This week on “Learning Soccer with Frank” we’re going to break down how the flip Leagues work overseas because if we’re being honest, it can be confusing as hell…
The professional soccer of system in Europe is set up in a completely different way than the American sports leagues. In the beautiful United States, there are a set 32 NFL teams and college is (basically) the minor leagues. In Europe, there is no college system and everyone gets somewhat grouped together.
Teams are segmented into separate leagues. The leagues are essentially different tiers (FYI: there are nine tiers in England alone). The lowest level consists of amateurs who have to have day jobs, smoke cigs and wear 10 year old Umbro cleats. The top tier is the guys that drive Maserati’s, date super models and have million dollar Nike sponsorship deals. That sets up a small country like England with an abundance for teams. Which is great and all, but what’s the point?
What makes the system so unique is that the teams who finish in the lowest three spots are dropped to the league under, while the top three move up. This eliminates strategies employed by the 76ers and the Browns – play terrible and get the best new talent. There is no draft across the pond, so young talent is brought up through academy systems… But I’ll cover that later at a later date.
There are many negatives for dropping down in the system. For example, teams get crushed financially due to losses in TV and sponsorship deals. Being relegated can seem like a death sentence, especially for an American fan since it will become near impossible to watch your favorite team. Teams in the second and third tiers are still professionals expected to be in peak physical shape. However, as far as we are concerned, they are shit.
Now of course on the flip side when your team gets promoted it’s the greatest thing ever and life is good. Money streams in, jersey sales go through the roof, the government doesn’t tax you (that’s a lie), the sky is bluer (that’s a fact), life is just better. Entering the Premier League is like entering an all you can drink wedding. There are still plenty of chances for you to make a fool of yourself but there’s also a great chance your gonna have a blast.
If I’m being honest here, I wish our sports leagues had this. A bit like capitalism if you will, if you are a loser you get punished. No rewards for having you fans suffer since history began.