It’s time to stop with the finger pointing. It’s time to stop with the name calling and we have to stop bickering with each other. And you know what this message also goes out to both Commissioners of our professional leagues in Don Garber of MLS & Francisco Marcos of USL. It’s way too late to peel thru the layers and see who started this first.
Yes I read the recent article written by my colleague Karti Krishnaiyer and to be honest I have had those same concerns as well. Even though I do understand why MLS has made up these certain rules and kept their budget’s low as possible so they don’t go into the ground and end their business, but as I say this maybe it’s time that the league starts to relax or erase some of these rules to bring in better players and continuing to develop our own.
The Discovery player rule in my mind should be the first thing to discuss since I find it completely ridiculous that a club in MLS has to have the rights of a player for the entire year that they found, but can’t sign to a deal. The best example from last year was the Lidier Marmol situation after Juan Carlos Osorio left the Fire to coach the Red Bulls and he wanted to bring Marmol to NY, his rights were already taken by Chicago a day before NY got him. There was so much bickering between the two sides no deal was struck and Marmol was forced to leave NY to play for a club he didn’t want. Even though he was signed to a deal, Marmol never played in a single match and he went back to his native Paraguay. It’s time to end this silly discovery player rule or if the league still keeps it, then reduce the amount of time from a full year to one or two months. If that club can’t sign the player then he is free to train and be on trial with another club within MLS.
The rules for developing young American talent also have to end as well. One player graduating from your youth academy and you can’t bring another for another three years is absolutely ridiculous. We have to stop looking for approval from the Europeans and just continue building this league for ourselves & for our American players to get better. Look at Josy Altidore’s situation right now. $10 Million dollar transfer to Villarreal & even though he is on loan at Xerez of Spain’s second division he hasn’t played a single minute. Their coach is using the excuse of bad training habits when it’s really something else. Altidore could’ve been here in MLS and back at Red Bull NY getting better and playing for the US National Team on a regular basis.
We all know that the salary cap in MLS has to be raised alot higher and allocation money has to end as well as the silly rules about travel within the country to play a league game and you can only fly charter one way or a round trip will leave you with two more chances to go across the country. We all remember what happened when Red Bull NY wanted to have chartered flights and the league said no because of fair play, while they allowed David Beckham & the Galaxy to go charter almost every single time.
What about the USL? Kartik gave the correct answer. They are allowing their pro clubs to run their own business, but there hasn’t been any financial help from the headquarters in Tampa, Florida. Yes the Montreal Impact & the Puerto Rico Islanders have carried the flag of the USL in International Club Competition within CONCACAF, but for how much longer can they do this? At the same time I am happy to see a Tampa Bay club making a return to a professional level as well as the recent announcement of a New York City club that will start in Long Island while making rounds at Icahn Stadium & Colombia’s Baker Field.
Ignoring our past from the days of the NASL was also negative, but to be fair it’s also a bit of a positive. Especially when you talk about the New York Cosmos that was the most popular club back in those days. Sometimes you can feel that shadow hovering over the city as many have called for the name to return, but I can honestly tell you it won’t. I know the man who has the rights to the name and he isn’t going to sell it at a cheap price. Those wonderful days should be cherished and remembered every single day, but the big fear I have if the Cosmos name does return to the NYC area & under the current rules MLS plays under, all that hype & hoopla could end just as fast as it started. It is true that the MetroStars were a club that never had stability, got as far as the MLS Cup semi-finals and lost in the 2003 US Open Cup final, but ever since Red Bull Energy Drink bought the club and changed it’s name in 2006. Within three years they made the playoffs and of course last season got to their first MLS Cup Final and qualified for their first CONCACAF Champions League. Building their new stadium next to a working train line right across the street that also enters lower Manhattan.
The American football supporter is fed up with all the double edge sworded talk from the front office of MLS. Always saying that the league only has a set of rules for one club, while the rest have another. That’s been the common comment from a frustrated fan of the league. To be fair I have been fed up with all this stuff as well & now is the time when the league has to remove their own handcuffs and start to grow up. The Designated Player Rule has become a start, more has to continue. Of course at the present time we are in an economic crisis & the asking price of a $40 Million expansion entrance fee might be a bit steep. You would think Don Garber would lower that fee for some of the former expansion candidates that wanted to come into our league.
Is it easier to support a European side than an MLS Side? Of course it is. Why do you think ESPN got the UEFA Champions League rights & the past European Cup rights. We all know that everyone will watch these events as well as the Premiership from England. ESPN has been showing scores from Europe on their bottom lines on all their channels & hunting down the viewing rights to the Premiership. Has ESPN done more in promoting our league? To be fair not enough. The occasional commercial, Alan Hopkins has his own segment during ESPN News on Tuesdays, no extra time show or MLS 2night show. Fox Soccer Channel does advertise the games they broadcast, but once again no weekly show unless you count the highlights on the Fox Soccer Report every Sunday night. There is cause for concern & once again I have to say it, certain people want to see MLS fail. It’s the haters of the sport in this country, it’s certain people who will only watch the leagues in Europe and give up on their own & it’s that certain radio person that has split the pro football supporters on purpose.
It’s time for all of us to come together, take a deep breath and talk to the people who are running everything from USL, to MLS, to US Soccer and tell them to stop messing around. Check your damned egos at the door & re-start all over again. Let’s all get a big table, order some good food, have Garber & Marcos sitting next to each other. With a clean slate re-work all the rules and regulations to get what we all want. Both leagues on the rise working together, show some respect and making the American player better than before. All of us have to come together, that includes me as well.