Friday, January 5, 2018

What to do with Crew

I have no idea.

2018 is more than likely the final season for the Columbus Crew. At least the team as it is now. I do believe that it will be on the way to Austin for 2019. Nothing can stop it. The only question left that I have is that if the team history, badges and colors will be left here - or go.

If you find yourself reading this then you know that I've written about the team for nearly 8 years now. My interest in the team was spurred on by the 2011 season. Balanced schedule, single table and Don Garber opening the door (ever so slightly) for a unified pyramid.

Since then, however, things have radically changed. Ever expanding league, unbalanced scheduling, a team budget rulebook that changes each year etc etc. On top of this, we have very clear battle lines being drawn between those that want a clear competitive format and single, cohesive, league structure and those that are ok with things going on as they are.

These are things that make it difficult and burdensome to write about the league. Even if you are coming from a player focused, quality, competitive angle (which I have always tried to do). Each post written from this perspective seems to topple down upon itself with the shifting sands of MLS. Want to write a simple piece about a player in good form? Well, good luck. Asking the simple question on why he is in good form leads you down league structure roads (unimportant games, a string of games close to home and/or avoiding a late-night match out west, or God forbid, you ask how the player got to the team in the first place via MLS rules) that ultimately end up in the hands of Don Garber. It's frustrating.

At some point in 2015, I realized that every post nearly required a qualifier about league rules and a discussion on Soccer United Marketing to explain what was going on. Even as I write this, there is an article just posted about how Ola Kamara and Justin Meram want out - and it has nothing to do with the actual competition coming up this season and everything to do with the team moving. A post on this would require a dive into league organization, ownership, Anthony Precourt, Don Garber. Lost in all that is what Ola Kamara and Justin Meram are as players.

Players deserve better. Particularly the players in Columbus right now as a black hole is opening up underneath them. Want to make an argument as to why players find it hard to improve in MLS (or coming back to MLS)? This is just one reason why. Everything is always in flux. Everything! Each year like a new league.

Part of me wants to put my head down and plow through this final season. If nothing else, because it is so bizarre. Another part of me just wants to take pictures and make videos of the season. And the last part of me just says to let it all go.

Put all that together, though. It makes for some good inspiration.

Here's to 2018, Crew. Faults, flaws, future.

Let's see how this goes.

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