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Competitive Soccer has lost it's way Empty Competitive Soccer has lost it's way

Post by Truthiness on 06/06/19, 12:21 pm

With clarity coming to what travel leagues dozens of Dallas teams per age group will be playing next year (DA, ECNL, DPL, ERCL, and NPL), it's become clear that our leadership has completely either lost control or lost the plot.

I'll set aside the fact that it is utterly insane for DA teams to travel to Missouri and Nebraska when Challenge and Albion in Houston are roughly equivalent competitors or travel to Colorado when Sting and DFeeters are roughly equivalent competitors. And I'll also set aside the bad joke that the bottom half of ECNL Texas has become with its over-expansion following the loss of the DA teams. If you squint hard enough I suppose one can see the logic that Dallas has three or four elite teams per age group that need to travel to find the equivalent competition that enables development.

But let's talk about DPL, ERCL, and NPL (Travel Leagues). Leagues that require travel for DFW teams to "find" competition. The DFW teams that play in these Travel Leagues are almost all pretty good. Some are very good. Their rosters are chock full of kids who will play in college. But they are still 2nd/3rd teams for the big clubs or top teams for smaller clubs that are more likely equivalent of the 2nd/3rd teams of the big clubs.

Not a single one of these Travel Leagues provides a higher level of competition than what one would find if all the Dallas teams simply stayed local. In other words, if you took the top dozen non-Dallas Travel League teams that provide our competition in those leagues, the top dozen Dallas Travel League teams would destroy them. It wouldn't be close. So why are we asking parents and kids to drive/fly 200+ miles away from a dozen teams who would provide better competition?

There isn't a single reason - not one - for why 99% of DFW's non-DA/ECNL teams should play in any of these Travel Leagues.  None are better off going and playing out of town when equivalent competition is right here in town.  

It makes no sense. Importantly, the clubs aren't making profit on this travel. If anything, it's the opposite. So you can't point toward $$$ as being the reason. Everyone - the kids, parents and coaches - would much rather play a local schedule of equivalent or better competition. Everyone - the kids, parents, and coaches - would rather spend the money that is currently wasted on Travel League trips to instead take an extra trip or two to a showcase such as Surf/Wags/Jefferson/Disney/Silverlake/Vegas.

Who the hell is this current splintered format supposed to serve? There isn't a single coach, player, or parent in DFW who wouldn't rather have these non-DA/ECNL teams combined into a single highly competitive local league and then do their traveling toward events that actually help the kids reach their goals.

DFW is unique in their ability to provide robust local competition (only SoCal is comparable). So why are we acting like we all live in Orlando or some 2nd rate soccer town that needs to spend a ton of time and money to find a decent game?

The problem is I don't know how you put the genie back in the bottle. How did we get here? Is it too late to even fix it? What would the fix even look like?
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Post by eagle11 on 06/06/19, 12:37 pm

The DPL league was probably the closest your going to get until they added the 2 CO clubs. If there wasn't the struggle between DA/ECNL you could have added teams from Sting and D'Feeters, possibly Albion, Challenge, and RISE and had a really strong "Texas" league. There still would be some travel involved but would be a strong "2nd Tier" behind DA/ECNL. It takes the leadership of each of these clubs to come together to determine what is best for the kids and families and for families to decide what path is best for them.

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Post by SickofStupidity on 06/06/19, 12:52 pm

eagle11 wrote:The DPL league was probably the closest your going to get until they added the 2 CO clubs. If there wasn't the struggle between DA/ECNL you could have added teams from Sting and D'Feeters, possibly Albion, Challenge, and RISE and had a really strong "Texas" league. There still would be some travel involved but would be a strong "2nd Tier" behind DA/ECNL.  It takes the leadership of each of these clubs to come together to determine what is best for the kids and families and for families to decide what path is best for them.

Isn't your club the only one with teams in every travel league listed above?

On any given weekend, Solar could have over 100 girls in any age group traveling outside NTX for games?


to Truthiness -

Clubs do not "directly" make money from participating in travel leagues.

However, they do make money from having more teams.

Which approach drives more kids to Solar (or any other club):
- We have 3 teams in LH D1
- We have 2 DPL teams (followed by flowery language on the DPL benefits) and an NPL team

Which scenario above is more likely to fill 3 teams (and generate the associated revenue)?


