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Miami FC signs Brunner


United Soccer League club Miami FC announced the signing of former New York Red Bull defender Eric Brunner on Tuesday morning.

The signing ends a surprising turn of events that saw Brunner, the 16th player chosen in January’s MLS Draft, waived and offered a Developmental Contract by the Red Bulls in order for the Red Bulls to make room for Andrew Boyens. Brunner turned down the developmental contract offer to pursue other options. He will now join a Miami FC squad that is off to a rough start in USL.

"Eric is definitely a quality player that will help strengthen this team," Miami FC coach Zinho said in a statement released by the club.

"We’re excited by the opportunity Miami FC has provided for Eric to begin his first professional campaign," said Leo Cullen, Brunner’s agent. "As proven by his recent call up to the Olympic team, Eric has a fantastic career ahead of him, and the games he’ll compete in for Miami this summer will further his development and experience."

Brunner is in France with the U.S. Under-23 national team, playing in the Toulon International Tournament. He started in today’s match against Turkey, scoring the U.S. team’s first goal.

What do you think of Brunner signing with Miami FC? Big mistake by the Red Bulls letting him go? Mistake by Brunner to sign with Miami? Did everyone just do what they had to do? Share your thoughts below.


  1. Matt M- i would quite agree with you, assuming the increase in salary cap actually gets used on the bottom of the list… ive stated forever that id rather see our bottom feeders get more $$ before our top players do (ATM)…

    dont get me wrong, id love to see the day where we can offer $$ to the entire team (obviously the best get the most as in any league) but our bottom roster spots are getting paid left over popcorn from the vendors… ive said many times to people who see the same way that this is how it is right now, but i hope if anything changes soon that it’ll be that….

  2. Reid- ah trust… an arguement that has yet to be established on this topic… i quite agree with you on this… after seeing his contract shredded and then offered one vastly less then the original, how can you trust that they have your best interest in hand?? after seeing his first contract shredded, how long until the redbulls need yet another spot and drop him completely??

    at that point, i truely could understand his departure to the USL…

  3. People seem to forget EB signed a contract that was going to pay him $44K. Think about it, he was wined and dined at the draft. They probably paid for him to move from the Columbus area. He played hard during the preseason and scored a couple goals as a defender. Then he breaks his nose in the last game of preseason. They basically turned their backs on him when he could not help out. The ripped up a contract an offered a much less one. What would you do? It is obvious he wants to play. And play against good competition. He is doing what he can to get on the field and be seen.

  4. I believe that if Brunner wants to be in MLS, it would have been better to remain on a developmental contract.

    Its rare for a player to return to MLS once he drops to USL. Take Taylor Graham in Seattle. He’s been an all-star in USL for a couple of years. He’s still young and probably be pretty cheap. However, he can’t buy a tryout in MLS.

    The only guys I can think of that moved up this year was Bryan Jordan and Josh Wicks (Portland to LA) and Marco Velez (Puerto Rico to Toronto) and Latoux is moving up with Seattle next year.

    I expect that this will change once a minimum wage of 35K to 50K is implemented in the next contract.

    Starters in ULS1 are probably better than half the players on a MLS roster. The #15 to #28 players are not necessarily the best players the teams could get but the best they could afford under the restrictions of developmental contracts (17K) and generation addidas.

    If you gave the typicaly MLS GM and Coaching staff the chance to replace the bottom 11 players on their roster with teh starting lineup of Seattle or Montreal, they’d do it in a heartbeat.

    Really, it would only add a couple hundred thousand to the salary cap. Most teams would approve of spending the money to obviously improve their teams.

    I’ve long been of the opinion that MLS shouldn’t be concentrating on foreign “stars” at millions of dollars a piece. Does anyone think that thousands of Mexican-Americans are showing up in Dallas because Davino is one of the 22 guys on the field?

    Instead, competition would be improved if the top 14 or 15 guys on each MLS roster were pushed not by a bunch of draft picks but top ULS players. Depth would certainly improve on-field quality at a much cheaper price especially when five out of those 14 main MLS players are hurt and teams are reduced to playing their eighth round draft pick whom is no where near ready to play in MLS.

    Specifically, I’m not a fan of Brunner. He’s a tad slow and hasn’t impressed in distribution. Oddly, I think Boyans has the same drawbacks.

    Both deserve to be on a MLS roster, just not yet as starters.

  5. Its a point well taken brett, but you are also putting trust into an organization that just tore up your contract. Very hard to say what I would do in that situation. Trust i’m sure was a big consideration.

  6. now dont get me wrong, i just did a quick progressive rate, so i dont have certain things checked off…. but minimum (and i stress minimum) insurance through Progressive for a ’98 Chevy Cavilier in the same zip as Giant stadium costs $84 for the plus… again, that doesnt include certain things that would be smart to have with insurance, but it would tech. cover you legally…

    im not saying that it’s easy to live off that amount, all im saying it is doable… my whole point was that i would make it work… theres no need to go to the USL and hope to get back into the MLS or viewed abroad… if im offered a contract, i would make it work… then i would push myself to succeed… if i failed then i could fall back on the USL (as bad as that sounds).. i know USL’ers make it to the MLS or even beyond, im simply saying in the numbers are against him from bounding back to the point he’s already at… and before anyone goes crazy on that comment let me point out, its just my opinion

  7. brett – 1 of my boys who is from boston and now live in hoboken (for 5 years) still pay insurance in mass because ny/nj car ins is insane. Living in general down there is insane, rent alone for my sister in midtown went up $200 in one year (she lives in a 1 bedroom converted to 2 bedrooms) hence it went up $400 for the apt. YOu get away from paying a lot in rent, then you must get a car, its a double edged sword

  8. surviving off $70 for the 1 1/2 to 2 months was simply for food…. but i also lived within walking distance to bus routes, so i had no use for a car…. or i could ride a bike to school… outside of food and alcohol, i didnt have all that much outside costs..

