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Angel Staying in MLS

24 562new york red bulls juan pablo angel posters 200x300 Angel Staying in MLS

It isn’t all bad news for Major League Soccer in the world of Designated Players.  Juan Pablo Ángel signed a long term extension with the Red Bulls which could keep him with the club until December 2012 when he would be 36. Ángel led the New Jersey based Red Bulls to within a game of its first MLS Cup title last season, and has scored more league goals in the last two seasons than any player in Major League Soccer. (Luciano Emilio and Landon Donovan have both scored more overall goals including Superliga and the Champions Cup)

Ángel has adapted to MLS much more easily than David Beckham, which speaks volumes about his personal commitment and willingness to embrace the league after seven seasons in the English Premiership with Aston Villa. Also at play is the comfort many Latino stars have within big city America which is more conducive to Spanish speakers and Latin footballers than England.

Long term, the adaptability of South American players to American culture is something that the league can leverage. I have often in the past editorialized that the continued signing of  European based players who are not Latino or African is a waste of MLS limited resources. One the cost to sign these players is too high and secondly they often times do not settle in MLS do to travel and climate related issues .

European footballers, particularly those who have played their entire career in the relative cocoon of the British Isles do not realize the difficulty of traveling by plane for six hours for matches or crossing three time zones between matches. Unless you are in the best of condition and dedicated to your club you won’t be successful.Additionally, MLS teams play at various altitudes not all at the same general height and in the same basic climate as in England.

The English Premier League and lower divisions feature short coach rides from ground to ground, city to city. In MLS, the travel itself requires extensive planning and administration. Simply comparing the quality of a player in England to MLS is like comparing Pears to Pineapples.

These distinctions are typically lost on the Anglophilia afflicted US based fan, but for Juan Pablo Ángel who made a decent career in the English top flight, MLS is now a long term home. In Guille Barros Schelotto, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Javier Morales, Freddy Montero and Angel the league since 2007 has signed its best group of Latin players since the inagural season of the league which included Carlos Valderrama, Maucio Cienfuegos and Marco Etcheverry.  That is good news for the game in the United States.

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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

7 Responses to Angel Staying in MLS

  1. Darren says:

    Another posting that proves the ignorance of the dumb yanks.

    Angel played for David O’Leary at Villa. Becks played for Sir Alex and won a Champions League Title. Any questions?

    America is filled with nothing but cow pastures and cities that all look the same. No wonder some players have troubles there: no place is redeeming enough to get excited and the idea of taking a five hour plane flight to play a domestic league match contradicts the idea of domestic football. Do any debrys exist in America? Can they exist?s

    Some advice. Stick to your own sports. You can never succeed in football.

  2. Spurs Support says:

    Angel is actually quite good.

    The Americans signing him is very good business, and proves for your league life exists beyond beckham. I know he beat Beckham every time he played him also in MLS. A Villa fan pointed that out to me.

  3. Darren says:

    Of course a Spurs supporter would stick up for the stinking American MLS. Didn’t Spurs once lose a friendly AT HOME to an MLS side. Now that speaks for itself but those of us here in the England knows Spurs suck and will be relegated this year.

  4. Kris says:

    Wow, someone really must have pissed in Darren’s cornflakes today. Why bother coming to this website and spout hate about our league? We like, and that should be enough.
    Stop the hate, man.

  5. Soccer Guru says:

    Good post. I agree 100%

  6. Sean says:

    Kartik, just found the site and I love what you’re doing. Keep up the good work!

    Darren, please feel free to continue whackin’ it about the English game. If nothing else, you confirm every stereotype American football lovers have of the ‘inventors of the game.’

  7. Darren, if we aim to replicate England’s “success” of the last 40 years in Football sadly you are right about the US. But we take our inspiration from other, more respectable sources.

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