United Premier Soccer League Announces Partnership with Maryland Major Soccer League
UPSL and MMSL Join Forces to Expand Mid Atlantic Amateur Soccer
January 31, 2018 – Los Angeles – The United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) announced it has formed a partnership with the Maryland Major Soccer League (Maryland Majors or MMSL), which has been showcasing the top amateur teams in Maryland since 1965.
Based in Baltimore, Maryland, and in existence since 1965, the Maryland Major Soccer League is the home league to numerous State, Regional, and National Champions including three USASA National Champions since 2005. Maryland Major clubs have also experienced success in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup including reigning 3x Maryland Majors’ champion Christos F.C.’s dramatic run to the 4th round of the 2017 Open Cup where they lost a hard-fought match to D.C. United (MLS). Other successful Open Cup performances by Maryland Major clubs include the Maryland Bays in 2015 and the Baltimore Colts FC in 2005.
The UPSL is currently the largest and fastest growing Pro Development league in the United States with over 140 team members Nationally.
The UPSL and Maryland Majors Soccer League will collaborate on a number of league related issues including player and team integration between the two leagues, Promotion- Relegation, Sponsorship, Marketing, Communications, Player showcase events and more.
United Premier Soccer League Commissioner Yan Skwara said, “We’re very excited to Partner with the Maryland Major Soccer League. Both the UPSL and MMSL realize and identify the need to work together as there is an ever-evolving movement in the soccer circles across America. This is a truly historic type of partnership in that we as a National league are connecting with an elite State league, so we eliminate the politics in between and truly work on what is best for the game and combine our efforts. MMSL Commissioner Bill George and I have had great initial conversations and we look forward to leading the charge in continuing to drive the game in the U.S.”
Maryland Majors Commissioner Bill George said, “on behalf of the players, clubs, supporters, and 50+ years of alumni of the Maryland Majors, we are thrilled to partner with the UPSL. Too often leagues and associations, look to “protect their turf” rather than collaborate in order to grow the game. The game is not about leagues, it is about players, clubs, and their supporters. With this historic partnership the UPSL and MMSL aim to provide a pathway for our players and clubs to grow by taking the necessary steps to connect the US soccer pyramid. I look forward to working with UPSL Commissioner Yan Skwara and the rest of the UPSL staff.”
About Maryland Major Soccer League
The Maryland Major Soccer League is a United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) Elite Amateur League and is the home league to numerous State, Regional, and National Champions. USASA National Champions include Christos FC (2016), Maryland Bays (2014), and the Baltimore Colts FC (2005). Other national championship contending clubs over the last 50 years included ASA Charm City FC, Allied SC, La Dolce Vita, Hummer SC, Jerry D’s, and Casa Bianco SC.
Since 1965, the Maryland Majors has been offering the highest level of outdoor soccer in Maryland and providing opportunities for players to play at the next level. For its 50+ year history, the Maryland Majors has been proudly affiliated with the Maryland State Soccer Association, USASA, and the US Soccer Federation.
Bill George, Commissioner
Email: email@example.com Website: www.marylandmajorsoccer.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MarylandMajorSoccer Twitter: @MarylandMajors
United Premier Soccer League
The UPSL was formed in 2011 and currently includes more than 140 teams Nationally. The UPSL is the fastest growing Pro Development League in the USA, with 200-plus teams targeted for 2019 Spring Season. Each UPSL team is individually owned and operated, and is responsible for maintaining either UPSL Pro Premier Division or Championship Division minimum standards.
UPSL teams are all eligible to participate in the U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Rounds through the leagues affiliation with the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA).
More information about UPSL can be found at http://www.upslsoccer.com or by following the league on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/upslsoccer) and Twitter (@upslsoccer).
The Spring campaign of the 2017-2018 Maryland Major Soccer League will kick off in two short months on Sunday, March 25.
Compete in the highest level of outdoor soccer in Maryland, affiliated with US Soccer Federation, and be eligible to compete for the USASA National Amateur Cup and Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Team Registration is now open for our clubs, and for new clubs, by following this link.
Registration will close on March 1, 2018.
In the wake of the United States Men's National Team's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, many in the US soccer community are asking thoughtful and challenging questions regarding the state of our game. And some are demanding a change in leadership within the United States Soccer Federation. Sunil Gulati has been President for 12 years and is up for re-election this February.
