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Hells Half Acre News Magazine
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Posted Apr 2/17 - New Soccer Tier

USL Third Division League to Launch in 2019

By on March 30, 2017 in USL

A new USL third division league is set to launch in 2019, filling the newly promoted circuit’s former spot in the U.S. Soccer Federation pyramid.

The new league is billed as one for markets between 150,000 and a million in population, but that’s a pretty wide mandate that also covers many of the current USL markets. Still, the new USL third division league is billed as one for markets too small for USL, and the emphasis on the press release is on new markets:

The league will focus on launching new third-division clubs in markets that possess strong local ownership groups, populations with broad-based diversity, a vibrant millennial and strong family base, established corporate support, and stadiums to properly showcase the sport for fans, partners and the public.

“We are in a unique position to lead the sport’s next phase of growth with a proven and exciting competition model, the same which has made the USL the top Division II league in North America,” said CEO Alec Papadakis. “With elite competition and strong ownership groups providing unrivaled fan experiences, the USL will continue shaping the future of professional soccer through a third-division league, cultivating and bonding local supporters through the ‘beautiful game’ for generations to come.”

Plans for the third-division league have been in development for more than 18 months, and market discussions are well underway with numerous potential owners who have extensive experience in MiLB and other professional sports leagues. Official branding for the new Division III league, as well as inaugural teams and preliminary competition format will be announced in the summer of 2017.

Grass-roots soccer is experiencing major growth in the United States, and this is a smart move to take advantage of some of these efforts. Some major cities, such as Minneapolis, Des Moines and Detroit have seen successful launches of grass-roots efforts, and undoubtedly some of these smaller markets would be a prime goal for USL recruiting efforts.

Hell's Half Acre

Could the independent academy rookie league Texas Independent Soccer League U21 benefit from this, yes and no but options of visiting about it wouldn't be out of the question either.

The U21 league will grow to 12 academies within three years and will be in markets that will have the base used as markers for the proposed league, but on the other hand the players being developed are pursuing a career as soccer players and would be looking for the best possible move upward that would offer that opportunity, and that may be with other soccer leagues not mentioned in the article.

Posted Mar 16/17 - Video Replay

MLS leads the way among soccer leagues worldwide as it prepares to roll out video replay

Jamie Goldberg | The Oregonian/OregonLive By Jamie Goldberg | The Oregonian/OregonLive

Email the author | Follow on Twitter

on March 14, 2017 at 6:00 AM, updated March 14, 2017 at 6:01 AM

Portland Timbers


    Seasoned veteran Diego Chara has quietly embraced key leadership role with Portland Timbers

    Portland Timbers players Diego Chara, David Guzman avoid suspensions for diving

    Atletico Madrid draws Bayer Leverkusen to advance in UEFA Champions League: Live updates recap

    AS Monaco beats Manchester City 3-1 to advance in UEFA Champions League: Live updates recap

    Darlington Nagbe named to U.S. Men's National Team roster for upcoming World Cup qualifiers

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber has long been a proponent of using video replay to assist referees in soccer and MLS has been in the forefront in running tests to determine the viability of using video technology in the Beautiful Game.

Now, the league is ready to take an historic step as it rolls out video review in MLS regular season games for the first time after this summer's MLS All-Star break. 

"We're encouraged by what we've been seeing in the tests," Garber said. "We're going to continue to work out all the details and try to roll it out in full form after the All-Star break. Hopefully, if it works, we're going to have it for a long time."

Major League Soccer was selected last June by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and FIFA to be one of six leagues around the world to run trials with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) initiative over a two-year period. The video technology is only being used in four potentially game-changing situations to help referees reduce errors around goals, penalty decisions, red cards and cases of mistaken identity.

MLS and the United Soccer League conducted video replay tests during official USL games last August and MLS rolled out video replay for select games in this year's preseason. The league plans to continue testing out the program behind the scenes at all 22 MLS venues over the next six months before officially using the technology in regular season games after the 2017 MLS All-Star Game.

"VAR was successfully tested in preseason," Garber said. "But we're not in a rush. We have to get it right."

When it comes to video replay, soccer has lagged behind other major sports. All the other major leagues in the United States - the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB - already use some form of video technology to review select plays.


But that could change dramatically in the next few years. FIFA President Gianni Infantino said last April that he would like to see video replay implemented at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, assuming that the tests being run this year continue to be successful.

"It's a very difficult game to officiate," said Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson, who is on a Major League Soccer committee that has been involved in the league's video replay discussions. "The fact that technology is available that can make the official's job easier and help us get decisions right and promote equitable results is huge."

Paulson and the Timbers saw firsthand in preseason what video replay could look like in action when Diego Chara was a shown a red card and sent off after a video review during a game against Real Salt Lake in February.

During the video review process, MLS has had a remote referee watching the game and communicating observations with the center referee through a headset. The center referee has been given the discretion to review the video himself on a monitor on the sideline and ultimately make a decision on the call.

The review surrounding Chara's red card was somewhat abnormal and took longer than anticipated because referee Stoica Sorin was both reviewing whether a red card was deserved, as well as whether the foul had been committed inside the box. Fans booed Sorin during the delay as he watched the replay on a monitor on the sideline, but ultimately he got the call right.

"I think in theory if they get it cleaned up, it will hopefully limit mistakes," said Timbers coach Caleb Porter at the time. "I think if you ask any coach, we're going to want the right calls. I think if they can limit the time it takes to make those decisions -- We certainly don't want it to be a choppier game, but we definitely want to get big calls right."

