Maryland Majors to Announce Expansion
This past Sunday was full of mixed emotions for Maryland soccer. As FC Baltimore Christos was losing to NY Cosmos, the new teams of the division one Maryland Majors were finding out about their promotion. MMSL will be making the official announcement of their expansion to an 8 team first division later this week. For many this may not seem like a big deal, but to the grassroots soccer fans and advocates of promotion/relegation this is a huge deal. In a state league that is pushing to grow and has pro/rel in its core, this is a really huge deal.
Last season the MMSL played with a first division made up of only six teams. The teams who played in D1 were Christos FC, Izee Auto FC, World Class Premier reserves, Super Delegates FC, Academy FC, and, the winners of the spring 2019 season, Steel Pulse FC. However, the inclusion of two other teams would bring some interesting changes to the first division.
There is so much left to learn about this expansion. One thing is for sure, two teams aside from Maryland International will be promoted. In a conversation with deputy commissioner Nigel Fullerton, he explained that “the two teams that are being promoted from division two will be Columbia FC and All Star United.” Personally, adding teams straight into the first division would have been an injustice to the teams who have been in the second division and have been preforming season after season. This was the best decision for the league to take. Promoting the top performer from last season to D1 and add teams to the lower divisions will do two things: one, it will make sure that the level of competition is maintained and two, the league stays true to the teams who have been/still are members.
Though this is an expansion for division one, this is also good new for Division Two. This opens the possibility to add teams to both North and South Division Two. Now, there is no confirmation as to what will happen to D2, but it is fun to speculate about the possibilities. It would be great to see MMSL add more teams from Virginia or even expand into Delaware. If MMSL chooses to stay in Maryland there are plenty of teams to add from the DC-Baltimore region. Other areas that would offer some great additions are Annapolis or Anne Arundel County. There is plenty of talent left to be discovered in Maryland’s counties.
The other change that will be announced is the amount of games that will be played in the new 8 team D1. At first glance, one assumes that they will increase the game count from 10 to 14. This would allow the league to keep to the home/away matches. Also giving the teams more playing time to prepare for the tournaments that come right after the fall season.
However, in the conversation with Fullerton, he would go into detail on how the new D1 would be set up. When asked how the D1 would look like he responded, “the eight teams would be spilt into two conferences with a total of ten games to be played. Six games in-conference and four games out of conference.” This is still a very viable system as it will allow for teams to travel less and still have some exposure to teams in other zones of the MMSL.
The 8 teams confirmed for D1 are Christos FC, Izee Autobody FC, World Class Premier, Steel Pulse FC, Maryland International, Columbia FC, All Star United, and Academy FC. Let’s speculate on the potential setup of D1:
South: Columbia FC, All Star United, Christos FC, and World Class Premier
North: Izee Autobody FC, Steel Pulse FC, Maryland International, and Academy FC
This is assuming these conferences are set up based on location. If this is true, the conference which would be based off the southern region would be considered the group of death. Regardless of the conferences and the team that make them up, D1 of the MMSL is going to be a league to watch this fall. With matches such as a Christos FC vs Steel Pulse FC rematch or a Columbia FC vs Maryland International rematch or a All Star United vs World Class Premier match, D1 will be on another level this coming season!
Who do you have winning the Championship?
- Hector Monterroso