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Why International Stars Should Consider Destinations Besides NY and LA

498018484 b5ac7aeba3 Why International Stars Should Consider Destinations Besides NY and LA

Photo by Ronnie Macdonald

The weekly MLS Talk podcast (subscribe via iTunes) discussed this week among other things the newest international star giving “come hither” looks to the American soccer league: AC Milan’s Clarence Seedorf.  Seedorf of course is (reportedly) looking to make one last huge paycheck and expand his media presence, similar to Thierry Henry and everyone’s favorite Tottenham Galaxy player.  If he were to come to MLS, he has said he wants to play for, not surprisingly, Los Angeles or New York.

No offense to the great LA and NY fans, but I am tired of international stars overlooking the (now) 16 other MLS clubs when they want to play in MLS.  For budget reasons alone, not every international star can play for either the Galaxy or Red Bulls; at some point they have to disperse among other major league clubs.  Even if the Cosmos existed as an MLS franchise in 2013, that’s still only three designated player spots.

So as a service to the Ronaldinhos/Seedorfs/Anelkas/Pirlos of the world, the following are reasons why they would want to play for another MLS club.  These arguments are not just for this season, but for the future as well.  Share your thoughts in the comments section below:

Chicago Fire: Chicago is one of the top-five largest cities in America, and a business and shopping hub.  If you are an international star looking for a big-city American experience, Chicago’s your place.  The food is good, the nightlife is quality, and Chicago fans appreciate their sports teams.  Heck, they may even give you a statue if you do well enough.  It is also a very ethnically diverse city, where the traditional Polish and German immigrants now mix with people from around the globe.

Chivas USA: If you want the LA experience, Chivas is a second option.  The club spun out of an existing well-known Mexican club, so even if Chivas itself is not full of history the brand is a good one.  Spanish or Latin American stars would be an excellent fit for this club with its strong Hispanic support and namesake, but anyone who wants the benefits of Los Angeles without taking a Galaxy DP spot can find a home here.

Colorado Rapids: Although not located in downtown Denver, the Rapids are a short drive away from one of America’s most beautiful cities, as well as darn good skiing.  The management has ties to England and the Premier League, so our star would have the stability of playing for a club that understands European soccer.  And dismiss it all you want, but they are the 2010 MLS Cup champions so you are playing for a recent winner.

Columbus Crew: While not a huge name worldwide, Guillermo Barros Schelotto showed that an international player can succeed at Columbus and fit into the culture.  Columbus is one of the more storied MLS franchises and, if you want to come over to the States in the next few years, the team can make you the centerpiece and face of practically a new team.

D.C. United: At least one other person in town will speak your language, as your home country’s embassy will be a short distance away from your stadium (wherever that may be).  DC is a vibrant international city that can be quirky but caters to an international audience.  Increasingly great food options, diverse places to live, and a solid nightlife make this an LA-lite location.  And of course the club is the most decorated in the league’s history but undergoing a rebuild, so anyone making the trip in the next few years can partake in that.  And if you want to be involved in politics…….

FC Dallas: Increasingly Dallas is being seen as one of the centers of U.S. sports, and not just because of the Cowboy’s temple to excess.  Dallas is a big meeting and convention town, so all of those visitor amenities like food and nightlife are growing quickly.  The town also has a large Hispanic fanbase so like Chivas a Spanish or Latin American star would feel at home.

Houston Dynamo: Houston has many of the same advantages as Dallas, but it has an even faster growing Hispanic population.  And once its new stadium is built, it will have state of the art facilities that will be an attraction to any itinerant soccer player.

New England Revolution: Steve Nicol is obviously an experience international player and coach, so any overseas star could relate to him.  The fanbase is passionate and really support their team, which is not a small point in a country that seems to outsiders to disdain soccer.  And if they get a soccer stadium, then this is a premier destination for designated players.

Philadelphia Union: Much like Chicago, Philadelphia is a big city known for food and business.  As a new team, you have the chance to be the team’s first legend, which may be appealing to the bigger egos.  And you are a short trip away from the New York and DC media centers.

Portland: Even I admit, Portland, Oregon seems like a tough sell.  But consider this – what Pele was to the Cosmos, you Mr. EPL or Serie A could be to Portland.  Although the Timbers have a rich lower league history, the top-flight club could have its identity established by their international star and he would receive adoration from a passionate fan base.

Real Salt Lake: If you want to play for a winner, play here.  You would be playing for a team that is professionally run and poised to challenge for an MLS Cup in the foreseeable future.  And for those who think Salt Lake City is not a good destination, consider the international community flocking to it during the Olympics.  Growing tourist destination and all that entails are contained here.

