By DAN KARELL
One of the Vancouver Whitecaps’ first round draft picks won’t actually be playing for the team.
Sources have confirmed to Goal’s Ives Galarcep that Jamaican midfielder Andre Lewis has decided to sign with the North American Soccer League’s New York Cosmos, spurning the Whitecaps despite being drafted seventh overall at the 2014 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday.
(UPDATE: The Whitecaps released a statement via their official Twitter account: “2014 MLS SuperDraft pick Andre Lewis (7th overall) is signed by Major League Soccer and, upon selection, is now a member of VWFC.”)
Lewis, who was on trial with the Cosmos late last season and even traveled with the team on a post-season tour of Spain, reportedly impressed scouts at both the Caribbean combine and subsequent MLS combine. The Whitecaps had clearly seen enough promise in the 19-year-old Jamaican youth international to draft him, but according to the Goal report, Lewis had agreed upon a deal with the Cosmos prior to the draft, which he did not attend.
“We agreed to a deal in principle with the player a while ago, and he’s under contract with us now pending approval from U.S. Soccer,” Stover told Goal USA. “We haven’t made an official announcement yet since we’re in the process of finalizing the terms of the developmental agreement with his club in Jamaica.”
Lewis’ decision to join the Cosmos only adds to the Whitecaps’ miserable Friday. The Whitecaps finalized the transfer of Camilo to Mexican club Querétaro in exchange for a “multi-million dollar transfer fee” but are leaving head coach Carl Robinson with little time to bring in a new forward before preseason training begins on Jan. 25.
The former Jamaica Under-17 National Team goal scorer isn’t the first player to spurn MLS after being drafted but he is the highest draft pick to do so, and the only one to join a team in one of the lower divisions in U.S. Soccer.
In 2008, goalkeeper Dominic Cervi, taken 12th overall by the Chicago Fire, decided to test his luck in Europe, eventually signing with Celtic FC in Scotland. In 2004, former Canadian international Olivier Occean used a strong performance at a preseason tournament in Spain with the Metrostars to receive a large contract from Norwegian club Odd Greenland.
The Goal report also adds that with the exception of top seniors and Generation adidas players, a majority of players who are drafted are unsigned by the league and could potentially leave to sign elsewhere.
What do you think of these developments? Surprised that a player would choose to play for the Cosmos instead of in MLS? What does this say about the Whitecaps’ organization?
Share your thoughts below.
how silly is the draft? It is totally unnecessary in a sport like soccer where there are dozens and dozens of leagues.
Just sign players you want and let players start their careers where they want. LIKE THE REST OF THE FRICKIN SOCCER WORLD (AND NASL) DOES IT. Why is MLS so lame?
This guy wouldn’t have gone to the Caribbean Combine if he didn’t want to play in MLS.
Cosmos had already agreed to terms with this kid, but MLSsoccer.com article states that Vancouver will outright buy him or get him on loan if he makes the cut with White Caps. Smart move on Lewis part – Cosmos are obviously a backup option for him.
However it does make you think that Cosmos can make a little chunk of change signing these guys before the draft and then selling them at profit to MLS should they be drafted. Garber and MLS clubs would be smart to keep their eyes on NASL sides trying this, or the draft will become more useless than it already is. Don’t want to having Div 2 clubs profiting off of potential, because we don’t know what kind of pro this guy will be.
I say let the academies do the heavy lifting and kill the draft altogether. Players that don’t live near MLS academies will go to college and/or get signed by USL or NASL clubs. MLS clubs will then purchase them when they have an actual body of work to go along with their potential. It would make the top flight, MLS much stronger and would keep developing talent at levels where those players can get PT.
I don’t think VWFC owes the Cosmos anything. They only had a “deal in principle.”
Cosmos are claiming that he’s under contract with them pending US soccer federation approval. Should that go through, he’ll have to be bought by MLS or Vancouver.
Yeah… I’m wrong now that I’ve read some more recent articles.
Seems like USSF should facilitate him to the Whitecaps (even if at the expense of the Cosmos).