Your goal did largely exist years ago - it was called LHGCL DI

The vast numbers of players on travel teams (combined with the now 15-team LH divisions) has now created such a watered-down product that I wonder if the majority of today's D1 teams would have even been able to qualify for LH 10 years ago.

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Post by Truthiness on 06/06/19, 12:55 pm

eagle11 wrote:The DPL league was probably the closest your going to get until they added the 2 CO clubs. If there wasn't the struggle between DA/ECNL you could have added teams from Sting and D'Feeters, possibly Albion, Challenge, and RISE and had a really strong "Texas" league. There still would be some travel involved but would be a strong "2nd Tier" behind DA/ECNL.  It takes the leadership of each of these clubs to come together to determine what is best for the kids and families and for families to decide what path is best for them.



But why even have these teams travel to Houston or Austin to play their 2nd and 3rd teams?  There are better teams here in Dallas.

A "Texas League" is the problem, not the solution.

Outside of about 4 teams per age group, a "Dallas League" supplemented with showcase tournaments for travel is superior in every single way to any other option. Expenses. Competition. Time. Opportunity Costs. College Asperations. Etc.


Last edited by Truthiness on 06/06/19, 12:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by soccertard on 06/06/19, 12:56 pm

The real question is, are they allowing Collin County kids in these leagues?
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Post by Defender_Dad on 06/06/19, 12:58 pm

Couldn't you say this same thing about baseball,, softball and basketball. There seem to be pretty competitive teams and pockets of talent, not all of it first round draft picks either, all over the Metroplex and state that could just play each other but they travel all over the country to play. Those parents don't b.t.h and moan about this as much as soccer parents. Yes, I do know a few. If you don't want to pay the bill, by your kid a flute or a clarinet, sit back and enjoy the music.
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Post by SickofStupidity on 06/06/19, 12:58 pm

Truthiness wrote:
eagle11 wrote:The DPL league was probably the closest your going to get until they added the 2 CO clubs. If there wasn't the struggle between DA/ECNL you could have added teams from Sting and D'Feeters, possibly Albion, Challenge, and RISE and had a really strong "Texas" league. There still would be some travel involved but would be a strong "2nd Tier" behind DA/ECNL.  It takes the leadership of each of these clubs to come together to determine what is best for the kids and families and for families to decide what path is best for them.



But why even have these teams travel to Houston or Austin to play their 2nd and 3rd teams?  There are better teams here in Dallas.

A "Texas League" is the problem, not the solution.

Outside of about 4 teams per age group, a "Dallas League" supplemented with showcase tournaments for travel is superior in every single way to any other option. Expenses. Competition. Time. Opportunity Costs. College Asperations. Etc.


Agreed - but nowhere near enough parents to stand up and say "we play local or we walk" (and mean it) to drive any meaningful change.

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Post by Truthiness on 06/06/19, 01:04 pm

SickofStupidity wrote:
Truthiness wrote:
eagle11 wrote:The DPL league was probably the closest your going to get until they added the 2 CO clubs. If there wasn't the struggle between DA/ECNL you could have added teams from Sting and D'Feeters, possibly Albion, Challenge, and RISE and had a really strong "Texas" league. There still would be some travel involved but would be a strong "2nd Tier" behind DA/ECNL.  It takes the leadership of each of these clubs to come together to determine what is best for the kids and families and for families to decide what path is best for them.



But why even have these teams travel to Houston or Austin to play their 2nd and 3rd teams?  There are better teams here in Dallas.

A "Texas League" is the problem, not the solution.

Outside of about 4 teams per age group, a "Dallas League" supplemented with showcase tournaments for travel is superior in every single way to any other option. Expenses. Competition. Time. Opportunity Costs. College Asperations. Etc.


Agreed - but nowhere near enough parents to stand up and say "we play local or we walk" (and mean it) to drive any meaningful change.

That option doesn't really exist right now for kids with dreams of playing with other higher level players with similar dreams of playing in college.  Your typical Lake Highlands team in 2020 can't provide that. Parents and kids sign up for whatever format will best fulfill whatever their goals may be.  Nowadays that likely means joining  a team in a Travel League.

I submit it is up to the leadership in DFW soccer to step back and seek to provide a more provide a sensible format. Parents and kids can't do what you suggest. It would require a critical mass of teams and clubs to "walk."


