Former Hamilton, St. Mirren and Kilmarnock striker Allan Russell waded into the ongoing debate over North America’s closed soccer landscape this week when he echoed United States national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s desire for a domestic league pyramid based on sporting merit.
Russell has spent the past three years in Southern California with the third-tier Orange County Blues. He played at the Carolina RailHawks in 2011 when fellow Scot Martin Rennie and assistant coach Paul Ritchie led the second-tier side to top spot in the North American Soccer League regular season standings.
That achievement, of course, is largely irrelevant. Promotion to America’s top flight currently arrives by paying about $100 million to acquire a Major League Soccer franchise, presuming the potential outlet is based in a significantly sized television market.
Klinsmann’s wishes are at odds with his employers. U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati recently stated that American soccer’s governing body has no plans to change its league structure “because we’re not in the business of expropriating assets.” Gulati, the former deputy commissioner of MLS, is still retained as a special advisor to the Kraft Sports Group that owns the league’s New England Revolution franchise.
It is rare for a soccer player to speak out against the U.S. structure. Russell commented on Twitter that, by his estimation, 99 percent of “honest, ambitious coaches and players” would prefer the system of promotion and relegation used in most of the soccer world.
Scots making their mark on the fields of North America this week were:
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Steven Caldwell’s hopes of leading Toronto F.C. into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history are almost extinguished after two defeats to the Houston Dynamo and New York Red Bulls. Toronto lie six points outside the playoff zone with two regular season games remaining.
Houston’s subsequent loss to D.C. United on Sunday left the Dynamo one point behind Toronto, confirming that Glasgow-born head coach Dominic Kinnear and former Hearts winger Andrew Driver will play no part in the post-season.
West Lothian-born midfielder Calum Mallace set up Marco Di Vaio’s opening goal during the Montreal Impact’s 2-2 tie with New England. The boyhood Airdrie fan later inadvertently deflected Lee Nguyen’s shot into his own net to complete the scoring.
Adam Moffat’s second-half introduction helped F.C. Dallas to a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy.
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Two former Dunfermline Athletic defenders occupied opposing dugouts at F.C. Edmonton’s Clarke Stadium. Colin Miller led the Canadians to a 3-0 win over Greg Shields and his Carolina RailHawks.
Paul Telfer’s nascent Indy Eleven side registered its first home win in club history by beating league leader Minnesota United in front of a sellout 10,285 crowd.
Former Hamilton Accies midfielder Nicki Paterson made a substitute appearance as his Ottawa Fury lost to a last-minute goal at the New York Cosmos.
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College Soccer – Men’s Division I
Aberdeen-born Jamie Clark saw his University of Washington team rise to No. 1 in the weekly National Soccer Coaches Association of America rankings. Oregon State kept Mason Robertson off the score sheet Sunday in holding Clark’s side to a 1-1 tie.
Notre Dame, led by Jamie’s father Bobby Clark, tumbled five places to No. 6 in the NSCAA poll. The Fighting Irish responded with a 3-2 overtime win against Louisville in the pre-eminent Atlantic Coast Conference.
Stirling Albion youth product Chris Paton netted the equalizer as Northern Illinois held West Virginia to a 1-1 tie to open the Mid-American Conference season. The Glaswegian forward twice came close to grabbing a golden-goal winner in overtime with a couple of free kicks that narrowly missed the target.
Ex-Rangers youth defender Jordan Wilson helped Kentucky to two clean sheets in Conference USA wins against the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Marshall.
Renfrewshire’s Lewis Hawke and his Furman teammates saw their eight-game winning streak ended by consecutive defeats against Wofford and Mercer. The Paladins dropped to a 1-2-1 record in Southern Conference play.
Simon Doherty’s Cal State Bakersfield won at Missouri-Kansas City before suffering a 4-2 loss in Western Athletic Conference play against Air Force. The former Cowdenbeath youth player notched an assist in the defeat.
John Scott’s clutch of Caledonian exports at Hartwick College defeated Paisley native Kieran Toland and his St. Bonaventure side to win the battle between two Upstate New York schools. Hartwick’s first win of the season was followed by a 2-0 loss at Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt Conference.
Inverkeithing’s Michael Scott earned a starting role as Baltimore-based UMBC stretched its unbeaten run in the America East Conference to 14 games with a 2-1 win over Hartford.
Former Celtic youth player Christian McKenna started in Northeastern’s midweek win over Drexel and the Huskies’ subsequent 5-0 thrashing at Elon in Colonial Athletic Association play.
Glaswegian midfielder Michael Tuohy earned two starts for Pittsburgh in losses against Xavier and Clemson.
Spencer Brown, another midfielder from Glasgow, was in IPFW’s starting 11 for its midweek tie at Detroit before dropping to the bench for Saturday’s 1-0 win at Oral Roberts in the Summit League.
Linlithgow native Ross Morison came off the bench in Stetson’s 5-2 win over Georgia Southern. The Hatters followed that up with a 3-1 win at Lipscomb to improve to a 2-1-0 record in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Radford’s 5-0 win over Longwood featured a substitute appearance by Forfar’s Michael Hutcheon. The fourth-year defender missed out on Sunday as the Highlanders beat Campbell in overtime to maintain their perfect Big South Conference record after five games.
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College Soccer – Women’s Division I
Former Celtic forward Lois Heuchan made a substitute appearance for Kansas as the Jayhawks beat Texas to remain flawless through four games in the Big 12 Conference. Kansas hosts defending conference champion West Virginia next weekend.
Ex-Scotland youth midfielder Claire Emslie and her Florida Atlantic side failed to find the target this week during its Conference USA tie at Middle Tennessee State and single-goal loss at University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Bonnyrigg’s Hannah Scott came off the bench twice as Mississippi Valley State tied Texas Southern and lost a seven-goal thriller to Prairie View A&M in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
Banchory native Catherine Thomson played in Delta State’s 4-0 defeat against Christian Brothers in the Gulf South Conference.
Sept. 28, 2014 — Stateside Scots Round-Up: Kinnear Leaving Houston For Home?
Sept. 22, 2014 — Stateside Scots Round-Up: Caldwell Leads Toronto To Victory
Sept. 18, 2014 — Stateside Scots: Hamish Law, University Of Pittsburgh Forward