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Poll: Who Do You Support? MLS or MLS Players Union?


Negotiations continue in the stalemate between Major League Soccer and the players union, and a strike now looks more likely to happen unless a new collective bargaining agreement is in place.

The negotiations have split the soccer community between those that sympathize with the players and those who want Major League Soccer to stand firm. And it now it looks possible that an agreement may not be place before the first kick of the 2010 Major League Soccer season when Philadelphia Union plays Seattle Sounders.

But what about you? Who do you support? Vote in the poll below and share your opinions in the comments section below.

[polldaddy poll=2842978]

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  1. Fc seoul

    March 14, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Hello mls! I come from Korea and big fan of dc united. Sorry for mey English but I want to know what the players are fighting for. what is free agency and guaranteed contracts? I hope mls works out with players so I can watch dc united win!

  2. Rbny s.c. Forever

    March 14, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Also independent clubs free agency and basic FIFA rights to players can aloe the league to grow and come closer to international standards. Garber cannot possible say that allowing “franchises” to buy one old expensive fart or ask epl clubs to become our pimps and turn mls into a dumpster for the epl. You know what that will do? Garber already set a cap on our growth and asking epl clubs to buy our clubs is terrible. Epl is terrified of the fact that any league will take over as the best league to play in and know that mls is a threat. I don’t mean to sound like a eurosnob cuz I’m not but it’s not just the epl that give fair FIFA rights to players but the world. And for a country that calls the baseball championship the world series when only the USA clubs play in, we need to get onthe ball, soccer is a different sport and the fans are a different breed of fans. Support the players. I mean even Hans backe is uneasy about mls rules.

  3. Saw

    March 14, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Players union all day. Listen I understand the owners/powers that be of mls and what they are saying but the whole point of this league at this time is to bring up the sport in this country. It can’t be runned this way. Players sent stupid they knew what they were getting into when they signed In long ago. The structure worked great the first years of the league but mls has to let go of this structure and have players get free agency and independent clubs not franchises(I hate it when they call clubs franchises on tv). Yes the owners gave alot but the players gave more. Lost time with loved ones, poor pay, weird system, players get dropped and they get cut off completly. If player x gets dropped by Toronto fc and he’s from Argentina he’s left without relocation money or anyway to get back home or a new club. I supprot the players because they MADE this league. Owners just put up money.

    As for pro/reg of course there should be. But not in this structure. But for those to say pro/reg won’t work here isrubbish. It would work if they change the structure. There are alot of good amature clubs and usl/nasl clubs that can apply for a license to participate. Take a look at japans pro/reg structure. That league is similar to ours in clubs, owners and structure. We can adopt that form of that pro/reg. But for now the players should recieve backing from REAL soccer fans

  4. David

    March 13, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Ridge Mahoney wrote a great article for SoccerAmerica explaining what it is the players are fighting for:

    Having heard how players get screwed in this league I have to side with them. I am not unsympathetic to the owners, but I think they are the ones who primarily need to give.

    • CoconutMonkey

      March 13, 2010 at 11:25 pm

      That was a great article. Arigato.

  5. Miami Ultra

    March 13, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    To my knowledge, the players’ issues lie mainly with the way MLS contracts work. I see no reason why the contracts can’t be like nearly every other sport/league on Earth. Give the players free agency. I don’t get what is so frightening about that from the owners’ perspective.

    A strike will be bad bad news for soccer in North America. NASL/USL won’t benefit, because it’s not like fans in D2 markets are die-hard MLS followers and will suddenly flock to NASL stadiums in the event of a strike. And I highly doubt fans in MLS markets will all of the sudden start supporting D2 sides.

    MLS has made very good progress, and it would be a shame to stall that progress or set the game back with a work stoppage. I don’t have a MLS team to support. Strike or no strike, there will be live pro soccer in my town this year. But for the good of the game I really hope cooler heads prevail here.

