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MLS making statement to USMNT players playing abroad

USA goalkeeper Tim Howard, Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones

Photo by Matt West/


With Michael Bradley on his way, it is becoming more and more evident that MLS is becoming a top destination for U.S. Men’s National Team players.

A current look at MLS’s landscape will show you that. You have, among others, U.S. captain Clint Dempsey at the Seattle Sounders, Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez at the LA Galaxy, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi at Sporting Kansas City, and Eddie Johnson at D.C. United. The list goes on and appears to be growing with each passing season.

Whether that is a good or bad thing for the national team program is up for debate, but it has become increasingly clear that MLS is now a more viable option for the U.S.’s top players due to the league flexing its financial muscle like never before. In fact, it seems that players in the U.S. pool who struggle to find minutes abroad are now encouraged to join MLS to not only find consistent playing time but also raise the level and notoriety of the league.

Take a look at Jermaine Jones and Oguchi Onyewu, for instance.

Jones is reportedly interested in latching onto an MLS team in the near future, and that could play out sooner rather than later given that his time at Schalke is all but over. Jones is 32 years old and it is not strange for players to want to come to North America towards the end of their careers, but that he wants to do so despite being on a club that is currently still competing in the UEFA Champions League speaks volumes to the evolving sentiment that U.S. players (of all of backgrounds) have for MLS.

Then there is Onyewu. The veteran center back is on the verge of leaving Championship side Queens Park Rangers after failing to make an appearance for the club. Many observers and pundits are hoping for him to land in MLS, namely his hometown D.C. United, by way of the allocation process.

Onyewu has not come out and said that he wants to be in MLS, but that could very well change given how much money the league is investing in American talent. This is a trend that has really been pushed to the forefront in recent months with the big-money acquisitions of Dempsey and Bradley, but it started well before they arrived via some expensive transfer fees.

Last offseason serves as a reminder. The Portland Timbers were interested in nabbing young midfielder Mix Diskerud before eventually choosing to sign the 2013 MLS Newcomer of the Year in Diego Valeri, while Sporting KC were able to re-sign Besler despite interest in him from foreign clubs.

Things were not much different during the regular season. Former youth nationals Conor Doyle and Jared Jeffrey ended their stints abroad to join MLS, veterans Clarence Goodson and Carlos Bocanegra did the same, Donovan and Gonzalez signed Designated Player contracts to assure their futures would be with the Galaxy, and Dempsey made shockwaves by leaving Tottenham to become a member of the Sounders.

MLS may not make a habit of splashing cash like they have on Bradley and Dempsey and though they will still lose some players like Juan Agudelo to foreign clubs, it is no longer unfathomable to think that the league could go after the veterans like Jozy Altidore and Tim Howard, youngsters like Terrence Boyd and Joshua Gatt, or even Mexican-Americans like Joe Corona or Herculez Gomez and have a realistic shot at signing them.

The statement MLS owners are sending is clear: They want as much of the American talent pool as possible and are willing to cough up a pretty penny to do so.


Which U.S. Men’s National Team pool players would you like to see MLS go after next? Would you prefer to see the league splash some cash on a bigger-named U.S. player like Altidore or Howard, or prefer to see them acquire ones struggling to get playing time like Maurice Edu or Brek Shea? Think this trend is good for the U.S. team?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. MB to Toronto for big money is very good for USA players abroad. If I were a European club I would be more likely to sign an American player now that I know that MLS clubs are willing to pay good transfer fees for US talent. American players are now a better investment.

  2. I am sick of all the eurosnobs. If you all supported your domestic league the mls would get bigger tv contracts and would help up the salary cap which uld help bring in better talent and up the quality of the legue. Instead you just b*tch about the league. Donovan is the geatest player in usmnt history, him staying in the mls did not hurt his game. Fact 10 of the last 13 goals scored by usa were scored by players who were playing in the mls at the time.

  3. The MLS should incorporate more subs during games. I’m thinking 6, it would be the same format as a Friendly match. This would also give a teams Head Coach more flexibility and lessen the chance of injuries. Therefore, being able to sub more players throughout the season they would collectively reduce playing time by about 15-25%, although it sounds like a lot. I believe this format would lead to a more exciting and high paced game. Not to mention being able to give the head coach more responsibilities.

    Does anyone agree? I’m not sold on 6 subs but i think it should be more than 3.

  4. I still think Jermaine Jones would be an excellent pick for SKC. His attitude is right and he would fit nicely into Espinoza’s old spot. I know this will never happen, but it would be nice.

  5. was just thinking that probably the happiest man in the world right now about Bradley’s big Toronto contract is not Daddy Bradley or even MB’s agent, who stands to earn a nifty commission. Nope. It’s gotta be Eddie Johnson. Do you remember how happy Eddie was last summer for his buddy Clint, you know, when Clint scored the big payday moving to Seattle. Yeah, Eddie was thrilled for Clint and there is no doubt in my mind that Eddie Johnson right now is crying tears of joy for the good fortune of Michael Bradley.

    • Actually I’m wondering more what Bradley’s midfield partner Jones is thinking as he is trying to find a deal. “Why is Bradley getting a 10 million dollar transfer when he didn’t even play in Champions league”. Thats the dynamic I’d be more concerned about.

      • True but he is more well know here in the states then Jones is even though Jones has played at a higher level. As in life your worth isn’t always related to your skill.

      • I agree that news of Bradley’s big payday probably was a massive blow to JJ’s ego. That’s why Jones should transfer to Sunderland. He would win the hearts of a lot of fans who are unhappy with Mikey-Cake’s departure from Euope and that might help improve JJ’s chances of getting a lucrative MLS retirement package after WC 2014. Which reminds me…

        SBI: why don’t you do a poll?

        1. Would you prefer JJ-90YYR in January to move to:

        a. Sunderland
        b. MLS

        I bet you more than 90% of voters would go for Sunderland.

  6. Alas, good soccer fans the day we have been waiting for has finally come…

    The day that MLS can overpay our own domestic talent to keep them here while still in their prime.

