Powered by
Univision Deportes
JUL 5 12PM ET
arg1
bel0
JUL 5 4PM ET
ned4
crc3
JUL 8 4PM ET
bra1
ger7
JUL 9 4PM ET
arg4
ned2
JUL 12 4PM ET
bra0
ned3
JUL 13 3PM ET
arg0
ger1

Peterlin Signs with Everton: Lessons for MLS

peterlinweb Peterlin Signs with Everton: Lessons for MLS

American Anton Peterlin has signed with Everton. Who you ask? Peterlin, is a former midfielder for Cal Poly, and UC Santa Cruz as well as having played in the PDL as many collegiate footballers do with the Ventura County Fusion.

Peterlin grew up in San Francisco around the game with Danish parents and developed a love for the beautiful game. Like many good young American players he used the college system and the PDL to improve his skills and become a more mature and comfortable player.

Graham Smith manages Ventura County and he recommended Peterlin to David Moyes.

Peterlin trained with the first team for eight days and at the end of this period has been signed by the Liverpool based club which is a regular in European competition. Peterlin will continue his PDL career this summer before moving to England in the fall.

Manager David Moyes stated to Sky Sports, “Anton really impressed myself and the coaching staff with his attitude and undoubted ability.” This is the same player who spent four years playing college soccer and in the PDL and did not get an MLS offer despite being given a few trials.

Most logically the San Jose Earthquakes should have discovered and signed this player. But perhaps Frank Yallop could not burn a roster spot on him thanks to the restrictive squad rules in MLS. Also the player would have had to go through a dispersal process or some sort of other convoluted system to sign.

However had Peterlin been a foreign player who had featured in a few Argentine second division matches he would have had a long line of MLS suitors. What is wrong with this picture? The top domestic professional league in the country cannot even mine its own areas for talent that may interest top European clubs, yet continue to spend boatloads of cash on unproven foreign players who end up spending half a season in the league and going home handsomely compensated after providing little positive impact. (see Francisco Carracio, Mathias Cordoba, Gonzalo Martinez and Denislon for examples from the last two seasons)

Don Garber, the commissioner of Major League Soccer has gone on the record as of two weeks ago declaring that MLS needs more foreign players. Sure MLS needs more foreign players if they continue to ignore large portions of the domestic game, missing on players and even refusing to pay a transfer fee to teams in leagues below MLS in the USSF pyramid.

Sorry Don, you are wrong. As we will discuss in a more detailed piece later this week, what MLS needs to do is focus on keeping its American and Canadian player base at home. It was the American player who made several MLS clubs profitable, and the American player who earned MLS its first TV rights fee in 2006. It is the American player who will give all for this league, not some arrogant foreign player who may have suited up for Liverpool or Real Madrid’s youth team that is seeking a pay day that will carry MLS forward.

Peterlin is just the latest example of an American player who has been missed by MLS and has signed in Europe.  Not only does this make a point about the restrictive rules of the league and the league’s growing addiction to foreign players but also reminds us how poorly scouted many parts of the US are by MLS.

MLS clubs are so sweaty about getting quality players from South America or the Caribbean who play for professional clubs that they miss the large number of quality youngsters playing their trade in the PDL. Three impact three players from USL-2 made immediately in MLS late last season (Khulmalo, Janicki, Mbuta) should have been a wake up call to MLS GMs and the league that if you mine the talent playing in USL-1, USL-2 and the PDL you don’t need expensive scouting trips to deep reaches of the globe.

MLS could easily leave USL as a legitimate second/third division with complete second/third division talent with less arrogance and better scouting. But that still is not happening.

Sadly, the Peterlin signing with Everton further proves MLS has yet to learn the lessons so obvious to many of us.

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 →
This entry was posted in Anton Peterlin, Leagues: Major League Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Peterlin Signs with Everton: Lessons for MLS

  1. Joey Clams says:

    Bravo, Kartik.

    A couple of things, though: the cultural experience of going to Europe – if only for a while – remains a motivating factor.

    And I wouldn’t be surprised if MLS purposely overlooks locals in favor of image-seekers with pony-tails just to make the league appear more exotic.

  2. Fan says:

    Typical reactionary whining. One kid falls through the cracks – and for all we know he could be back in MLS in a year because Moyes overrated him – and the sky is falling.

    “The top domestic professional league in the country cannot even mine its own areas for talent that may interest top European clubs” should have finished with “yet Chivas has two kids it discovered on its rosters, Houston and LA have signed homegrown players and players like Andrew Jacobson and Kyle Davies have come back to MLS after testing the waters in Europe” instead of the petulant whining that you chose to include.