Last edited by Truthiness on 06/06/19, 01:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by RightWingDad on 06/06/19, 01:07 pm

I totally agree with the OP. Outside of the ridiculous cost of travel leagues what I could never really figure out is why some of these larger more established clubs (say the big 4) did not have a travel coordinator as a FTE or part time resource. Gosh, these clubs have been sending teams from all age groups to out of town tournaments and showcases for 20+ years. When a club sends a # of teams across their age group to let's say Vegas Cup you gotta figure they would have established relationships and partnerships with airlines, hotels and the like. One might think they could find a group airline and hotel rates to help lessen the financial burden on the team....uh, parents. But no. Each team in every club is an island. It's all up to the individual manager and coach to do their own planning. That just made no sense to me.

In the end for 80-90% of the players out there, all the extra money spent on travel league games and tournament isn't really gonna make much difference in college selection or scholarships. In fact, (and I'm not being dogmatic) I'd almost wager to say a kid could play on a team that plays only LHGCL from which she could build a highlight reel and then possibly attend a few ID camps and more than likely get to play in college at some level if she really wanted to do that, D1, D2, D3, NAIA etc.

There is a TON of money being wasted out there because most parents really don't know the soccer development *game* and have what they believe to be discretionary money, Retirement be damned. A few years back I heard people who live in Collin county, one of the richest counties in the country, spends $1.19 for every dollar they earn. Needless to say, one slight change to the economic engine and bang, they are forced to sell the house and the new Benz in the garage and cancel that fancy ski trip to Aspen. Only recollection for them is to post old ski pictures on FB and say..."Hey, loved our trip to Steamboat this year"...so everyone else on FaceBrag can wish they were them. #ThankGoodnessForSocialMedia #MakesOthersWishTheyWereMe
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Post by soccertard on 06/06/19, 01:16 pm

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Post by Maradona on 06/06/19, 01:40 pm

Don't blame the sellers (clubs), blame the parents (buyers). A major part of the problem is the "Big 4", if you drive all the power to a small number of big clubs in the area you are simply asking for issues like this and for them to have no reason to change. They may not be making money on the travel but they will point to these leagues as selling points (better competition than the other local clubs) and make plenty of money elsewhere. If your daughter plays on one of these teams you have nobody to blame (not the "leadership") but yourself.

Parents drive all the players to a few clubs that now have a monopoly on talent and then complain because these clubs act like monopoly's. In the end, that is "Who the hell is this current splintered format supposed to serve?"

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Post by BENDMEOVER on 06/06/19, 06:19 pm

The short answer costs are on the rise to play soccer in N TX in the pay to play system.

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Post by DeltaTauChi on 06/06/19, 08:23 pm

My work is done here.  I am officially passing the torch on to Truthiness.  He/She clearly gets it.

The solution is:

1) Solar drops out of ECNL, Texans drops out of DA and goes back to ECNL

2) FCD/Solar/Texans/Sting/D'Feeters stop their territorial pissing contest, and put together their own league under US Club where they place their #2 & #3 teams from each age group.  Play each team 2x for an 18 game season.  League winner gets access into US Club NPL playoffs.  Teams stay sharp by playing relative good competition in league matches, without having to travel out of the Metroplex, and are then free to participate in whatever college showcases they desire and can get into.

Let the individual clubs figure out how to use these teams as potential feeders into either their DA or ECNL teams.

Everyone else can go play LHGCL and feed into USYSA FCL, and play whatever showcases they choose.

Of course:
a) Solar will never voluntarily give up ECNL
b) Texans will never voluntarily agree to leave DA and go back to ECNL
c)  All of the other non-DA/non-ECNL clubs in NTX will be pissed that they are excluded from the DA/ECNL club's league (but I don't really know what that would matter because it's really no different than the current situation with the #2/#3 teams from those clubs already playing in DPL/ECRL/NPL's).

So it's really probably just a moot point, because the individual clubs are going to act according to what they see will best stabilize/expand their footprints, not by what would best serve the overall market, and I don't see parents banding together in any meaningful way that will f orce change via their pocketbooks.

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Post by BENDMEOVER on 06/06/19, 09:56 pm

Your going to increase several 1000s of dollars to play teams that are not local on top of additional fees from the organization.  I'm trying to articulate what value this brings when it's not a change in quality?