Our sport has seen tremendous growth and investment in the last 20 years, so we do not want to throw the baby out with the bath water, but this failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 should be a wake up call to USSF leadership and to those of us involved in the game to assess what we are doing right and scrutinize and question what we are doing wrong as a soccer nation. While this is an expansive conversation which includes everything from coaching education, the role of college soccer, scouting and player identification, pay to play, investment in a national training center, and promotion/relegation; I would like to focus USSF leadership and the candidates for USSF President on the issue of FIFA Training Compensation and Solidarity payments which the USSF does not enforce like the rest of the footballing world.
USSF must find a way to implement FIFA Training Compensation and Solidarity payments to incentivize youth and amateur clubs to scout and develop talent from underserved communities and to be financially rewarded for the players they develop into professionals. Within the current landscape, their is no financial incentive for the thousands of youth clubs to scout out and identify players not in the system or to aggressively market to communities that cannot afford to participate in big time youth travel soccer. Some clubs offer scholarships, and that is to be lauded, but with training compensation and solidarity in place there would be financial incentive to go out and scout underserved communities.
There are some potential antitrust issues in play related to a consent decree that US Soccer entered into with the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts more than 15 years ago as part of the Fraser v. MLS litigation (lawsuit about MLS's single entity structure and lack of free agency where USSF was also a party).
The critical element for the next USSF President to move forward with FIFA Training Compensation and Solidarity is to get the Major League Soccer Players Union (MLSPU) onboard as they are the ones who will bring an antitrust action against US Soccer (USSF) and MLS, if USSF begins enforcing FIFA Training and Solidarity Payments. The MLSPU's stance is likely that it is a restraint on trade and takes from their member's paychecks. The next USSF President will also need to get MLS on board. While MLS clubs with academies would benefit from training compensation (many MLS clubs have made substantial investment in academies which has been a great development for the sport), the implementation and enforcement of Training Compensation and Solidarity would likely increase the cost of doing business for MLS in having to make training compensation and solidarity payments out to non MLS academy youth clubs who played a role in developing a player. In addition to increasing the cost of doing business, given MLSPU's likely position, MLS likely views the implementation of Training Compensation and Solidarity not only as an additional expense but as a thorny labor issue that potentially would need to be addressed in collective bargaining.
MLS has made great strides as has the MLSPU in advocating for players. I support both the league and the MLSPU. I remember when MLS was on fragile footing in the early 2000's after the Fraser litigation when two teams were contracted and when Uncle Phil Anshutz owned/operated six of the then ten teams in the league (Lamar Hunt owned three and Kraft owned one). I also remember a time when there was no players union, when reserve player salaries were as low as $16,000 a year, when players did not have rights to their likeness or image, and when there was no form of free agency within MLS.
MLS now has 22 teams, many investors, state of the art soccer stadiums, TV contracts, and has developed an impressive soccer supporters culture in markets like Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Orlando and others. On the player side, the union has improved a whole host of terms and conditions for player employment and are currently in the 3rd CBA agreement with the league (2015 - 2019). Player wages have gone up, team salary caps have gone up, guaranteed contracts for certain players, limited free agency has been obtained, improvements to retirement contributions from the league, and increases for player appearance fees and per diems.
MLS has a stated desire to be a top 5 league in the world. Well if that is the case, then it time to take the training wheels off and join the rest of the top leagues in the world in paying training compensation and solidarity payments.
The Yedlin - Spurs - Crossfire youth club solidarity compensation dispute (USMNT player Deandre Yedlin's youth club wants their solidarity payment from when the Seattle Sounders of MLS transferred Yedlin to Tottenham Hotspurs of the EPL for approximately $3 million) still has legs as it is currently on the docket of the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC). If Crossfire prevails, will USSF take action to enforce the payments or will the Federation cower to MLS and the MLSPU under the threat of an antitrust lawsuit based on a 15 year old and factually distinguishable consent decree? The next USSF President will have an opportunity to take this head on. The next USSF President must persuade MLS and the MLSPU that implementing Training Compensation and Solidarity is in the best interest of all in growing the game in helping us to cast a wider net for identifying talent that in turn will help improve and grow both our professional leagues and our national teams.
Along with being Commissioner of the Maryland Major Soccer League, I am a delegate with the US Adult Soccer Association (USASA) and US Soccer Federation and will be pressing all candidates running for USSF President on the issue of Training Compensation and Solidarity Payments starting next week at USASA's Mid-Year Meeting where candidates for USSF President will be presenting.
If any in the soccer community have thoughts, ideas, or suggestions that you want me to raise to leadership, please reach out and let me know.
Commissioner, Maryland Major Soccer League
Secretary, Maryland State Soccer Association
Delegate, United States Adult Soccer Association
Delegate, United States Soccer Federation