So if you have a twitter, you’re probably aware of #ProRelTwitter. You know, the ones who really wanted Leicester to win the Premier League and mentioned that if only (x) team had a chance, them and their amateur team of ragtag college kids who play at a high school, could turn American Soccer on their heads and win the best trophies in US Soccer.
I’m a fan of the NASL Tampa Bay Rowdies, and I work for Oakland County FC, who is in a similar vein to all the NPSL/PDL teams. I understand the monopoly that MLS has on top level soccer. They created the league and don’t want anyone who doesn’t pay hundreds of millions of dollars in expansion fees to ruin their party.
But you know what? Let’s have some fun.
So i revved up that Football Manager Editor and made some pro/rel leagues. It will have the same structure, same teams, as close to the current rosters I could make. The only difference is the best teams go up, the worst teams go down.
There are a lot of myths about pro/rel, and ones I hear a lot is that amateur clubs don’t have a chance to grow and become the next super club. The other is that competition will make the US National Team better. That’s my goal with this. I will keep simming until the USA wins the World Cup OR a 4th tier team manages to make it to MLS and win it. These will be my ruler of success to see how long pro/rel would take effect.
Atlanta United’s team is made up of the current players, the 16th best player sorted by current ability for Eastern Conference teams, and 5 good international free agents to give the roster a boost. Minnesota United’s team is made up of the current NASL squad, 5 American free agents, and 5 other international free agents to give them a chance since they really didn’t need an “expansion draft”. A similar system was used for filling rosters of new NASL, and USL teams.
The Amateur Premier League is made up of 20 “notable” teams from the NPSL and ADL. It would be a mess to include both leagues for promotion to the USL, so I just threw in teams to make pro/rel twitter have an argument. The teams don’t matter because the rosters are all similar, so because I didn’t pick Grand Rapids FC or The Villages FC doesn’t reflect against them in any way.
An afternoon of college football let me finish editing, and tested through the night. I will start tomorrow.
Boy, I made a mistake. This is going to take a long time.
Fast forward to the year 2. Some trends are starting to pan out. MLS clubs are much better than NASL clubs. USL clubs and NASL clubs are interchangeable. Finally, the amateur teams are WAY OFF of any of the teams that pay their players.
The teams don’t look too promising. The only reason Long Island is staying up is because Detroit was tanking for the first pick in the draft, I guess. Let’s check in on the Yanks.
Klinsmann had a good year! All hail Klinsmann!
We stopped there for the night. We built basecamp and will try to reach summit in the morning. Maybe this will be the day that we see an amateur team make inroads and jump to the NASL. The kings of the sport are taking off. With no salary cap, and the TV money being collected, the gap became bigger.
Remember our last experiment? Owen Coyle got sacked from Team Texas in the State Cup, but would go on to become a legend in this world. After Bruce Arena retired, Coyle took the job in Carson in 2018 and won his 3rd MLS Western Conference in 5 years. The Galaxy had the best roster I’ve ever seen in the US on Football Manager in the late teens. That still wasn’t enough when Houston won the league title on the last day.
Down in the other leagues, some teams are showing progress! Long Island and Chattanooga are mid table in the USL. Louisville became the first team to advance 2 tiers and make it toMLS. Here are some charts.
Upward trends! Good things! Let's keep simming. The USA made the 2022 Morocco World Cup! More good thin-
Ouch. That’s not good for JK.
Oh, I guess he’s doing fine. But who is now-
Huh. So that explains this. New York had become the elite of the elite in the East.
Pro/Rel has made MLS BORING.
Now, in terms of a season, there’s no interconference games. The season is 3 games against everyone, and then the best 2 from the year before play in MLS Cup(I know, I tried). Since the leagues would be dictated by the teams being promoted, teams like Chicago and Atlanta swapped conferences a lot. Same with the USL. It’s honestly the best part of this whole thing.
Day 3 has come to an end. There is hope.
Keith Williams is going to be The Truth. He’s Freddie Adu with the talent. Sorted by potential ability, he’s a 180. He will lead us to glory. For a reference, Messi and Ronaldo are about 195.
Please save me Keith.
Morale is low. Food is dwindling. No end in sight and I had to cut off my toe due to frostbite.
*Go on vacation indefinitely*
I began doing some logos I had to do for work. My roommate asked if I wanted to go to lunch. I did.
I came back and started to work on the same logo.
*checks Football Manager*
Oh no. I forgot! It’s 2029. I’m 35 years old! Let’s check the teams.
No team made a huge jump and everyone stayed relatively the same. Louisville crashed to earth, Richmond became the new leader, and the Cosmos had a few flirts with MLS. Chattanooga had been in the USL for the 10th season, Rhode Island Reds are on their 5th straight year. Colorado Springs has been the most disappointing team, if I had to say.
Looks like nothing much changed. Lets check the US.
Oh wow! We made it to 3rd! That’s great! That means we must’ve done well in the 2026 World Cup!
Oh my god.
Oh my god!
We did it! We won the world cup because of Pro/Rel! Owen Coyle?!?!? became the US Coach, and took them to the promised land! Yes! My messiah Keith Williams must be a legend around these pa-
In the MLS Eastern Conference, Toronto replaced New York as the big boys in town. In the west, LA was still always the team to beat. Annoyingly, they won 11 of the 14 league titles. Ironically, Owen Coyle replaced Wilmer Cabrera as US coach, and Cabrera became the LA Galaxy coach for the remainder of our save.
Head to head? It’s everything you wished it was.
The US Open Cup was no different. (Also, look at all those midpoint stadiums!)
Finally, some oddities I found. San Jose is the Hull City of MLS.
The Richmond Kickers continued their tradition of being stable and patient.
On the other hand, Portland’s history was stupid.
Speaking of Jozy, Brad, and current Tampa Bay Rowdie Keith Savage, here are all the MLS players who became head coaches in 2029.
That’s the end of this little experiment. There is no way I can top winning the World Cup. Fourteen seasons worth of simming and the clubs didn’t make the progress we wanted. There’s nothing we can do about that.
That’s not saying IF Chattanooga was able to compete with the USL in real life, that they wouldn’t eventually move on to the NASL and MLS.
But this is all just 1s and 0s saying they can’t.