Are the clubs and these leagues really trying to sell something that people find value to pay these additional costs? Arrow

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Post by Checkpoint Charlie on 06/06/19, 10:47 pm



#MAGA
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Post by BENDMEOVER on 07/06/19, 07:43 am

The truth will set you free!!!!!!!!

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Post by Lefty on 07/06/19, 09:36 am

Truthiness wrote:
SickofStupidity wrote:
Truthiness wrote:
eagle11 wrote:The DPL league was probably the closest your going to get until they added the 2 CO clubs. If there wasn't the struggle between DA/ECNL you could have added teams from Sting and D'Feeters, possibly Albion, Challenge, and RISE and had a really strong "Texas" league. There still would be some travel involved but would be a strong "2nd Tier" behind DA/ECNL.  It takes the leadership of each of these clubs to come together to determine what is best for the kids and families and for families to decide what path is best for them.



But why even have these teams travel to Houston or Austin to play their 2nd and 3rd teams?  There are better teams here in Dallas.

A "Texas League" is the problem, not the solution.

Outside of about 4 teams per age group, a "Dallas League" supplemented with showcase tournaments for travel is superior in every single way to any other option. Expenses. Competition. Time. Opportunity Costs. College Asperations. Etc.


Agreed - but nowhere near enough parents to stand up and say "we play local or we walk" (and mean it) to drive any meaningful change.

That option doesn't really exist right now for kids with dreams of playing with other higher level players with similar dreams of playing in college.  Your typical Lake Highlands team in 2020 can't provide that. Parents and kids sign up for whatever format will best fulfill whatever their goals may be.  Nowadays that likely means joining  a team in a Travel League.

I submit it is up to the leadership in DFW soccer to step back and seek to provide a more provide a sensible format. Parents and kids can't do what you suggest. It would require a critical mass of teams and clubs to "walk."

Who do you think this is?

The clubs are all independent businesses looking to maximize their revenue, influence & control?

The model you reference existed years ago, and was LHGCL D1, D2, D3 with Premier League for the top few teams.

Problem with that system was that it was a totally transparent, pure meritocracy, based on results, and made it very clear to everyone who the top teams were each year.  

With the current system that problem has been alleviated and there are now many 'top teams' in many leagues which keeps a larger number of paying customers (parents) happier and provides for good water cooler talk about places the team traveled and the leagues they won.

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Post by CardinalRule on 07/06/19, 10:04 am

DeltaTauChi wrote:My work is done here.  I am officially passing the torch on to Truthiness.  He/She clearly gets it.

The solution is:

1) Solar drops out of ECNL, Texans drops out of DA and goes back to ECNL

2) FCD/Solar/Texans/Sting/D'Feeters stop their territorial pissing contest, and put together their own league under US Club where they place their #2 & #3 teams from each age group.  Play each team 2x for an 18 game season.  League winner gets access into US Club NPL playoffs.  Teams stay sharp by playing relative good competition in league matches, without having to travel out of the Metroplex, and are then free to participate in whatever college showcases they desire and can get into.

Let the individual clubs figure out how to use these teams as potential feeders into either their DA or ECNL teams.

Everyone else can go play LHGCL and feed into USYSA FCL, and play whatever showcases they choose.

Of course:
a) Solar will never voluntarily give up ECNL
b) Texans will never voluntarily agree to leave DA and go back to ECNL
c)  All of the other non-DA/non-ECNL clubs in NTX will be pissed that they are excluded from the DA/ECNL club's league (but I don't really know what that would matter because it's really no different than the current situation with the #2/#3 teams from those clubs already playing in DPL/ECRL/NPL's).

So it's really probably just a moot point, because the individual clubs are going to act according to what they see will best stabilize/expand their footprints, not by what would best serve the overall market, and I don't see parents banding together in any meaningful way that will Dribble change via their pocketbooks.

I'm with you douche, we need to immediately disband the free market system and choice of consumers. They make all of our lives worse.

Come on now, free markets are sometimes messy, but they MOST often work themselves out over time and find equilibrium. This is going to take a few years to sort out. Women's club sports are still finding their way. I like all the new options...It actually feels like we have a choice instead of the "old days" Rec, Classic League or ECNL.