San Jose: San Jose is in beautiful sunny California and not too far from the major California cities, a plus to expand your international brand.

Seattle: There is a reason MLS begins there season here seemingly every year.  Seattle is a soccer-mad city and their fans rival those of many European clubs.  If you want the packed-house passionate fan feeling you got at Anfield or the San Siro, this may be as close as you get in MLS.  And the team’s pretty good too.

Sporting Kansas City: Kansas City is a large media market, not as big as LA but still larger than Columbus’s and Salt Lake City’s.  That’s not saying much, but you would also be the face of the franchise, especially if Teal Bunbury goes overseas.

Toronto: Besides New York and LA, I think Toronto is the best destination for an established international star.  It is culture rich, full of good food and nightlife, and as diverse as a city can get.  You are not in the U.S., but you have an adoring fan base and are a few short hours from New York.  Their top advisor is a former World Cup star, their manager and general manager were established international names.

Vancouver: A combination of Toronto and Portland, Vancouver has the Canadian feel and a very passionate fan base where, again, you become the face of the franchise.

43 Responses to Why International Stars Should Consider Destinations Besides NY and LA

  1. Dan says:

    LA & NY are the only cities really worldly famous that people want to live in. Sorry other 16 MLS clubs

  2. Taylor M says:

    Sorry Dan, but you couldn’t be more wrong. If top talent will play in Blackburn, it’ll play in any major American city for the right price.

    Although that said it got hard to take this article seriously in the sections about Columbus and Frisco (Dallas). Schelotto proves what, exactly? When Europeans bristle at the idea of playing outside our two big metropolises, I’ve got to think the culprit includes ideas of playing in a quarter full stage/soccer venue somewhere in central Ohio or exurban Texas in 100 degree wet August heat.

    • Dan says:

      Sorry Taylor M, but you are actually even more wrong.

      Hmmm lets compare prestige and skill level from Columbus Crew or any of the “other 16″ mls clubs to that of Blackburn? Hmm so we have a club in the top flight of probably the best league in the world and we have a host of clubs in what is still considered a retirement home. well if you retire u might as well live in a nice city right? case. point.

      • Dave C says:

        I think you’re both right and wrong to a certain extent.

        It is kind of true that NY and LA are seen as by far the best places to live, even amongst people in the US. That’s a little unfair to Chicago, Philly and a handful of other places, but there’s a reason people commonly refer to 90% of the nation as “fly-over country”. And that’s a hard rep to shake off, especially if you’re trying to market yourself to a relatively young man with millions of dollars in his pockets.

        But at the same time, it’s also true that if big stars will play for Blackburn, they’ll play anywhere if the price is right.

        However, I think the key thing is that players coming to Blackburn are doing it roughly in the peak of their career, to play at the highest level they can (or as a stepping stone to somewhere higher). They can tolerate living in a relatively crappy place* in return for the benefits it brings to their career.

        I think players coming to the MLS on the other hand, are doing it more as a “lifestyle choice”. They’re coming over because they want the celebrity ritziness of living in LA or NY, but with the relative anonyimity they couldn’t get in Europe. That’s why it’s a tough sell to get big stars to come to Denver, Portland or Salt Lake.

        I accept that not all soccer stars are the same, and there may well be some who want a relatively quiet life. However, I think for a lot of them, they want the whole “celebrity” culture thing of swanky nightclubs, dating models, selling their own aftershave brands, hanging out at fashion shows, being friends with movie stars, etc etc, and this is really only available in NY and LA. Apologies to everywhere else.

  3. Clayton says:

    In general I think foreigners just like those cities because of movies and TV shows and they probably have never visited or looked into any other American city. Europeans are accustomed to countries with one or two major cities. I don’t think they understand that we have several cities that can offer the lifestyle they are looking for. I also found it hilarious that Mourinho said he wants to coach the Galaxy and live in Malibu…the commute from Malibu to Carson would be about 3-4 hours each way. Now for the specifics on the markets…

    I’m confused how you had trouble coming up with a sell for Portland but you really think an international star would go to Ohio??? Portland might be one of the easiest sells to a European star because it is the most European city in the US, not to mention the stadium and the fan support is going to be the most authentic in MLS. There is no argument for anyone to live in Ohio, let alone a world soccer star…the weather sucks, the economy sucks, and the people suck. You also completely short-changed Chicago by lumping it in with Philly. Have you ever been to Chicago?? Top 5 city in the US? Try by far the 3rd largest city in the US and also the best skyline in the Western hemisphere. The main reason Chicago is not included with LA and NY is that the Fire ownership group doesn’t have the deep pockets of AEG or Red Bull (not to mention the stadium is in Bridgeview).

