Deeper Thoughts: Greenville and You

It's OK, I felt the same way you did when you heard

We’ve had 24 hours to decompress.

It's OK, I felt the same way you did when you heard

We’ve heard the news, we’ve read the forums, we’ve gone through the five stages of grief:

Denial: We thought, “This is a joke right?  The tournament can’t be moving to a city that isn’t even one of the five largest cities in its own state, can it?”

Anger: Now it’s serious. “This is CRAP!  They moved it to Greenville?  Why the hell didn’t they move it to that field that is right down the street from me?  What? I needed to get a bid in?  That’s even more CRAP!  THE WHOLE BOD KNOWS HOW AWESOME THAT FIELD IS DOWN THE ROAD!!”

Bargaining: OK, we can make this work.  Some coaches started to realize, there are multiple options to get to Greenville.  Certainly we can find some way to get there cheaply.  Maybe we can carpool with the teams from Atlanta?

Depression: It’s done.  The tournament is moved for realsies.  Oh man.  Life is horrible.  No more Denver.  No more fun.  How can I move forward?  Is practice even worth it anymore?  I have to go to South Carolina of all places?

Acceptance: Ahhhhhh, the sweet goodness of the South.  This is cool.  We can do this.  Why fight it?  It’s time for a change.  Greenville it is!

If you haven’t accepted it, well it’s time to get on board.  It’s happening.  The tournament will be there for the next two years, so why not enjoy the hell out of it?

You want to complain about the price to fly into Greenville?  I thought the same thing.  But guess what?  I have an internet machine in front of me just like you.  And I did some clicking and bee-boop-beeping and found out that it is actually cheaper for me to fly from Portland, OR to Greenville, SC than it is to fly simply to Atlanta. Why?  I don’t know, I don’t work for the airline industry, but I heard this rumor about businesses wanting to move inventory and sell more stuff….soooooooo you can’t complain about the west coast teams and flights with that info can you?

There are grass fields that we have to play on.  That could suck.  But, after talking with tournament director Dan Morris, he assured me that there are contingencies in place to use two turf fields, similar to the situation in Denver.

It's grass fields here, but there are turf contingencies

I know what you are thinking now.  Why not some other site?  The short answer: There were no other sites to consider.  The long answer: There were no other sites to consider.

As I said before, there were only two bids submitted as of last month (which was a month BEYOND the original due date for bids).  One bid was for a return to Denver.  The other was for Greenville.  There was an apparent 11th hour bid by San Diego, of which we have very little detail other than it would’ve cost each of us our first born.  And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out some sort of haphazard, whipped-together bid is likely missing some crucial details.  It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if San Diego was never even realistically considered.

Does it suck that there were only two realistic bids?  Yes.  But can we just get off ourselves for a minute.  Take a step back.  Seriously, take a step back and look at our event.  Take a look at our league.  Is it crazy to think that maybe we jumped in production value and weren’t quite ready for the facilities we chose to inhabit?  How many sellouts have we had at these tournaments?  How many times have we even filled a stadium to 10% or even 5% of capacity?  Never.  Let’s not pretend we need some world-class facility.  We need a good little facility, and that’s what we’ve got.

Maybe we were smaller than we thought?

The more I hear about this site, the more I can’t help but realize the negative initial reaction, myself included, is really just fighting change for the sake of fighting change.  As a league, as teams, as a tournament staff, as Twitter critics, we were all getting too comfortable with Denver.

And furthermore, this decision sets the precedent to hold the tournament on the edges of the US geographically.  Are you listening Seattle?  Are you listening San Diego?  Are you listening Boston?  The tournament is all but begging you to put a bid together for 2014 and beyond.  The MCLA released its Request for Proposals in February of 2011.  That provided three months to get bids in.  Right now you have an unofficial RFP in front of you.

We’re looking at you, Seattle, San Diego, Boston, Baltimore, Kansas City, ……



  1. Kansas City would be sweet.  Livestrong would be a great lax venue.  And I’d be able to drive down to catch at least a few games…  Unfortunately the MCLA finals are usually the same weekend as our high school semis and/or finals.

    • There was no discussion among the MCLA BOD about a bid for San Diego while in Denver.  If there was a bid in, either it wasn’t being considered, or it was a really big secret that no one wanted me to know about.  Judging by the fact the costs were only estimated and not nailed down, it leads me to believe the San Diego bid was poorly constructed.  The San Diego faction now has two years to get their crap together.

  2. I don’t hate Greenville, I just don’t care for it. I think if the MCLA came out and said “look we settled on the cheapest of the two (three?) places so deal with it” people would be actually happier than the MCLA trying to hide behind statements pointing to community involvement. There are only 11 high school and 3 (2 active) MCLA teams within an hours drive of the stadium. Are they really going to fill the 15k stadium? You bet your ass not. At least now having the stadium somewhere that isn’t adidias will force Nike to put its money where its mouth is. Am I upset with the BOD? Not in the least I would have made the same decision if I were them given the options. Does it make me want to volunteer and help the MCLA reach out to real lax communities in the future? Yes, where do I sign?

    • Well people are going to moan and groan, but the truth is everyone is at fault that the event is in Greenville.  The BOD got two and a half bids to host the tournament, Denver and Greenville.  San Diego was throw together in about half an hour to give them come competition, but we are looking at Denver and Greenville.  How do you pick between what everyone has complained about for three years and what you know all-too-well everyone is going to complain about?  The only way this can be resolved is if we create a governance model in the MCLA that has full-time employees, not people who volunteer their time when they aren’t busy with their real jobs.  We need to create salaried positions to oversee the MCLA, this will cost more money for schools, but the end result will be very beneficial.