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Tim Ream ‘All For Promotion and Relegation’ in U.S. Soccer

  • The USL is considering adopting a promotion and relegation system.
  • Fulham and U.S. Men's National Team defender Tim Ream said he is 'all for' his home country adopting that system.
United States of America defender Tim Ream (13) controls the ball against Netherlands forward Cody Gakpo (8) during the first half of a round of sixteen match in the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Khalifa International Stadium.
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Fulham and U.S. Men’s National Team defender Tim Ream sees lots of upside in the United Soccer League’s potential move to adopt a promotion/relegation system.

“I’m all for promotion and relegation,” Ream said on Front Office Sports Today. “It puts a lot of pressure on relegation — and when you have pressure, you can see who can handle things and who can’t.”

“To start it in the USL is a good jumping-off point,” he added, “with the value of teams being a little bit less.” 

Implementing a promotion/relegation system in a more established league would present huge challenges. The annual loss in value teams would experience from relegation would make the idea a nonstarter for many team owners and executives. The sale valuation of Leeds United dropped from a reported $651 million to $209 million when 49ers Enterprises purchased the team in 2022 following its relegation.

Ream sees the promotion/relegation system potentially spreading across American soccer if it’s a success for the USL: “I think a lot of people will be [watching] with one eye on how it goes.”

The USL already has a tiered system in place, with a 24-team top league, the USL Championship, and a 12-team second division called League One. League officials will vote next month on implementing a system in which League One teams would be promoted on an annual basis, replacing low-performing USL Championship teams.

In the most recent Premier League season, with Manchester City assured of a league title, the drama at the end of the year centered on which teams would be relegated to the Championship.

“It’s like that every year,” Ream said. “People don’t realize in that situation how much extra pressure there is. The storylines and the craziness of it all … That’s where you see who has what it takes, and who might crumble.”

Ream is launching his own podcast, “The American Dream,” on the Men in Blazers network.

For more on our daily podcast covering the influence of sports on business and culture, listen and subscribe on Apple, Google, and Spotify. Also, you can follow us on Twitter. 

 

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