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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old October 12th, 2005, 04:41 Thread Starter
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MLS paves way for Toronto team

MLS paves way for Toronto team

CANADIAN PRESS

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...=1044529386490

Major League Soccer has opened the door to an expansion team in Toronto, providing on-again, off-again plans for a stadium are nailed down by the end of the month.

Commissioner Don Garber said the league has done “the hard work” with would-be owner Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., owner of the NHL Leafs and NBA Raptors, and the Canadian Soccer Association, which has done a lot of the donkey work in keeping the stadium plan alive.

Now MLS wants the stadium situation sorted pronto, with Garber looking to have a Toronto team in place in 2007. That works for the Canadian Soccer Association, which needs a showcase soccer-specific stadium to help host the 2007 world under-20 soccer championship.

“There’s not a lot of time to get this building built,” Garber said on a conference call Tuesday in announcing the Oct. 31 deadline to firm up stadium plans. “There’s no reason to wait. We want to know where we stand. But if we wait too long, then all of this drags out. Toronto loses its stadium, loses its team and then ultimately has the potential of not having a good spot to play the (under-20) World Cup.”

Up next, the proposed site at Exhibition Place has to be approved and Toronto City Council has to puts its money where the mayor’s mouth is.

The Exhibition Place board of governors has to approve the project, and several levels of City Council have to give a green light to $9.5 million in promised funding at meetings that start Oct. 26. As land-owner, the City of Toronto would own the stadium.

If all that happens, MLSE will commit dollars and “we’ll sign on the dotted line for a franchise,” said Richard Peddie, president of MLSE.

Kevan Pipe, chief operating officer of the Canadian Soccer Association, says Garber’s announcement represented a “huge step” forward in the right direction. But he acknowledged there is still work to do.

It is not the first deadline imposed by MLS. Just the most public.

“Don’s been great,” said Peddie. “He gave us a deadline in June, July, August, September, Oct. 1. And I think he’s given us his final deadline. He’s not trying to play brinkmanship. From what I can tell, he’s got other choices.”

Adding to his ultimatum, Garber said the league needs a decision for its Nov. 12 board meeting. The next gathering is slated for March, which he says would be too late.

“We are close to finalizing a deal for ’07. We’ve given MLSE an exclusive window through the end of the month, Oct. 31 to negotiate a deal for an expansion team,” Garber said.

The 12-team league added two new franchises this season: Real Salt Lake and FC Chivas, which plays out of Carson, Calif. Those expansion franchises cost $10 million US apiece.

Garber said the expansion price tag this time is “slightly higher.”

The league is looking for a second expansion team in 2007, with the leading candidates Cleveland, Philadelphia, Houston, Milwaukee and St. Louis, Garber said.

The MLS deadline puts some pressure on the various partners involved in the stadium project to settle their differences and get a shovel in the ground. The stadium has been an on-again, off-again affair with sites shelved at both the University of Toronto and York University.

More recently there has been disagreement between various levels of government involved in helping fund the project on whether it should be built on the lakefront at Exhibition Place or in the northern part of the city at Downsview Park.

The current budget of the stadium is around $62 million Cdn.

The federal government, which owns the Downsview land but now seems to have signed off on Exhibition Place, has pledged $27 million with another $8 million from the provincial government. If the city pledges $9.65 million, that leaves a little more than $17 million needed.

Part of that shortfall will be made up in selling naming rights to the stadium, a process that is already under way.

MLSE is ready to contribute the rest although it won’t say how much that is other than to say “it’s substantial.”

Garber called Exhibition Place “the perfect location.” The property is adjacent to Ontario Place on the lakefront and once housed Exhibition Stadium, the former home to the Argos and Blue Jays. It currently is home to the Ricoh Coliseum, where the American Hockey League Marlies play, and the annual CNE summer fair.

An MLS team would give Canadian talent a chance to develop domestically in the highest level of North American club soccer.

MLS is a so-called single-entity organization. That means the players are under contract to the league, which then allocates them to the individual franchises.

A team in Toronto would consist of Canadians, with perhaps a few imports just as U.S. teams are largely American with a limit on foreigners.

Canadians currently in MLS include Pat Onstad and Dwayne DeRosario (San Jose Earthquakes), Will Johnson (Chicago Fire) and Winston Marshall (FC Dallas).

While the MLS franchise carries a significant expansion fee and stadium costs, soccer represents a budget sport to Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment when compared to the five-star world of hockey or basketball.

