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MLS Ticker: MLS may add ‘core player spot’; Vermes upset with Heath’s comments; and more

Brek Shea Orlando City 74

photo by Kim Klement/USA Today Sports


A new player rule may soon be introduced in MLS. Yes, another one.

MLS has been contemplating the idea of adding a potential ‘core player spot’ in the near future, but details of the process have yet to be worked out, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel.

The report states that the league has discussed adding a ‘core player’ or ‘core designated player’ this summer to help teams add more talent to their rosters, but it’s unclear right now how the league would define such a player.

Additionally, a league source told the Orlando Sentinel that MLS may be looking at giving clubs a maximum of $1.8 million to spend on one player over a two-year period who is from outside the league.

Here are some more MLS news and notes:


It’s no secret that Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath wants Dom Dwyer to return to his former club, which is explicitly why it drew the ire from Dwyer’s current coach Peter Vermes.

Vermes expressed his displeasure in Heath’s desires and said Heath’s public comments about Dwyer are “uncalled for.”

“I think it’s unfortunate that it comes out publicly like that, because what it could do — and it hasn’t, which is great — but what it could do within a team is disrupt it,” said Vermes, according to the Kansas City Star. “And I think that’s the unprofessional aspect of it that I don’t appreciate.”

Dwyer previously spent time with Orlando City on loan from Sporting Kansas City, and, according to Heath, the 24-year-old forward wants a reunion as well.

“There’s no secret that Dom wants to be here,” Heath said during his weekly radio show. “We’ve tried to get him here. We’ve done everything we can. Unfortunately, we can’t do it yet. But we will keep trying. I think this is his spiritual home. He wants to come back. We’d love to have him. But we’ll have to wait and see how long it takes before we can do it.”

Dwyer, who just signed a multi-year extension during the offseason and bought a house in Kansas City earlier this year, has not requested a trade, according to Vermes.

Sporting KC will meet Orlando City just once this season on Sept. 13 at the Citrus Bowl.


The LA Galaxy and MLS’s reigning MVP Robbie Keane have agreed to a contract extension.

Per club and MLS policy, the terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Keane is coming off a 2014 season in which he tallied 19 goals and 14 assists for the Galaxy while winning his third MLS Cup.

“We’re very pleased Robbie will continue to be a member of the Galaxy in the coming years,” head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said. “He has been one of the key pieces in our success over the past five seasons. We look forward to even more success with Robbie as a member of our team.”

Keane has made 91 appearances during his career with the Galaxy and notched a total of 55 goals and 36 assists during that span.


Charlotte Independence may be new to USL, but it already has its sights set on something bigger and has found a paragon to go with it.

According to the club’s founder Jim McPhilliamy – who is also a former NBA Charlotte Bobcats executive and consultant for NASCAR and Major League Baseball – the USL side is already thinking about seeking an expansion bid to join MLS and believes that Orlando City has set a perfect example of how to accomplish that goal.

“That’s totally the model,” McPhilliamy said on Charlotte’s public radio state WFAE 90.7. “I think that’s exactly the model we’re trying to do.”

The Independence has yet to find a temporary stadium to play its home matches in this season due to construction delays, but McPhilliamy believes the facility at Ramblewood Soccer Complex will be completed this month. The club hopes to draw about 4,000 fans per match.

Charlotte is also seeking to make Memorial Stadium in Elizabeth, North Carolina, its permanent home beginning in 2016 and is in talks with Mecklenburg County to split a $4 million cost to renovate the venue.

What do you think of the potential for a ‘core player spot’? Does Vermes have a right to be upset with Heat? How do you seen Keane doing in the coming years?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Michael appears to have not read Tenorio’s article very closely. The $1.8m mechanism IS the core player rule (or one possible manifestation of it anyway), not an alternative.

  2. “if you don’t know where you want to go, any road will take you there.”

    The American soccer community suffers from a confusion of goals. Is the goal to improve US soccer, in terms of the success of national teams and of the quality of American players? Or is the goal to improve MLS, in terms of marketable players on the field and in terms of the “quality” of the play.

    If you want to improve US soccer, the pay that Americans earn as soccer players is crucial. Soccer in the US, unlike in most other countries, has to compete for the best athletes with several other sports., all of whom pay far better at the full-time professional level. Playing opportunities in a professional environment are also important. The more playing time for American players in competitive professional environments the better. (Just about every European FA has taken steps in this direction for its own benefit.) So, if better US soccer is the goal, you should argue for better pay and more playing opportunities for American players and therefore gimmicks like designated players would not be on your to-do list.

    If, on the other hand, you want MLS to appear like many other leagues, you should be happy to import whatever players you can at whatever salaries it takes. Frankly, nothing in my experience suggests that adding one or two exceptional players will do much for your team’s success or the quality of play (however you want to measure quality) but you have to start some place and maybe some day you can replicate the Premiership where several teams field almost no home-grown players. I also don’t believe that more than a few fans will come out just to see a Lampard or a Gerard, but people in the sports business continue to believe in such acquisitions. Beckham’s first season aside, I haven’t noticed any great rush to buy tickets to see an import, but it is something that marketing people cling to. I would have thought a successful team playing competitive games in a friendly comfortable environment was more important.

  3. Lol thESE MLS nonsense rules… LOL
    So like always.. its about marketing on one player, like Henry…
    This is not about making a team… but make the team around a player.. LOL
    Guys. Support NASL… they are more free… less B’S rules…

    • This is why people hate NASL fans – the only thing you talk about is why MLS sucks. But a lot of people like MLS. A lot more than like NASL actually.

