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A slow Saturday (Notes on Figo, Chicago and Angulo)

Good afternoon folks. It is a slow days on the news front, with next week shaping up to be a busy one.

The first week of the new SBI has gone well and I want to thank those of you made week one a success.

For those of who may not have seen it, here is my piece on Luis Figo’s rumored move to the Los Angeles Galaxy. I know the rumor has already begun to lose steam but you know you can never rule out the Galaxy doing something like this. I’m not saying Figo couldn’t be a great player in MLS, I just don’t know if that’s the direction the Galaxy needs to go in.

Here are some other tidbits for a slow Saturday:

In Chicago Fire news, a decision on the head coaching search will come early next week so the Fire will have someone in place for the MLS Combine.

Speaking on the MLS Combine, there are some very appealing names being courted by MLS for the draft. I have already mentioned Eric Avila and Patrick Nyarko, but a few more young standouts are expected to join the mix next weekend in Florida. I will look to make some of those names public as soon as I can.

Lastly, there has been plenty of discussion about my news regarding Jose Angulo’s rights being awarded to New England. Let me make two points. Angulo was never part of the Red Bulls youth setup so they had no claims to him. He spent a day training with them and it went badly and he was asked not to come back. Secondly, there is a considerable difference between being a high draft pick and being a free agent who can only negotiate with one team. There are general salary guidelines for draft picks, where if you’re a first-round pick chances are you will get a certain salary range (not including Generation Adidas contracts of course), but as a free agent whose MLS rights are owned by a specific team you are either obligated to take the offer or not play.

I think some people continue to miss the point of my issue with the Angulo situation. He NEVER signed a contract of any kind with New England yet the Revs have his MLS rights. That is a serious problem. Another problem is that, according to what had been generally accepted MLS policy, players who are NOT college seniors must go into the draft. Angulo isn’t a 25-year-old journeyman. He is a teenager who would be a freshman in college had he stayed along the school route.

Ultimately, Angulo might flourish in New England and become a star. That doesn’t make the precedent being set by MLS any less wrong.

And finally, in case you forgot, Barcelona is playing Mallorca on GolTV at 2pm, followed by Villarreal at Espanyol at 4pm.

Enjoy the weekend.


  1. A few things:

    Ryan, if we’re going to get technical the first MLS team Jose Angulo trained with was the Red Bulls. That’s not really relevant to the argument but I just thought I’d point that out.

    Now, Papa, you say that Angulo is essentially a draft pick. No, he isn’t because if he were a draft pick that means he would have gone through a draft and every team in the league would have had a chance to select him. That means he would have been in the draft. That means he would have gone to the MLS Combine where he could have showed his stuff and been able to improve his draft stock in an attempt to go higher and therefore get a higher salary. So no, he’s not essentially a draft pick. It works out that way for New England, which is why this is a clear example of circumventing the draft.

    Ryan and Papa, I think you guys agree with my main points, which are that the league needs to seriously fix the discovery process and figure out its rules on who has to go through the draft. It isn’t so much about Angulo’s specific situation. He fell victim to the league’s rules and since MLS has never shown much in the way of accepting blame or admitting mistakes, I’m pretty sure Angulo is just going to have to accept his fate. Who knows, Angulo could do great at New England. That really wasn’t the point of my piece.

    No team, be it New England, Red Bull or anybody, should be able to own a player’s rights based on simply a tryout. Secondly, a prospect who essentially just left high school should go through some sort of draft based on what had been the league’s accepted rules.

    Either establish a rule stating that kids out of high school can do what they please in terms of signing with MLS teams or make it clear that a player must go through the draft until he is a certain age (or how about four years from his high school graduation date UNLESS he has played a year of professional soccer already?)

    How’s that for a rule?

  2. Ives: you still kinda miss the point. Angulo is essentially a draft pick. Someone who is drafted by RBNY doesn’t have a contract with the team but they are ‘owned’ by them just the same. NE essentially got a non-draft, draft pick. His people can still demand a trade of his rights or just go the USL route if he’s not happy with the $$$. He is no more disadvantaged than someone who is drafted.
    The discovery system is still a bit silly if you have a draft, but I think the draft should die a much deserved death anyway.
    Guzan should only go to Arsenal. I’m shocked to hear about Celtic. I thought they were pleased with Boruc. Maybe they expect him to leave. I guess #1 at Celtic would be an OK launching pad for Guzan. I just know he’s going to be a sensational keeper in one of the big 4 leagues. He’s really that good.