    The Bradley, Dempsey, Gonzolez, Besler, Zusi, and Donovan contracts all show that MLS can out pay European teams for our talent. This is a true turning point. Perhaps the start of the long awaited MLS 3.0.

    Long Live MLS.

    • Overpay for domestic talent is what England does and we all know how well that’s worked for then in the world stage.
      Just like the English our players are learning that you don’t have to try too hard or be that good to make a killing at home.
      Mediocrity. just like the English

    • thing is that Europe doesn’t want or really don’t care about that “talent”, bragging about overpaying for something that no one else wants is really ridiculous

  7. I have finally isolated my negative reaction towards our players coming back to MLS. I have watched soccer since I was like 4. It has always been a counterculture sport where I live. I was playing soccer when everyone was watching football on Sunday, and watching soccer when everyone else is sleeping on Saturday. I have always been the one of maybe 4 guys in the bar watching a game. It scares me when I think about the MLS growing into a huge league. I get freaked out when I think about what advertisers have done to other sports here, when they stop the game so they can take commercial breaks?! Come on now. I love other sports, but I can’t watch them because it’s all just one big Bud Light commercial. So, I have this fear, and maybe it’s irrational, of Americans ruining soccer. Am I being paranoid or just too sentimental? I hope so.

      • that’s a good point, soccer is totally exploited all over the world. but i don’t have to deal with it living here.

      • BARCLAYS Premiere League. nPOWER championship. Jersey sponsorships. LED ads. Audi bench chairs. The game is about money and money only to everyone but fans.

    • Soccer is awesome. You want it to be your own thing because it is so awesome. Maybe you feel threatened by its popularity or its growth because you think it will change?

    • Good concerns DC….but the US teams that don’t play soccer keep advertising OFF their jerseys. I here you though.
      College rules move to MLS, while they are not for commecial purposes in college, could be used for such.

      MLS has taken the world game and improved it (it is actually a competitive league ) and until that stops happening let’s assume that continues, no ?

  8. 250k should be the MINIMUM salary in MLS. Take the training wheels off, raise the cap, and we won’t have to overpay to get good players here.

    • Alonso signed a new contract for 500k and that’s way too low of a salary for a DP, that’s like average in MX and England’s Championship. Anyone making above 750k should be a DP, otherwise is bad marketing.

      50k with performance bonuses for mininum is OK. An extra 50k for Rookie of the Year.

      • Because MLS doesn’t have “stars” and enough good games to watch, and MLS lack International dominance. Only “big names” with talent brings fans to TV or whatever thing people are watching now.

  9. MLS isn’t strong enough for our peak players come here and play. And bringing players passed their prime (especially the ones don’t score regularly) just makes our “elite” players lose their “elite” level.

    Reason why we need modifield DP rules: the standards to be a DP are too low, not enough of DPs, and doesn’t help MLS bring new fans.

  10. That’s great for the USMNT players. However, how about the little guys, the guys who are making peanuts in the MLS. How about raising the minimum salary cap and helping out those who making such small a amount of money before bragging about USMNT players coming back and making more so much money to have their comfortable life and “raising the profile of the league”

  11. With the further expansion over the next few years, bringing in quality players of any nationality is hugely important. The drop-off in quality with a “diluted pool” of players is one of the main critiques of their expansion plans. If they can stave that off with USMNTers, then great. But it’s going to take a whole helluva lot more than that to sustain the current progress and build/improve off of that.

    • Or other players of Bradley’s ilk from CONCACAF or even CONEMBOL. Oviedo comes to mind, but there are plenty of Brazilians playing their trade in Ukraine and Russia (just an example) that could help improve MLS.

  12. MLS needs a better television contract – more games on television, more viewers, more insterest. I’d rather be able to watch/follow one team than get a scattering of various games once a week.

    I can watch about 90% of my local baseball team. But maybe if you live in a MLS team area, you can watch most of the games.

    • funny you bring this up. Ives just reported on this last night for then today there was an article saying Fox has outbid NBC and it’s all but wrapped up. ESPN partnering with Fox.

      NBC stated this today:

      “We’ve enjoyed our partnership with MLS. Don Garber and his team are building something very positive, and we wish them well.”

      sounds like Fox and ESPN are paying $70M:

      “If the new annual rights fee really does end up at $70 million, that would give each team in a 21-team league (as will be the case in 2015) around $3.3 million per year. When MLS’ expansion wave finishes at 24 teams, each team will get around $2.9 million per year. And you can add a few dollars for Spanish rights and Canadian rights along the way.”

      and then there is this:

      “that Fox and ESPN will get the rights to air their national games on their respective Spanish-language networks, Fox Deportes and ESPN Deportes.”

      • That would be massively awesome news Bryan. Thats 3.5X the last tv rights deal. I’m giddy, its actually starting to happen. More tv money, bigger salary cap and better soccer. Oh baby, oh baby.


        i can’t wait.

      • That is great news. Probably not surprising the money is starting to flow huh ?

        Of course the whiners are absent in the joy posts, but I am enjoying a Friday, waiting for the draft, pre-season, and March to roll around !

      • i think i’ve seen more of your comments complaining about ‘whiners’ than i’ve actually seen of people whining. unless you think that anybody who disagrees with you is ‘whining’.

    • three words you should learn:

      “Soccer United Marketing” or aka SUM

      look it up and all your financial worries will be explained, they are killing it all day long.

  13. I love everything about this! Long awaited day when MLS could actually be a respectable league for our national teamers. Going forward this is going to be huge for both

    Now is the time for the league to:
    1 ditch the non dp National team player allocation draft – if we want guys like Herc Gomez, Gatt, Edu, etc or even younger unproven prospects to come home we can’t be randomly assigning them around the league. They need to be given the freedom to pick the situation they go to.
    2 start a North American DP spot
    3 make a schedule that works with the fifa calendar
    4 gradually raise the cap as tv revenue grows

  14. MLS has stated they want to be a top 5 league by 2020. IMHO it’s possible if:

    1. Cap is raised significantly
    2. New TV deals continue to increase in value
    3. USA gets out of it’s group in Brazil

    How do you see leagues ranking right now by reputation and how that effects players choosing it as destination…top 10?