You don’t want to undermine your top domestic league, even if they didn’t do their due diligence. It’s not good for soccer in the US if people want to play in the lower leagues to make more money. On the other hand, MLS need to start raising minimum salaries. Lewis, however, ought to command around $120k, if not more.
Somebody also needs to slap some sense into the VWFC front office, though.
You’d imagine that they would have done their homework on this guy, but I guess not. The Draft needs to go or be changed in some way.
Lower division teams just need to look at the big board and sign these guys looking to make profit.
needs to go. It actually hurts our development. On the aggregate it will stall some soccer careers. Making a 17 yr old kid from Texas start his career in Canada because they drafted him will probably set him back about a year in his development. Not every 17 or 18 or 19 yr old but enough of them that it becomes a harmful cog in our system.
I guess I am wondering also if they could have done their due diligence? I assume as part of the combine there are interviews where teams judge the players commitment to MLS and among those questions would have to be “will you play for us if drafted” and particularly with internationals “do you have other deals in the works”. Maybe Vancouver failed to ask these questions, maybe the player lied … or as some stories say, Cosmos swooped in between the combine and the draft and that is the timeframe in which they signed him. I find that a bit odd because there are also claims by MLS and the Whitecaps that he has an MLS contract – and those are usually signed during the combine.
The entire situation is just weird.
Cosmos wasn’t trying to undermine MLS or make money off of them. He had been in their camp and travelled with the team to Spain for the Senna testimonial in November. He wasn’t getting as much MLS notice until he performed well at the combine. The NASL can certainly make money by discovering talent and selling it on to the MLS, but if they tried to undermine MLS by signing potential draft picks things would likely get ugly.
The list of drafted players who don’t sign with MLS is long. DC United went through a bad stretch in the late 2000s where they lost 3 players — including one to a lower league. Robles went to Germany, Jacobson went toe France, and Needham went to Puerto Rico to play with a USL side. So, Lewis would not be the first to do so – but he might be the first first-round choice to do so.
Hasn’t happened very frequently with first rounders recently though. MLS had a significant lull in the mid 2000s,
I am trying to think of any other first rounders in the last 4 drafts that chose to sign elsewhere (2011 to 2014). Lower round picks, sure – frequently that is the MLS team though taking their rights but knowing they are a bench player for their reserve team at best at present so they have no problem with them playing elsewhere. Yes you occasionally get a really good pick in the second round, but in my mind anything after the first round doesn’t really count as losing a quality player should they choose to go elsewhere.
Many first rounders (particularly late first round) do nott stick around very long, but I just went through 2011 to 2013 and all signed with MLS. Was Cervi in 2008 the last one until now to be drafted and do elsewhere? Did Cervi already have a contract with another club when he was drafted (not the way I remember it but I could be wrong)?
Question,are cosmos playing open cup this year bcus if they do, they will be a scary team to face. Another thing, if i was cosmos, i would ask the mets if i can play in their baseball stadium. Rent their stadium and make your tickets cheap. Imagine all seats for 10 or 20 dollars and 15, 000 show up. If the team has the money, then make moves for the fans and gain territory at the same time. If money ain’t the problem then make it fun for the fans and stick it to MLS 🙂
Do you actually think the Cosmos could generate positive cash flow leasing the Mets stadium (in the summer) by selling 15,000 tickets a game at $10 to $20 bucks a pop? If so I’ve got a bridge I think you might be interested in.
When it comes to the Cosmos, this guy still think it’s 1980.
how many more signs do we need to see Canadians cant hack it in MLS, nor can FL teams
i talked a bit about this last week. i said that i bet with MLS salaries so low, this is the type of player they could lose to the NALS teams willing to pay more. i don’t think he’s generation adidas. if you’re 17 and you have a choice between making 35K in mls or 70k in the NASL, they’ll be the players who see the money and the decisions point, so they pick the NASL. i bet this and a lot of the second/third/fourth round players could opt NASL as well. it’s very interesting to watch. of as as far as some of the comments, i don’t see anything saying which team he signed for first but he should have been clear and transparent if he wasn’t. we just don’t have enough facts yet to decide
I don’t know if this kid signed with the Cosmos or not, but I do know the salary figures you are throwing out are very inaccurate. The number 7 pick in the MLS draft would be paid a lot more than $35k. Last year’s #7 pick, Walker Zimmerman earned $155K. That said, he was a gen ad signing. However, even if you look at the #8 pick, Blake Smith.,., he still earned $80K. The only players making $35K are young, non senior roster guys. The minimum salary for a senior roster player this year is just under $50K. Those numbers are still too low, but if he actually did sign with the Cosmos for $70K it isn’t because they outbid MLS.