    New England and DC would be great if they got urban stadiums. Seattle and the Canadian cities should have no problems getting DPs, including Montreal when they enter the league. SJ, Chivas, Houston and Dallas will probably be able to attract Mexican DPs easily. The best argument for KC and Philly is that they are quintessential American cities, so they could sell a player on being able to experience the typical American lifestyle. RSL and Colorado have skiing I guess, but those teams seem to be doing fine without DPs.

    • AD22 says:

      “… completely short-changed Chicago by lumping it in with Philly.”

      Holy smokes, my friend, re-read the article and get back to me. If anything, Philly was short-changed by having it compared to Chicago, not the other way around. We may be a club with a short history, but the city is one of the most (if not THE most) historical and diverse cities in the nation. And whatever international star does come over, will have to accept that he could potentially be the team’s SECOND legend (behind SLT9).

      • Nate says:

        Le Toux Legit 2 Quit!!! We miss you in Seattle

      • Nate says:

        It’s hilarious how little people seem to know about the Pacific Northwest. Everyone was so damned surprised by Seattle’s success around the country, when we all knew what would happen when we joined the league.

        I love to hate Portland, and they love to hate us. The Vancouver rivalry is a little more friendly but no less intense. All three teams up here will provide a passionate fan base and will be competitive on the field.

        Any European star who is looking for an amazing North American experience would do well by joining a PNW club. If they are looking for a payday then NY or LA can have em.

  4. Clampdown says:

    It will happen, eventually. As the league gets better and is viewed more positively around the world, some of these better-known players will choose other cities. The draw to NY and LA is obvious and undeniable.

    This is clearly written, though, by an insider looking out. Though I live in NY, I love a lot of the other cities that already have teams (Dallas and Columbus not so much) and have had the luxury of having friends and family in some of them. But for an outsider, many of them would be a tough sell. A visit on match day to a cities like Seattle and Chicago, though, would probably win over many considering a move to MLS.

  5. DG says:

    Being a Philly guy and a Union fan I believe we shouldn’t have a problem attracting a solid DP…having said that…being in the shadow of NYC will always prove difficult for the Union.
    Vancouver shouldn’t have a problem getting a big Euro DP because they are friggen Hollywood north. Couple that with the fact that Vancouver is one of the most attractive cities in North America they’ll be fine…

    • Charles says:

      Define solid DP.

      Seattle signed Montero to a DP contract. THAT is solid.
      Seattle signed Ljungberg to a DP contract. THAT was PATHETIC.

      I won’t got though the rest of the league, but my gut feeling is in Seattle with the other two DPs, the other “star” will continue to be a disappointment, while the other unknown will shine.

  6. Dave C says:

    Seedorf would seem to be a natural fit for NY, given that he contributes to the NY Times on a fairly regular basis (Ok that’s a tenuous link, I admit…). Do Redbulls even have any DP spots available for him though? Maybe he could wait and become the first big signing if/when the Cosmos get a franchise.

    • Clampdown says:

      I think he just likes NY. I agree he would be a natural fit, and yes, RBNY has a DP slot available. The organization said they wouldn’t add a DP this winter but might in the summer.

  7. Charles says:

    These international “stars”…(really ex-stars, am I wrong ?)…are a dime a dozen. There is a player a week that announces he would like to do this.
    Based only on supply and demand those guys should be worth about $22,500 per year.

    Away from that I have to disagree with you Robert Hay in many of these areas. The way to make money is from things away from your contract. Get the rights to buy a MLS team at a fixed price, jersey sales, commercials etc.
    Tough to do that in some of those markets, because they are so small and/or they don’t have any fan base.

    ************************************************
    If 1 out of 20 watch a game in the NY Metro Stat Area, that is 950,000 people.
    IF 1 out of 4 watch a game in the Seattle MSA…….850,000 people.
    *************************************************

    There IS a reason MLS wants a parity league, and it isn’t because they want them to lose in CCL or because they are morons.

    • Dave C says:

      Yawn, another attempt at a cheap shot against anything European…sure your favourite example Freddie Ljungberg could be described as an “ex-star”, given that he was way past his best, and not even getting in the team at West Ham when he switched to MLS, but to call any of the Ronaldinhos/Seedorfs/Anelkas/Pirlos the world “ex-stars” is kind of ridiculous.

