Soccer
Exclusive Interview: Inside the NSL Launch with Scott “Matchmaker” Michaels

Exclusive Interview: Inside the NSL Launch with Scott “Matchmaker” Michaels

Exclusive Interview: Inside the NSL Launch with Scott “Matchmaker” Michaels

 

Football for the Fans is delighted to present an exclusive interview with Scott “Matchmaker” Michaels, providing an insider’s perspective on the highly anticipated launch of the National Soccer League (NSL). As a key figure in the soccer community, Scott offers invaluable insights into the NSL’s inception, its vision for the future, and the excitement surrounding its debut. Join us as we delve into the details of this groundbreaking venture, straight from the man himself.

 

* You recently mentioned that USSF had denied the NSL entry into the US Open Cup. Did they give any justification for taking this action against the NSL? Could this represent possible collusion with the MLS?

I was guided through the US Soccer Federation by the elected president, where I expressed my intentions regarding the NSL and explored potential sanctioning options. However, the Pro League Standards set by the USSF proved unsuitable for the NSL. These standards prohibit full fan ownership and impose unrealistic requirements such as convoluted ownership structures and market restrictions, hindering investment in American soccer. The current system only favors those at the top, where commercial value concentrates. The stringent standards effectively shield the potentially dominant MLS, leading to monopolization of the industry. The MLS, driven by greed and a desire for control, risks exacerbating the situation by over-commercializing and disregarding fan interests. Concerns of collusion arose with a $50 million donation from an MLS owner to the Federation, yet the conflict of interest posed by MLS commissioners presence on the USSF board remains unaddressed. Nonetheless, I maintained interest in NSL clubs participating in the US Open Cup, a competition designed to promote competitiveness and meritocracy in the sport. My research revealed the undervaluation of this cup by US Soccer, prompting the proposal of qualification criteria after the NSL season. However, the entry into the US Open Cup as a professional league necessitates compliance with the restrictive Pro League Standards. Ironically, shortly thereafter, the MLS announced its withdrawal from the competition, despite the obligation outlined in the rules for MLS teams to participate. The close relationship between the MLS and US Soccer stifles competition and innovation in the sport.

* Does NSL plan to pursue sanctioning under USSF? If not, do you foresee any challenges in existing outside of USSF’s system? 

While the potential for collaboration with the USSF on sanctioning remains, it is imperative that certain fundamental changes be made to ensure transparency and inclusivity within the sport. At the forefront of these necessary changes is the call to scrap the existing Pro League Standards set by the USSF. These standards, often criticized for their restrictive nature, inhibit the growth and diversity of professional soccer in America. By removing these barriers, the USSF can pave the way for a more open and inclusive environment that maximizes opportunities for all stakeholders. Furthermore, the issue of conflicts of interest within the USSF must be addressed head-on. Any perception of bias or favoritism undermines the integrity of the organization and erodes trust within the soccer community. It is essential that the USSF clean up its act and prioritize the best interests of soccer and America above all else. It’s important to recognize that domestic professional soccer in America represents a frontier market—a space where innovation and creativity can thrive. The game itself transcends ownership by any single entity; it belongs to everyone. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all involved to embrace inclusivity and collaboration, rather than seeking to monopolize or carve up the sport for personal gain. Unfortunately, there are those who view soccer solely through a lens of profit and self-interest, disregarding the passion and dedication of fans. This mindset must be challenged and replaced with a commitment to fostering a vibrant and sustainable soccer ecosystem that benefits all.

* NSL seems to have a very forward-looking technology plan. What are some examples of the web 3.0 technology that will be used?

