Sunday, September 18, 2016

A History of Rules Changes in MLS, NASL

Just in case you've wondered about rules experimentations implemented in the past by MLS and NASL that were different from FIFA standard international play, the following two articles will help explain them in detail.

The first one from provides insight on why USL Pro uses 5 substitutions and then transitions to rules changes in MLS from 1994-2003.  It does a quick review of the old NASL 35 yard-line rule adjustment before finishing with rule adaptations in college soccer and indoor soccer.

Click here to read, "The Quirky Rules Sometimes Used in the American Game."

A detailed history of rules differences put into play for the original NASL begins with some perspective on the controversial offsides rule that eventually led to new field markings.  There's also a description of how the shootout came about, variations on substituting and a change in the values of a win and goals scored.

Click here to read, "American Outlaws: Exceptions to the Rules."

For the NASL, there were some repercussions from those exceptions to the rules.  In 1981, FIFA decided it had had enough with a couple of the rules (not all of them).  FIFA scolded and then threatened to expel the league from its governance.

A New York Times article gives plenty of depth to what the expulsion could mean to players.  It goes on to include the USSF perspective.  Interestingly, two American teams, the Atlanta Chiefs and Tampa Bay Rowdies wanted to keep the rules in place, claiming fans liked the changes. Additionally, there is some history on the NPSL and a Canadian perspective on the dilemma posed by FIFA.

Click here to read, "NASL Has Deadline to Change 2 Rules."

Each of these articles are good reads and lend more context to the conversation of what brings the most U.S. sports fans out to watch soccer in person or on Tv.

Originally written January/2015

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