The devil went down to Georgia … and other youth soccer maneuvers

I guess you didn’t know it, but I’m a soccer admin too …
I’ll bet an Umbro of gold against your soul to think we’re better than you 

This is probably my fault. I did the Area Guide for Georgia a couple of weeks ago. Nice and simple. Big statewide traditional league. Big DA and ECNL clusters in and around Atlanta and a couple of scattered teams in U.S. Club Soccer NPLs, but generally easy to digest. Right?

Couple of quick things about the video for The Devil Went Down to Georgia: 

  1. Playing keyboards with one arm in a sling is impressive dedication. I once did a recital with a finger in a splint, but I’ve got nothing on that guy.
  2. The devil won, right? Does anyone really think Johnny’s tune was better?

I got an inkling a few things were in motion from the friendly and informative GaSoccerForum, as mentioned on the Georgia Area Guide:

“There is some rumbling on GaSoccerForum.com that several clubs are considering a “Champions League.” Those same clubs already have their A teams in the DA or the ECNL or the SAPL.”

So a handful of clubs were going to figure that if their A and B teams were already playing in other leagues, they might as well pull their C teams as well or something like that. (And yes, we need a moratorium on calling something a “Champions League” if it’s not full of actual champions. Europe’s Champions League is bad enough, with a bunch of third- and fourth-place teams contending for the title. It’s worse when it’s a bunch of youth soccer clubs, some of whom aren’t champions of anything and some of whom have the “Champions League” as their second or third priority behind the DA, ECNL or U.S. Youth Soccer National League. But that’s another rant.)

Little did I realize how intense this would get. Check out the Cherokee Impact Facebook page (HT to GaSoccerForum post) …

impact

To translate all this …

  1. Those six clubs are United Futbol Academy, Concorde Fire, NTH (the umbrella term for North Atlanta Soccer Association (NASA) and Tophat), Gwinnett Soccer Association, Atlanta Fire United and Southern Soccer Academy. They’re big Atlanta-area clubs, though UFA and SSA have operations elsewhere in the state as well.
  2. “SRPL/RPL” is the soon-to-be-defunct U.S. Youth Soccer regional league, which will be replaced by a new conference, as I’ve already mentioned in a post with an even funkier musical tie-in.

This may or may not be meaningful. If the Big 6 weren’t interested in playing SRPLNLIOU anyway, maybe it doesn’t. Perhaps it’s simply a symbolic gesture — “you can’t quit; you’re fired!”

Here’s the fun part for parents and players — imagine you’re trying out for one of these clubs or just about any club in Georgia with regional potential this spring. At this point, you really have no idea where you’re going to end up playing in the fall.

PARENT: So if my daughter makes this team, will we be playing mostly around Atlanta? Or Alabama, as rumored to flesh out the Champions League? Or Idaho?

COACH: We won’t know until the lawyers sort it out. That’ll be $3,000 and a commitment for the year, please. It’ll be another $2,000 if we make the Mega Premier Elite Champions League. 

Yes, I said “lawyers.” U.S. Soccer has a principle called “interplay,” and those who violate it often end up defending themselves against grievances.

(I did try to contact most of the Big 6 clubs a few weeks ago. You’re still welcome to respond.)

In other “giant game of Risk” news from recent days …

  • Also overlapping with Georgia but taking place in the years before the statewide Athena/Classic league, it’s the Carolinas Premier League! It’s for U9 through U12 only, so “Developmental” seems like a better term than “Premier.”
  • Seven Arkansas clubs are forming the U.S. Club Soccer (but not NPL?) Arkansas Premier Clubs.
  • The Virginia NPL is adding two clubs. (Disclaimer: The VPL or VNPL includes my hometown club, Vienna. At least, that’s the last I’ve heard.)

 

 

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