The current salary budget for MLS teams is about $1.8 million US per squad.

“That was the price of one hockey player a year ago,” Peddie said.

The league minimum for a senior roster player was $28,000 US in 2005.

As for attendance, Peddie says if a Toronto MLS team can draw 13,000 to 15,000 per game, “that would do the job for us.”

Garber, who is always open to expansion possibilities, did not rule out other Canadian teams in the future. The Montreal Impact of the United Soccer League already have a new stadium in the works, and the Vancouver Whitecaps are also looking to build.

“The intent is in time to expand to other cities in Canada and we’re actually very excited about that,” Garber said. “We just have not put a particular timetable in place as to when exactly that would happen.”

Garber even talked of maybe convincing Canadian national team coach Frank Yallop, a former MLS coach of the year with the San Jose Earthquakes, to return to MLS.

If that were to happen, Yallop might have to give up a job. Pipe said coaching the national team is a “full-time occupation.” Yallop, who has dismissed rumours he is looking to return to a MLS team, is under contract through the end of 2006 with the national team.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old October 12th, 2005, 04:44
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Great i would love to see the MLS expand into Canada, hopefully Vancouver and Montreal can get a team as well.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old October 12th, 2005, 04:47 Thread Starter
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MLS paves the way for Toronto expansion

MLS paves the way for Toronto expansion

By NEIL DAVIDSON
Tuesday, October 11, 2005 Posted at 5:24 PM EDT
Canadian Press

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl...NStory/Sports/

Toronto — Major League Soccer has paved the way for an expansion team in 2007 in Toronto, providing on-again, off-again plans for a stadium are nailed down by the end of the month.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. is spearheading the drive for an MLS team.

"We are close to finalizing a deal for '07. We've given MLSE an exclusive window through the end of the month, Oct. 31 to negotiate a deal for an expansion team," commissioner Don Garber said in a conference call.

"We're very excited about our budding relationship with MLSE ... We think they are fantastic operators, not just in hockey and basketball."

The MLS move puts some pressure on the various partners involved in the stadium project to settle their differences and get a shovel in the ground. The stadium has been an on-again, off-again affair with sites shelved at both the University of Toronto and York University.

More recently there has been disagreement between various levels of government involved in helping fund the $60-million project on whether it should be built on the lakefront at Exhibition Place or in the northern part of the city at Downsview Park.

MLSE has also agreed to help fund the 20,000-seat stadium. MLSE president Richard Peddie did not immediately return a phone call.

The federal government, which owns the Downsview land, has pledged $27 million with another $8-million from the provincial government.

The city has said it will contribute $9.5-million if the stadium goes to Exhibition Place, which now seems the more likely site.

The 12-team league added two new franchises this season: Real Salt Lake and FC Chivas, which plays out of Carson, Calif. Those expansion franchises cost $10-million (U.S.) apiece and Garber said the price tag this time round will be "slightly higher."

The league is looking for a second expansion team in 2007, with the leading candidates Cleveland, Philadelphia, Houston, Milwaukee and St. Louis, Garber said.

An MLS team would give Canadian talent a chance to develop domestically in the highest level of North American club soccer.

The outdoor stadium will also play a key role in Canada hosting the 2007 world under-20 championship.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old October 12th, 2005, 05:13 Thread Starter
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MLS Conference Call

Don Garber on MLS in Toronto conference call. Conference call starts at 35 minutes.
http://web.servicebureau.net/conf/me...m=was&u=/w.xsl
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old October 13th, 2005, 04:03 Thread Starter
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MLS franchise in Toronto?

MLS franchise in Toronto?
By NEIL DAVIDSON

http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Soccer/200...259698-cp.html

(CP) - The Canadian Soccer Association is rushing toward a Major League Soccer franchise in Toronto and the domestic game could suffer as a result, according to the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps.

They applaud Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. for getting into soccer. And they welcome the possibility of another soccer-specific stadium in Canada - the Impact have already announced plans for a new 15,000-seat home while the Whitecaps have a called a news conference for Thursday to announce their own 15,000-seat stadium project.

But they say the time for an MLS team in Toronto is not right.

"I think we're rushing to it too quickly," Impact owner Joey Saputo said Wednesday from Montreal.

