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The Daily Dirt, January 4: Rowdy

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Lower division turmoil continues...

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MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Tampa Bay Rowdies at Columbus Crew SC Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

U.S. Soccer is still delaying a decision on the status of the lower division professional leagues. From reports, it sounds like the delay is helping the NASL try to find a way forward after a difficult year. We will have to wait and see if Atlanta is part of that, sources say that until a timeline is firmed up on the proposed facility, the project is in a holding pattern.

Whatever decision is made, U.S. Soccer needs to make it very soon. Schedules need to be finalized, season tickets need to be sold, and travel needs to be booked. At the lower divisions, these are critical elements to making the finances work and the longer this delay lasts, the more it can potentially hurt the clubs.

Below that, the amateur/semi-pro level is seeing unprecedented growth in recent years. The NPSL and PDL have been battling for clubs more than ever before, and now you are starting to see regional fourth division leagues pop up to provide an alternative. The sport is very healthy in the U.S. at the moment, and it only seems to be growing.

Chattanooga’s success is a prime example of this growth. They started in the NPSL in 2009 and have now become a flagship club of that league. The city has hosted the USWNT and will now host the USMNT in February. In addition, they will host their first MLS friendly when Atlanta travels up I-75 to take on the locals on February 11.

At the press conference announcing the games, Chattanooga FC’s general manager Sean McDaniel set a goal of 40,000 in attendance for the two games. That would mean two sellouts at Finley Stadium in the span of a week. It will be quite a bit of work to pull it off, but do not underestimate Chattanooga.

The organization at Chattanooga FC has done an amazing job in developing the sport in their city and should be commended. It does not mean that every city with similar characteristics should be doing the same, it just speaks to the quality of the work done by the Chattanooga FC staff.


Domestic

Tampa Bay Rowdies reached out to David Beckham to bring his MLS expansion efforts to Tampa (Empire of Soccer)

Tampa Bay staffing up for MLS push (Empire of Soccer)

Comparing the expansion efforts of Tampa Bay and Cincinnati (Cincinnati Enquirer)

Minnesota trades for DC United’s Collin Martin (E Pluribus Loonum)

Seattle chasing after Tito Villalba’s former teammate:

Update on a stadium for Louisville City (Insider Louisville)

Optimism continues to grow within the NASL (The 11)

NWSL’s FC Kansas City on the verge of being sold to a Minnesota businessman (Kansas City Star)

International

USWNT international Crystal Dunn signs with Chelsea (Stars and Stripes FC)

Former Canada manager Benito Floro looking to bring MLS players on loan to Alajualense in Costa Rica (MLS)

President Xi’s great soccer dream for China (NY Times)

Local

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