Unfortunately, this comment is not grounded in reality. He will likely make $70k in MLS and no more than $35k in the NASL. The NY Cosmos are splashing cash for some bigger names but most NASL players make below $40k a year and the guys at the bottom of the scrap heap have to get a winter job as they only make $15k.
He apparently signed with Cosmos first. This could be the first of many NASL clubs farming players from college, just before the SuperDraft, for profit. Soccer is unlike any other sport in this country – most others don’t have any competition from other leagues for players – so drafts work there. MLS isn’t the only league in North America, and while it has measures to kill competition for players among clubs within the league, it cannot control what happens outside of it.
Cosmos just went and signed this kid knowing that he’d be a high draft pick. They’ll be able to make some coin if White Caps want him because he’ll have to be purchased.
I agree. Which is why I think MLS needs to re-think the draft. A draft works fine for the NBA, NFL, even MLB and NHL. The first 3 there are the best leagues in the world for their sport and really have no realistic competition for top talent (mid and lower level talent yes). NHL worldwide and even domestically has a little bit of competition but still most top players want to play NHL hockey.
MLS really needs to rethink their draft as being just a pure system for dispersion of players who played college soccer in the US and Canada who are committed to playing in MLS and willing to go to whichever team picks them (and sign a contract upon entering). The old NFL and AFL used to do this (before the AFL merged some of its teams with NFL) where there was competition over which draft players would enter. If this works out well for Lewis, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a rush of players ready to enter the pro ranks in the future start signing contracts prior to the MLS draft with NASL or USL teams as a bargaining chip. They need to be careful though – as MLS quality rises due to influx of foreign talent, the gap between what colleges are producing and expectations of quality as a rookie increases and they may be seeing MLS teams shrug and say “go ahead, play in the lower leagues”, not willing to spend money to go after unproven domestic talent which may or may not produce dividends.
there’s actually no reason for a draft. It exists because of single entity and MLS wanting to control wages. It should be illegal.
This kind of system would be illegal in Europe. Soccer careers in Europe are treated the same as any other kind of employment. You can’t force a kid out of business college to work for IBM just like you shouldn’t be to force a kid out of college to work for FC Dallas. It’s just wrong.
They are still making the choice. You do realize that they enter their own name into the draft willingly, don’t you? Nobody is “forcing them” or drafting unwilling sophomores who plan to stay in school another couple of years.
Honestly, I do agree though that the draft has a lot less utility in a second tier league for a sport played by the entire world (compared to NFL, NBA, MLB). MLS is fairly committed to the idea of parity however and the draft is part of that (worst teams get first choices) — this is fairly deeply embedded in the American sports fan’s psyche (including college players). The fear is that the best players would want to play for Galaxy and NYCFC purely because they are the glamor teams, leaving teams like Chivas, Columbus, etc. at the bottom of the pecking order in perpetuity. As I said in another comment, the reality is that if MLS academies do their job AND the quality of the league continues to rise with international signings, then there are going to be very few college soccer players who are good enough to ultimately be first teamers anyway. That wasn’t the case just a few years ago.
In some ways it is ironic we are having this conversation in an article involving the team name “Cosmos”. It was the original Cosmos that played a large part in the destruction of the NASL and set American soccer back a couple decades. They had money galore and signed players most other teams could only dream of and the lack of parity ultimately crushed the league because fans lost interest when their team had no chance. At least in most lopsided leagues in Europe, there are at least 2 and usually 3-5 super-rich clubs that can beat on each other. If you end up with a solitary giant and a bunch of minnows year after year those leagues would start to fade in popularity also (I doubt fail … but if Real Madrid and Athletico Madrid went away tomorrow and all of their players went to Barca or to other leagues, would anyone really want to watch Barca pummel everyone year after year after year? The simple answer is “one of the other owners would step into the void” … but that didn’t happen in NASL and isn’t guaranteed anywhere. I think this is part of the thinking for MLS at least to continue to keep interest in its less successful teams. If you are an Almeria fan, there really is no realistic hope that you are ever going to win La Liga … but if you are a Toronto fan you are a couple good drafts and international signings away from competing.
