MLS players might be interested in bringing promotion/relegation to the United States, but New England Revolution goalkeeper Brad Knighton doesn’t see it happening anytime soon.
“I don’t think promotion/relegation would work in the way MLS is setup right now,” Knighton said during a recent interview with WEEI’s Soccercast. “Obviously it’s a single entity and obviously the owners fork up money every single season to put into a bank. The teams that are in a lower division don’t really pitch into that pot.”
The topic has long been a point of contention among faithful followers of the league. Some believe that pro/rel is needed to improve the quality of soccer in America while others think it could damage MLS and the lower divisions.
A recent anonymous survey conducted by ESPN FC revealed that 54% of MLS players favor pro/rel. This number is up from last year’s 49% and down from the 64% that wanted it in 2015.
Knighton understands the benefits of pro/rel but doesn’t see how it fits into the American soccer landscape as it’s currently organized.
“I don’t think the backing in NASL and USL is high enough to where they’re able to fork over that kind of money in a particularly season to commit to the owner’s pot, if you will,” Knighton explained.
“Maybe down the road but I don’t see it happening unless the MLS changes its single entity structure or some other things within the [Collective Bargaining Agreement] change.”