"I think there's a lot of good to it, but at the same time I think there might be a lot of bad in it and may affect us negatively. And unfortunately we're making decisions today without really looking at the full scope of how it's going to affect the game, not only in Montreal and in Vancouver and Toronto, but across the country."

Bob Lenarduzzi, director of soccer operations for the Whitecaps, is on the same page as Saputo.

"We seem to be putting far too much emphasis on one MLS team in our country, and that being a cure to our woes at the international level. I don't think it's going to work that way," he said from Vancouver.

A former national team coach, Lenarduzzi knows firsthand how Canadian soccer has paid the price for poor infrastructure.

"Everyone can blame the national team coaches, but as far as our game goes we have not been doing a good job from bottom to top," he said from Vancouver. "We need to start at the bottom. We need to build a strong foundation and move on from there.

"I think we're starting to do that. MLS coming along at a time when we're putting the bricks in place, it just seems like it's too soon."

He says Canada's pro clubs, the provincial soccer associations and CSA should be working together "from the bottom up."

Added Saputo: "I don't think we are ready. I don't think Canada is ready. . . . I don't think that by having one MLS franchise in Canada are we going to really develop the game we need to develop it."

Lenarduzzi worries a single MLS team in Toronto will continue the fragmentation that has hurt the Canadian soccer.

"That's not a knock on MLS either," he said. "I think MLS has done great things for the game in the United States. And at the appropriate time, anyone in the soccer world in Canada would love to be a part of playing in the best league in North America."

But both the Impact and Whitecaps, considered model franchises in the second-tier United Soccer League, stand to lose if the first-tier MLS comes to Toronto.

"What is going to be the reaction from the fans in Montreal, knowing they have become a second division (team)? What's going to be the reaction from the fans in Vancouver when the Whitecaps become a second division (team)?" asked Saputo.

Top players will be drawn to the MLS franchise because of its higher profile and pay.

"It's going to do that, that's a fact," said Lenarduzzi. "It's also going to probably result in, if we want to keep some of those players, spending more money than we have been spending.

"The broadcast side of it, if they're on national television, that comes back into our markets.

"What I don't want to portray is that we're upset with MLS or MLSE, We just feel the time is wrong. And it should be more of a co-ordinated approach. Especially when you've got two owners like Saputo and (Vancouver's Greg) Kerfoot."

Kevan Pipe, the CSA's chief operating officer, responds by saying the Impact are already seeing domestic talent like Sandro Grande leaving for the greener pastures of Europe.

And he argues the opportunity to hook up MLS, MLSE and the Toronto stadium project could not be missed.

"We can't wait," Pipe said. "To buy into that argument says that we wait for another five years. MLSE has many opportunities to move in many other different directions. . . . That argument has to be categorically rejected. We cannot continue to wait for other rainbows occurring on other days. The time to move is now."

Saputo doesn't see it that way.

"If it's good today, I think it'll be better in the future," he said.

"If there's an opportunity for Kevan Pipe and the CSA to have their stadium and at the same time that they have their stadium, they're able to get an MLS franchise, you grab it when it's hot," he acknowledged. "But that's not necessarily the best thing. I think what you need to take a look at is how is this particular decision going to affect development of the game across the country."

The Toronto Lynx, the third Canadian USL franchise, had previously objected to MLS in Toronto but seems to have come round to the idea of playing in the proposed new stadium, according to local reports.

Notes: The Whitecaps are planning to announce a 15,000-seat stadium on the waterfront by the cruise ship terminal near the Pan Pacific Hotel. The team, which has already bought the land, hopes the federal government may be interested in getting involved like it has with the Toronto stadium. No price tag has been set, but it is expected to be in the ball park of the $60 million the Toronto facility will cost.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old October 13th, 2005, 04:22
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I think its a great idea, MLS expansion in general is a great idea, though into Canada it could help the Canadian NT.

About the Montrael and Vancouver team thing, they do have USL teams at the moment.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old October 13th, 2005, 23:33
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I agree with Lenarduzzi (never thought I'd be writing that!) and Saputo: it's premature to bring MLS to Toronto. Montreal and Vancouver are much more ready for that than we are.

The only reason Kevan Pipe is supporting the MLS idea is that MLSE wouldn't put up the stadium money otherwise. In fact, if someone else came along and offered to pay $20 million towards the stadium provided it was suitable for greyhound racing as well as soccer, Pipe would be all over it like a hobo on a ham sandwich.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old November 13th, 2005, 17:31
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old November 14th, 2005, 08:46
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MLS looks to expand into Toronto

FRISCO, Texas -- The MLS is closer to expanding into Canada.