    • Flex Buffchest

      March 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm

      Yeah, I know I won’t be watching NASL if MLS’s strike happens and the MLS folds. It’ll be straight EPL for me. I don’t want that to happen, but I’m not going to wait around for the NASL to start from scratch again.

  6. man99utd

    March 13, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    I side with the players because I think success should be rewarded not punished. An earlier post said that the players knew what they were signing up to when they agreed their contracts. The same can be said of the whinging owners when they agreed to single entity. I realise promotion relegation may never happen, although it should. But soccer in America will never grow unless we get kids in proper club youth development programs in their early teens. Tennis has them playing on the pro circuit quite early.

    The whole, “MLB, NBA, NFL had to wait forever so should MLS” is a rubbish arguement. Who cares how long it took them? I shouldn’t be punished because my brother is a yob.

    I agree that a strike really doesn’t benefit anyone, but I maintain that the owners have far more to lose. We’re still a minor sport in this country and there won’t be a huge outpouring of rage like with MLB, NFL strikes because there just isn’t that much interest yet.

    • CoconutMonkey

      March 13, 2010 at 11:22 pm

      You’re right man. Success should be rewarded, not punished. And we should create the kind of environment that does that. I’m not sure we must have pro/rel for that to happen, though.

      A lot of MLS clubs already have some kind of youth structure/academy in place. And the US Development Academy league is some pretty exciting stuff too.

      What I’d like to focus on, however, is to work with the infrastructure we already have. Mainly the college game. There’s over 300 schools in d-1 alone (not sure how many of them have soccer). If we can raise the stature and quality of play in the college game. Imagine the kind of impact it could have on the pro-level.

  7. Tom

    March 13, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I said the MLS because I don’t think the owners are making money, and if players think they are good enough they can go to other leagues. Having said that, I think it is time to phase out single entity and incentivise clubs to sell tickets and develop players.

  8. Charles

    March 13, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    What if you are opposed to both or support both ? I support both.
    I can see the players fighting for what they are fighting for. I can see the owners saying we are taking too much risk already and therefore no go to the request.
    Unfortunatly I can also see a strike happening.

  9. Flex Buffchest

    March 13, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I have to agree Quakes. NASL will not be the future. MLS changing its ways, or at least getting something resolved and to continue to grow will be the future. We need the NASL as a regulation league though. We’ve gotten Seattle, Portland, and now Vancouver that way. And those seem like they are going to be the best teams for the MLS so far. We need to help the MLS to continue to grow and give constructive criticism to help it on things we’re not satisfied with. Not wait for it to fail and start over from scratch with the NASL. MLS is going on its 15th year….and still growing! That’s insane for soccer here. This is US’s best chance on getting on the map with soccer, with more time and growth obviously.

    • Quakes

      March 13, 2010 at 2:13 pm

      Agreed. Let me be clear I am not trying to say NASL sucks or we don’t need it… it is a great group of clubs with great fan bases and serves a vital function in US/Canadian soccer. All I’m saying is that NASL’s business model is not one that MLS should follow if it wants to succeed.

  10. NASL1

    March 13, 2010 at 11:32 am

    MLS is a franchise.

    NASL independently owned clubs that is the future

    • Quakes

      March 13, 2010 at 11:35 am

      Those “independently owned clubs” haven’t even played one season yet and you are already crowning them the future? In fact they just nuked their last organizational structure in the former USL. Doesn’t seem like that good of a structure if it just failed.

  11. Stevo

    March 13, 2010 at 9:21 am

    If the players strike, this might be the best thing to happen to professional soccer here in the US. If you take away the salary aspect of the negotiations, the rest of the player’s arguments make sense. A player who is terminated from one team should have the right to move to a different MLS team without punity from the old team that discarded him. The players should have the ability to have their contracts sold overseas so the player, the team and yes, even maybe the league can make money.

    This one entity structure is not a saviour, it sucks the life out of soccer here in the US.