    • My guess is Bradley, Dempsey, Zusi, Donovan, Evans, and many others view it as the top destination. Was this a trick question ?

      Because if you are asking Human his viewpoint, why would I care ? I am sure he is a great guy, but he and I are blogging on soccer, not playing world class soccer.

  15. CBA should be interesting after the money thrown at Dempsey and Bradley. Those two will help with TV but the overall quality of the game will go up when there is more money spent on players 7-16.

  16. I’m all for MLS players making better wages but paying one player 6 times his market value while others are still making 40k is just another gimmick from a Mickey Mouse league.

    • This is true. A team cannot have a competitively balanced squad with such a gross dispersion of money. This,and the current schedule we have but I can accept for geographical reasons, is what keeps us from being to compete against Liga MX clubs and other international clubs. MLS teams spend large sums of money on 1-3 players and your left with a bunch of amateurs. MLS isn’t what a top league looks like, top players are getting paid top player money until MLS can match that pay scal they will forever be second tier. There is hope in the future, once all the teams have their own stadiums and a tradition is established like other American sports MLS will be a stronger league.

      • Human :
        “A team cannot have a competitively balanced squad with such a gross dispersion of money.”

        That is why LA didn’t win the MLS Cup two years in a row and NY will not win the SS either. Do you just post these things for my enjoyment ?

      • Why? Do you like replying to my post. To my point that it may work in MLS “gross dispersion of money” but it won’t work in international competitions like CCL where you need depth to spend on outside of your first eleven players.

    • The underlying element for paying a player such a wage is the hope that Bradley and Defoe will raise the level of the players around them. Are you just pretending that this doesn’t happen elsewhere or in different sports? When an elite player plays alongside players who are not on his or her level, those player raise their game so as to complement the elite player.

      Let’s not be naive or oblivious. This happens everywhere. Next moan/grumble!

      • Your assuming that lower-level players will suddenly become just as good as the great players they are playing with. Will Chad Barret become suddenly a above average player playing with the likes of Messi and Ronaldo? No, he might suddenly “appear” better but he isn’t really improving in overall skill.

      • I’m not saying Bradley or Defoe shouldn’t make more money than the rest of the team. I’m saying that it’s stupid to pay one or two players six times their market value while others are struggling to pay their bills.
        Now that Bradley and Defoe are in Toronto, are their teammates getting a raise? After all, according to you, they are better players than before.

      • I don’t like the disparity either, but the unlike with US government tax policy, in this case it might actually trickle down. There are a lot of soccer dollars in the US and Canada that MLS misses out on because people prefer to watch EPL rather than MLS. Big names signings might get those viewers to give MLS a try and therefore increase MLS TV revenue which in turn allows all teams to afford a higher salary cap. Hopefully.

      • Let’s not act like its hard to live off of 39K (more when you consider the other perks of being on a team).

    • It depends how much he wants to get paid and what he can still earn in Europe. MLS teams aren’t going to start suddenly splashing major cash for just any USMNT player. Like all big money DP signings, they have to be players who are famous enough that they’ll actually excite the fan base and bring more viewers and jersey sales.

    • The same as last season. Not to mention the MLS Cup only received some 500k views. MLS will get more views once it becomes established in the American sporting landscape and that will take some years. All of this making MLS big time overnight is just not going to happen. Unless, a serious amount of money is suddenly injected into the league and teams can afford to survive without major operating losses and spend money willy nilly on whatever soccer player they want.

  17. It makes me a little nervous. It feels like after 20 years of being conservative and growing slow, all of sudden MLS is throwing that away in one offseason to “go for it.” And they’re spending the money on a small handful of players. I think its great that Donovan, Dempsey, and Bradley are here to help the league grow, but how much can 4-5 players really do? What about the other hundred? MLS needs better quality role players and better quality depth on the bench. That can’t be had for 50k a year. I hope it works out but it feels like a real gamble to me.

    • This could be a big summer for MLS…this could be the opening of the flood gates. (Conversely, and definitely possible, it could be as you described. That’d be disappointing.)

    • Bulls Eye, the original jb. yep, gonna be a lot dispirited MLS players risking their bodies for 50k a year who are going to resent in a major way the high salaries of a handful of basically average players whose careers had stalled in Europe. I would imagine a lot of discussions going on now among the MLS grunts and will be a lot of tension in locker rooms and will be interesting to see how this develops.

      • Well.. Feilhaber, Spector, Edu, Cooper, Eddie Johnson, are good examples of better than average players who did not flourish or are not now exactly flourishing in europe. G. John did not flourish at W. Ham, but when he came back to MLS he faded there as well.

        OTOH, a player is only worth what his agent can negotiate so …

    • I don’t understand “scary,” a lot of elite teams it’s only oddballs that play abroad. Like England used to have Hargreaves. The MLS is growing and TFC specifically seems to be trying to put together a good team, though perhaps a little old.

      I’d have more concern about a move like Boca to Chivas or the like where a player goes to a black hole team and may not escape the event horizon. But then Jozy is in a situation something like that, and there are people like Shea and Edu on teams that can be friendly to Americans but may not like any particular American.

    • Can you please expand on that? Do you have a link and what clubs? Some us would be very interested in knowing more about this. I said in early December that I felt Dortmund with all their center back woes should give Besler a look. I have no doubt that Besler is better than Friedrichs, the guy Dortmund brought in who was out of contract.

    • Biff – stop with this nonsense please. First you said Jozy was going to Dortmund, now Besler? Dortmund can afford almost anyone – i.e. they can afford someone better than Besler. I think Besler is a good player but he is not at that level. Not yet anyway. He may go to Europe but it certainly won’t be straight to a club at Dortmund’s level.

      • I said that Jozy is better than Dortmund’s back-up forward Julian Schieber. This is true. This is fact. I have never said Jozy is as good as Robert Lewandoski. And today I said Belser is better than Manuel Fridriech, who was out of contract with no team and brought into Dortmund in November. This is fact. I have not said Besler is as good as Mats Hummels or Subitic.