  3. LBS says:

    Moyes is known as a pretty good judge of player ability.

    And under his tutelage he will improve.

    I’d blame your coaches, support staff and scouts over there. If this guy had try outs for MLS teams there is something amiss. He’s a defensive midfielder isn’t he? Possibly stamina and hard tackling and positional sense were overlooked by your coaches cos he couldn’t do ronaldo step overs.

  4. Pyro says:

    Fan – Kartik would be well served to post a list of these type of players. Jay DeMerit comes to mind. Jose Francisco Torres also does.

    While the article is good, the league needs to find the balance between homegrown scouting and expensive foriegn trips. Right now, as you correctly pointed out, the needle is pointed too far in the non-US sector.

    Also, stating that the American player got this and that for the league completely devalues the at least equally positive contributions of the long list of foriegn players who came to play and put butts in the seats: Etcheverry, Nowak, Blanco, Beckham (yes even him, but more with the butts and less with the play), John, Schelotto, Valderrama, and on and on.

  5. Fan- This is just the latest in a pattern of mistakes by the league after very sound fiscal management between 2002 and 2006 which saw the league’s financial health improve and the American player pool deepen at a rapid rate.

    You could find a half dozen american players on an PDL team that would have been as effective in MLS as Carracio, Cordoba or Franco Neill but as Joey Clams states the league likes exotic signings thinking by saying they have 25 argentines in the league the product looks more credible. The whole thing is a sham. If you routinely are losing your best domestic talent and allowing mid tier domestic players to go to leagues in Scandinavia you have serious issues. Adding more foreign players just worsens the problem. We need to do the opposite as I will outline later this week.

  6. kyle says:

    MLS will never be a good league with the rules they have now. There are some real talents on the U17 team that just played in the Concacaf qualifiers for the U17 world cup. I bet most of those kids will all sign with European Clubs and never play in MLS.

  7. Travis says:

    MLS has missed on tons of American guys over the years. I agree with your sentiments about the USL players who went to MLS last year- don’t forget Mac Kanji. While many are foreign they come through the American college system or PDL and are simply ignored by MLS in favor of sexy sounding latin names.

    This borders on criminal.

  8. Lee says:

    The biggest mistake MLS has made recently is disbanding the reserve league. I cannot fathom how a a league at the top of their countries pyramid would purposely decide to not have something to develop players beyond their senior squads. I don’t see how it serves the teams, the league or the sport to rely solely on scouting to fill out rosters.

    -Lee

  9. PZ says:

    The number of players going overseas is one thing. It’s sad that so many can make a better living on the sport playing at the lower levels in Europe…or even Chili. Another is the number of players who pass up an MLS contract because USL clubs are willing to pay more…but what is really sad is the number of good players who decide to pursue other opportunities rather than soccer. Look at Hercules Gomez. How many good players are going to keep trying to make it for so long? He kept getting cut and he kept going back to PDL until he finally got his break and he hasn’t looked back since. Most will look for something more stable much sooner than he did. That is the problem. Rather than develop talent, like the poorly designed reserve league (RIP) was supposed to do, MLS is going back to the NFL plan of only taking players already developed. The thing is, look at Man U. How many players have they developed through their academy who end up in their first team? Unlike Man Utd, MLS would rather buy Beckham than develop him and make a little money to spend on finding the next one.

  10. Brazilian Fan says:

    Brilliant Kartik. Just awesome.

    I dont know why, but seems like MLS refuse itself to have players who played in USL just for the heck of it. I dont know, thats the view i got since i became a MLS fan in 2006.

    I love watching the league and really hope that MLS become one of the best leagues in the world, BUT, with this rules and mistakes, is becoming harder and harder to see this happen.

    Its about time to MLS invest more in scouting and academies. Draft System should not be the only way to get young players. Yes, MLS needs foreign players. Angel, Blanco, Monteiro, Freddie, Schelotto, Joseph, Guevara, Emilio and others are needed (even if many are old) cuz they bring a different style of playing, experience, quality to the league. But, in a rooster of 24, cant the teams have more than 16 domestic players? The American and Canadian players are not good enought to play in MLS (but they are for the Europe)?

    If MLS cant afford to have the top players (especially canadians and americans) because of the salary cap, why not invest in the young quality players and later “export” them to Europe and gain some money with the transfer fee?