A little more accurate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnIIgOEONa0
So what’s the big deal? Just like top MLB & NHL draft picks he plays in the minor leagues for a year or two before he’s ready for the big time.
There are no minor leagues in soccer
I think a better example is a European or South American player entering their name in the NBA draft, then continuing to play for their current overseas club for another couple years before coming to the NBA.
The difference is that NBA teams KNOW the player already has a contract and that they will be in the situation of having to choose whether to let him play abroad (which is a great option of they don’t have an immediate need) or to buy the contract out and bring him in now. Similarly in MLB and NHL it is the team choosing to assign a player to a minor league team for development (or lack of current need at the top level) purposes – not the player signing a contract with their minor league affiliate before they draft them.
In this case, if Cosmos signed Lewis some time ago then intentionally kept it secret and purposely / actively pursued the MLS draft while under contract for a team in a different league then they baited Vancouver into wasting a pick that they almost surely would not have used if they had known they wouldn’t get the player.
The Cosmos have a team? I thought it was just a marketing department.
Um, I believe they won NASL last season
That’s what their mkt dept made you believe!
And Kim Jong Un is the best basketball player in North Korea.
Nice timing. Did the Cosmos wait until AFTER he was drafted, just to screw MLS into wasting a pick, to show they can take an MLS top pick away from his club?
FYI, Agudelo says loan team will be announced tomorrow morning. Hoping for Eridivisie.
ESPN was reporting that it’s FC Utrecht. I have absolutely no idea about the competition for playing time there at forward, but mid-table Dutch sounds good in general.
Seems VERY good on paper. Perfect league for him to develop.
Utrecht is a great college town close to Amsterdam. Nice spot for a Yank on his first Euro stop. Hopefully the footballing aspects are as good as the location.
If a player is going to use another team as leverage in negotiating, he needs to at least let the first team know about the existence of the second team.
Doesn’t make any sense otherwise. Really doesn’t make any sense if you have ALREADY signed a contract with another team (who then has a lot of control over your ability to play for the second team).
If there was already a contract in place with Cosmos that was intentionally kept under wraps until the day after the MLS draft, this smells of Cosmos or NASL intentionally sending a Trojan Horse to sabotage MLS. If there are two contracts signed, then Lewis and his agent have a lot of explaining to do.
it makes perfect sense. if you are applying for two jobs and you get interest from both companies, you have no obligation to tell one company that the other is interested in you. you go through the interview process with both and then see which offer is best for you. why would you limit yourself and your earning potential? you owe nothing to either company, and that is how the employment process works. the company tries to get the best for them, the workers try to get the best for them…
If you are playing one off the other for salary negotiations though, it only works if you tell the other potential employer about the better offer – otherwise it isn’t a negotiation, it is just comparison shopping. That was the point.
The second part of that is if you appear to commit to one company and then bail for a better/different offer at the absolute last moment (after the other company has committed something to you such as Vancouver potentially wasting a valuable draft pick) then you may have just burned some bridges. Burning bridges may not be a big deal for you or me (I could do my exact same job for about 7 different companies in the city in which I live … I could move to any other large city and have the same degree of choice), but if you want to play high level professional soccer in North America, in the USA in particular, your choices are rather limited and burning bridges isn’t advisable. Maybe he thinks he is good enough to play for Cosmos for a couple of years and then transfer to Europe … I don’t know, but it is just never a good idea to offend a potential employer particularly in something like professional sports where you may well be looking for a different job in a year or two.
first of all, we don’t know that he showed any sort of commitment to anyone (if did, then my defense of him goes out the window). playing in a combine is hardly a sign of commitment.
second, there is nothing wrong or illegal about “window shopping” as you call it. i would say that you are right that it isn’t the best way to negotiate, but it does benefit the player in the short term.
