division... 2's. I am not sure that even makes sense but let me try that again. The United States Soccer Federation has awarded division 2 status to two separate leagues. The decision had been made and announced as official. Sports Illustrated was reporting on my league. All of lower division soccer was there and I didn't really know how to feel. Honestly, I wasn't sure.
When this evening began, I really had no idea that this could happen. What I actually mean is that I knew this could happen. There was some sort of provision in the US Soccer bylaws to allow for such and an anomaly, but I just didn't think it would happen. I mistakenly assumed there would be one winner and one loser. There had to be a D2 and a D3. Truthfully, when the night began, I was expecting business as usual. I was thinking that the USSF would allow the NASL to retain it's division 2 moniker and USL would remain relegated in division 3. I was fairly confident.
I was wrong.
There will be two leagues operating as division 2 when I wake up tomorrow. I'll be at work when you are reading this. I have to work on a Saturday. I warned them I would be drunk. This is the silly season. Welcome! #Sources can confirm that things cannot get much sillier.
The NASL does not meet all the necessary division 2 requirements and neither does the USL. And yet...2017 will be the year that they both proudly wear the distinction. The two leagues will continue to operate 100% independently of each other although one of the leagues isn't 100% independent. Another of the two leagues isn't meeting 100% of it's financial obligations to players or staff.
The epic dysfunction of the NASL had precipitated speculation on a massive scale. Defection and dissolution (fairly certain I am using this word properly. See Also: Whiskey) ran through the league like Montezuma's Revenge. Six weeks ago I thought the NASL was toast. Four weeks ago I thought Indy Eleven would end up in the USL. 2 weeks ago I thought that NASL would be the lone division 2. Imagine what I will think tomorrow.
There were rumors a plenty over the past few weeks. There were private meetings and information leaks. I am sure there were many people working long hours who were doing their best for their respective organizations and building the future of this sport in America. It was not really transparent. it's not known how it all went down at this time, but this storyline seems to make sense.
The USSF bought time for a dying league and delayed a decision that would have been a death blow had it come any sooner. They promoted a league in the name of fairness and most likely to avoid litigation of some kind. They have kicked the can down the road and allowed for this topic to be revisited during the next silly season. This division war is not over by any stretch. Both the USL and the NASL have made promises and I bet that neither one can keep them all. The race is on for the league that can keep the most promises and make the most improvement. The NASL needs more teams. The USL needs more money and bigger stadiums. A merger was out of the question with business models so diametrically opposed. Promotion and relegation is still a pipe dream for some although it seems to be prominently displayed here.
We saw an entire league get promoted just a few hours ago and there is now nothing to stop an entire league from becoming relegated in the following season. #ProRelForUSA is real. I have no idea what Tinfoil Ted is up to. I blocked him a long time ago as you all should, but I smile and laugh when I think about the conspiracies and the racism he will dream up based on tonight's conclusions.
This also opens the door for two simultaneous and functional division 1 organizations in the future. MindExplosion.gif . An interesting precedent has been set here and it will be something to watch for in the future. In the very distant future.
I care about only two things in this equation of today's events. I care about what is best for Indy Eleven and what is best for soccer in my country. Long term growth of the sport is always at the forefront of my thoughts, but I can be a fan of both entities and know that their possible interests remain opposed to each other. I can be a fan of both to suit my needs as citizen and a hometown fan.
I'll admit that I would not have shed a tear had the NASL fallen. I do think that the USSF took the cheap way out. I know why they did it. I get it. It might even be for the best. Deep down, there was a part of me that was ready for a rock solid central division in USL featuring Louisville City, Cincinnati FC, and St. Louis FC, but it was not meant to be. There are still more questions than answers and there is not a lot of certainty for the NASL even in the wake of such a monumental decision. I find my thoughts relegated to the fact that I will cheer for a team, in 2017, that will have possibly 6-8 opponents spread to all the corners of this continent and with nothing much in-between.
But I retained trust and faith in Indy's front office throughout the entire ordeal. I was continually assured or reassured that the club would operate in 2017 and that's all that really matters. I am happy that this portion of silly season is behind us and the team can get down to important business matters involving actual business.
Indiana Uber Alles.