      • Manuel Friedrich was brought in because he was out of contract and only out of contract players can be brought in while the transfer window is closed. Now that it’s open again, they can bring in someone much better on a transfer. That player will not be Matt Besler.

      • Saying one play is better than another is an opinion, not a fact. You missed the fact that you can’t bring in a transfer when the transfer window is closed (Friedrich being out of contract).

      • SO, are you saying that being a famous back-up for Dortmund is better for Besler on USMNT than playing week in and week out for Kansas City?

      • Yes, I am. If he were back up to Hummels and Subotic (and Sokratis) then Besler woudl be forced to try that much harder to try to win a starting spot. Plus, after the injuries to Subotic and Hummels, he would have been starting anyway not only in the Bundesliga, but in the Champions League. (And I will add, I think Mikey-Cakes would be a better player for the USMNT riding the bench for Roma than he will be starting every game for Toronto.)

  18. And I will add that I hope Jermaine Jones goes to Sunderland, which is the move that MB should have made. If JJ90-YYR would go play with Jozy the last half of the season and help Sunderland avoid relegation, he will be a hero and win a place in the hearts of all USMNT fans. And then after the World Cup, Jones can retire to MLS with a big salary.

    • So MB “should” have made way less money to play on a garbage EPL team that is going straight down this season? The worst team in the EPL?

      • I like your style slowleftarm. I’ll say it 1,000 times…all you have to do is look at what Sunderland has done to Jozy. Or Stoke to Shea! Signing for an EPL is not always the best move for your career.

      • yes, one of the worst teams in the epl; the way toronto is one of the worst teams in mls.

        i’m also not sure how you know what bradley’s salary would be at sunderland.

      • Do you think MB’s salary would have been $6.5m? I sure don’t considering they don’t pay anyone that much now. I’m also not sure why, given how badly Jozy has fared there, this would be a better move for MB putting aside the salary issue for a moment.

      • i don’t think it would’ve been $6.5m, but i can’t say it would’ve been “way less”, considering he would’ve immediately been arguably one of the best players on the team.

        and if we put aside the $6.5m elephant-in-the-room, i think it’s pretty easily argued that going to a team where he would have to fight for his spot week-in-week-out playing against some of the best players in the world under the threat of relegation would be better for bradley than being the big man in the small pond (for now) that is mls.

      • why? i don’t think shea’s good enough for stoke. do you think bradley’s not good enough for sunderland?

      • I definitely think he is good enough for Sunderland. I don’t think he’d have to “fight for his spot”…let’s not forget he’d be at Sunderland 12 weeks before the season is over. How much can he really learn there? Also, remember his failed loan to Aston Villa?

      • sunderland’s fighting relegation (i know you know). if bradley has a bad game or two that further jeopardizes their chance of survival, he’s not getting starts again (no matter how much they paid for him). that would not be the case at toronto.

        yes, there is risk involved. he might end up sitting on the bench. that’s why it’s not so much about what he’s ‘learning’, as it is him keeping sharp in the toughest competition in the world (in my opinion) before going to brasil.

      • i’ve actually got work to do today, so i’m signing off for now. i’ll check back for any other responses later. cheers.

      • But how much realistically will MB learn or how much will he improve over the next 12 weeks that he doesn’t already know at 26 with 10 seasons in Europe under his belt?

        Also – It makes me happy to have these kind of debates that are usually saved for NFL, NCAA, etc.

    • Let me ask this a different way. Let’s take Edu. Dude never sees the field for Stoke but presumably is trying hard to gain a place in the team and it practicing with players that are generally better than MLS players. Is he better off than he would be in MLS, playing every week in your opinion? Same thing with Brek Shea?

    • Sunderland would arguably be a 6 month move because they are #20 adrift 4 points from safety and you could be buying yourself relegation and them terminating your contract to survive the Financial Drop.

      What about Sunderland screams, Go Here? I’d say more like Fulham or Stoke, on the upswing and likely to stay up.

  19. I think the next step in the evolution of MLS will be convincing a “known” international player that’s still in his prime to come to MLS. Beckham & Keane arrived after their prime, and other big names have mentioned wanting to come and finish out their careers. I’m not saying it will happen soon, but bringing into someone like Chicharito or even dos Santos would begin to signal to top foreign talent that MLS can be more than a nice transition to retirement in a great country.

    • Can we first raise the minimum salary in the league before dumping all this cash

      MLS trams still suffer from depth the next step needs to be playing in bigger competitions and actually trying to win

      treat the CCL as the Europa cup
      and get our teams into libertadores

    • problem is that players like Chicharito and dos Santos (as well as other mexican internationals) take pay cuts to be able to play in Europe, even Guardado stated when he joined Valencia that if he wanted to make more money he would move back to Mexico

  20. Wow, I’m surprised many USA soccer fans want their stars to come back to MLS 🙁
    Donovan is a perfect in Spain or holland.
    Dempsey, same thing Spain or even a small Epl team.
    Bradley, I think he is overrated but he should of gone for a small Italian team or German.
    Jermaine jones just wants to live his dream of MLS and wants his kids to attend American school and he wants a big check.
    Tim Howard is too tough to come back to MLS.
    At the end of the day, MLS is growing and we actually need new coaches with new skills and tactics but we also need those experienced players to help the coach, and Toronto might have that plan.

    • Funny you mentioned Donovan…the greatest player in the history of US Soccer and who has scored the most important goals in our WC history while also playing in MLS for 90% of his career.

      • yep, he’s so great, there’s no way he could’ve gotten any better if he had been playing in tougher leagues!

      • Is winning a world cup not the goal here? How can you be satisfied when our best player ever is donovan and we haven’t even come close to advanced into the serious rounds of a world cup? Isn’t that the issue? That he IS our best player ever?

      • “…we haven’t even come close to advanced into the serious rounds of a world cup…”

        Not true
        1930 World Cup, USA finished 3rd
        2002 World Cup, USA made it to the Quarterfinals

      • The only WC winners in the last 60 years other than Brazil and Argentina have domestic leagues that retain the vast majority of their talent. Even Brazil and Argentina have great domestic leagues. If they could pay more they would keep the vast majority of their talent as well. If winning the WC is truly the goal, retaining our best players is one of the steps to doing it.