The league's board of governors approved an expansion application from Toronto-based Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment on Saturday, the eve of the league's 10th championship.

Officials also considered a proposal to allow a new Canadian team to include three U.S.-born senior international players.

With the league close to securing its 13th club, it set the expansion fee for No. 14 at $15 million - until Dec. 31, 2005. The MLS said the price will increase significantly after that date.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old November 14th, 2005, 23:37
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The Toronto franchise only cost slightly more than US$10 million, so MLSE got a bargain.

Last edited by Jeff; November 16th, 2005 at 20:38.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old December 25th, 2005, 03:54
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This is great news. It's awesome to see Canada expand into the MLS. I know most of the NHL is American teams, but still hockey is Canada's sport (but hey I love hockey). Now that makes what 3 leagues where Canadian teams have a presense? NHL, MLS, and NBA (TO Raptors)
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old December 25th, 2005, 15:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Awesom-O
It's awesome to see Canada expand into the MLS.
And vice-versa!

And don't forget Major League Baseball.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old December 25th, 2005, 15:20
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garbage in my opinion, why should we help Canada's players develop? If they can't do it on their own, then let them continue to play hockey. I am totally against this, maybe they will become the Expos (more Mets fans at the games than Expos) and then they will be forced to move and it will look like a disaster
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old December 25th, 2005, 16:22
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Hey @sshole, if you knew anything about anything, expanding to Canada not only serves to benefit Canadian soccer but the MLS as well. Through expansion, MLS can widen the scope of its audience and thus revenue, which allows the MLS american teams more money to develop young soccer players. Second point; comparing baseball to soccer in the US and Canada seems pretty foolish and futile seeing that baseball has been rooted in American tradition for over a century now while soccer has just recently been gaining acceptance. You should probably get off your high horse.


Third point; Being croatian, you should probably realize not only how many croats there are in Toronto, but how many other immigrants from soccer playing nations there are, that would jump at the opportunity to go and watch higher level soccer than we are currently being provided with. (Given that the product is adequately presented.)

Last point; New jersey is a hole in the ground that doesn't deserve ANY sports franchise.

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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old December 25th, 2005, 17:37
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and why don't Rochester, St. Louis deserve one? Toronto already have an A-League team, this is going against the whole reason why the MLS was started.

I know there are Croatians and other immigrant groups in Toronto and the local suburbs but you can say the same about the Metrostars and LA but the MLS only goes for the hispanic population
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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old December 25th, 2005, 18:24
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Do Rochester and St.Louis have stadiums ready to be built backed by a humongous all purpose, all-sport organization like Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment?

I realize that soccer around the world is usually a domestic affair, but when it comes to the US and Canada, we may as well be one country with regards to sports.

Allowing Toronto to jump ahead of the queue allows MLS to gain a foothold in Canada, and to expand its importance to a market where it previously had none.

The benefit to Toronto of course, is that a Canadian team is now part of a more reputable league, and more recoginized organization than the A-League, where our players will be able to play against competition at higher levels than ever before.

I didn't mean to come off all crazy, but I can't really see the reason why you would be so upset that a Canadian team would be joining MLS. It's a very large market in North America, and lets face it, in the end..its less about developing soccer and more about making money. (Which I suppose in the end serves for the greater development of the game anyways.)

"I am happy the side survived, because this team is the shining jewel in a city that is symbolic of culture, politeness and civility. I hoped with all my heart that Parma would stay in Serie A, for this outfit and all of Italian football.

(Arrigo Sacchi)
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old December 26th, 2005, 03:44
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Rochester has build a new stadium and they draw more than the average MLS team even though they are in the A-League, also they are pretty successful, beating MLS teams in the Cup
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old December 26th, 2005, 05:15
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I like Canada and the US being joint on some sports leagues.

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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old December 26th, 2005, 07:11
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old December 26th, 2005, 15:46
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I'm sure Canada can make their own league, if you guys can make a football league (CFL, American football) you surely can make a soccer league featuring Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and maybe Ottawa, Winnipeg and also cities in Ontario that could be interested in soccer (Mississagua)

Rochester have been promised a team for a while now, they built a new stadium and its truely a shame now they won't get a team, they get more fans than the Metrostars and they play in a league less than them.
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