 

In the ever-evolving landscape of live sports, technology stands as the harbinger of the next stage, with Web 3 emerging as a transformative force. While still in its nascent phase, the potential of Web 4 to revolutionize the sports industry is undeniable, poised to catapult popularity to unprecedented heights. One need only glance at the other big sports utilization of A.I technology to grasp its profound impact. Through its implementation, the league has substantially enhanced its product, elevating the viewing experience for fans worldwide. As a visionary in the realm of sports innovation, I firmly believe that harnessing the power of A.I holds the key to building localized fan experiences that transcend traditional boundaries. The essence of Web 3 lies in its ability to foster a deeper sense of community among fans. By leveraging immersive technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, spectators are transported beyond the confines of physical stadiums, embarking on a journey that transcends geographical limitations. Whether it’s witnessing a match from the comfort of one’s home or embarking on a virtual pilgrimage to iconic sports arenas, Web 3  promises to unite fans in unprecedented ways. Furthermore, the potential for Web 4 to redefine the notion of spectatorship cannot be overstated. Gone are the days of passive consumption; in the realm of Web 3, fans are active participants, shaping their own viewing experiences through interactive features and personalized content. From choosing camera angles to accessing real-time statistics, the possibilities are limitless, empowering fans to immerse themselves fully in the excitement of live sports.

* What kind of broadcast partners would the NSL be prioritizing? Will there be user interactive streams such as those found in Twitch Crowd Control, which allow users to donate money in exchange for having an effect on the event?

In the pursuit of making sports as inclusive and accessible as possible, the strategy of broadcasting on every available free platform emerges as a pivotal approach. Contrary to the exclusivity imposed by paywalls, which have become prevalent in certain leagues like the MLS, prioritizing free accessibility serves the best interests of the sport and its diverse community of enthusiasts. Recognizing the success stories of pioneering endeavors such as the “Kings League” on Twitch and the “Sidemen” games on YouTube underscores the immense potential of free platforms in democratizing access to sports content. These platforms have transcended traditional barriers, captivating audiences across demographics and geographical boundaries. Central to this ethos is the imperative of attaching the game to every community. By embracing a multipronged approach to broadcasting, sports can permeate diverse cultural landscapes, resonating with audiences from all walks of life. Whether it’s through live streams on social media platforms, partnerships with community-centric channels, or collaborations with grassroots organizations, the goal remains consistent: to forge meaningful connections and foster a sense of belonging among fans. In essence, the ethos of broadcasting sports on free platforms epitomizes the spirit of inclusivity and community.

 

* What do the NSL’s plans for promotion and relegation look like? How many tiers do you think the NSL pyramid should be at?

To kickstart this journey, the NSL is embarking on a groundbreaking community raise on WeFunder, offering fans and investors the unique opportunity to become stakeholders from the outset for as little as $100. This collective ownership model not only empowers supporters but also ensures that the league remains rooted in the communities it serves. As we lay the groundwork for the NSL’s future, our vision extends beyond mere expansion; we aspire to redefine the very structure of soccer in America. With an initial focus on establishing eight teams, our ambitious plans include the gradual proliferation of multiple divisions within the league. While we initially adopt a tour-based model to foster visibility and engagement, our ultimate aim is to localize teams, embedding them within their respective communities to forge lasting connections.

Looking ahead, the NSL’s long-term vision is nothing short of transformative. We envision a fully open system that seamlessly integrates with amateur clubs, creating a dynamic ecosystem that nurtures talent and fosters growth at every level. Inspired by the success of models such as the English Football League (EFL), our goal is to establish the NSL as a paragon of sporting excellence and organizational integrity. Crucially, our journey towards realizing this vision is underpinned by a steadfast commitment to transparency, accountability, and collaboration.

* What kinds of markets is the NSL targeting?

 

With a steadfast commitment to inclusivity, the NSL is not just targeting a select few, but rather every single person, irrespective of their background, identity, or beliefs. At the core of the NSL’s ethos is the belief that soccer is a sport for everyone. Regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, the NSL welcomes individuals from all walks of life to participate, spectate, and engage with the beautiful game. In a world where division often dominates headlines, the NSL serves as a unifying force, bringing people together through a shared passion for soccer. The NSL’s commitment to inclusivity extends beyond mere rhetoric; it is embedded in every aspect of the league’s operations. From grassroots initiatives aimed at providing access to underprivileged communities to diversity and inclusion training for players, coaches, and staff, the NSL is dedicated to fostering an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to participate. Moreover, the NSL recognizes the importance of representation and visibility in promoting inclusivity. By featuring diverse talent both on and off the field, the league aims to amplify voices that are often marginalized in traditional sports settings. Whether it’s through showcasing players from diverse backgrounds or partnering with organizations that promote social justice and equality, the NSL is committed to using its platform to effect positive change in society. In a world where sports have the power to transcend boundaries and unite people from all walks of life, the NSL stands as a shining example of what can be achieved through inclusivity and acceptance.

