Ordinarily I am always for MLS expansion. In truth I know this will be good for the league and exciting for the Fire to have new competition. New York has an immense and thirsty market for soccer and the club will surely gain attention fast. But did it have to be the Yankees? Did it even have to be New York? Allow me to let you in on a little secret. I, like many residents of the Windy City, am not from Chicago. I grew up about an hour and a half north of "the city" in Poughkeepsie, NY and was raised a rabid Mets fan. Omitting an exciting time in the mid 1980s, I grew up always watching my team play second fiddle to the men in pinstripes.
Now, with my adult passion being soccer, must I endure a second New York soccer club sapping the US soccer market of all remaining world press attention for MLS? Already, if you went by ESPN, there are only two soccer clubs in the US: the Galaxy and the Red Bulls. The Sounders are getting close to that. Since the wealthy Yankees will be a minority partner to powerful side Manchester City Football Club, the New York City Football Club seems poised to be a collaboration of titanic proportions and the club will likely end up a powerhouse in the league within a few years of entering in 2015.
There is definitely a market for two clubs in New York and the Yankees attaching their name to the project draws the attention of many fans nationwide that follow the most popular team in baseball. Is this good for MLS? Sure. That does not mean I have to like it. It would have been nice to see a different city and a city without as saturated of a sports market get the next MLS club. Why couldn’t the next city to host a MLS club be a city like Atlanta, Tampa or New Orleans? A little MLS representation in the south would be nice. How about St Louis or Detroit, for a little more Midwest representation? How about Phoenix? It could be any place but New York.
Obviously there would need to be the financial backing, wherewithal, a fan base and a sports market to make a club successful in any of these other cities and I can’t argue that New York is ready to go. It stands to reason that the NYCFC (they have been clear it is NOT NYC FC) will act as a feeder club to Manchester City with lots of international loans. It will be an opportunity to see up and coming world soccer stars in MLS play, which is always an exciting proposition. Fans of the Fire have the rest of this season and all of next to brace for impact. Expect this move to get a lot of attention in the US and around the world. I know rivalries are not born overnight, but I know personally I will have a new club to love to hate in upcoming seasons. Here’s to hoping the Fire get the better of the NYCFC.