    I cant understand…

    Cheers Kartik

  11. Nick Prodanovich says:

    PZ

    MLS did NOT give up the Reserve League because it saw no value in it. MLS gave up the League because as currently formulated it was not providing sufficient value for the cost of maintaining the league and the affect it was having on the senior roster of MLS teams.

    The reserve league was providing a few players here and there, but the cost to run the League was immense and all out of proportion to the few players it was identifying. Consider the travel and support cost of having each MLS team send its reserve team out to all the away games and then cover the cost of hotels and meals. In return for a multi million dollar cost, MLS was adding 5 to 10 occasional starters to the League.

    For much less money MLS teams can scout or cherry pick other leagues both domestically or abroad for similiar players.

    The other major point was that whatever money was being spent on the reserves was not being spend on the first team. Many of the coaches and FOs felt it would be more benefitial to have this money added to the first team and to have the first team roster expanded.

  12. PZ says:

    Nick,

    It was done on a shoestring and only half-hearted. How many years did it run? 4? If money and return on investment were the key factors, MLS would have closed shop and gone home in 2000. No, even though one of the selling points of MLS has always been that it develops American talent, it hasn’t. It simply, like you said, cherry picks, players that were developed elsewhere.

    I don’t believe the reserve league was given a fair chance and it really was only done half-assed. How many games did the kids get? How many do the kids at the bottom end of the roster now get? How does practicing and watching for the stands and maybe getting a couple of games on the bench (oh, and a run out in an Open Cup game against a PDL team) really help develop players? If I was finishing my college career and offered $24k to say I’m on an MLS team, I’d go looking somewhere else. USL? Europe? Who knows? But I’d rather go play somewhere than sit on the bench and rot away in MLS. At least getting a few games I’d get the chance to develop further.

    As for redistributing the $100k or whatever in player wages by cutting the reserves, c’mon, Beckham spends more in a year on his hair.

    No, if MLS is only going to make a half-assed effort in finding the best players in the country (though Donovan, Adu, Altadore etc were ‘discovered’ by US Soccer not MLS) and insist it’s better to spend the money on journeymen South American players, fine. However, don’t sell us that they are giving us the best product they can. MLS is simply about producing a profit, not a quality product.

  13. Scott says:

    MLS, right now, can’t afford to develop talent. The league needs to be profitable first. Whe the teams, and the league are profitable, THEN owners will look more toward developing home grown talent. Until then, finding reasonably developed talent is all that makes sense.

    According to The Best Eleven, http://www.thebesteleven.com/2008/04/former-usl-players-now-in-mls.html , there are 42 active MLS players that came from USL 1 or 2 teams (list doesn’t seem to include Kanji). That’s not including players that came thru PDL (Nick Noble went Chicago Fire after playing for 2 PDL teams and WVU). Obviously MLS looks at USL.

    Also, how many American players prove to be duds for every Franco Niell?

  14. eplnfl says:

    Cheers and jeers on this one Kartik. Cheers for standing up to the policy of downplaying if not only downgrading US talent. It does appear that MLS higher ups have decided that there is a greater need for foreign talent in the MLS. Slight pause here, they maybe be right short term, especially if expansion stays on a steady pace. Long term, MLS must develop and keep great American talent. In the future the players with the talent of Adu, Altidore, Howard, etc. must stay in MLS.

    I think mention should be made of the good results that the MLS is having with it’s college draft. It appears to me that the draft is beginning to produce talent on a regular basis for MLS teams.

    As to Anton Peterlin, and yes there are a few others like him ie: Jay DeMerit, he was overlooked at home and is going off to try to make his name in Europe. Does Kurt Warner ring a bell, headed off to Holland. Does Doug Flutie and the CFL ring a bell. It happens all the time, the best to Anton but he may never play in a Prem game for Everton.

  15. Peter C says:

    Brazilian Fan:

    I thought I had read that MLS had mandated all teams begin to establish academies or youth programs. Rummaged through my old links and found these… They’re a little old but still relevant.

    From US Youth Soccer

    From USSF

    I visited all of the MLS team sites and each one is running programs for young players. Will MLS’ youth programs eventually look like other academy models around the globe? Maybe, maybe not, but either way there are youth programs with direct MLS team affiliations in motion.

    It will be interesting to see what they look like in ten years.

