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MLSPA releases statement supporting former FC Cincinnati forward Tommy Heinemann


FC Cincinnati is in hot water regarding a shaky player contract situation and their refusal to live up to the terms of said contract.

Some quick background first: FC Cincinnati signed forward Tommy Heinemann over the winter. After the contract was signed, Heinemann took a preseason physical with the club, which he reportedly failed. The club also feels he failed to disclose prior injuries before signing.

After attempts to restructure the deal fell through, he was released nearly two months after the original signing. Last week, he signed for Penn FC at a lower salary than he originally accepted at FCC.

Heinemann filed a grievance with the league, the league ruled in his favor and ordered FC Cincinnati to honor the original deal, but the club refused and took the case to arbitration.

Which brings us to where we stand now.

The MLS Players Union, despite having no say in the matter, has released a statement supporting Heinemann after they learned of the story:


  1. This is why usually you get a vague agreement on terms conditioned on the medical, do the medical, then they hand you the contract to sign. aka “pending the medical.” If you formally sign the player sight unseen then I don’t think you can go back and say, woah, now that you show up, you seem hurt or broken. Most soccer players have some lasting dings so I don’t think you can trap door out saying he showed up and the doctor didn’t clear him to play, that’s “fraud.” Again, I think that injury history is a tire that needs to be kicked beforehand.

    FWIW you also have the worker’s comp type issues where I doubt courts would want to promote this sort of gamesmanship. The injury may not be their fault but big picture you don’t want teams trying to dump injured players unpaid. My sense is unless the timing is “just so” — Garrido gets badly hurt for Honduras after his Dynamo contract expires — MLS teams will carry hurt players (and salaries). NFL is more mixed, they will carry some people but even the ones they cut (even if they were not going to make the team in preseason) they work out an injury settlement to CYA. So this player dump is bold. I can’t imagine this gets any stamp of approval from any court or arbitrator.

  2. Wow! Good on the MLSPA for showing some love. Too bad there isn’t a larger Union of all NA Soccer players (Canada, Mexico and USA) that could use their collective powers to improve their plight.

    • They don’t need a broader, regionwide union, they need a specific USL union where the MLSPA isn’t pinchhitting for the players of another league.


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