Top Stories

Brunner close to signing deal with Miami FC



Former Red Bulls draft pick Eric Brunner is close to finalizing a deal with United Soccer League squad Miami FC, multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations told SBI on Thursday.

The No. 16 overall selection in the 2008 MLS Draft, Brunner was waived by the Red Bulls in order to make room for defender Andrew Boyens on their senior roster. Brunner rejected an offer of a developmental contract from the Red Bulls.

Brunner is in France with the U.S. Under-23 national team for the Toulon International Tournament. He is expected to travel to Miami after the tournament to finalize a contract with Miami FC.

Miami FC is off to a 1-4-1 start, having allowed a league-high nine goals so far this season.

The Red Bulls still hold Brunner’s MLS rights but Brunner is free to sign with any team outside of MLS. The 6-foot-3 center back from Ohio State struggled with some injuries in pre-season and never really challenged for playing time.

What do you think of news? Share your thoughts below.


  1. For all you “wanna be” soccer players… give the kid a break! All he wants to do is play the game he loves and earn a “decent” living at it. No one knows what went down in negotiations for his contract…obviously what they offered wasn’t acceptable in his eyes. He has earned respect from many players and coaches through his years…being from OH I’ve seen him play and read the articles about him. Accolades from even his club days as captain and tournament MVP… captain of his ’86 ODP team…high school as captain and player of the year to college captain…All American and the 2008 Soccer Combine MVP! Someone, somewhere thought he’s done a pretty good job at soccer! I hope if he goes to Miami he does very well there and makes a name once again for himself. I also wish him the best with the U-23’s in France.

    Keep up the “good work” Eric!

  2. I hope everything works out for Brunner in Miami. He will be making more money and most likely be a starter rather then sitting in the stands on saturdays of NYRB games he will be on the field playing for something. Plus living off that salary is ridicoulous.

  3. Honestly, if this is a step in the direction towards a better USL than I don’t mind. Maybe MLS needs to start using it as a minor league system by loaning out some of the developmental players.

  4. Brett – The Sounders had 2 ex-players on the 2006 US World Cup team.

    I’d say being a starter in the USL First Division is better for a young players development than playing MLS reserve matches.

  5. That’s bull, if they waived him and tried to give him a contract for less money they should lose his MLS rights. Hope everything works out for him in Miami.

  6. Good for Brunner. I’d rather be playing meaningful games and getting paid a bit more. Scouts are all over the place. If you are a good player you’ll get noticed even in the USL. I’m sure after a season in Miami he’ll be back in MLS making $75k.

  7. Ives,

    Isn’t the issue here that MLS rules make it so teams don’t need to care about losing young talent? The way I see it, Brunner is still NYRB property, and is getting better playing time by going to USL1. What incentive do they have to appease player demands? They can just let him develop and either sign him later or use his rights as trade bait. I think things would be very different if once a player was waived said team would lose any right to the player.

    Miami FC, and the rest of the USL1, is way beyond MLS reserve sides. Heck, the Galaxy can’t even beat a mediocre side (Vancouver). Plus Miami FC just signed Avery John so its easy to assume he’ll be learning from someone who knows a thing or two about the MLS level of play.

    Conclusion – Good for Brunner, Good for NYRB, Bad omen for MLS’s overall ability to develop talent, and Jerry is a moron

  8. I think this whole situation shows how horrible the MLS salary situation is when is comes to minimum slaries. In many of these cities it is impossible to live off a development contract (especially out here in LA). If the MLS is serious about developing players it needs to pay them decent salary. 12,000 a year is ridiculous! We need good development programs in MLS and salaries that make sense.

    Where is Eddie Pope on this one? Isn’t he the player representative who should be dealing with this?

    Ives, have you heard anything about a possible change in this area?

    If I were Brunner I would have done the same thing!

    Actually if I were Alexi Lalas I would have signed the kid, because he has more potential than most of the defenders on thier roster right now!

  9. Obviously NYRB didn’t think well enough of Brunner to pay him a fair wage. A developmental player seems to me is a fringe player or a very young player. As a developmental player it would be difficult for Brunner to show NYRB that he is worth more and can contribute more. By going to Miami he will get the chance to show that he is worth more and then can move back to NYRB or another team. In the meantime he will make more money.

    If he doesn’t actually have the talent, then he will start a career in a league that he is more suited towards and where he can end up making more money than he would in MLS; therefore it seems like a smart move. He wins either way.

    If he stays at NYRB, he would probably be really frustrated, not play very well, and then either forget about soccer altogether or move to a league like USL-1, etc.