  16. Stuart says:

    I’m a season ticket holder at Goodison (Everton’s Ground). Moyes’ has been looking for a defensive midfielder since Carsley left last year (he was 34) and he signed the Belgian captain (who is only 20 by the way) and then this kid. Our Captain, Phil Neville, is also playing as a defensive midfielder. But Moyes is fantastic at finding talent where others can’t see it, so we’ll just wait and see i guess.

  17. peteo says:

    Agreeing with what “Scott” said above. Isn’t the league stable enough now, but in order to improve, it needs money. It ain’t getting it from the average American sports fan, so it is going after the soccer fan in general who has looked down on MLS (disparagingly termed Eurosnob). How else to attract those fans and their money than to improve the on-field product immediately? Once semi-successful, they can go back and focus on not letting domestic talent fall through the cracks.

  18. Lewis Keen says:

    Great Point, Dont Miss Our American Boys!

  19. Jon says:

    Kartik, you clearly have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

    Peterlin wasn’t “missed” by MLS scouts. He hasn’t “fallen through the cracks”. Coaches and scouts were all fully aware of him and his talents and achievements, both at college and in the PDL. The truth is that MLS *intentionally* didn’t invite him to the combine, and therefore didn’t draft him, because the Everton deal was already in the works. It’s exactly the same as Marcus Tracy – why would an MLS team waste a draft pick on a player who was never going to sign for them? Houston only drafted Tracy so that they would hold his rights in case he fell through with Aalborg.

    Peterlin had been on Everton and David Moyes’ radar for six months beforehand, when Everton came over to California on their pre-season tour and played against VC Fusion.

  20. BlueOtto says:

    Bottom line, the Moyesiah knows talent when he sees it (sorry, Kroldrup and Van der Meyde) and apparently we do seem to miss talent from time to time here (he did have trials with San Jose and Chicago). Jon seems to make some good points about his being “overlooked” but I have to ask, were those trials before Mighty Everton’s interest “scared off” potential US suitors or did they have him in only to pass leaving the door open for the Moyesiah to swoop?

  21. Mike says:

    You can’t force Americans to play in MLS if they want to ply their trade abroad.

    Congratulations to Peterlin for signing with Everton.

  22. ambala says:

    There is a mistake in you article. His parents are not both Danish (only his mother is), his father is Slovenian – Matija Peterlin.
    Anton’s a grandson of Anton Peterlin who was an internationally-acclaimed scientist – physicist.

  23. Thanks Ambala for the correction. I was just restating what was on the press release on the USL website which said he was born to Danish parents in California which made him EU passport eligible. Slovenia is an EU member (in fact they are opposed to Croatia joining) so that too would make him eligible.

    Thanks again.

  24. BRIAN WILDING says:

    I am old enough to remember the old NASL to compare it to MSL. To me the’re one and the same!
    Instead of trying to lure players who are either bordering on retirement or have failed to make the grade in South America or Spain etc, you should be trying to nurture your obviously own grown talent.
    The powers should be taken away from the MLS and be given to the owners of the clubs as it is in the rest of FIFA. The MLS can still administer the rights of the league, including the TV rights, without dictating contracts or rights to sell or buy players. To make yourselves one of the biggest leagues in the world and to attract big players the MLS needs to reinvent itself and not follow the mould of the MLB or NFL. Ask yourselves why are the likes of the Glazers, Learner, Gillette etc not investing in MLS?
    I AM a true blooded EVERTON fan and i admit i’ve had to do some research on Anton Peterlin to find out what David Moyes finds so interesting in him as do alot of Evertonians here in England.
    What i’ve found is that, via my brother in LA, it was’nt the fact that he was’nt good enough but he wanted to do a degree as a doctor or whatever so if he did’nt make the grade he had something to fall back on, which in my book makes him one smart cookie for his age.
    David Moyes ( or GOD as we call him) would’nt waste his time if he thought Anton was a gamble, he’s noticed the talent and the hunger plus enthusiasm, and that what he looks for in a player. So now its upto Anton, no one can match David Moyes and his his training staff to spot potential! e.g. Wayne Rooney, Jack Rodwell plus players he has plucked from lower leagues and turned them into full pros at international level e.g. Leighton Baines, Julian Lescott and Phil Jagielka which are all now England Internationals.
    If Anton realises his potential will he play for the U.S.A or Denmark? Thats the risk the MLS is taking and can they afford that risk? not just with Anton but with other possible talent?

  25. BRIAN WILDING says:

    p.s. One the subject of salary caps, I would agree to it and so would the world would agree to it apart from Spain,France and Italy who run FIFA, so forget it, they dont like a level playing field. They look after the so called big 14!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>