The number of professional soccer teams in the United States continues to grow by the day. And the shakeup between leagues also continues. Just yesterday, the USL Championship announced that Oakland Roots would join the league beginning next season. Meanwhile, the NISA, the league Oakland is leaving, also has teams coming in next year. Teams are sprouting up to take their place in the NPSL and USL League Two as more independent teams attempt to take their shot to bring soccer to communities all across the country.
Now, where some states a few years ago may have had 1 pro team, if any, they have several teams vying for the attention of the fans. And the opportunity to solidify local rivalries, even with teams in different leagues, exists in an effort to bring more competition for eyeballs and interest.
In Brazil, with the plethora of teams that exists in a similarly sized nation, they have their various leagues. They also have state championships, where teams from that state compete with each other in their own tournament or league separate from that of the pyramid. Some even have multiple competitions with their own promotion and relegation between them. More importantly, to some fans, their state tournament is on par with the leagues in terms of importance. In the Campeonato Paulista in the state of São Paulo, Corinthians wants to always beat Santos and hoist the trophy. In the Campeonato Pernambucano, Sport de Recife, Naútico, and Santa Cruz battle each year, among others, for state bragging rights.
There are several states with teams that could battle it out each year for the glory of knowing that they’re the best soccer team within their borders. You don’t think the teams in California wouldn’t want to compete each year to claim that they’re the best in the state? Or Texas? Or Florida? Or Ohio? The state championships could bring some local rivalries to light, and it could strengthen them. You don’t think San Francisco City would love to take a shot at Oakland Roots? Orlando City and Tampa Bay Rowdies have an incredibly fierce rivalry that has spanned the length of a decade. What if it was for a chance to claim they were the kings of the Sunshine State?
That is our Community Corner question of the week: should states create their own tournaments, and would they be something you would be interested in watching? Hit the comments and discuss.