MLS decided to announce on Tuesday that they would be adding a second New York team to the league in 2015, imaginatively called New York City FC.
Yeah, sure, good for them, yeehaw, we all saw it coming. I'm pretty sure that 100% of us knew that NY2 was destined to be the 20th franchise in Major League Soccer. It's the way that they went about adding them that gets in my craw. I don't particularly like the New York Cosmos, but at least making them NY2 would have made some sense historically. Another link to America's soccer past, taking us into America's soccer future, if you will.
But that's not the route they went with. Instead, they allowed the New York Yankees and Manchester City to co-own a team, probably because they were able to pay the several million dollar expansion fee that Don Garber was asking for, and might well have only put in place because he knew that a team like Orlando City or Minnesota wouldn't ever be able to afford it. That's all baseless speculation, though.
Here's what we do know: NYCFC is going to be spending money. Three more DP slots opening in the city of New York, available to two of the biggest cash-splashing team owners in the entire world. I'm not complaining that it's City's team, either. Had Man United, Real Madrid, Chelsea or any other big spending European team taken control, I would feel the same way.
I just feel like this is a pretty clear indication that MLS just doesn't care about its original intentions any more. Certainly, MLS was originally formed to provide a league in a country that hadn't had one in many years, but there were other reasons as well. MLS was supposed to help build the US Men's National Team by providing a growing league to help the young stars of the home country grow in. It was supposed to build a country of soccer fans by providing a steadily improving product with the parity that is trademarked by American sports.
How, exactly, does NYCFC help with any of that? Especially when it comes to helping America's national team out, there's absolutely nothing that NYCFC will bring to the table. Do you think that all the cash that will be thrown around will be spent on American players? Please. Will they use their influence and send young American stars over to Manchester to play with the best in the world? Somehow I doubt that. Will their money be poured into their academy and scouting for the draft so they can make sure they can teach up the best of the best? I'm not going to bet the farm on it.
I'd assume they're going to turn into another version of the Red Bulls, using as many loopholes as they can to get the best foreign talent and as few Americans as possible. They'll do that for the fame, for the fanbase, for the money, but not for the country.
Now, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe NYCFC is going to be a boon to MLS, following all the rules the league has set out for them -- while not getting any new ones added a'la LA a few years ago -- and helping to grow the American product. Or maybe they'll buy nothing but big names from across the sea, cater to nobody but bandwagon American City fans, push out the franchise that had already been there for 18 years, and be perfect villains for a league that really didn't need any more forced narratives.
From what I've seen, there are not all that many people -- outside of people in NY who don't follow the Red Bulls and people who don't work for MLS -- who support this. Most of them have been American City fans, and I wager that if it was NYC United, they would be on the other side very quickly. Nearly every fan that I've seen who isn't a New Yorker or City fan has already expressed hatred for this team. I've never seen people turn against a team that doesn't even exist yet like they have against NYCFC, and that's not what I'm calling a good thing. I have to assume that those people all see the same things that I do.