I agree with you on both counts. However, if he did sign a contract with MLS and Vancouver and MLS claim he did and also decided to sign one for Cosmos also (at right about the same time), that is a totally different situation.
Lewis tweeted he’s with the Whitecaps.
So he signed two contracts? Article is confusing …
What deal is bigger?
Also there are certainly many more players who passed on the MLS deal and went to another league. Like at least one or two a year
I dont get all the hate. Hes chasing money considering how little you make as a rookie in the mls. Its an mls problem, not his. I would have probably taken that route too.
+1. The kid is 19 and probably took the best deal for him and his family. Not to mention, the west coast of Canada is a long way from Jamaica. Per the update though, it looks like his contract situation is a bit of a mess. Doesn’t look like his agents have it together.
But why wouldn’t you just go play for Cosmos and be done with it then? Someone told Lewis (hard to believe he did this on his own – a poor kid from Jamaica), apparently already under contract with Cosmos to go to the MLS combine and see if he could get drafted and hide the fact that he already was under an unannounced contract.
Either his agent is giving him ridiculously stupid advice or Cosmos/NASL is playing a game of “gotcha” with MLS.
he was just drafted by Vancouver. Does that mean he’s automatically under contract once he’s drafted? How is that legal?
No, the draft does not mean automatic contract. Some players are though (Generation Adidas for example – they get paid about $200k and sign a contract agreeing to play for this amount for whatever club drafts them). Some other college players sign a base MLS salary agreement also before the draft takes place and are making the same agreement (though the club then pays them unlike GA).
Vancouver and MLS claim the later was the case with Lewis. I have no way to know if that is true or not.
by drafting a player, you get the rights to sign them. that is only binding, however, within the league. they can play anywhere else if they so choose.
In most cases, yes – but there are exceptions (as stated, Generation Adidas and a handful of players who sign a base rookie contract and agree to play for whichever MLS “franchise” drafts them). Nobody would be complaining if Lewis had simply said “no thank you” to MLS and signed with Cosmos. VWFC and MLS claimed he signed an MLS contract before the draft.
Most players who enter the draft have not already signed a contract, so yes, you are just drafting their MLS rights of first refusal.
got it. if he signed two contracts, i’ve got nothing to say to the kid
WTF is going on with the “Caps. Getting abused by Liga Mx is one thing since they have the money but the NASL?
I guess they seem to think they have this kid signed but so do the Cosmos.
Are they going to have to buy their first round pick from them?
Just freaking ridiculous and it shows what a bush league MLS is.
They did not get abused by LigaMX, just QueretaroFC.
Are the contracts that these players sign guaranteed? I don’t think they are.
The author should clarify who Stover. Stover is Eric Stove formerly of the New York Red Bulls and now I think the technical director of the Cosmos.
Well does he have an MLS contract or not? WFC seems to think he does but who knows? MLS is looking retty shbby in these recent situations.
I’m sure MLS and Vancouver think they have a contract with him — but the Cosmos are claiming they have a pre-existing contract with him…which puts Vancouver now in the same position as Queretaro was last week, poaching a player already under contract.
does a player have to sign with the league before ever entering the draft?
Maybe they should buy him back for 1.2 million.
From the standpoint of an average reader, who is Stover? The article never addresses who Stover is. I’m assuming Cosmos…
He is the Cosmos GM
More than the implication to the Whitecaps, the implications to the draft are massive. Does MLS knowingly let players under contract with non-league teams into the draft? Just as fun little surprises that will blow up in the face of whatever team drafts them?
Or does MLS not care, and expect their teams to do due diligence on their draft targets (could be 10-20 players) to make sure they’re not under contract elsewhere?
My suspicion is that MLS and Vancouver knew nothing about this.
I also suspect that NASL and Cosmos are using this as a “gotcha” moment. It wasn’t public knowledge at all that Lewis had signed with Cosmos. So unless the player or his agent tells MLS that he has already signed a contract elsewhere, then how would anyone know? Yes, there are international transfer implications (he is going from a Jamaican club to a US based one either way) and my guess is that clubs should have access to the names currently pending transfers – but that doesn’t mean that Cosmos didn’t sign him 2 weeks ago, encourage him to go to the MLS combine as a strategic move (knowing someone in MLS would pick him and have it blow up in their face) and intentionally not announce anything nor start the transfer process until after the draft.