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Post by DeltaTauChi on 07/06/19, 10:43 am

CardinalRule wrote:
DeltaTauChi wrote:My work is done here.  I am officially passing the torch on to Truthiness.  He/She clearly gets it.

The solution is:

1) Solar drops out of ECNL, Texans drops out of DA and goes back to ECNL

2) FCD/Solar/Texans/Sting/D'Feeters stop their territorial pissing contest, and put together their own league under US Club where they place their #2 & #3 teams from each age group.  Play each team 2x for an 18 game season.  League winner gets access into US Club NPL playoffs.  Teams stay sharp by playing relative good competition in league matches, without having to travel out of the Metroplex, and are then free to participate in whatever college showcases they desire and can get into.

Let the individual clubs figure out how to use these teams as potential feeders into either their DA or ECNL teams.

Everyone else can go play LHGCL and feed into USYSA FCL, and play whatever showcases they choose.

Of course:
a) Solar will never voluntarily give up ECNL
b) Texans will never voluntarily agree to leave DA and go back to ECNL
c)  All of the other non-DA/non-ECNL clubs in NTX will be pissed that they are excluded from the DA/ECNL club's league (but I don't really know what that would matter because it's really no different than the current situation with the #2/#3 teams from those clubs already playing in DPL/ECRL/NPL's).

So it's really probably just a moot point, because the individual clubs are going to act according to what they see will best stabilize/expand their footprints, not by what would best serve the overall market, and I don't see parents banding together in any meaningful way that will Dribble change via their pocketbooks.

I'm with you douche, we need to immediately disband the free market system and choice of consumers.  They make all of our lives worse.  

Come on now, free markets are sometimes messy, but they MOST often work themselves out over time and find equilibrium.  This is going to take a few years to sort out.  Women's club sports are still finding their way.  I like all the new options...It actually feels like we have a choice instead of the "old days" Rec, Classic League or ECNL.  


Oh, for sure today’s system is a Republican Capitalist dream. Total deregulation free market.

Unlike the old days when the Democrats of NTSSA and LHGCL controlled everything with all kinds of roster and league restrictions and regulations to at least appear to try to put the poor clubs on a level pitch with the rich clubs.

Consider my plan the Kasich/Biden plan. A compromise negotiated by a couple of moderates that no one will be completely happy with, but would actually best serve the overall populace.

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Post by Lefty on 07/06/19, 11:28 am

DeltaTauChi wrote:
CardinalRule wrote:
DeltaTauChi wrote:My work is done here.  I am officially passing the torch on to Truthiness.  He/She clearly gets it.

The solution is:

1) Solar drops out of ECNL, Texans drops out of DA and goes back to ECNL

2) FCD/Solar/Texans/Sting/D'Feeters stop their territorial pissing contest, and put together their own league under US Club where they place their #2 & #3 teams from each age group.  Play each team 2x for an 18 game season.  League winner gets access into US Club NPL playoffs.  Teams stay sharp by playing relative good competition in league matches, without having to travel out of the Metroplex, and are then free to participate in whatever college showcases they desire and can get into.

Let the individual clubs figure out how to use these teams as potential feeders into either their DA or ECNL teams.

Everyone else can go play LHGCL and feed into USYSA FCL, and play whatever showcases they choose.

Of course:
a) Solar will never voluntarily give up ECNL
b) Texans will never voluntarily agree to leave DA and go back to ECNL
c)  All of the other non-DA/non-ECNL clubs in NTX will be pissed that they are excluded from the DA/ECNL club's league (but I don't really know what that would matter because it's really no different than the current situation with the #2/#3 teams from those clubs already playing in DPL/ECRL/NPL's).

So it's really probably just a moot point, because the individual clubs are going to act according to what they see will best stabilize/expand their footprints, not by what would best serve the overall market, and I don't see parents banding together in any meaningful way that will Dribble change via their pocketbooks.

I'm with you douche, we need to immediately disband the free market system and choice of consumers.  They make all of our lives worse.  

Come on now, free markets are sometimes messy, but they MOST often work themselves out over time and find equilibrium.  This is going to take a few years to sort out.  Women's club sports are still finding their way.  I like all the new options...It actually feels like we have a choice instead of the "old days" Rec, Classic League or ECNL.  


Oh, for sure today’s system is a Republican Capitalist dream.  Total deregulation free market.

