Thanks to the guy(s) at The Offside Rules, I got wind of what looks like it will be an annual pre-season tournament featuring clubs from Australia’s A-League, Japan’s J-League, and Major League Soccer (MLS). (Side-note to the editors at The Offside Rules: if you change your mind and decide to begin a career as a drug mule, could I trouble you to pick me up a little somethin’, somethin’. Preferably not something that has been up your, or anyone else’s, ass. Yeah, I know that’s tricky, but I’ll pay.)
(DISCLAIMER: Of course I’m not really requesting drugs over the internets. Just thought I’d make that clear to all past and future attorneys general.)
Getting back to that tournament, the article on it reports that MLS will underwrite the event – which can only mean that the Los Angeles Galaxy gets an automatic annual bid. Nice. Hopefully, they won’t suck in future. Everyone else has to qualify, however, the Japanese team by winning something called the Nabisco Cup (nope, don’t know what it is; and, with all due respect to Japanese fans, I can’t say I care either), while the A-League and MLS invitees will be champions of their respective leagues.
So…combine this with the pre-season tournament that the New England Revolution should really make out of their annual sojourn to Bermuda – y’know, invite a couple more teams, etc. – add that to Puerto Rico’s preseason tourney, add others as needed till every MLS team has a semi-official event they can attend for preseason warm-ups and – Presto! – we have a shorter off-season. Everyone’s happy. Well, they’re happy so long as someone puts these things on TV where non-Hawaiians, non-Bermudans, and non-Puerto Ricans can see them then everyone’s happy. (I’m at least a year away from easy traveling, so TV will have to do in the meantime.)
Alternately, MLS and the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) could run the U.S. Open Cup as a preseason tournament with the semifinal series happening in one happening and warm location and that could work as well.