* Many historical American soccer brands are joining the NSL. Is there a possibility of signing up the New York Cosmos as the crown jewel of the NASL roster?

In a bid to safeguard the rich legacy of American soccer, I’ve embarked on a bold initiative, driven by my passion as a football traditionalist. At a pivotal moment in the sport’s history, with millions tuning in to witness the NASL’s golden era, the significance of preserving soccer’s heritage has never been more pronounced. Amidst this backdrop, I’ve taken the initiative to apply for trademarks for some of the most iconic teams in American soccer history, serving as a testament to the enduring legacy of legendary clubs and players. Inspired by my deep-rooted love for the game, this endeavor is fueled by a desire to honor and protect the storied past of American soccer, particularly during its illustrious era in the 1970s. As a fervent fan of soccer since an early age, my connection to the sport runs deep, shaping my lifelong commitment to preserving its history and heritage for future generations. Not content with merely safeguarding intellectual property, I’ve also embarked on a mission to resurrect a beloved soccer cleat brand, synonymous with legends like Pelé and George Best. By reviving this iconic brand, I aim to pay homage to the illustrious history of soccer and its cultural significance. Central to my initiative is the recognition of the pivotal role played by legendary American soccer clubs such as the New York Cosmos, Los Angeles Aztecs, Chicago Sting, Atlanta Chiefs, and Washington Diplomats. These teams, once adorned with world-class talent, captured the imagination of fans across the nation, leaving an indelible mark on the sport’s landscape. However, the revelation that the intellectual property rights of these revered clubs had lapsed came as a shock. In an era where soccer history is celebrated worldwide, the absence of protection for these iconic brands is a glaring oversight—one that US Soccer should address with urgency and reverence. In a gesture of goodwill and solidarity, I’ve reached out to the current custodian of the New York Cosmos, with hopes of fostering collaboration and mutual benefit. The prospect of seeing these esteemed clubs return to the fold, competing once again on the national stage, is an exciting proposition that embodies the spirit of soccer’s rich tapestry.

* Will there be international partnerships or friendlies for the NSL?

 

My ambitious initiative has been set in motion to reregister the Transatlantic Challenge Cup. Once hailed as one of the most prestigious cup competitions, featuring some of the biggest clubs in the world, the Transatlantic Challenge Cup holds a special place in the hearts of soccer enthusiasts worldwide. The decision to resurrect this iconic tournament stems from a deep appreciation for its storied legacy and the desire to reintroduce it to a new generation of fans. With memories of legendary matches and historic encounters still fresh in the minds of many, the opportunity to reignite the spirit of competition and camaraderie embodied by the Transatlantic Challenge Cup is one that cannot be overlooked. At the heart of this endeavor lies a vision to see NSL clubs go head-to-head with legendary teams, creating a spectacle that captures the imagination of soccer fans across the globe. The prospect of witnessing modern-day heroes take on iconic adversaries on the field of play is a tantalizing proposition—one that promises to evoke nostalgia while paving the way for new chapters in soccer history. However, it’s important to note that these games would not be sanctioned by FIFA, as the NSL operates as a fully independent entity. While this may present logistical challenges and bureaucratic hurdles, it also offers a degree of freedom and flexibility that allows for creative and innovative approaches to competition. In embracing this independence, the NSL reaffirms its commitment to forging its own path and charting a course that prioritizes the interests of its clubs and fans above all else. By reclaiming the Transatlantic Challenge Cup and breathing new life into its legacy, the NSL demonstrates its unwavering dedication to honoring soccer history while embracing the future of the beautiful game. As plans for the revival of the Transatlantic Challenge Cup continue to take shape, anticipation mounts for what promises to be a thrilling journey filled with excitement, passion, and the timeless allure of soccer.

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