Whither Art Thou, APBA Soccer?

We’re a small group of loyalists, but even among those of us who have advocated most dearly on behalf of the fledgling step-child soccer game that APBA released in 2010, there is dissent, frustration, and puzzlement over the release of the 2011-12 English Premiere League card set.

On August 28, 2012, a couple weeks into the 2012-13 Premiere League season (now known as the Barclays Premiere League), I received an email with the following unofficial announcement from APBA President, John Herson, which I posted over on the APBA – Between the Lines forum:

EPL should be available this fall. These will be on cards instead of sheets.”

We didn’t hear anything else about the release of the set, until the first official announcement from the game company came in the October 25, 2012 newsletter:

Screenshot of the APBA Soccer announcement of forthcoming EPL set, made 10-25-12

Screenshot of the APBA Soccer announcement of forthcoming EPL set, made 10-25-12

Despite the fact that the 2012-13 BPL season would already be three months along in November (consider this: this baseball equivalent would mean releasing 2011 APBA Baseball in June of 2012), news of a forthcoming release at least gave us hope that the game was still being produced and released.

There were special circumstances in Fall 2012, we believed. At the time, APBA had only recently released the long-awaited version 5.75 of Baseball For Windows (BBW) and the small staff at the company were presumably overburdened with that release. We could understand that. As loyal patrons of the APBA Game Company, we know that the baseball games butter John Herson’s bread and I think I can speak on behalf of APBA Soccer fans when I say we, as a group, don’t mind being pushed back a little to accommodate the occasional special release of APBA Baseball.

In newsletters released on November 6th and again on November 19th, the same announcement – that the 2011-12 EPL season would be released in November – was repeated.

On December 7th, when the “November” release hadn’t come to fruition, an APBA customer (Jerry, aka jzajack1) reached John Herson, who commented that the game would be pushed back to “January at the earliest.”

As usual, the fan reaction was generally understanding and compassionate. The following quote from the APBA – Between the Lines forum typifies the reaction from fans of APBA Soccer:

“Nice to hear the EPL is still coming out….I guess better late than ever. Would be cool to read about it in the monthly newletter but do understand that baseball and football drive the boat.” – Bobby5950

As of today, the most recent APBA newsletter was published on December 19th. That newsletter carried the following message:

APBA EPL 12-19-12

Though most in the community have reported receiving their pre-ordered 2012 Baseball products, I suppose it’s fair to give the benefit of the doubt to the company and believe that the 2012 APBA Baseball Pre-Orders haven’t been filled yet, but now that January has come and gone, however, how many more of these release delays will the fanbase accept?

Personally, I’m disappointed that the EPL set hasn’t been released – I was looking forward to actually trying to get the EPL draft league off the ground – but the set that I’m even more concerned about is the 2012 Major League Soccer set. As a huge fan of the MLS, my APBA Soccer MLS sets have had nearly as much mileage for me in the last two years as any tabletop game I’ve played. 2012 was arguably my Seattle Sounders’ best season ever, and I would LOVE to replay the Sounders’ 2012 with APBA Soccer.

Will we ever see a 2012 APBA Soccer MLS set? The 2013 MLS season starts on March 2nd. I hope we can have a 2012 card set sometime around then. In the Springtime, after 2012 Baseball sets are shipped, it would seem that there is a slow time in the APBA production schedule. Is it too much to ask to get an estimate as to when (or if) the 2012 MLS set will be released?

In the meantime, I’ll be dusting off a couple of other games.

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