      • Of course there are individual moments of brilliance, but it’s the TEAM that wins a World Cup. I’m sure several other teams of the world would not mind Donovan on their team if he were a national in their country. And last I saw, a team of MLS players (many young players mind you) reached the quarterfinals of a World Cup, and were a missed handball/incredible Oliver Khan goalkeeping away from the semis. MLS has something going here which the premier league has been trying to do, which is to create a domestic league where the national players of that country can stay and be the main players. Unfortunately, with the high dollars offered by many teams overpaying and going into debt to get players, the premier league may be high profile, but not overflowing with English footballers starting. Eventually, American players were going to come back to MLS in their prime as they are now trailblazers for this league which has steadily progressed and has not done so too quickly and recklessly.

      • Even if all our current best 18 USMNT players are playing in Europe, that’s not going to make the team good enough to win the World Cup this year. But we can win in the long term if we grow MLS through higher TV revenue. A stronger MLS means our future USMNT will all come up playing in a better professional environment and maybe then we’ll have a shot at winning the World Cup. If Bradley and Dempsey can help MLS get a better TV contract then it’s better for the long run.

    • I am going to throw Friedel out, every so often one of these foreign-based decides he’s done with the NT. Reyna took a break at one point. Chandler wants to play in Germany and doesn’t want to fly apparently.

      I think GK is an exception because an American keeper can usually walk right into an XI, or at least be seen as pressing for the starting job. There are probably several more in MLS who could handle the jump. Everyone else has to deal with roster competition and the risk that you sign the wrong place.

      I’d like to see more players in Holland. I’d also like to see some players try someplace like Japan or Australia as a new challenge.

      • The A-league is horrible, I watch streams all the time. None of our players should go to Australia, nor Japan. MLS, Mexico or Europe, and thats it.

    • Whiners, El Paso is surprised that some of us want quality players in MLS.
      Look where whining has gotten you.

  21. But I don’t see a link to the MLS statement to USMNT players. Did they put out a press release?

    My read on this is that the old f*rts on the USMNT, those that have peaked in Europe with no hope of moving higher, are eager to quickly go home to MLS and cash in on their USMNT fame, with guys like Jones and Gooch next in line to do so. This, to me, is a signal that the torch is now being handed to a new younger generation of American players (of which Jozy still belongs) who are still hungry to test themselves at that highest levels of world soccer, and the highest level is still in Europe abd there will be players in the near future who are going to surpass the European accomplishments of Clint and others. And let’s not forget that Jurgen Klinsmann for the next 4 1/2 years is going to be choosing the players who wear the US shirt and in his comments yesterday he strongly and unequivocally stated that he wants the best players to go to Europe and I think we are going to see evidence of wishes on future USMNT rosters.

    • I’m amazed by people who choose to ignore the fact that MB’s salary will go from $1.1m to $6.5m a year and with a five or six year deal to boot. Is he supposed to turn that money down? Is that really what you expect him to do? That’s what you would do?

      • just a hunch but some people may think that at the SOCCER is more important, you know, the reason you watch the game, the reason you read this blog, the reason you care enough to write comments?

      • slowleftarm isn’t MB though. Whether you like to hear it or not, soccer is business for MB. Sure he’s passionate and loves the game, but this is his career. The decisions he makes are based off what’s best for him and his family, not his passion for soccer.

      • I guess we can only speculate, and clearly, you are right about MB now that this deal has gone though, but I hope not all players make their decisions based on salary. That is a sad world.

      • What’s sad is that grown men get on a blog and wish for another man to take a financial loss for their own personal happiness.

      • It’s a job. The players know it’s a job, and everything looks different on the inside. Players know that they could be injured at anytime, or traded, or lose form, and then be dumped on by the fanatics. In the end it’s just a job, but with a very short window to maximize earnings.

      • DC how old are you ?

        Not old enough to figure out it is ALWAYS about the money.

        Name a subject…..$$$

      • Was about to make the same comment to Dc. Surely he’s still in college or younger; young enough to still see the world through rose colored glasses. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t last long after college.

        To reiterate, it’s always about the money.

      • No, that is not what I am saying. Financially it is a great move for MB and I do not blame him. But others are posting that the $1.1 is after tax and the $6.5 is pre-tax, meaning that differnce is not as big as you are making it out to be. And I think MB probably could have negotiated a salary increase at Sunderland. The point is, everyone was giving Clint a lot of grief for throwing in the towel and going to MLS. But Clint is on the wrong side of 30 with only one more contract left in him while MB has plenty of time to keep testing himself in Europe before retiring to MLS. And make no mistake, for any player like MB or Clint or the really old Europeans who have moved MLS, playing in MLS is one step in retirement compared to the highly competitive nature of European soccer and the daily fight to keep your starting position. Do you think Clint or MB are going be benched in MLS if they go through a weak phase like they would have been at Tottenham or Roma? No F-ing way.

      • Sunderland has done wonders for Jozy! Look at him and his sporadic playing time, lack of production, and let’s not forget he is learning from studs like Steven Fletcher and Fabio Borini.

      • You can’t say whether Sunderland is helping or hurting Jozy. It takes time to break into a EPL squad. And I respect him much more for trying rather than tucking his tail, taking a paycheck, and moving home.

      • yes, and on the flipside, jozy is having to fight for his position (which bradley/dempsey will not), learn new skills and improve existing ones to fit a system (which bradley/dempsey will not), and keep sharp against some of the best players in the world (which bradley/dempsey will not).

      • And how much can MB really improve over the next 12 weeks? That’s assuming he would play immediately (this weekend)…

      • which is why i thought a 6 month/1 year loan deal would be ideal. yes, if toronto is just a ‘holding position’ until after the world cup, i’d feel a lot better about this move.

      • He isn’t tied there for life…shoot, TFC could flip him for $15M transfer fee depending on how he does…not saying it would happen, just that it could.

      • I see regression, not him learning a new skill set. This past summer he was showing improved touch and finishing his chances. Now he’s back to struggling as a target player, bad touch, and making youtube with missed chances. There’s an argument to be made Holland simply suited his skills set better, and we were benefitting from it.