    I noticed for instance that the Vancouver Whitecaps have Nicholas Addlery and Justin Moose on their team. They had both been playing for DC United last season. While I think I see what Jerry is talking about, I think that he is missing the bigger picture.

  10. Let’s not forget Taylor Graham won defender of the year in the USL. Brunner will probably make a little more cash but let’s not get crazy about this huge loss for the Red Bulls

  11. brett I agree with you, plenty of other players do it so why cant he? its sucks that RB ripped his contract but seriously guys going to a USL team Miami at that ! is not in any way an upgrade from being a RB dev player !

  12. Good for Brunner. Bad for Red Bulls? I don’t know. Just because he’s being looked at on U23s doesn’t mean he’s the sliced bread of defenders.

    I remember him getting seriously burned in Charleston. I was never convinced he was even bench material for the bulls. Taylor Graham ring a bell, anyone? Slow, slow, slow.

  13. ok for all u idiots who think ima a moron how much of a chance does he have of actually making it big by going to USL? whatever u guys are all stupid

  14. I think Ives should give some sort of award on a monthly basis for best post. I nominate Jerry for the month of May. We could get all the readers to vote on it.

  15. To piggyback on everyone else . . James, you’re a moron.

    Good for Brunner, I hope he’s getting paid. And I hope he finds some hot latina mamis* in Miami. The end.

    *Not the Miami FC cheerleaders.

  16. Bill Archer- that was sorta the answer i was looking for… it seems that a good portion of USL’ers who move up are moving into the MLS, but in the couple years (or more) that it takes him to develope a quality enough career in the USL he could have established himself in the MLS already… of course thats assuming he’d get playing time with the redbulls…

    either way, the kid is getting to play… what it does for his career is up in the air…

  17. I don’t know about Europe per se, but there’s no shortage of guys who’ve gone to USL1 and ended up with a solid MLS career; The Best Eleven blog posted this list a couple month ago:

    Chicago Fire

    Jon Busch – Hampton Roads Mariners 1998-2000 Hershey Wildcats 2001

    Brandon Prideaux – Seattle Sounders 1998

    Columbus Crew

    Andrew Peterson – Cleveland City Stars 2007

    Brian Carroll – Richmond Kickers (Loan) 2003

    Adam Moffat – Cleveland City Stars 2007

    Ezra Hendrickson – Charleston Battery 2003-04

    DC United

    Clyde Simms – Richmond Kickers 2004

    Bryan Namoff – Richmond Kickers (Loan)2002-03

    Kansas City Wizards

    Kerry Zavaginin – Lehigh Valley Steam (A League – 1999)

    Jimmy Conrad – San Diego Flash (A League – 1998)

    New York Red Bulls

    Kevin Goldthwaite – Portland Timbers (loan) 2005

    Carlos Mendes – Rochester Rhinos 03-04

    Siniša Ubiparipović – Minnesota Thunder (Loan) 2007

    Ricky Schramm – Richmond Kickers 2007

    John Wolyniec – Milwaukee Rampage (A-League) 2002

    Caleb Patterson-Sewell – Cleveland City Stars 2007

    Toronto FC

    Greg Sutton – Montreal Impact 01-06

    Marco Vélez – Seattle 03-04 Puerto Rico 05-08

    Kevin Harmse – Vancouver Whitecaps 04-05

    Jarrod Smith – Crystal Palace Baltimore 2007

    Chivas USA

    Maykel Galindo – Seattle Sounders 05-06

    Chris Pozniak – Toronto Lynx (A-League) 99-01

    Colorado Rapids

    Jordan Harvey – Seattle Sounders 2006

    Stephen Keel – Seattle Sounders (Loan) 2006

    Herculez Gomez – Seattle Sounders (Loan) 2003

    FC Dallas

    Michael Dello-Russo – Minnesota Thunder 2006

    Adrian Serioux – Toronto Lynx (A-League) 99-04

    Ray Burse – Portland Timbers 2008

    Houston Dynamo

    Tony Caig – Vancouver Whitecaps 06-07

    Patrick Ianni – California Victory (Loan) 2007

    Dwayne De Rosario – Toronto Lynx 1997 Richmond Kickers 99-2000

    Craig Waibel – Seattle Sounders 99-00

    Pat Onstad – Rochester Rhinos 98-99, 01-02

    Brian Ching – Seattle Sounders 01-02

    Los Angeles Galaxy

    Mike Randolph – Portland Timbers 2006

    Josh Tudela – California Victory (Loan) 2007

    Alan Gordon – Portland Timbers (Loan) 2004

    Bryan Jordan – Portland Timbers 2007

    Josh Wicks – Vancouver 05-06 Portland 07

    San Jose Earthquakes

    Joe Cannon – San Diego Flash (A-League) 1998

    USL1 is not a death march for a career. It pays much, much better and you get to play in actually meaningful games instead of Sunday AM reserves matches fleshed out with assistant coaches and “guest players”

