MLS Supporters Summit 2012 :: Collaborating Towards Solutions

This last weekend I had the great honour and privilege of representing the Vancouver Southsiders at the MLS Supporters Summit in Los Angles. I attended many meetings between supporters and with MLS Officials.

Independent Supporters Council of the United States and Canada was a
meeting held at a Mexican restaurant close to the Home Depot Centre.
This was the third annual general meeting of the group and was
attended by supporters groups that belonged to the ISC, both press and
club officials were NOT allowed in.
At this meeting issues and best practices were discussed.
It was very clear that scheduling was the most important topic to the group.
Almost everyone was in agreement that a Balanced Schedule is what the fans wanted.
There was also displeasure of Derby matches being scheduled midweek, and thus not
allowing away fans to travel in good numbers. There also seems to be a
league wide problem of rescheduling and moving reserve matches which the group feels needs to be addressed.
The second biggest priority of the group was pushing for larger away allocations. The group would ideally like to see the amount increased to the FIFA recommended 5% level.

After that the leaders of the MLS Supporters groups attended a meeting at the Home Centre Presidents room with club supporters liaisons and was lead by Evan Dabby, MLS Senior Director of Operations. At this marathon meeting a wide variety of issues were discussed. This included most thing from the ISC meeting as well as how to improve communication, possible the establishment of Supporter Sub Committees, and enhancing game day experience.

That evening La Dolca’s Massimo Cusano and I met the Whitecaps FrontOffice for dinner. In a more casual setting some of the issues discussed earlier in the day on a more local level.

On Sunday Morning I attended a meeting on the future of the Supporter’s Shield. The current shield isn’t a shield at all, and is rather small. A KC Supporter has spearheaded a campaign to replace this with something better. This would be funded by the supporter groups.

Later that morning about 150 supporters attended the “Supporters Summit with MLS Commissioner Don Garber”. This is the session which was streamed online. I won’t go into too much details as most of you likely watched online, but about half the session was spent with people questioning the new imbalanced schedule. The paper I wrote on how the league can reduce travel and keep a Balanced Schedule was mentioned several time and was handed to the Commissioner at one point. Other things that were brought up were the future of friendlies and adopting a NHL style transparency to discipline actions.

If you would like more information about any of this please contact me privately as much that was discussed is somewhat sensitive.

Brett Graham aka piltdownman
Southsiders – Vice President & Director of Stadium Ops