If there is no MLS contract, Vancouver looks doubly stupid for claiming there is.
MLS looks bad inviting guys to their combine who have signed contracts elsewhere (secretly or otherwise).
The player looks bad if he baited a team into wasting a pick on him (that they could have used on a player who would potentially contribute and play for them).
Cosmos/NASL looks bad if they sat on this intentionally as a “gotcha” shot at MLS.
not really that big of an issue regarding the draft. the real issue is the wage scale. if a player is going to make more money elsewhere, that is where he very well could play. so if drafted players are offered a good wage, there is a smaller chance that they do not sign with the team that drafted them.
this happens in other leagues too, actually, where drafted players do not always sign with the team that owns their rights (for that league only).
can you name another soccer league with an amateur draft?
can you name another top flight league in a country where college athletics are so prevalent?
I’ll get the rust out of these 31 year old legs to take his spot in the Whitecaps preseason camp, and I’ll do it with pleasure!
Cervi makes Adu look wise. Blows off Chicago at a time when he was in the U23 mix and was being used as NT camp fodder, goes to Pompey on trial, bust, goes to Celtic, they loan him out twice, he never appears for Celtic or Dundee and plays 7 times for Greenock Morton (then of the 3rd rung of Scotland). Is he even playing soccer anymore? So if he’s following the Cervi Plan suffice to say I wouldn’t advocate it.
Occean did a little better but not so incredible that it’s the superior choice — B.2 on loan right now.
I think what he’s done is stupid because he is purposefully starting in the minors where any length of struggle would hamstring his career. He has drunk the Kosmos Koolaid. There is no promotion out of there. All he can do is play well and see if he can escape the hole he just dug. Makes no sense. He could be playing in the same league on loan from MLS, and have the upside of being MLS property that could be elevated back to the first team within weeks if he showed well (Dwyer, for example). Instead he locks himself up with a NASL team that is an island unto itself and deluding its players that if they stick around they might be in MLS eventually. When he could sign there directly.
Maybe the Cosmos offered Lewis more money and he saw a better opportunity in a league without a salary cap? The kid grew up pretty poor from what I read.
I think y’all are missing the point here. It’s not whether he was offered more money or anything by the Cosmos — though, he surely would have been. It’s that they’re claiming they already had a contract with him, and then he went after the MLS brass ring, doing the Combines and apparently signing a deal with MLS — which would be a breach of his contract, if has one, with the Cosmos.
Yes, that is probably the next step, potentially down several different rabbit holes.
Someone is going to look bad here no matter how this winds up … and my suspicion is that it is going to be MLS and Vancouver with the most egg on their face.
Going to an MLS combine is not a contract. There is precedence in other US sports leagues (NBA particularly) of a player being chosen but not immediately reporting and signing a contract (continuing to play overseas, etc.). It is a fairly slimy thing to do if you already have signed a contract with another team to go to a combine, impress but not tell anyone that you won’t be playing. Something tells me that had a team chosen him that he wanted to play for, he and his agent would have approached Cosmos about a transfer to MLS.
That said, MLS and its teams obviously need to do their homework a lot better. If he has a signed contract with MLS AND Cosmos, then he is going to end up losing this one (and his agent with him) … but my suspicion is that his only contract was with Cosmos.
sounds like a smart boy, if you ask me. find out how much the whitecaps value you, and then see what the cosmos are willing to do. he does have a history with the cosmos, after all. and the only way he could know how much he would be offered from MLS is to get drafted.
Why would he sign with the cosmos before the draft? And, why would he tell MLS, what his other opportunities were?
yeah, he went around MLS anti-player rights system pretty brilliantly.
I don’t think Cosmos have any intention of joining MLS anytime soon.
I think once they get their stadium built, they’re going to be essentially an indie team that keeps warm by playing NASL…but I think their real aspirations are tournies like the US Open, CONCACAF Champions League…and I’ve heard them making noises about playing in the Carling Cup and Copa Libertadores.
