The Really Not So Super League

Everybody has a million-and-one-ways to improve MLS. Many of these proposals can be reduced to the film Field of Dreams as envisioned by Scrooge McDuck: if you spend money on wages and transfers, more and better players will come. Well no shit. This past winter, MLS’ financial reticence was magnified by the number of deals done between European clubs and the Chinese Super League.

Allegedly thanks to state support via a new and overly generous TV deal, the CSL is awash in cash and clubs spent tens of millions to sign kinda-sorta-decent players like Ramires and Jackson Martinez and even Alex Teixeira. But is everything as it seems? Continue reading “The Really Not So Super League” »

MLS and the Final Frontier: Eyeballs From Afar

The 2015 MLS Cup featured two well coached and pretty well constructed teams that played attacking soccer. The game was decided in part by a goalkeeper blunder and a ref mistake, but, news flash, this crap happens in Europe and during World Cups. Just ask any England fan about Clint Dempsey’s goal in 2010. Or Frank Lampard’s non-goal vs. Germany that same tournament.

Still, though, one thing about the recent MLS Cup cannot be debated: TV ratings stunk. I won’t dissect the numbers, but will look at the big picture issues. They are both scary and heartening. Continue reading “MLS and the Final Frontier: Eyeballs From Afar” »

MLS Stadia Updatery

As you know, I am your favorite contributor to VICE Sports. Please note that I can no longer refer to it as “VICE Deportes” anymore because that site actually exists and, no, my soccer stadium writing is too boring for those hip folks from Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula who speak-a-the-Spanish. But not for you. In addition to being handsome, rugged, ruggedly handsome, and handsomely rugged, you loved my contributions because I did quite a bit of research in those MLS stadium posts for VICE. Since their publication, though, major developments have happened. At least in Minnesota and Miami.

Here’s the big story(ies). Continue reading “MLS Stadia Updatery” »

Making the Anglo Cup Work

The Commissioner for MLS has floated an idea: MLS and EPL clubs regularly play one another in a so-called “Anglo Cup.” Of course, teams from these two leagues regularly play each other in friendlies. However, the Don would like to solidify the relationship. The general idea is some sort of tournament, akin to the Emirates Cup but 10% more (or less) creditable.

As a baseline, dear reader, I know you are cynical. Also, the proposal also lacks detail. However, I looked past my doubts and thought of a way to make it work. Continue reading “Making the Anglo Cup Work” »

The Not Surprising Lack of Solidarity in US Soccer

Five percent. Look like a big number? It’s not. When you go out to eat, you probably tip double or even quadruple that figure. However, US Soccer and MLS balk at that number. What is that number? It’s the nominally low part of any transfer fee that should be paid to any of the player’s prior youth clubs (actually a smaller percentage based on years the player was at the club). For example, Bastian Schweinsteiger recently went from Bayern to United for about nine million euros. One of his old clubs is set to get 38,000 euros.

This is not an astronomical figure. Which is why it’s so funny MLS and US Soccer have colluded to never pay it ever. Continue reading “The Not Surprising Lack of Solidarity in US Soccer” »

The Reason We Probably Don’t See “Transfer Fees” in US Sports

I had a really heated tweet session with an accountant. I know, I know, your palms are sweating at such a hot intro to an article. Here’s the deal: I’ve always wondered why in the US players in pro leagues are normally traded, as opposed to the big “transfer fees” we see in European soccer leagues.

I did some digging and found a plausible explanation: the RDA, or, rather, as I call it, a clever ruse to trick the tax man. Continue reading “The Reason We Probably Don’t See “Transfer Fees” in US Sports” »

How many MLS players would be better off as Jermain Defoe’s Personal Assistant?

Last week, the internet was abuzz with a story. The story of Jermain Defoe and his need for help. On a “seeking a secretary” website, Monseur Defoe ran an ad looking for a personal assistant. This person would take care of his numerous houses, probably do some grocery shopping, and maybe even so do some social media work. Who knows? Lots of folks in Hollywood have personal assistants, and my friends who work/worked in this cottage industry say it’s kinda fun. You’re basically a grown adult’s mom, but minus the authority.

Here’s my cynical question: in the ad, Defoe offered to pay 60,000 pounds per year, roughly $120,000 per year. How many MLS players should quit soccer, fly to Sunderland, and start mowing the laws of Defoe’s numerous estates? Continue reading “How many MLS players would be better off as Jermain Defoe’s Personal Assistant?” »

MLS Stadia Update: Compromise and Progress?

As you may recall, I’ve written for VICE Sports about that tangled world of sports and politics. Namely, I’ve looked at the efforts of new MLS franchises to get stadiums built and stick a hand in the taxpayer’s pot of cash. As you’d expect, I didn’t pull punches when looking at both MLS franchisees and local politicians. Using open record requests, I was able to shed some light on how and why the situations had seemingly stalled.

Now, I’m happy to report, things have changed. Here’s where and how. Continue reading “MLS Stadia Update: Compromise and Progress?” »

The Quintessential MLS CBA “Smoke has Cleared” and “One Side Won” Post

Hello there, reader. In case you missed it, the MLS season started on time last weekend. Crowds flocked to games. Young men (and Clint Dempsey) kicked balls. Some scored goals. Others were less fortunate. However, last week the major story was this: less than acrimonious CBA negotiations between the owners of MLS franchises and the members of the MLS Players Union. They scheduled a two-day mediation before the season started, primarily swapped offers on a form of free agency, and reached a deal late at night on the second day.

But you shouldn’t be happy. Continue reading “The Quintessential MLS CBA “Smoke has Cleared” and “One Side Won” Post” »