  9. patrick- and yet there seems to be plenty of DEV players in the MLS…. guess it depends per persons motivation…

    i dont live in any metro area, so to be honest i dont know how exp. housing is… however, thats y i simply said i would make sacrafices like having multiple roommates or eating basic meals… in college, when i moved out of the dorms i actually had 4 other roommates in the same APT, just to cut back on costs…. if college taught me one thing, it was how to get the max bang for your buck… due to buying in bulk (ie. sam’s club or costco) i was more then able to survive off $70 for food for 1 1/2 to 2 months

    there is NO public trans to giant stadium?? no buses at all?? and your car insurance costs $250-$300 a month or a year?? b/c if its a year, thats neither here nor there when we are talking monthly living costs….seems awfully high, if thats what you are paying a month, perhaps you need a new provider…

    i agreed the DEV contract is rediculously low, but its how it is and id love to see it increase.. but as i said before, there are PLENTY of players who would’ve taken it… i dont blame the kid for looking for greener pastures, just saying that i wouldve stuck it out…

  10. I gotta tell you brett, its pretty clear you either A) dont live in the metro area, or B) have no clue about money management.

    First, lets look at $17K

    You figure, bi monthly paychecks, so 24 a year. that comes out to $737 per check before taxes, figure $575 after taxes. That’s $1150 a month I’m willing to bet you cannot find adequate housing in the metro area for less than $5-600 per person. Now, factor in a car (no public trnasportation to giants stadium) plus car insurance at maybe, $250-$300. What does that leave you? 250 a month to live on? Thats virtually impossible. Now, yes he could make $$ in the offseason doing camps, trainig teams etc but really, should he even have ot THINK about accepting that? its dispicable and I can’t, and won’t blame the kid for trying to make $$. I made $32,000 my first year living in astoria queens and even THAT was tough. No matter how much you love a sport, you have to live, and you can’t do much living on $17,700 a year.

  11. I agree that the money is low, but MLS is still a growing league. I do think Eric should have taken the developmental contract and try to work his way to the top of the team. Although as Ives has put it, the developmental program in MLS is still pretty weak. Good luck to Eric and hopefully he can work his way up. He did score against Turkey today.

    Hopefully MLS can keep growing and in the future this will not be an issue.

  12. Tim F- as pathetic as the salary for DEV players may be, it is how it is currently… to say the least i would like to see it increased, but if someone was willing to pay me to play the sport i love then i would make the sacrafices (ie. eat basic meals, drink cheap alcohol, and have multiple roommates)…

    by the time it takes him to succeed or fail in the USL he could have proven himself through reserves/nats performances to the redbull Front Office and renegotiated his contract when his DEV contract is over…

    if he failed in the MLS he could still land a USL spot… i know someone pointed the players who converted from USL to MLS but the numbers seem against him… theres a kid who i played against in HS who’s playing for Rochester, and he’s been attempting to get signed through the Crew for the past 2 years.. he has been pulled into their preseason camp both years and cut both times… its not an easy process… my point being is the Brunner was given the chance to get a contract a lot of USL’ers would love to get…

  13. Ives, implying “everyone did what they needed to do” is probably the most true perception of this situation. Let’s face it, a player in his situation (and there are many that are faced with similar decisions) have two options outside of taking a development deal, A) play in the USL or B) play in Europe. If they can do option B and are OK with playing in a smaller less prominent country/league, living in a foreign land, and taking a chance on playing time, then this would be a good option.

    Whereas the positives of playing in the USL is that these players will get high level games in front of decent crowds (unlike MLS reserve games) in pressure situations and do so in the USA/Canada (in their backyard). The FLIP side to this is if you decide to play in the USL and you don’t do well, the chances of being back in the MLS in your career are slim.

    Conversely NYRB did what they needed to do, despite scouting and research, nobody knows exactly what type of layer you get until he arrives in camp and plays along side your best guys. The system is what it is, that doesn’t it make it a good system, but NYRB basically provided realistic options for EB based on the current structure of the league.

  14. He was the first player NYRB picked in the draft which means he was their number 1 pick. They gave their 1st round pick to the Fire.

    If he’s getting paid in Miami, I can’t really blame him for going there. How this hurts/helps his development is another story.

  15. How much is Brunner making at Miami FC? If it is $35K or greater, I think Brunner accepting a contract that pays him double what he would have earned otherwise is doing what he has to do. It’s pretty hard to live on less than that amount especially in the New York area.

    I really can’t blame any player for rejecting an MLS developmental contract — I believe these are set at $12,900 or $17,700 per annum. That’s pretty much a pathetic salary.

  16. Danny, how can you call a second rounder a number 1 pick? That’s a British-media-style spin. He was their first pick in the draft, but nothing remotely close to being a “number 1.”

    This was a mistake on both sides, Red Bulls should have kept him when they found out he was serious about leaving. Brunner shouldn’t have signed for an awful club.

  17. any idea how much the contract was worth? just wondering how much more money it took to sign him and how much contracts in the USL are worth in general…


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