  3. ives i guess you understand football just like stevie wonder does! the ‘galacticos’ stopped getting results when beckham came round, figo had won the liga and champions before beckams arrival. now what would someone like figo add to the mls? you have got to be kidding me!!!

  4. I love the fact that I get a response from you, Ives… makes me want to read and comment even more.

    This kid went to train with New England to in your words… “He trained with the Revs to help improve his draft stock and to get into shape for trials in Europe he was preparing for.”. New England was the first pro team he trained with, why should they not have first option if he chooses MLS? He is not a senoir in college, so those rules do not apply. He is not Freddy Adu’ so those rules don’t apply and there was no rule in place for this other then if you put in a discovery request and the kid choose to play in MLS he is yours.

    As we both know, Ives, the MLS does whatever it wants in regards to rules(i.e grandfathering Donovan & Ruiz, weighting the draft so DC gets Adu, and how about getting Chris Albright (best college player in the country out of UVA at the time) to the DC thru Miami in some shifty way).

    This needs to stop if this league is going to be taken seriously, Beckham or not. This is just another reason that MLS should not control player contracts, the teams should.

  5. when you look into additional MLS combine invitees, can you see if ben nason from virginia tech will be invited? he wasn’t included on the initial list, but he had a decent ncaa tourney and i’d like to see how he stacks up against combine players. thanks bro.

  6. Ryan, what exactly am I wrong about? My two main points are that a team shouldn’t be able to lock up the rights of a kid fresh out of high school simply because he trained with the team AND you can’t have rules in place that claim non-college seniors must go through the draft THEN allow a team to acquire a teenage kid who should have either gone in the MLS Draft or a supplemental draft.

    And Ryan, I appreciate that you’ve been a regular for a while but what I’m curious as to what you really know about Angulo’s situation. You seem to imply that you know more than the average joe when you talk about why he trained with New England. He trained with the Revs to help improve his draft stock and to get into shape for trials in Europe he was preparing for.

    People can blame his advisors but how would they know what would happen when the league’s own officials stated last summer that a player in Angulo’s situation should have to go through the draft. This whole situation stinks of a league making up rules as it goes along, or simply someone getting lazy when it came down to making a decision on this particular case.

    The problem isn’t so much about Angulo being forced to sign with New England if he wants to play inMLS, that could very well work out well with him. The problem is that the league is setting a precedent by which players can circumvent the draft AND a team can essentially take the rights to a player without that player having any say in the matter (Hopefully by shedding light on Angulo’s situation you will have some players who will now avoid having to deal with a similar situation.)

    And for those who were wondering, New England filed the discovery claim almost immediately after that trial, back in the summer.

    Ultimately, it is about the rules loopholes that MLS needs to fix before this precedent leads to problems for MLS and for players trying to get into the league. It isn’t about New England. It never was.

  7. Ryan, if he is any good, Americans would want him to stay in the U.S. to gain his citizenship. Angulo has stated he wants to play for the USMNT.

  8. Beckham already has a contract.

    It is not about training with a team, this kid became one of the best players in High School soccer. He knew MLS teams would look at him and HE went to train with one. Know he may decide not to go college the Revs get wind and put in a discovery claim (Smart move). Which from the sounds of it, and I must admit I am not exactly sure what it is, means that if the player decides to go pro in MLS they found him and cliam him.

    This is a LEAGUE problem.

    This kids advisors had to have know that this could happen and if they didn’t shame on them.

    All may be for not, if he is any good he will go overseas and get a real football education.

  9. If training with a team is enough to get you locked into a contract, look for Beckham to start for Arsenal next week …

  10. Great site…. but you are wrong about the Angulo situation.

    He went to train with a pro team, what do you think he was doing there? Watching, no. He was taking part in there practice getting to know the fellows. Ives you can complain all you’d like about the rule but fact of the matter is that this is a pro team trying to make itself better all the time if they found a way to go around the rule good for them. If Manchester united see a kid in Liverpool playing they try to sign him plain and simple, they offer him a tryout (like Angulo), and if they like what they see they try to sign him. if the Revs had that oppurtunity they would have done the same thing. Maybe the problem is the league has rules so that they can tell these kids where they can go and play which is idiotic and not the way a SOCCER league is suppose to run.