      As for your supply and demand point…I know this flies in the face of one of your many cherished made-up-facts, but there isn’t a huge legion of European players queuing up to join MLS. A handful mention it casually in interviews (as they have done for years, and in the same manner as they discuss playing in Australia or the middle east), but few of them ever come to fruition. So there’s a hardly a big supply. And certainly not a big enough supply to draw a smaller wage than a bottom-of-the-ladder MLS journeyman.

      • Charles says:

        Come on Dave C,
        I didn’t just say Europe did I ? no, no, no I didn’t.

        There aren’t that many MLS teams looking for washed up EX, yes I said it again, EX-Stars is more of the truth.

        A handful ? Are you kidding, do you read about soccer at all ?
        5 ? You listed 4, there is only one more ?

        Just calling them like I see them, and I am not alone. The DPs that have been signed have been pathetic/unavailable/injured

        …and most of the time all three. That equals EX-Star.

        Go ahead and list the DP stars accomplishments in MLS.
        I would LOVE to see that.

        • Robert says:

          Charles you’re right. DPs don’t accomplish anything just look at how Sounders Franchise Club got spanked in the Concacaf Champions League. Fernandez and Montero really crapped the bed.

        • Dave C says:

          Specifically the article is talking about attracting “stars” such as Ronaldinho, Pirlo, Anelka, Seedorf, etc to MLS. So unless you’re just rambling completely off-topic, I think you’re being a bit crazy describing them as “ex-stars”, given that (with the recent exception of Ronaldinho), they’re all regular starters at two of the biggest clubs in the world.

          And yes, right now there are no more than a handful (at best) of genuine big names talking seriously about coming to MLS. Unless you consider the likes of Darren Huckerby and Danny Dichio to be big stars.

    • ExtraMedium says:

      Charles, you’re 100% right. Btw, the best way to mix quality with competitive balance is to have multiple teams in your biggest markets. Thnk what would happen to EPL results if Man U, Arsenal, and Liverpool didn’t have local rivals siphoning off revenue.

    • ExtraMedium says:

      “There IS a reason MLS wants a parity league, and it isn’t because they want them to lose in CCL or because they are morons.”

      1. Squeeze franchise fees out of 2nd tier cities.
      2. Squeeze tax dollars out of local governments on behalf of AEG so they can make money staging matches with Super Clubs, host monster truck rallies, and Taylor Swift concerts. In Texas throw-in high school football games.

  8. AP says:

    I think Donald Trump should shell out to build a stadium for the Cosmos and get them to the MLS ASAP!

    • Charles says:

      There is NO WAY anyone is going to loan Donald Trump money to build a stadium.

      He is a deadbeat !

      just mention his name and you cause credit guys to run away…full speed.

  9. Trevor says:

    These players are still ultimately people and there’s no surprise that LA and NY are the two most popular destinations in MLS. They’re two great cities with nearly everything a european star with money to burn would need.

    No offense to many of the other cities, but it’s tough to compete with two of the planets great cities and two of the bigger MLS franchises.

  10. Chris says:

    Why do you list Chicago as “Top 5″ in terms of size when it’s 3rd behind NY and LA (and 4th is not even close)?

  11. Charles says:

    Off topic, but MLS is on Fox for one more year.
    Terms not disclosed.

  12. John says:

    Have you been to many of these cities? I’ve been to all save Kansas City and Boston. I’m not from Portland, but I know it well enough to know that is only a hard sell if you’ve never been there. It is a fantastic town, better than Salt Lake and Los Angeles for different reasons. Philadelphia on the other hand, is America’s bowling alley. Fun for an hour until the grime overwhelms you.
    I can’t judge KC, but I can’t imagine it’s too attractive.
    Good point overall though. If I were an international superstar looking for one last hurrah, I’d look seriously at Chicago, Seattle, and Houston. DC’s a great town but they play in a decrepit stadium that will never come close to capacity for an MLS game (except when Beckham is in town . . . the first time).

  13. cd9 says:

    If you’re a young late-20′s early-30′s international soccer superstar, San Jose would be a great place to go to get yourself and your brand linked up with 21st century business titans Apple, Google, Facebook etc.

  14. Jack from Ireland says:

    Well if anyone can play in Manchester, they can play anywhere. It’s easily the ugliest city I’ve ever seen. It’s like living in hell. Really so many of the EPL cities outside of London are just ugly.