All eyes will be on Major League Soccer when it becomes one of the first leagues in the world to roll out video replay in competitive games later this summer. While it is likely that there will still be a few kinks to iron out when MLS unveils the new program, the league is continuing to work to refine the system to ensure that it works effectively and doesn't significantly disrupt the flow of the game.

MLS might be taking a lead role in embracing the new technology, but video replay could be on the cusp of becoming commonplace in soccer worldwide.

"At every high level of soccer, I would expect use of video review to be the norm," Paulson said. "I'd be shocked if it wasn't. It's the right thing to do."


Posted Mar 16/17 - Combine 21u

The Texas Independent Soccer League u21 will use combine 21u to test potential rookie pro ready or prospect level players, one of the intergrated test will look for above average speed.

Being that the RDS academy will look to develop players we're using a grading system to find talent, some of it may be raw talent that have little to no dribbling skills but offer speed, with the league playing 22 games our overall interest is development but the audience will also want action.

Teams will look to pressure oponents defenses by using speed, there are quick soccer players but straight line speed is rare pro ready speed within the TISLU21 will be considerable.

The combine is open to any player but they must meet the standard required from the testing in order to receive an invite into the academy example of 30 yard time.

Excellent 4.0 Above average 4.2-4.0 Average 4.3-4.4 below Average 4.6-4.5 Poor 4.6

Posted Mar 9/17 - MLS Numbers Game

MLS efforts to lure fans to stadiums not guaranteed as attendance drops


By Nick Green, Daily Breeze


Posted: 03/08/17, 9:02 PM PST |


Atlanta United packed its stadium for its first MLS opener Sunday when 55,297 showed up, the league’s largest attendance and the world’s fifth biggest for a soccer game on the weekend.

Amazed? So was MLS commissioner Don Garber.

“I was just speechless and I’m not speechless very often,” he marveled. “This is just remarkable.”

He had every reason to wonder.

MLS all but abandoned the Southeast in 2002 after not one, but two money-losing Florida teams. The Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion were folded at the same time before they took the seven-year league with them, too.

Yet here was a mammoth crowd taking in a regular season MLS game, more confirmation the domestic game is making headway in an area that has sometimes seemed indifferent or even openly hostile to it.

And it followed on the heels of Orlando FC’s box office success.

The second-year club drew a regular-season average of 31,324 last year, behind only the Seattle Sounders (42,000-plus), although with a move to a smaller soccer-specific stadium this year, those numbers will not be repeated.

Still, it’s worth noting that compared to MLS’ opening weekend last year, published reports indicated the average crowd declined almost 4 percent.

And a good thing Atlanta drew big because the Sounders didn’t play and without Seattle’s boost, the decline would have been much larger.

The Galaxy, for example, didn’t sell out StubHub Center on a Saturday afternoon, drawing 23,554 to the 25,667 capacity venue, a number the club ignored the figure on its official stats sheet.

Remember, this is supposedly the flagship franchise of MLS. Yet, after more than two decades in existence, the Galaxy’s season opener is not a must-see game for its fans.

Did the relative lack of star power after the offseason exodus play a role in reducing the buzz around the Galaxy?

Other established MLS franchises also experienced attendance declines.


The Colorado Rapids and Columbus Crew, both original members of MLS in 1996, had their opening day attendances fall almost 8 percent and 12 percent respectively compared to the first game of 2016.

Sure, there are newer franchises in MLS that draw a fanatical young, hipster element.

Seattle, for example, has released even more seats at CenturyLink Field ahead of its Sunday home opener. The Sounders averaged 42,636 last season.

In addition to Atlanta, Orlando (the first game in its new stadium), Portland and San Jose also had sellouts.


Let’s just hope the MLS novelty doesn’t wear off, like it apparently has elsewhere (the Galaxy’s first game in 1996 at the Rose Bowl attracted nearly 70,000).

Fortunately, television ratings rose.

Ratings for the inaugural Friday night MLS game on Fox Sports 1 reportedly jumped 40 percent over last year’s opener on the channel.

Likewise, Univision’s coverage of Sunday’s Galaxy game drew more viewers than any other MLS game shown on Spanish-language television.

But the Galaxy’s soft attendance could get worse before it gets better.

The 0-1 Galaxy play their second game of the season 4 p.m. Sunday against the Portland Timbers in Carson on FS1.

That’s similar to the time slot that resulted in Vancouver’s attendance last weekend, diving nearly 14 percent over last year’s first game.

The typical MLS fan still needs a good reason to go to a game it seems.

That 22-team MLS is getting ever bigger is a certainty.

Not so certain is whether the quality is there to keep fans who increasingly want events and experiences rather than mere games coming back week after week.

For more soccer news, read the 100 Percent Soccer blog at


Posted Feb 21/17 - Texas Independent Soccer League U21

The newly formed TISLU21 will feature six teams and grow to ten academies over the next five years, the league is an extension of the RDS (Regional Development Soccer) academy institute which operates as the trades and skills development school wing for young developing talent.

The league will play a short 22 game spring/summer season and operate as an indoor short rookie indoor development trades and technical skills school for winter season, the non-profit non-commercial entity operates to develop professional level talent and college developing talent players to pursue a professional career or college scholarship opportunity.

Other related positions used within the industry of soccer will also be available to those interested in a career in soccer.

 Hells Half Acre News Magazine the official news magazine of the FC Diablos soccer 21u college prep organization.


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