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Leagues: MLS

An Open Window

In previous years the January transfer window didn’t mean a whole lot for MLS. The league for all intents and purposes retreated from the international transfer market after the 2000 season, a year when MLS was extremely aggressive in bring top international talent from European leagues to MLS, and in most cases the purchases failed to live up to the promise of the signing. MLS attendance continued to decline and the level of play on the pitch was quite honestly in 2000 worse than in 1998 or 1999.

After six years of a very disciplined almost insular player movement system, MLS is back in a big way on the market. Not only are teams in the league signing players based on an improving scouting network, but more and more MLS players are arousing interest from Europe.

  • Troy Perkins has already moved to Norway. Now interest in Matt Pickens and of course Brad Guzan from British clubs are once again indicating that MLS and the US in general develops goal keepers in mass just about better than anyone on the planet.
  • Taylor Twellman is a target for struggling Preston North End in the English Championship. Preston has had Americans before- Brian McBride and Eddie Lewis, so Twellman would fit in there.
  • New England is potentially suffering from a mass exodus. Their most valuable commodity, Shalrie Joseph has resigned and will not be moving to Celtic or any of the other high profile clubs that have pursued him in the past. However, with Andy Dorman already having left for the SPL, Taylor Twellman arousing interest from Preston and now Avery John apparently on the radar for several Championship clubs as well as Fulham (where his former Revolution team mate Clint Dempsey leads the team in goals) it may be high time for Steve Nicol and Paul Mariner to just start rebuilding.
  • Speaking of the English Championship, Steven Goff of the Washington Post is reporting that Jay Jay Okocha is leaving Hull City for Columbus if the Crew can close the deal. From my perspective this is a complete waste of time and money on the Crew’s part. Okocha will likely be added to the long list of MLS signing busts of the last several seasons.
  • Goff is also reporting that Columbian defender Gonzalo Martinez is headed to DC United. I have also heard a report that Claudio Lopez, whose career with Argentina is over and he is now 33 could be headed to Kansas City to replace Eddie Johnson who is apparently heading somewhere outside MLS. Lopez is another aged signing that like Blanco and Schelotto could actually work out. Martinez I will admit I know little about, but DC United has the best track record in the league for signing foreign talent.
  • The big one done deal is a good one in my mind. Duilio Davino is in my mind one of the better defenders in the Mexican League and of course has been capped close to 90 times for Mexico’s National Team. I am surprised FC Dallas was able to find the cash under the salary cap to sign a player who has been a critical part of Club America’s success over the past decade. In Davino, the Hoops don’t only get a quality defender but a guy who can sell tickets- common perception is that any Mexican can sell tickets, but I am of the belief a Mexican who played for Club America is always a better investment from a marketing standpoint than a player, even a superior player who spent the bulk of their career with any other Mexican club other than Chivas. I’ve seen polling data of Mexican League fans in the United States and the drop off in support between the top two clubs and third most popular club (Cruz Azul) is dramatic.
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  1. Joe

    January 13, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    I agree football detective. What is worse is this was Twellman’s last shot perhaps in Europe and they have just like they did with Shalrie Joseph denied his passage to greener pastures.

  2. football detective

    January 13, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    The deal for Twellman is dead.

    Stupid move by MLS. Foreign teams are going to look for players elsewhere if MLS continues to turn down resonable offers for U.S. players.

  3. Martek

    January 11, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    There is now way this is going to change as long as the relative salaries between MLS and the major Euro leagues are so different. It seems that MLS’ “plan” — based on the simple philosophy of “We’re not going the way of NASL” — is to address this situation long term by slowly growing the league, slowly increasing revenue, establishing the foundation through marketing (Soccer United Marketing) and the construction of Soccer specific stadia. The thing is, what I’m trying to nail down is this: Under what conditions — meaning how many stadia are there, what is the average attendance, what is the profit margin, those sorts of things — will MLS be able to match European salaries?

  4. Kartik

    January 11, 2008 at 11:40 am

    It is possible the Michael Jordan of American soccer will still be Freddy Adu, and its important he continues to sound a diplomatic tone about MLS rather than trashing it as he perhaps is entitled to do considering how poorly he was handled here.

  5. eplnfl

    January 10, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Your post brings the question to mind that the real threat to American soccer is the talent drain from the MLS to European leagues. This of course is something the Eurosnobs never bring up and the frantic European press avoids mentioning when a major European player is signed by the MLS. One day soon the Michael Jordan of American soccer will appear. IF he stays in the US to play, the MLS is made a fixture, but if he plays only at the end of his playing days in the MLS, the league will never gain complete acceptance in this country.

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