    Sounds like this kid needs better advisers

  11. Ives,

    Your passionate and WELL SUPPORTED arguments about the Angulo situation are much appreciated. Analysis is one thing missing in the soccer press (as loosely defined as it is these days).

  12. IVES Reports are saying the Eddie Johnson transfer will happen any day now. Do you have any sources close to the situation that could shed some light on where he is headed? They’re reporting Fulham (Ugh!) Derby (ICK) are the front runners with Reading (YEA!) still in the mix.

    P.S. What’s going on with Brad Guzan? His agent says there are multiple offers on the table.

    Is this what you were talking about by this upcoming week being busy in terms of news?

  13. Alright alright, you got me this time Ives. The Adu situation was a little fishy though when they put him on his hometown team which they haven’t done for other teenage starlets coming into MLS.

    I don’t hold it against the Revs for making the claim (I’m from Massachusetts so it works out for me) but I certainly agree that at this point the rules shouldn’t be written in pencil. Either MLS is bending/changing their own rules or teams are finding ways to manipulate them.

    We need consistency if this league ever hopes to have real credibility in the soccer world.

  14. I gotta say, it takes some cojones to go out on your own like this, and you gotta admire someone with cojones … And re, the Holy Goalie signing to 2011. Praise Jesus!

  15. Agreed on the new blog being amazing. The info keeps coming at a rapid pace, i love it.

    On the down side you may single handedly decreased my productivity at work 50%

  16. Ives,
    In your last blog on the subject and in the ESPN article you repeated the claim that the LA Galaxy (if they signed Figo) would have to spread out $1 Million in the remaining salary cap to the 24 other players. From what I understand, only the 18 SENIOR players count against the salary cap. Has something changed?

  17. Maybe getting this kid will be like the Pats getting Moss, but a little further down the line. That reference is picture perfect, the Red Bulls being the Packers who wouldnt give up an itty bit to get him. Lets hope he becomes a stud and future National Team player

  18. I’m was already starting to dislike all professional New England sports teams and now with the Revs pulling this crap it’s just icing on the cake..I hope when NE see’s my CLB Crew this year Robbie Rogers scores 3 goals to a 13-0 victory…

  19. Hey Carl…I also could be wrong here. But I would think that Angulo has a green card. In the eyes of MLS that basically makes him an American, despite whatever his national team status or citizenship status might be. I believe the MLS considers legal permanent residents to be American in terms of any league rules (rosters, drafts, etc.)

    But again…I could be wrong.

  20. Carl, Angulo has lived in the United States since he was three and has a green card so you can’t really say he’s like any player from another country. In that case, any high school star who was born in another country can therefore sign with any team they want. I seem to recall a high school-aged kid who wasn’t born in this country who was forced to go into the draft. His name was Freddy Adu.

    Based on the Angulo precedent, someone like Adu could have just skipped the draft and trained with DC one time and been claimed via a discovery option. If we’re going to allow this, then why have an MLS Draft?

  21. Ives, I mentioned this on the Angulo post but it was so far down the comment list I think it got lost. I seem there’s something really important that we’re overlooking here that you might not be remembering, or it may be possible you think it’s irrelevant? I seem to remember you talking about Angulo trying to get US-citizenship in one of your past articles about him.

    I have no idea what country he’s supposed to be from, but if he’s not a US-citizen, well then doesn’t that make him different than all the other players in the MLS-draft?

    True, he is a high-school aged teenager who did some school in the US, but if he’s not a citizen then he’s different from all the other players you’re mentioning. In a very crude way isn’t Angulo the equivalent of Nicol finding some 18-year-old stud in Argentina?

    I’d love to hear anybody elaborate on this and enlighten me if I’m wrong.

  22. I agree with my fellow SBI Mafia Lt.
    The first days of the New SBI have been phenomenal. With more time to track down soccer sources (instead of working on non-soccer duties with the former employer/newspaper), the blog has been an even better source for US and MLS soccer fans.
    Not that I had to say this, but the key is to keep it up. I know being your own boss is great but it could be hard to keep yourself motivated at times. But that shouldn’t happen for a long time.
    Congratulations again with the new venture. It’s awesome that you left the paper to do your own thing and have the means to support your income with the blog and freelance work.
    I’ll spend the next 10 minutes clicking on ads.


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