    Gavin Glinton – Charleston Battery 2005

    Preston Burpo – Seattle Sounders 97-05

  18. Aquaman- didnt know he signed, knew he turned down DCU…

    again tho, do you think he stands better odds of furthering his career in the MLS or in the USL?? just asking an opinionated question, im not saying theres an obvious answer, just asking

  19. To someone who asked about how many USLers have gone to europe in recent years: In 2007, Jay Needham turned down DC United’s offer of a developmental contract in order to sign a more substantial contract with USL’s Puerto Rican team. He won USL Rookie of the Year and then signed a contract with Norway’s Alta I.F. who play in the Adeccoligaen.

  20. I think the Whitecaps proved it’s better to play in the USL than the LA Galaxy…unless you’re one of 3 people on that team that has a income

  21. JRnail23, no other MLS team can sign Brunner. The Red Bulls retain Brunner’s rights because it offered him a contract and he turned it down.

  22. jake- so then my question would be, do you think he’d stand a better chance furthering himself in the USL or the MLS??

  23. Brett, CLYDE SIMMS, is probably your answer, and that was a special circumstance with the labor dispute. Unless you count David Testo who was with the u-23’s I believe.

  24. Wow, this is the first time I’ve ever seen my local club (Miami FC) mentioned on SBI. They need him though, they have been less than stellar this year.

  25. If MLS can afford to pay literal millions to players like Beckham, Landycakes, Angel and Blanco, then it can certainly find the couch change to pay its lower tier players a living wage. An extra 15k per player would not put the league harm the league in the least, and for it to insist, and propagandize, otherwise is a lie.

  26. How very…underwhelmimng. Especially after his blowhard agent was talking about (apprently phantom) “opportunities” in Europe.

    Now I disagreed with waiving him to begin with, it is a stupid move by the club to completely waste a first round draft pick.

    Having said that, this is an awful move for Brunner. He’s burying himself on a (to be nice) less than stellar team in a less than stellar league. How much more than $16k can he possibly make? Does he really think playing well there will have MLS teams jumping up and down to offer him shiny new deals worth any more than $35k?

    Good luck Eric, you’re gonna need it…even though I think you got screwed in this whole situation.

  27. I get that brosef, but why come out of college to get paid 12,900 after being offered 30k

    I’m sure you guys would be pumped to take a $20k pay cut and put you under the poverty line.

  28. Ives-

    I think the critical question here is how much will he be paid. Or, more to the point, what’s the average salary for a player of his experience and talent level in the USL? Because if it competes well with MLS developmental contracts, it doesn’t bode well for the leagues ability to develop talent.

  29. Reid- obviously he’d have to room with other players, but the Redbulls should have other DEV players who are in the same situation…. players do it all the time…

  30. greg- how many USL’ers have gone to europe to play in recent years?? …also, when was the last time a USL player was called up into the nats at any level???i honestly dont know the answer, im not trying to be a prick

    id assume that he’d stand a better chance furthering himself proving himself this summer and playing for RBNJ even if it is a DEV contract.. even if he doesnt impress and stays in the MLS he could renegotiate his contract in 2-3 yrs depending on his growth..

  31. Jerry – I would like to see you live off of $12,900 in hoboken, or even $17,700 for that matter.

    Good for him, make some cake, get some QT with the U-23’s, get a better contract in the future.

  32. better off on dev. contract, after NYRB ripped up his old one??? Think about it. he’ll probably be making nearly twice as much with miami than he would with NYRB and he’ll probably get more playing time. it’s a smart move. now he’ll actually be able to put gas in his car and food on the table.

  33. Good for Brunner! He will be in a situation to actually play and after the season he can check out Europe. With the exposure he gets with the 23’s he may not go to Miami any way.

    In any case it’s great to see him spit in the face of NYRB/MLS…they screwed with him and lost. Hopefully others will follow his model.

  34. ouch… so if he signs with Miami FC, does NYRB continue to keep his rights??? if he does well and lets say Houston wishes to pick him up, do they have to go through NY??


Leave a Comment