Once they’ve got their stadium, I’d also expect them to spend just a whole lot more than the MLS salary cap (what is it, $2.95 million?) on players…and I’d also expect them to start stealing a whole lot more players out from under MLS prior to the Superdraft, especially since even Gen Adidas guys only get a max of $150,000.
Actually think it’s healthy for there to be alternatives to MLS. It puts a lot more pressure on the league, for sure.
carling cup? lol
Anyone know what actually happened to Dominic Cervi? He trained with the National team a few times, but I don’t know that he’s ever gotten into a game in Europe… where is he now?
He’s currently a free agent.
Vancouver better lock up Mattocks to a long term contract and don’t let another Camilo incident happen.
I smell another “camilo”! very classless of this dude not to inform MLS before the superdraft that he had agreed in principle with Cosmos…
Karell… if this dude wants to play in MLS after a couple of years, will MLS teams shy away from him for misleading the league?
Not if he’s good enough to play.
And presumably Vancouver would still have his rights … could end up being some level of payback there if this was really as backhanded as it seemed. If his intent was to play for Cosmos, it would not have taken much to inform MLS (so they could tell their teams) that he has a signed contract with Cosmos … someone still might have taken a flyer on him later rounds knowing they were only selecting his rights.
Then again, given that MLS drafts seem to get thinner and thinner and only the top 4-5 players are probably anything close to a potential future sure starter and if you get totally lucky you might find one in the second round, I am not sure the draft is really serving any purpose anymore. If MLS academies continue to grow it is just going to get worse (the best players will be homegrown contracts). Maybe there should be just a 9 player draft for the teams who didn’t make the playoffs so there is some equity and opportunity there (for players who are signed / committed to MLS via GA or otherwise) – but after that it becomes a free for all where all players are free agents.
Pretty embarrassing for VAN not to do their due diligence/homework on a high draft pick. Why is it a player’s obligation to inform a team or league he has no affiliation with of anything? Seems to be an embarrassing pattern of out of touch presumption around there lately. Particularly in light of the Camilo situation, you’d think it would behoove Whitecaps to be better informed. If I’m ownership there, I’d be taking a hard look at management.
On some level though, it isn’t good for the player to burn bridges like this. Unlike many leagues, MLS is rather tight knit from an ownership perspective and him pulling a fast one on one club and completely wasting a high draft pick on him may come back to burn him.
What if Vancouver DID ask all the right questions and he lied to them?
It sounds like what happened is that Cosmos took advantage of the 48 hour window between the combine (and likely the bulk of Vancouver’s time to do their due diligence) and the SuperDraft to sign him. MLS and Vancouver claim he was signed to MLS (which usually happens during the combine … so that will be interesting if he already had a pre-existing MLS contract but signed with Cosmos anyway). Neither Lewis nor Cosmos told anyone of the Cosmos contract (nor was there really a way for Vancouver to find out unless the player comes clean about it since Cosmos held the announcement until the day after the SuperDraft).
Ultimately I do have sympathy for Vancouver here if they did do their due diligence and were deceived which looks fairly possible here. Only Vancouver and Lewis (and probably Cosmos) know that for sure though.
Agree that it is a really bad move for a player in Lewis’s position. I do think the point about Cosmos is more important than the player himself. If he was under contract and they were aware that he was participating in the combine, then there is certainly some opportunistic calculation on their part.
Since the draft is unique to MLS in soccer, sports leagues such as the NFL need to be a point of reference. A pretty thorough background check, interviewing of player, players representation etc. is done with several perspective players prior to making a player a top draft choice. Obviously I don’t know to what level VAN did this…. but I would be surprised if they did a whole lot. Admittedly, the whole Camilo situation has much to do with this suspicion.
My first reaction is that he feels he would get more playing time with the Cosmos.
My first reaction is a Jamaican national would rather play in NYC than Vancouver.
Not sure what you’re getting at.
more jamaicans in nyc than vancouver
yeah, but there is more green in BC
If the money is comparable and he’ll play more in NASL, then it’s an understandable decision.
American exceptionalism. Only in America. And a little bit of Canada.
Fist Camilo, now this guy……No love or respect for the Cap’s