The following was written by ISC representatives David Carl (The Curse NM), Andrew Schmidt (The Flock), and Nathan Napier (83 United). The Independent Supporters Council stands with the USLPA in their asks of USL in addition to calling on the owners of the League to implement a safe return to play.
Players are people first. From Portland to Miami, USL players have spent their entire lives preparing to play in this league; to fight for these supporters; and to represent these communities. They volunteer in our neighborhoods and donate time and money to help support local youth soccer initiatives. They give us a reason to hope, and families to rally around. They are warriors in our colors on the pitch every weekend, and an inspiring force for good off of it.
And now, they’ve been told that’s not good enough.
The proposal that the United Soccer League has put forward fails everyone. It smacks of arrogance and disrespect for the players that put their bodies on the line every time they step onto the pitch. It values cash over people, and tells players to go elsewhere to pursue their footballing dreams. It tells supporters, players, and even teams that the bottom line of NuRock is more important than the success of the league. Make no mistake: the current standoff between the USL and USLPA will set legal and cultural precedence, and the futures of the lower divisions of North American professional soccer are at stake.
USL clubs largely run at a loss year-on-year, and a portion of USL players annually attempt to live on a salary straddling the poverty line as a result. This all happens while NuRock, the holding company with majority stake in United Soccer League, banks millions in proceeds from expansion and annual franchise fees every season. And during a time of crisis, the players have been tasked by USL to bear the financial burden in the name of financial relief. The league ecosystem is unbalanced, as evidenced by the share of wealth between our players, our clubs, and the owners of the United Soccer League.
Those with the least amount to give should not be asked to give the most.
We, the Independent Supporters’ Council - made up of supporters from 31 USL Championship, League 1 and League 2 clubs - demand that the USL accept the USLPA’s proposed counter-offer, establish a reasonable salary minimum for all players, and begin the process of safely returning to play for the 2020 season when it is deemed safe to do so - with or without fans in the stadiums.
Agreeing to the above both affirms the unique value of every player at every level of the USL, and creates an environment which fosters future cooperation between players and league officials.
Supporters nationwide stand with the players - all of the players - and will not allow their time and talents to be taken for granted.