      • “This past summer he was showing improved touch and finishing his chances.”

        if you’re talking about his time with the national team, i don’t think that had much to do with his club team, and everything to do with how the usmnt started playing.

        and yes, holland suited his skills better. but now, among other things, he’s learning how to be more of a provider when no one else can provide worth sh!t.

      • “if you’re talking about his time with the national team, i don’t think that had much to do with his club team, and everything to do with how the usmnt started playing.”

        How in the blue hell can you say this? It contradicts your damn point. You can’t pick and choose when your club influences your skills and when it doesn’t.

      • good question.

        my point was that jozy had been tearing it up at AZ for a while before last summer.

        his marked turnaround last summer for the national team was more due to klinsmann switching up tactics and formation than anything his club had recently done. (remember, jozy had been productive for the national team before klinsmann’s ill-fated 3 d-mid experiment.)

      • @The Imperative Voice: If you are saying Jozy is suffering from a bad touch than that would indicate that you have not seen him play at Sunderland. His touch is excellent, with outstanding one-touch passing. But you are right, he did have some missed shots a couple of games ago that he should have put in the net.

      • Regardless of the tax, it’s an enormous increase and can’t just be dismissed. MB would be insane not to accept a contract like that.

        I fail to see how playing for the worst team in the EPL is an improvement, particularly when you consider that they’ll be in the Championship next season, which is not a step up from MLS. Or he’d need to find another move. Gee, I wonder why MB didn’t find it appealing to be playing the likes of Grimsby or Barnsley next year for a fraction of the salary.

        You also seem to assume that Clint and MB are lazy and won’t put in the effort needed to be at the their best. I think that’s a pretty bold statement to make, especially when I’m not aware of any evidence that would support it.

      • Well, I think people are basically lazy by nature unless they are forced to compete to hold their positions and I have no doubt that making the decision to move back to an easy life in MLS will trigger something psychologically that cannot help but diminish the competitive spirit of guys like MB and Clint who had a burning fierce desire to go to Europe and succeed. That is now over.

        Probably by October MB will be playing golf on his days off and will have sprouted a beer belly and probably will let his hair grow long and wear it in a pony tail 🙂

      • You guys are all forgetting that while top players don’t need to compete for their starting position in MLS, your average MLS game is more competitive than an average La Liga game. By competitive, I don’t mean higher quality, I mean the teams are more even, the score is less likely to be 4:0 and it’s less likely for a better team on paper to be able to take it easy

      • He also had to face the professional reality that they were stocking up at his position. They did him the public relations solid of talking him up on the way out but they were trying to squeeze/replace him with their more concrete actions. He needed to do something to ensure he was fit and playing for the next few months, and though we can debate the destination the exit strategy was necessary.

      • Dc,
        Materialistic pricks. Really? I’ve got an idea why don’t you go tell your boss you’ll work for less because of your love for the business. Asinine comment.

    • …and the actualy players on the team strongly and unequivocally states that they do not care what JK wants…so at some you have to accept JK’s word as less than law and more like hyperbole

      the WC 2014 line up could easily be (hope not):



      more likely it’s:
      MLS-MLS-MLS-Ligue 1

      with Bedoya, Cameron replacing Zusi and Evans…

      I am disappointed that the younger Americans are comnig home versus pushing themselves to top teams and earning spots, but I myself would not turn down a 6x pay increase just for the sake of soothing internet commentor’s US soccer inferiority complex…

      MLS being stronger helps the development of the sport in this country-short-term pain of less competition for USMNT players, long-term gain of US fans being able to see their players in person and draw more fans in, boost attendance, payrolls, money for youth development, etc…

  22. I wouldn’t mind extending this to Concacaf players either, not the crazy amount of money, but to take a chance on Bryan Ruiz. I’ve paid less and less attention to Fulham since the americans left, but his first couple years I like his style of play.
    But I do think what would be more useful is spreading out the money a little better. If some/all of the transfer fees are coming direct from MLS then I think we can raise the salary cap by $300-$500k which can be spread across all the players. While Eddie Johnson acts like a spoiled child, he isn’t completely out of his element. Given the huge gap in pay its going to piss some people off, and I really can’t blame then especially when DPs are injured or underperforming.

  23. It’s a good thing for MLS to take care of their own American/Canadian players, just like the Russian league has been doing the last couple of years. I think it’s great for the prospects and future of the National Team, constant playing time in the MLS is better for your career than sporadic playing time in a huge club like Onyewu was doing at AC Milan a couple of years ago. Players like Tim Ream, Brek Shea, Oguchi Onyewu, Jonathan Spector, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, etc …. would benefit from playing in the MLS. Not to mention, with all these clubs in Portugal, Ukraine, and South America in financial trouble, the possibilities of getting higher quality players, the likelihood that league quality will improve is high.

      • According to UEFA, Portugal has the 5th highest ranked league in Europe.
        I read somewhere that outside the top 4 teams (those that are regularly in the champions league, and euro league), the average salary for a player is 6500 euros a month, thats about 110k USD a year. 5 of the 16 teams are behind payment at least 3 months in the Portuguese league. Time to start raiding talent over there, find more players like Aurellin Collin.

      • Michael Bradley’s annual salary: $6.5 million. Toronto’s salary cap: $2.95. MLS fans criticizing European leagues’ financial problems: priceless.

      • MLS’s excuse for paying many of its players peanuts and having the cap is that the league would go belly up if they remove the 2.5 mil cap. Many guys are paid around 35-45K a year. They don’t give a rat’s tail that MB fits within the salary cap.

      • You’re trolling, right?

        Designated Player contract doesn’t ring a bell?

        You actually must be some eurosnob, no idea about MLS, but still feel you have to comment on how people don’t know soccer.

      • At the same time, I think MLS needs to be careful with their spending or they could be headed for the same. I think the MB, Dempsey, Defoe acquisitions are great for the league, but they are shelling out a ton of cash…

      • Fair point. I’m not trying to make it seem like they are a bunch of idiots. I’m sure MLS is watching things closely.

