MLS and Players Union agree to CBA deal, 2010 season will begin on time


The 2010 Major League Soccer season will begin on time after the league and its players union agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement on Saturday. The sides agreed to a new five-year deal.

MLS commissioner Don Garber and MLS players union executive Bob Foose announced the deal in a conference call on Saturday.

Guaranteed contracts (details to come on how many), improved freedom of movement by players out of contract (not quite free agency) and "greatly improved compensation" for players.

The league will create a new Re-Entry Draft, where players out of contract will be able to be selected by new teams after the season. A very interesting development. Details on that should be interesting.

You can now start to party and get ready for the 2010 season.

  • DClee

    So if it is sunny and no clouds out then you tell me it’s grey skies and raining right? The players were clearly happy with the new deal and they had the Donovans of the world in attendance so just be happy and enjoy it. And yest the league wants cost certainity because ONLY 2-3 teams wll turn a profit this season out of 16!


  • alexarmac

    the federal mediator’s line was priceless”we had to get both sides to realize that Western Civilization does not hang in the balance”. The indication that both sides wanted a deal is that they opted for a federal mediator who will not intervene if both sides don’t want it. It sounds good for the league and the players going forward


  • g-dub

    Sounds like the reentry draft would be a lot like the process for returning internationals. It’s an interesting middle ground between 0 competition for players and unlimited competition for players. Teams would have the ability to trade for or pay for reentry draft positions – right? So there is some market based acpect. We’ve also seen that MLS has no problem manipulating rules for ‘special’ cases, which they’d probably find ways to do.


  • chesterton chris

    i wonder how much affect guaranteed

    contracts will have on quality of play?

    my gut is telling me quality goes up

    because guys aren’t worried as much

    about getting hurt in may. they’ll

    play hard each week, and the quality

    on the field will go up. that’s the

    biggest gain in my opinion. higher

    quality will eventually draw in the

    soccer fans not watching mls.


  • Turgid Jacobian

    That’s an interesting point. You don’t think that people on the bubble in April/May are playing to impress already?


  • aristotle

    This is great! I really do believe that MLS would not have survived a strike.

    My first question was:

    How long before we go through this again?

    Someone here said five years. Is that correct? Hopefully, it is. I would imagine it will take at least that long before MLS will be anywhere near making enough money to make any concessions that cost them money.

    Now, if they will just stop expanding! They need to try and solidify the league before they expand anymore. Either that or the expansion fee is going to have to become ridiculously high and or they will have to limit expansion to teams they are almost certain will flourish, which isn’t an easy thing to do.


  • aristotle


    Maybe, as someone here suggested, it would be a good idea to stop expansion that increases the number of teams in the league, and start replacing some of the teams that appear as though they will never make it.

    Of course, now I’m going to get an earful from people who are fans of struggling teams!


  • paul lorinczi


    We have been over this. Free Agency does not work in a single entity system.

    Everyone wants to think MLS is like other leagues in the world. It is not. Teams do not negotiate contracts, the league does. MLS is the players employer, not the teams.

    No free agency in a single entity.


  • gstommylee

    I think they plan on stopping at 20.

    I don’t think they can really relocate any teams and expect it to be better at the city they relocate to.

    Especially they would need to build a SSS again.


  • gstommylee

    i was referring to relocation. Why would teams that already spend millions to build a new SSS just to be relocated.


  • war

    it’s a year after Donovan’s contract expires. This way MLS can buy some time without their posterboy.


  • Jimmy B

    All those arguing that the draft compromise doesn’t do anything for the players are completely missing the boat. This was a big time concession on the league’s part. As it stands now a team retains total control over a players rights even after the conclusion of the contract’s terms. That meant that in essence the team could hold that player hostage (as New England did with Steve Ralston). That gives the team tremendous leverage over a player in any extension talks. In reality a team could truly say, “Take it or leave it” and if the player left it they could simply refuse to trade the players rights in effect locking the player out and forcing him to go abroad or accept a below market offer. Trust me, many players had experienced that.

    Now if a player doesn’t resign, the team risks losing that player to the veteran draft and receiving zero compensation. That gives the veteran additional leverage and it also removes the threat of them being locked out by their original team.

