Soccer in the USA is a little different compared to other countries for a variety of reasons including its closed-league system. Major League Soccer operates in the same manner as the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League with only bankruptcy forcing teams out of the league while the rest of the world (sans Australia) follows a multi-league system that promotes and relegates teams between divisions depending on their performance.
Enter Ted Westervelt, founder and head honcho of Soccer Reform. Westervelt has been fighting the good fight for years to bring promotion/relegation to MLS. He’s not alone in this fight and, as much as MLS and the US Soccer Federation try to drown Westervelt and like-minded individuals out, his voice continues to be heard across the nation.
I had the opportunity to interview Westervelt a few months ago. Our hour-plus long conversation covered numerous enlightening topics into the history of US soccer (all 100 years of it!) and the forces at work in the US soccer federation and in the business interests who have deep hands in the sport that are preventing MLS from switching to an open-league system similar to that found in countries around the world.
“Soccer was a global market before there were a whole lot of global markets,” said Westervelt, “but here we are still pretending that it’s not a global market.”
The interview was published in Voxxi in three parts:
Centennial: Filling The Gaps In U.S. Soccer History
Soccer Reform: Building A Better Soccer League In The U.S.
Soccer Reform: Barriers To Promotion & Relegation In U.S. Soccer