    On the other hand, Vancouver is the most beautiful city I have been in. I’d play there in a heartbeat. Salt Lake City was also nice. So many people from around the world live there. I don’t know about San Jose, but San Fran was amazing. Boston is also a beautiful city. The problem there is the owner is cheap and then bought Liverpool.

    Many players would love to play in Miami. But that market can’t support a team.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Give me a break. Manchester is not an ugly city, nor are “EPL cities outside of London.” And Miami can support a MLS team if an owner came in who knew how to market to South Florida.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • ExtraMedium says:

      Miami Fusion attendance:
      1998: 10,284
      1999: 8,689
      2000: 7,460
      2001: 11,177 (Supporter’s Shield)
      Avg 9403

      LOL! So just when Miami was building something the lague shut them down! Hey why weren’t KC and Dallas shut down? Oh yeah, they’re part of Hunt Sports. Educate yourself. It’s called “Google,” and it’s pretty awesome: http://www.goltv.tv/wordpress/?p=2473.

      Money quotes:
      “However, there is a lot that isn’t being said in defense of the region. There were other teams that were just as bad, and headed in the wrong direction. The problem that the Mutiny had is that it was league-owned, so no one particular owner had a stake in keeping the franchise alive [EM: Huh? Whaaa? I thought single-entity *increased* stability. You know, better than open-pyramid with pro/reg?!], but all of the league owners were weighed down by the problems in Tampa…So that meant that the second doomed team would come down to Miami or Kansas City. The reason it was the Fusion rather than the Wizards is the real issue. KC had Lamar Hunt (who also helped protect his hometown Dallas – fifth worst in 2001 attendance at 12,574 -and he eventually purchased the franchise from the league a couple of years later.) Miami had Ken Horowitz. The problem with the Fusion is that the owner, for all of his faults, was sold the Brooklyn Bridge [EM: Wait, is he saying MLS is a ponzi scheme?] when he stepped in…The league was already in trouble when Horowitz bought the Fusion franchise rights in 1998. In my mind, a league struggling for investors should kiss the feet of someone who lays out $25 million [EM: How many years did Madoff get?]. Instead, it was cash call after cash call and complaint after complaint. And while many of the league’s criticisms about the running of the club might have been correct, the communication from New York was a constant irritant and there never seemed to be a carrot to go along with the stick.”

      • ExtraMedium says:

        “The closing of the troubled Tampa Bay franchise is probably certain. A last-ditch effort to get the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers owners, the GLAZER FAMILY, interested in running the team stalled last week. The team has an onerous lease, has been poor on the field and woeful at the gate. As one of the original 10 teams, it has remained unsold for six years.” http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/major_league_soccer/87278

        MLS Ultras: No American billionaire* will risk money on a team in an open-pyramid that may be relegated.
        Glazer/Henry/Lerner/Di Benedetto: Wow. Soccer’s really popular…Especially these “Super Clubs,” that aren’t restrained by salary-caps and onerous revenue sharing with Kansas City. Hm.
        MLS Ultras: ?!

        *America is the only country in the world where starting a sports business, which doesn’t require being a billionaire, requires being a billionaire. Thanks USSF! You’re doing a hell of a job Sunil.

    • Dave C says:

      I’ve been to Manchester a few times and thought it was pretty cool. Maybe not as cool NY, but certainly on a par with Philly or Chicago.

  15. David Garby says:

    I think it says a lot about Columbus, OH that you don’t mention one thing about the city that could be considered as an attractive feature about seetling down in Central Ohio… (My best try is “It’s closer to NYC than Kansas City…”.

    • Randall says:

      I am so sick of everyone on this blog ripping Columbus to shreds, writers and commenters both. Have any of you elites ever actually step foot in Columbus? Do any of you know that GBS is so fond of the city he actually wishes to move back after the end of his playing career? GBS showed an elite talent could thrive in this city, until he was forced out by an incompetent management team. The Crew was the winningest team in MLS the last 3 seasons and just continues to be crapped on because it’s not in LA or NY. This is why I’ve stopped reading this blog almost entirely.

  16. bandeeto says:

    Why would anyone choose Salt Lake over LA or NY? To win. I wouldn’t want a DP at RSL for any other reason. I don’t care if they think Utah/Salt Lake area is heaven on earth, if their one lone overriding goal is not to win then they are a waste of space on the field and poison in the locker room.

    So if international stars continue to ignore the less glitzy MLS clubs because they can’t have dinner with Tom Cruz at some restaurant that wouldn’t even let me in I am glad. I hope it stays that way.

