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Clear & Obvious: What USA Soccer can learn from Tennessee losing to Georgia State, a thing that happened

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In which Bob Bradley and Dolly Parton are mentioned in the same article for the first time in human history

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee lost to Georgia State. This is a thing that happened.

If you don’t watch college football, compare it to an extremely low level USL team beating what used to be a good a MLS team.

The major difference here though is that when the USL team beats an MLS team in real life —although still in fact, very funny— they get nothing other than some bragging rights and a chance to move on in a tournament that, as an Atlanta United fan, is possibly the single greatest tournament to ever exist and definitely should not be made fun of.

Georgia State got bragging rights and $950,000.

$950,000 thing seems big. They would have gotten that anyway just for showing up and getting beat by 60, but they also still get it if they win by eight. And it’s the humble opinion of C&O that the lower level teams that play against the US Soccer pyramid’s top level of competition should be given similar perks and possibilities of making it rain on top of the bloodied corpse of their Goliaths.

Here’s the proposal: Remove the random draws that establish who is home and away for US Open Cup games and give the team from the higher league the option of paying for the right to host the game. If the team from the higher league declines, fine. The lower level team gets to host and do tiny snow angels in the extra cash from a well-attended home game. But if they choose to host, that hosting fee goes partly to the to the lower league team. If the lower league team wins—thereby providing the USOC with considerable more media exposure for actually having something interesting happen—that team gets to keep the entirety of the fee.

This is a great idea. Like you wouldn’t want to see D.C. United pay $25,000 to the Richmond Kickers after losing on a Chris Durkin own goal.

And because it’s a great idea, it will never happen.

So instead, we propose this:

What is this? This is a hastily put together representation of the Jeremy Pruitt/Bob Bradley Award for Excellence in Competitive Equality.

The award is a Chia Pet of Bob Bradley with asparagus growing out of the top. Why asparagus for the Jeremy Pruitt/Bob Bradley Award for Excellence in Competitive Equality? Well, first, we felt Jeremy’s service to the world of competitive equality as Tennessee head coach (and therefor the inspiration for this post) should be noted. Second:

Now, why Bob Bradley? His commitment to competitive equality and indirect involvement in payment inequality across levels of American soccer has to be noted.

In 2006, Bradley managed Chivas USA, a team that existed and played in MLS. While managing a team inhabited by the likes of Jonathan Bornstein, Sacha Kljestan, Ante Razov, Tim Ream, Juan Francisco Palencia and Jesse Marsch, Bradley managed to lose to a team of entirely amateur players from the Dallas/Fort Worth Area.

Dallas Roma FC, a team from the U.S. Adult Soccer Association Region III, neutered Chivas for 120 minutes, allowing just two shots on target before entering PK’s tied at zero (0). Dallas Roma, named for Dallas kind of sounding like A.S. and Roma also being the founder’s favorite club when he founded the team by paying the USASA fee, were playing in just their second U.S. Open Cup. The amateur team had only existed for six years. In addition to competitive amateur leagues, USASA also offers fun and low impact “Walking Soccer” leagues for those looking to stay active in old age, a very important thing to do.

Dallas Roma won the shootout 4-2. They advanced to the next round before losing to the Galaxy. They entered U.S. Open Cup qualifying again the next year but failed to make it to the actual competition after losing to Florida team, Lynch’s Irish Pub.

However, they will always have the win over Bradley’s Chivas. A game in which Ante Razov received a 57th minute red card after being hassled by a 38-year-old holding-midfielder named Todd Paulette who goaded Razov into head-butting him in probably only the way your dad could. Despite the red card, head coach, founder and random dude Michael Schell “confidently suggests that he outcoached Bradley on the sideline.”

I did not make a single word of this up.

There is a tragedy here though. And it’s something the commission for the Jeremy Pruitt/Bob Bradley Award for Excellence in Competitive Equality is inspired by for in it’s fight for payment for lower level teams that let us meme the hell out of MLS teams for like a week or so.

Dallas Roma payed $75,000 out of their own amateur pockets (through a credit card!) just to make their own way through the games.

Schell laments the fact that he only got $7,500 of financial assistance for the entire tournament from US Soccer Federation back in 2006. He paid for the rest the only way he could think of: he put everything on a credit card. When asked for an estimate for how much the entire tournament cost him, he doesn’t even hesitate.

“I won’t forget – it was $75,000.”

And THEN, the USOC tried to award a weird ass cash prize given to the furthest advancing non-MLS team to a professional team. The two teams advanced to the same round but USOC paid the professional team based on “strength of schedule.” This was trash. And the PDL’s Carolina Dynamo recognized this and split the $10,000 cash prize with Dallas Roma, making it only a $70,000 net loss.

Today that prize is $25,000. It’s better. But it’s not what it could be. Why not award each team that fails miserably to guys with real day jobs? That’s what we’re fighting for.

But for now, we just have an award in the form of an asparagus Chia pet. And we only have one. So we’re just going to pass it around to the person coaching the team with the latest loss to a lower level team. Congrats to Dallas FC coach, Luchi Gonzalez, for losing to the USL Western Conference’s 12th place team, New Mexico United. Your Chia pet is in the mail, Luchi.

Tennesse lost to Georgia State.

UPDATE:

We can’t confirm this and we’re not going to work that hard to do so, but apparently teams COULD pay to host USOC games back in the day. Either way, bring it back. Especially so we can get quotes like this from legends of the game who lose to/pay teams like the Minnesota Stars.