This is a great read, and is exactly what football (I know, I know, you call it soccer)is about. Our own local football scenario is actually very similar, in that the UK has four distinct football Associations (England, Scotland, Wales and the mighty Northern Ireland), and each has it’s own league system (same structures) and so is akin to your MLS/D2/3 etc in that we are the same country(UK), but outside each others structure.
This is fine for most, football being a tribal game, we are born into our teams for life (or, if we get to choose, we certainly try and make sure the next generation are ‘born’ into it), but it does present the problem in that the English Premier League is huge, and by all accounts getting bigger…which leaves very few crumbs from the pie.
All you have is the foundation of your club, your town/area loyalty and fan base… if this is solid, then no matter what happens, you will be fine. The roller-coaster ride is always great in hindsight, but at the time scares (or elates) you beyond measure.
Promotion and Relegation are essential for this. The fact that the system there is so .. franchised, is terrible for the future of USA foo..soccer. Clubs are supposed to be organic, develop and mature as they earn history. Winning Leagues/Cups, fighting relegation.. being relegated and fighting the next season for immediate promotion.. all these things add to the soul of a club.
And that can’t be bought.. it must be earned. Again, this is were the solid foundation of local town loyalty etc comes to the fore.
Again, thanks for the read, I signed up just to follow, and will keep an eye on my new ‘other’ Ulster team.