    I’m a fan of RSL, not some talented mercenary looking for a payday and a vacation home.

  17. Pete says:

    No love for San Jose? All you could come up with was that it is in California and near it’s other major cities? How about it is the 10th largest city in the U.S., it has an extremely diverse population, a dedicated and passionate fan base? A solid team core, with a highly regarded and well like head coach? I know we might not have the luster of L.A. or N.Y., but the weather and laid back lifestyle here alone would be attractive to many European stars accustomed to sunny weather such as in Spain or Italy; much more so than playing in Columbus or Salt Lake City (no disrespect intended). Please try harder next time. San Jose deserves more than one sentence describing it’s geographical location.

  18. ExtraMedium says:

    The DP rule exists for NY and LA. Some teams are more equal than others:

    2010 Players
    1. David Beckham, Los Angeles: $6,500,000
    2. Thierry Henry, New York: $5,600,000
    3. Rafael Márquez, New York: $5,554,000
    4. Landon Donovan, Los Angeles: $2,127,778
    5. Juan Pablo Ángel, New York: $1,918,000
    6. Nery Castillo, Chicago: $1,788,060
    7. Julian de Guzman, Toronto: $1,717,546
    8. Freddie Ljungberg, Chicago: $1,314,000
    9. Mista, Toronto: $987,337
    10. Branko Boskovi?, D.C. United: $516,200

    2010 Teams
    1. New York: $15,666,639
    2. Los Angeles: $10,978,593
    3. Chicago: $5,559,103
    4. Toronto: $5,214,381
    5. Seattle: $3,118,103
    6. New England: $2,983,032
    7. Dallas: $2,924,318
    8. Kansas City: $2,905,107
    9. Philadelphia: $2,886,399
    10. D.C. United: $2,881,530
    11. Columbus: $2,808,203
    12. Colorado: $2,710,113
    13. Salt Lake: $2,645,721
    14. Houston: $2,565,875
    15. San Jose: $2,518,590
    16. Chivas USA: $2,477,548

    Source: Grant Wahl’s Planet Futbol Blog

    I’ve asked this once, and I’ll ask it again. If the DP rule allows teams to oblitirate the cap, why does the cap exist? My theory? DP’s make the most sense for LA, NY and to a lesser extent Chicago, Philly, DC and (maybe) Miami. The league sells parity to Seattle, Columbus etc. in order to collect franchise fees and other revenue, but they know big markets are what really matter in the long-term.

    • Clampdown says:

      But, the DP option is available to all teams. It is up to them whether they want to use them or not. Obviously, how much a team spends does not necessarily correlate to success. But if I were a fan of some of the teams, I’d be asking why they aren’t bringing anybody in to put fans in the seats (and yes, Charles, I know Seattle hasn’t needed a DP, and Ljungberg sucks, etc.).

      People can say all they want it’s because owners can’t afford to pay big salaries. Who buys a sports franchise with the idea that it will make money? They almost never translate to a profit. So I really wonder why a guy like Robert Kraft, for example, persists in the league. He has a potentially massive fan base, yet where is the investment to help his team compete year in and out?

      • ExtraMedium says:

        I know the DP option is available to every team. But it doesn’t really make sense for Columbus or KC (pop. ~1.1M) to spend $11+M/year on Rafa and Henry because their markets aren’t big enough to make the money back. So they don’t get DPs.

        MLS owners are people who saw the US soccer market growing even with NASL 1.0′s collapse. They realized it was only a matter of time before the market matured in order to have successful teams. But why take risks like other sports leagues? Why not design MLS the way every sports team owner in the world would like his league to be designed (This is why MLS officials keep getting invited to those “Soccer Leadership” conferences and are allowed to make key-note speeches. The head of Bolton has said he wants to end pro/reg. And why do you think Platini wants Financial Fair Play? To prevent another Leeds? Nope. To prevent another Fulham/Hoffenheim/Man City.)

        People have it backwards. MLS doesn’t want to be like the NFL. Kraft/Hunt want the NFL to look like MLS. Why do you think they’re willing to sacrifice the 2011 season?

  19. tehag says:

    I wholly 100% approve of injury-prone, prima donna, I-really-am-still-famous-in-Europe, almost has-beens playing at LA & NY.

  20. Masshole says:

    Did someone say earlier that Portland is the most European city in the US?

    hahaha.

    Our team sucks but the city is easily on of the top 5 greatest cities in North America.

  21. Masshole says:

    BOSTON !

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