        Still, 6mil a year for 3 players for a team like TFC is a fair bit of cash. I wonder what their earnings are like.

      • That is why the league requires large financial commitment up front. It’s not cheap to start a team, it’s not cheap to build a team.
        MLS has committed to being a top league and they can’t get there without splashing cash on big players. You can see the differences between the teams that buy into the leagues vision by using their deep pockets compared to the teams that don’t spend.
        To be the best league you must step up the talent you acquire. And to do that in this sport, you gotta splash cash.
        MLS is doing exactly what they said they would do; their fans want better players, better teams, more exciting stadium experiences, and to start winning international cups.
        Dempsey, Bradley, Landon and all of the new DPs will help bring in silverware.
        If you want the league to stay small or fail, well this is MLS moving away from your expectations and moving to a winning league

      • Perfectly said! People bad mouthing this move that are fans of MLS should print this and frame it! Enjoy this time in MLS. It is exciting!!

  24. Over the long run, the best thing for the national team is a strong and vibrant domestic league. This helps us get there.

    • + 1 million 🙂
      & now little boy’s have American soccer hero’s to look up to I can strive to be one day & actually make a living from playing the game like Kyle Rote Jr. did for me.

    • My theory is the MLS provides the baseline level of competence for the NT, and a place where players can get PT and a decent paycheck. The improved quality of the league shows in 20 years of steady NT improvement, even if a particular tournament goes bad.

      That being said, at some level of foreign players there becomes a disconnect, look at the EPL. English football is arguably eroding, players from the Championship get callups, but meanwhile the EPL has a bunch of good players and teams, because despite the work permit rules teams still manage a bunch of foreign players. If you liberalize those kinds of rules in MLS, as well as the cap, you might see the same disconnect grow between the league and its NT.

      • Side point: MB will be making 3x more money if the $6.5 million figure is accurate. His Serie A salary was $1.1 million AFTER taxes. Toronto’s tax rate will kill him– roughly 48%. So his after tax salary will be in the $3.3-3.4 million range.

      • Wait, MLS is on TV? Honestly it is now easier to watch EPL than MLS. This has to be fixed this next season. Many people don’t understand the money involved in TV rights in Baseball and Football. Its incredibly huge. Baseball alone gets 700 million a year from ESPN to show Sunday and Wednesday Baseball. NFL is 20 billion from the major networks.

        Get the games on a regular schedule.

      • Watching the EPL is easier because of the kickoff times. I love watching until 1 PM when the NFL kicks off.

      • Spectra is right. Those of us who understand the business side of MLS get this and The Don acknowleged this at half time of MLS Cup. We need teams in the southeast to better build our national footprint. Its all out TV markets for new expansion teams, kinda like NCAA football conference realignment was about getting a big tv markets into your conference footprint as possible. MLS is still missing a large piece of the national footprint, but are working on shoring that up with Orlando, Miami, and Atlanta franchises.

        Once the footprint is better built you have to get a tv partner willing to schedule your games at the same time each week so fans know when the games are one. NFL fans know Sunday afternoon and Monday night = NFL. College Football fans know Saturday in fall = football.

        Garber alluding to understanding this during the half time interview at MLS Cup and suggested MLS would go after Friday nights, which could have a similar effect to what Pete Rosell established with Monday Night Football with NFL back in the 60s-70s. NFL really took off only after the popularity of MNF making it into the monster it is today.

        Primetime soccer is what we need and followed up by Saturday and Sunday games. So get ready soon it will be time for :


        ~are you ready for some futbol!!!
        ~a friday night party!!
        ~all my rowdy friends are here on friday night!!

        and bring back Hank Williams Jr for the theme song.

      • Friday night is awful for TV ratings…network TV sends shows to Fridays when those shows are on the death list.

      • ESPN and Fox just paid $70M it sounds like. plus money from Canadian rights and Spanish rights. Univision out of luck as ESPN and Fox want to use ESPN Deportes and Fox Deportes for the spanish broadcasts.

      • No need to fear Boyd. The evolving American style of play is moving in the opposite direction of English Route 1 football. Teams like Kansas City, Portland, Montreal, all play a more continental form form of the games. With some much of our home grown talent having latin roots we are definately not going to be like the English thank God.

    • I am sure that is part of their considerations for growing the game. Rome was not built in a day. I like and trust where they are headed with this.

    • I think big deals like these will create some upward pressure next CBA. “If you can afford to pay Player X $1,000,000 you can also afford 20 raises of $50,000.” Even if you can maintain locker room unity with the disparities, professional players might still press the union to do something.

      • + 1

        The Union is watching and I am sure will have their say, when the time comes. Until then – it is what it is. Not that I am saying that it’s a great thing or fair but at least there’s chance for a discussion come the next CBA – and the owners with these types of large investments will have to listen even more intently in the next edition.

      • Everyone wants more money for players, but that money has to come from somewhere. If player X gets more butts in seats than players Y and Z, then there’s a good economic argument in favor of player X earning the big bucks. That’s why the Aussies use the term “marquee player” as counterpart to our designated player rule. Del Pierro makes the big bucks because he’s a marquee player.

      • Sad effort at a cheap shot. To like what is ours does not mean we cannot also enjoy quality as well. We too can enjoy European football but not at the cost of loving, supporting and building what is ours. MLS is ours and is our tradition.

        We understand that MLS is not the best in the world but we can enjoy the best and also enjoy the hard work, effort and dedication that comes from building up what is ours.

      • Not a cheap shot, a RESPONSE to a cheap shot in like kind.

        Using the term “eurosnob” is just as much of an empty gesture as insisting that everything involving MLS is low quality. It’s not a substantive argument; it’s jingoistic garbage. If you have point to contribute, great. If you just feel like trolling, you’re WORSE than a “eurosnob.”

      • Fair point on the Eurosnob expression.

        I wholly agree with you on the MLS point as well and I guess that was the argument I was trying to make. Something you clearly missed, possibly due to the impassioned manner in which I responded.

        We’ll just agree to disagree on your “assessment” of my “trolling” (whatever the heck that means in the context of this conversation) and I simply laugh off and dismiss your insult of my being worse than a Eurosnob as merely par for the course in internets discourse.