Unlike the old days when the Democrats of NTSSA and LHGCL controlled everything with all kinds of roster and league restrictions and regulations to at least appear to try to put the poor clubs on a level pitch with the rich clubs.  

Consider my plan the Kasich/Biden plan.  A compromise negotiated by a couple of moderates that no one will be completely happy with, but would actually best serve the overall populace.

What an idea!!!!!!

Who are you thinking of appointing to decide and enforce what 'would best serve the overall populace' and be the Commissioner?

Bernie, Liz?  

If you want someone with more experience and a foreign flair, thinking Mr. Maduro may soon be available.  Rolling Eyes

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Post by DeltaTauChi on 07/06/19, 11:44 am

Lefty wrote:
DeltaTauChi wrote:
CardinalRule wrote:
DeltaTauChi wrote:My work is done here.  I am officially passing the torch on to Truthiness.  He/She clearly gets it.

The solution is:

1) Solar drops out of ECNL, Texans drops out of DA and goes back to ECNL

2) FCD/Solar/Texans/Sting/D'Feeters stop their territorial pissing contest, and put together their own league under US Club where they place their #2 & #3 teams from each age group.  Play each team 2x for an 18 game season.  League winner gets access into US Club NPL playoffs.  Teams stay sharp by playing relative good competition in league matches, without having to travel out of the Metroplex, and are then free to participate in whatever college showcases they desire and can get into.

Let the individual clubs figure out how to use these teams as potential feeders into either their DA or ECNL teams.

Everyone else can go play LHGCL and feed into USYSA FCL, and play whatever showcases they choose.

Of course:
a) Solar will never voluntarily give up ECNL
b) Texans will never voluntarily agree to leave DA and go back to ECNL
c)  All of the other non-DA/non-ECNL clubs in NTX will be pissed that they are excluded from the DA/ECNL club's league (but I don't really know what that would matter because it's really no different than the current situation with the #2/#3 teams from those clubs already playing in DPL/ECRL/NPL's).

So it's really probably just a moot point, because the individual clubs are going to act according to what they see will best stabilize/expand their footprints, not by what would best serve the overall market, and I don't see parents banding together in any meaningful way that will Dribble change via their pocketbooks.

I'm with you douche, we need to immediately disband the free market system and choice of consumers.  They make all of our lives worse.  

Come on now, free markets are sometimes messy, but they MOST often work themselves out over time and find equilibrium.  This is going to take a few years to sort out.  Women's club sports are still finding their way.  I like all the new options...It actually feels like we have a choice instead of the "old days" Rec, Classic League or ECNL.  


Oh, for sure today’s system is a Republican Capitalist dream.  Total deregulation free market.

Unlike the old days when the Democrats of NTSSA and LHGCL controlled everything with all kinds of roster and league restrictions and regulations to at least appear to try to put the poor clubs on a level pitch with the rich clubs.  

Consider my plan the Kasich/Biden plan.  A compromise negotiated by a couple of moderates that no one will be completely happy with, but would actually best serve the overall populace.

What an idea!!!!!!

Who are you thinking of appointing to decide and enforce what 'would best serve the overall populace' and be the Commissioner?

Bernie, Liz?  

If you want someone with more experience and a foreign flair thinking Mr. Maduro may soon be available.

You've got it COMPLETELY wrong. The Sanders/Warren plan would mandate a single league where every team was required to play. There would be no league fees. Rather, each club would be taxed on sliding scale based on the total income of the club, with the top 5 clubs required to pay 70% of their income to play. There would be no standings, and everybody would get a trophy at the end of the year. AOC would be the commissioner and halftime dance performer.

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Post by Lefty on 07/06/19, 12:06 pm

Sounds like we may need a poll to figure out what the populace wants.

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Post by DeltaTauChi on 07/06/19, 12:22 pm

Lefty wrote:Sounds like we may need a poll to figure out what the populace wants.

Kinda ironic considering your username

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Post by BENDMEOVER on 07/06/19, 03:28 pm

Everyone has a price when soccer becomes beyond sanity that's when people will quit buying obviously the pay to play system has not reached that ceiling as more layers are added. The real issue is are we watering down the talent w the increased costs of travel and fees that continue to inflate.

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Post by Checkpoint Charlie on 07/06/19, 11:00 pm



#MAGA
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