The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
Silva is now suggesting big changes for the division in 2012, and the other clubs are listening…
Alex Silva and the other owners of the Northwest Division PDL sides spoke via teleconference last week. It was then that the SeaWolves owner suggested some radical changes that could enliven the division in 2012.
Silva proposes a playoff set-up in which the top four clubs (out of eight total) make the playoffs within the division. First place would play fourth to move on to the national playoffs, while second place would play third for the same advancement. Another wrinkle the clubs are considering is paring down the season from 16 to 14 matches so that there is a ‘perfectly balanced schedule’ of one home, one away for each club versus each of the other seven sides. The two lost games would allow for division playoff scheduling.
In recent seasons only the top two clubs have made the playoffs.
“The reason I have proposed this to the league,” Silva explains, “is because I want to see all clubs succeed in the Northwest division and around the US. We need to make it more exciting for all, especially the players. I don’t want to see any players dropping from their clubs in mid-June, as you know that many clubs suffered last year, to not be able to have enough players for the last few games. This format will benefit all clubs.”
Silva clarifies his playoffs within the division scenario. “The intra-division playoffs would be a home and away game (for the matched sides). First and Second placed teams would host the final legs and the winner would be based on the goal differential from both games. The winning teams move on to face the top two teams from the Southwest Division.”
Silva has his points for selling the other clubs on making these changes. “Why would this format be more attractive for the players and fans?,” he asks rhetorically. “Teams would be fighting for a playoff spot until the end of the season and this would generate more fans to the seats. Players would be more excited about the season and would not drop their teams towards the end of the season as easily as in the past when most were eliminated early from the race. I also think we’d get a bit better exposure from the media. Finally, there would be no extra cost for the teams, because only the top four would play a full 16 games.” (The bottom four would stop their seasons after a 14 match balanced schedule.)
So how are the other clubs responding to these ideas? The league is waiting to hear back from all eight and then an official announcement can eventually be made. You’d think it all might be a long shot, because the league requires the vote for change to be unanimous. Surprisingly, Silva thinks change is at hand.
“The only club we are waiting to hear from is Vancouver (Whitecaps). All others were on the conference call or have e-mailed, approving the new format.”
2012 PDL Northwest Division
1. Abbotsford Mariners
2. Kitsap Pumas
3. North Sound SeaWolves
4. Portland Timbers U23s
5. Tacoma Tide FC
6. Vancouver Whitecaps Residency
7. Victoria Highlanders FC
8. Washington Crossfire