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An MLS team in Eugene? Doubtful. NASL however...

A recent report by KVAL Eugene has an interesting quote from one of the groups trying to save the city's Civic Stadium. Apparently, "Save Civic Stadium" board president Ron Crasilneck wants to turn the decrepit stadium into a fully functional, professional soccer stadium where a professional soccer team can play. Here's the exact quote from Ron:

"Soccer is really growing as a professional sport in the United States especially among the younger generations," said Crasilneck. "So we are very confident that Eugene would embrace this new team."

Now, I might be jaded, living in the far bigger city of Portland, but I seriously doubt there is any way an MLS team could be supported by the small-ish city of Eugene and any outlying cities. In fact, it's so outlandish, I'm wondering if the reporter who wrote this story even got the quote right at all.

Let's be honest, the Eugene metro area is only around 350,000 people. Beyond even finding the support to fill the stands (of which anything sub-15,000 is considered a failure in MLS) where would the money come from? Running an MLS team isn't cheap. It's a $40 million entry fee combined with all other associated costs of staff, equipment, and a mandatory academy and reserve program. Those kinds of things aren't cheap.

Which leads me back to the reporter. Did Ron actually say "MLS" or did he say professional soccer? It's unfortunate that despite the great strides MLS has been making the past few years, our D2 league is still almost entirely unknown. It's my guess that Ron didn't actually mention MLS but instead was suggestng a pro-soccer team could play in Eugene, for which I believe would be a great idea.

NASL needs teams, no doubt about it. So why not Eugene? The costs are lower, the entry fee is easily managed, and I believe Eugene could definitely support a 6,000-ish sized stadium given it's population (I've never lived in Eugene so I can't comment on the mentality). Sure, the Ducks would remain the #1 team in the city, but given that there is very little overlap between college football and NASL seasons I'd say this could be a fantastic move.

So, MLS? No. NASL? Why not?