    That said, its not perfect for their players. They don’t have autonomy to choose their team. However, I’m sure that many of the bigger name players, such as a Landon Donovan will also have some power to dictate which teams they will go to. For example, he would likely make it understood that he would only go to teams a, b, and c. Thus, if another team drafted him, they would likely trade him to one of his target teams. Thats not unlike what happened when Troy Perkins returned to the league and was picked up by Philadelphia and then traded to DC. The league isn’t going to risk losing a player of that stature that wants to resign with the league. Is that messy, sure, but it is far, far superior to the previous structure.

    I’d also say that the players understood that this is a very positive step and this is only a five year deal. Five years from today the league should be in even better position that it is today. Philly, Vancouver, Portland, Montreal (in all likelihood) and [insert team here] will all have entered the league. They will enter the league with better stadium setups and fan bases than just about any team in the league prior to 6 or 7 years ago. They’ll have opened up additional markets and given the league greater leverage in negotiating television and sponsorship deals. They’ll have added another $200 mln or so in expansion fees. Finally, they’ll have further diversified the ownership structure of the league. In addition, within five years we’ll see two of the worst performing teams (in terms of finances) in KC and San Jose add stadiums and stragglers like Houston, DC, and New England will hopefully have moved forward with their plans.

    At this point, the league may truly be ready to make some additional changes because their revenue will have markedly improved, perhaps even doubled over where it is today. I doubt they’ll move away from single entity, but I think you’ll see further concessions on all the topics discussed within this CBA and further significant increases to the salary cap.


  • Scott A

    Yesssss. Could be the best possible outcome…no interruption in our games, and a bit more freedom for players


  • chuck

    Single entity survives. MLS continues as a fraud with no real competition between clubs. Here’s one American soccer fan who will continue to ignore MLS. NASL has just been gifted 5 years in which to win my affection.


  • Raffi

    Anyone else see this image?

    It is commissioner Garber shaking hands with Donovan after the agreement was reached.

    Check out the pad he was taking ‘notes’ on during the negotiations. Apparently, doodling during meetings is universal, no matter how ‘important’ the meeting. Apparently he even found time to color.


  • gstommylee

    And what exactly is wrong with MLS continuing to operate as a single entity league. The players wanted improved movement and they got that. It may not be free agency but what they got is better than nothing.


  • DomiNate

    If I were an owner that couldn’t generate a crowd I would definitely move, regardless of a SSS. How many owners actually own the stadiums anyway?

    15,000 is not too much to ask. St. Louis and Montreal would be able to pull that off.


  • derrick

    league profits are not in danger as no team can exceed the salary cap with or free agency.

    It doesn’t matter to me if the players are happy or not. One they could be naive, two they could be being positive to make it appear that they came out the winner to keep a positive face on the whole thing. and the same can be said for the owners comments. I’m not in the “just work it out I don’t care about who get’s paid what or what rules exist i just want to see MLS” camp. MLS struggle to hold my attention. I’m thinking about what will get it to a place where it will.

    my point was about what is best long term professional soccer league. And there is more then the short or long term “happiness” of either side to consider. they may be happy now but if it deters growth, competition, and makes the league less enticing to both domestic and foreign players and permanently makes the league a second or third tier league i don’t think that’s good regardless of whether the players or owners are happy.


  • derrick

    What’s to stop the team that wins the draft lottery thing also offering a take it or leave it lowball contract?

    Like let’s say Robbie Findley comes off contract and Real Salt Lake don’t want to pay him but LA Galaxy do. What if the rights go to Columbus but he doesn’t want to go to columbus and/or Columbus offers him less then the Real Salt Lake or some lowball number, like say 60K cause they don’t have cap room or something? Then isn’t that player stuck still if Columbus says, we won and we aren’t giving, trading, selling away your rights? Seems really what the lottery does is prevent a situation like say same as above but both LA and Chivas want Findley. If Chivas wins the lottery findley has to go their. with free agency the player could go where the best deal is. I mean what if LA get him and they already got no cap room? Again he’s gonna get some lowball fee. I mean seems to me the lottery system is not too great for players.


  • EA Scott

    F#!%! YEAH!!!!!

    I was really getting worried….

    Sounds like a decent deal for both sides. Bring on the season!!!!


  • C.

    In all of the ongoing talks I have heard no mention of the discovery player rule. Please for the love of God, that HAS to be gone now right??


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