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The Daily Dirt, September 22: This Must Be the Place

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Tata says no to Mexico, NASL issues ahead

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Soccer: Argentina National Team practice Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

According to reports yesterday, Gerardo Martino has turned down Club America in order to complete a deal with Atlanta United. Club America is rumored to be announcing their new coach today, so we should have some resolution on at least this aspect of #TataWatch.

Stay tuned to Dirty South Soccer for more news as it breaks.

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Brian Straus of Sports Illustrated posted a huge report on the issues the North American Soccer League is currently facing and its uncertain future. Rumors have been swirling around quite a few different NASL clubs for most of the 2016 season and now everything is coming to a head right before the U.S. Soccer Federation votes on NASL’s application for Division 1 status and the USL’s application for Division 2 status.

You can play the conspiracy theory game as much as you like, but the issues plaguing the NASL can’t be swept under the rug. Ft. Lauderdale has been a sinking ship all season, with multiple late payments to players and staff. Tampa’s Bill Edwards even had to loan the club money to make payroll. Now, the Strikers owners are pulling out of their financial obligations and the rest of the NASL owners have to help Ft. Lauderdale finish the season.

Now Straus reports that Tampa’s Bill Edwards is looking at jumping to the USL as part of their aspirations to eventually join Major League Soccer. For long time followers of the NASL, this is a big surprise as Edwards has always been seen as one of the staunch defenders of what NASL has been trying to accomplish. Ottawa might join them in the USL, or the Fury might sit out a year while the new Canadian league comes together.

With Minnesota leaving for MLS after this season and the extremely uncertain future facing Rayo OKC, the NASL has to act fast to continue operating. Anyone celebrating the troubles facing the NASL is completely missing the point. Any soccer business failing is a bad thing if you love the sport.

Once the NASL changed leadership and the New York Cosmos came into the picture, the league’s stance changed from potential cooperating with MLS to making statements about competing with MLS. After that approach started, it was truly only a matter of time before we got to this point. That just never had a hope of working, not with the instability facing a number of teams. Once Traffic Sports was removed from the picture, it only accelerated this downfall by pulling more resources out from under the league.

The NASL pushed for higher standards in lower division soccer in the U.S. Their existence caused the USL to raise their level to where they are today. If you go back and look at why the NASL even happened in the first place, a big reason was a frustration among some owners regarding USL’s lack of enforcing standards across the league. In a way, the original vision succeeded.


Domestic

Brian Straus of Sports Illustrated writes about North American Soccer League problems as both Ottawa and Tampa Bay look elsewhere (SI)

Ft. Lauderdale Strikers’ owners tell NASL that they will not fund team’s operations (Sun Sentinel)

The path to the playoffs for the defending champs in Portland (Stumptown Footy)

Great look at the rise of international players in college soccer (SoccerWire)


International

Ricardo La Volpe might be the new target for Club America after being turned down by Gerardo Martino:

Martino’s former club Barcelona drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid yesterday (Barca Blaugranes)

Jose Mourinho is not a happy camper dealing with “Einsteins” (Telegraph)


Local

Columbus State defeated North Georgia 3-2 in Peach Belt Conference women’s action yesterday (Sapy News)

UNC Pembroke swept Clayton State in the Peach Belt Conference opener for the men’s and women’s teams.