        Here’s where I am going with this – I simply find it infuriating when folks dismiss effort to be the best (which is a very American quality) to simply relegating oneself to a “what they have is the best and we can never be anywhere near close as good” (which is not a very American trait). This isn’t about “Murica or whatever simplistic way to look at things its about acknowledging that what we have is not the best but we can still enjoy it just the same and take pride in it while we do all that we can to make it better.

      • And also about making it the best (American trait)…You can’t make it the best instantly. Its on a spectrum, and bringing Bradley is his prime moves us closer to the “best” end of the spectrum. Well said, Kosh.

      • Thank you. I’ve been this point on SBI lately too. This may be a “watershed moment” in MLS history, but it takes a lot of watershed moments to turn MLS into a legit league. Donovan staying was one, Dempsey coming over was another, and now Bradley coming is yet another. The sum of these events does not a great league make, but they’re all small steps toward the ultimate goal of MLS joining the big leagues in quality.

      • I think it also comes down to the short term vs. long term argument. MLS pushing hard for these players helps the league raise the level and bring more attention/viewers now, which will ultimately speed up the pace at which the MLS reaches acceptable international quality of play levels.

        But in the short term, there is something to be said for how it impacts our national team talent, and subsequently the product we put forward at Brazil 2014. For those Euro and even Latin league fans who don’t live here, sometimes our national team success is the only way to judge our league quality. Unfair, sure. But true, sometimes.

      • True – but how much harm can be done in 4 months when the team will report? And consider this: if MB were to play in Europe, he’d be out of season in April and May. Now he can stay fit, play in March, April, May and be game fit for the WC.

      • Well put. I just recognize that the euro leagues are much better in terms of talent and therefore want our best players there not the MLS, I dont think that makes me a eurosnob.

      • I agree to an extent – but how do you make the talent better in MLS without bringing in talent?

      • Many don’t want to make MLS better. I would guess almost all the people whining about these big moves are in that camp.

        That is what makes it more pleasurable for us soccer in the US lovers.

      • The quality of the average player is more important for the overall level of play than the quality of the priciest players. So the best way to raise the quality of the league is through youth development, although more cash can help bring in better foreign players.

      • I see you completely missed my point. What is it exactly you think I was saying there? Not having a go, just curious.

      • He already said about 30 years ago, “I’m an Oilers fan, not a soccer man….” (from Texas Women)…but I guess he isnt doing much else these days so maybe he will change his mind and embrace the beautiful game. I think it is a great idea but we couldnt call it “Monday Night Football” so maybe “Saturday Afternoon Futball”?

      • Like I said above…many don’t care if soccer in the US gets better and thus all the whining.

        Case closed. Happy Friday, hope you can whine all weekend.

    • Well if this is the way American soccer is headed, then so be it.

      But still, I think those young enough who have proved themselves early enough in their age need to leave for a shot at Europe. There’s too much to learn and too much to gain from success at European clubs.

      So Agudelo, Besler, Gonzalez, Zusi, should at least give it a go. If they fail, they fail and come back to MLS but the importance of the challenge you face from leaving safety net and it’s potential benefits can’t be understated

    • It’ll get made up for when Agudelo and some of the other guys start shipping out later this window or in the summer after Brazil. Players often come home before the World Cup and then feel freer to leave when it’s done because you have 4 years to fix any mistakes and make the team again. Some people will also miss the cut and have nothing to lose.

  25. HUGE mistake if MLS spends any sort of significant money on Onyewu…experience looks nice on paper, but when you realize he was barely a part of any of the teams he ‘played on’ what’s the draw? still don’t understand why he draws any sort of interest..

    • Gooch can still play… he has been very unlucky with the teams he has been apart of since the Milan injury fiasco… He played well for Sporting Lisbon, he made appearances in the Eredivisie as well… at QPR he is behind the best center back duo in the league… He will come to MLS and start right away.

      • But why would anyone want to sign him at DP level (which I’m sure he’d insist on with what he’s been making the past few years)? He hasn’t done a thing except get hurt and ride the pine. If he was willing to come in non-DP that’s a different story, but I doubt his ego will let him do that just yet.

      • Gooch can still play- and you know this how? He can barely make the bench for a championship side. Best case scenario is he gets a starting spot. Right now, I can’t rate him anywhere near the top centerbacks in MLS and he is old and injury prone (which is extra bad when his best quality is his physicality). Thus, it’d make zero sense for any MLS team to invest in him with significant cash.

      • It is hard to imagine he is worth more to a team than Boca was. At a salary of $288,000 in 2013, Boca might have been a cheap compared to some others, but Boca is healthy, while he is 3 years oder than Gooch, he is probably still quicker than Gooch, is a smarter defender and scored for the USMNT at the same rate as Gooch. I know a player is only worth what his agent negotiates, but it is hard to see how a general manager would justify paying a lot more to Gooch than Boca is getting.

    • Gooch was once a big deal at Liege. But he got hurt right when he made the proverbial One Move Too Many to ACM and neither he nor his career recovered. I don’t know if he was unfit when he showed up against Antigua but it’s hard to live that down. To me unless he proves otherwise, it’s like Boca at Russia, a clear sign you’re done internationally.

      When you look at what many MLS teams are fielding, Gooch is an upgrade even if he’s lost mobility. I assume DC would be the choice because of his personal history, but that’s one of the few places I wouldn’t want him because “Lightning” Boswell and he would both lose footraces with turtles, and that sounds like a disaster against fast teams or on big fields. If you try to cross the ball all day, they would probably win a lot of headers…

      Unrelated side note: Oguchi is actually short for Oguchialu so Gooch is short for something that’s already a nickname.

    • His contract at QPR is expiring this month, he will be a free agent, thus no transfer fee. No one is spending another $10mil on him, a la Bradley.

      I would assume his contract will be in the six-figure range, though. I’d be shocked if he earned a league-max without being a DP, considering his age and injury history. Even though I think the $200K range is over-spending for him, I think that’s a realistic assumption of what he’ll bring in.


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