From the desk of Commissioner Schaub

by Joshua Schaub

Dear MASL Fans,

I am writing to inform you about the current state of the MASL and the path of the league going into the future. Despite the appearance of a shrinking league after today’s announcement, the truth is far more positive. Simply put, the MASL is right sizing for future growth. Our total roster of teams, including already contracted MASL 2 teams, has grown to 24 teams ahead of this season.

The growth of the MASL system this season shows the growth of arena soccer throughout the country and the progress the league has made in renewing interest in our sport. In years past, arena soccer has had a difficult time right sizing markets across America, utilizing teams that were not evenly positioned from a resource perspective. Further, no pyramid of competition was ever built as teams continually fell in and out of one league as teams not similarly situated tried to compete with each other.

This left the league and arena soccer vulnerable as it was reluctant to raise minimum standards in fear of losing teams. The implementation of MASL 2 now provides an outlet for teams to either reorganize for a re-emergence in the MASL or an avenue for teams to compete in smaller markets in hopes of rising to MASL status. Thus, the pyramid of arena soccer is actually growing, despite the first division temporarily being smaller in 2017.

The loss of teams for a season is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s a necessary evil to right the ship in terms of raising minimum standards and allowing markets to survive in arena soccer. Leagues go through evolutions such as teams changing markets, changes in ownership, changes in league leadership, and teams ultimately folding when markets don’t support the product. This is true throughout the history of professional sports, including at the top levels as has recently been seen in the NFL, MLB, and NBA.

In some of those circumstances, teams have returned to their previously established markets, stronger than before with new facilities and new ownership. We hope the same is true with the MASL organizations choosing to suspend operations. The MASL will march on and grow the pyramid while sticking to the minimum standards as established for ownership groups and facilities.

In the present, many of the teams now suspending operations fought to reorganize prior to this season and pushed until the deadline to meet minimum standards and find the right mix of investment partners. Ultimately, that did not happen and thus the choice was made to reorganize instead of degrading their product. All of these markets have plans moving forward to bring back arena soccer in the form of the MASL.

In closing, it should be noted that evolution is needed for the greater good of arena soccer. Markets will emerge with new ownership and markets will disappear as the market dictates. Many markets disappearing will be temporary, and others will right size. Keep faith that arena soccer is growing and today is a part of a larger evolution that will eventually bring arena soccer to the forefront of world sport.

Joshua Schaub
MASL Commissioner