      • Hey slowleftarm,

        Why a are you all over the Internet (including Cosmos articles on Empire Of Soccer) bashing the NASL?

        Do you NOT have a life?

      • Ohh poor baby… did I hurt your feeling!?? Can’t you handle the truth?? Lol… please don’t hate me 🙁
        Lol… you bitches just don’t undestand… hey if you like MLS rules? Then go for it.. its just thqt those rules are stupid… that’s why NASL was born…u happy now?? Lol
        Btw use your right arm too… lol

  4. The easy solution is to keep the cap the same and have 3 DPs that do not count towards the cap at all. That effectively raises the cap by about $1.2 million for teams with 3 DPs — without changing the cap. It also obviously encourages teams to bring in DPs, but not necessarily hugely expensive talent. A cost-conscious team could have 3 $500k DPs, then use the extra $1.2 million on 3 $400k players. You could create a lot of depth that way.

    • Lol…this is not complicated enough. How do you expect MLS to hide/make up rules along the way if they have a rule that is this clear cut and coherent?

      On a serious note, this a great a idea, I would also add that the two existing HG DPs should also be cap exempt as well.

  5. And doesn’t Charlotte make the fourth USL team making a USL bid? The infrastructure for pro/rel, or at least a 20 team eastern and western conference that don’t play each other outside of tourneys.

  6. Soccer is a team game. Balance and depth bring success. Spending millions on a player or two while paying the rest peanuts is, no pun intended, nuts.
    Moreover, US soccer will not attract even some of the best US athletes until MLS salaries rise above the baseball AAA level or whenever they are today. If there is more money to spend, spend across the whole roster.

    • But but but but according to some here athleticism doesn’t matter only skill. I’m mean Messi is all skill and no elite athleticism from argentina, right?

    • The MLS has found out that you cant “force” teams to buy designated players. Hell, the MLS had to “GIVE”, through a very transparent “allocation” process, the NE Revs, Jermaine Jones, because that was the only way they were going to add a DP. The Krafts are really cheap. Some teams have a bad “picker” and have had a string of DP’s who were marginal or plain bad and are loathe to go in and buy another.
      But ever since the new CBA was agreed to, there has been talk of adding a fourth DP. For teams like the Galaxy, or the New York teams, this is not a problem as they have the attractiveness and the deep pockets to add not only one, but two or three more DP’s if allowed to. But many teams do not want to add more debt to finance additional DP outside their salary cap. This may be a solution for them

      The DP’s are a great success from a marketing and sales point of view, and for the teams that do their research and add good journeymen talent from Europe and even fledgling stars from Central, and South America, it has worked out well. Let’s face it, for most teams a 1.8 million boost will allow another DP like position for these teams.

      While it will help even teams like the Galaxy, you won’t be adding a Tevez, Ibramovich or even a Drogba with that kind of money.

    • They’re not saying it publicly, but right now the owners have all the power because of the single-entity system. Clubs aren’t getting into bidding wars over players…which means salaries aren’t escalating. And the biggest problem with just raising the cap is, you’ll likely wind up with much the same players…the ones they already have would just want – and get – raises.

      What the owners want to do is add more talent – hence the “outside the league” clause in this “core” player spot. While not paying any more for existing talent.

      As an aside, sooner or later there’s going to be a big showdown between labor and management…there always is in sports, and the players are going to have to do a work stoppage until a better deal gets negotiated. Right now things are still fragile enough in MLS that the players don’t have that kind of leverage…yet.

      Anyhow, that’s neither here nor there. The point is, (some) owners want to spend more money, but rather than just add yet another full DP slot – which nobody except the truly big boys like Seattle and LA can afford – or give the guys they already have raises – which is what would happen if they just raise the cap – they want to use the money they’re going to spend to acquire new talent. You won’t get a Zlatan or a Gerrard or a David Villa for $1.8 million…but you could go out and buy a quality starter from La Liga or even a lower-level EPL team for that, and probably one still in the prime of his career. It’s a “+10%” sort of move…bump the quality of the league up by one high-quality starter per team. You could certainly use it to target most of the Americans playing in Europe right now, since very few of them command that sort of money. Michael Bradley, even when he was at Roma, made around $1 million, if memory serves. You might even snag a Jon Brooks, a Fabian Johnson, or an Aron Johanssen with that kind of money. Which all in all would be a BIG bump to an MLS team’s starting 11.

      Good deal for MLS fans…though it will annoy the players, especially the ones making near the bottom.

      • Work stoppage would have worked this time around. Things are less fragile than you think.

        Also, Minimum Salary got bump with CBA.

  7. Well it’s better than nothing. If I understand correctly this would mean 4 DP calibre players who wouldn’t count against the cap, funded by each team individually, 1 DP calibre player funded by the league, and the rest of the roster (18 spots) covered by the salary cap. In principle (paying more for two more players, then spreading what would have been spent on those two into other players) would be a nice bump. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely an upgrade.

  8. “Core player” spot?.. Typically a core is more than 1 guy. just raise the Salary Cap already.

    These gimmicks are indicators that there is money to spend… but the owners want to portray there’s not enough money to go around.

    • If they really want to improve the quality of MLS, RAISE THE SALARY CAP.. It should be doubled and allow teams to take equivalent money from a DP slot and add it to their salary cap. As good as a player like Dempsey or Bradley may be, a team could very well be better off with 5 players at $1 million each instead of one player at $5 million. Bradley was reportedly making $1 million at Roma, so you can get some good players for $1 million.

  9. “Core player spots” what is this a video game with hidden levels? Just make more DP spots stop with the different name tags so it’s less confusing.


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