    I see NASL capitalizing on any strike that may occur. It could elevate NASL to be Division I soccer again, if they are smart enough to make that happen. USSF will have their panties in a wad, but the US is all about competitive marketplaces.

  12. Jammer

    March 13, 2010 at 1:52 am

    There is no right or wrong, only self interested parties.

    If it comes to a basic question of loyalty, of course I will choose the owners. The Wizards are owned by local businessmen, with true and deep ties to the city. If it were not for their investment, and that of Lamar Hunt, who also had longstanding ties to the city, we would have no soccer team. It takes committed investors to make it happen. Ask Tampa Bay and Miami. The players are hired guns.

    If it comes to a question of cause, the players are causing dispute. They took employment with the league knowing the status quo. They could have gone to USL or perhaps other nations. They are the ones demanding the changes. The owners would be happy to continue with a system that works and not rock the boat.

    If it comes to a question of comparing to workers in similar situations… Well this is what the players attempt to do, comparing to soccer players in foreign leagues, or in other domestic sports leagues. However, these are not apples to apples. Other sports leagues have existed longer and are more profitable. The NFL gained free agency in 1993, 73 years after its inception. MLB free agency began in 1975, 99 years after NL play began. NBA’s first unrestricted free agency was in 1987, 41 years from its start, and NHL’s first under-31 free agents were in 1994, 77 years in. So, in a historical context, the MLS players are jumping the gun. They should be due some court victories by 2070. In all likelihood it will come earlier than that, and you don’t get there without fighting for it. But expecting it this year strikes me as premature.

    • Quakes

      March 13, 2010 at 11:32 am

      Excellent points on how long it took other major leagues to allow free agency. Hopefully MLS is bringing up this data in its negotiations.

    • David

      March 13, 2010 at 9:04 pm

      If the players were demanding unfettered free agency I might agree with you. But they are not. They want simple equities. They want to know that when they sign a contract with a team, they can’t be led on for a few months then unceremoniously dropped without pay at a point when it is unlikely that they can play for anyone else. They want the freedom to leave a team with which they have no contract without their new team having to buy their rights.

      Stuart Holden left at the end of a contract. But if he wants to come back to any team other than Houston, that team has to pay some consideration to Houston. When KC refused to pay Kevin Hartman what he wanted he couldn’t go play for another team without that team paying KC. I understand why those restrictions might have been necessary 10 years ago, but they aren’t any more.

  13. Quakes

    March 13, 2010 at 1:38 am

    The players are in la-la land…

    “As of 2007, Forbes estimated that the league as a whole was not profitable, with its 13 teams posting an EBITDA operating loss of $20 million on revenue of $165 million. In 2007, Forbes estimated that the three teams that did make money–Los Angeles Galaxy, Toronto FC and FC Dallas–had a combined operating profit of $6.7 million.”

  14. Jeff

    March 12, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    I side with MLS. I think in the future, the players should get all of these things, but right now they want to make some pretty big leaps forward in a league where the baby steps have ensured survival and growth.

    To see MLS still around after fourteen years AND GROWING is pretty huge in my eyes. To see stadiums built for our sport, and a interest in selling the sport rather than an “americanized version” (i.e, the original shootouts and no stoppage time and hokey team names) makes me proud. But at a point when MLS has three new clubs in two seasons, and new stadiums, and a World Cup summer to garner interest, this is not the right time to strike. A strike could kill this league, and then where will the players be?

    Besides, many soccer fans in America already prefer European action to MLS. Striking will only encourage them to watch other leagues, and they might not come back.

  15. Brad

    March 12, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    The playes union…I mean if you’ve been in the league for 6, 7, 8 you should be given free agent status if the team your playing doesn’t offer you a conract. I think the players understand the salary situation clearly.

  16. Roger

    March 12, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    How about a poll about promotion and relegation?

    Has it been done before?

    Given the popularity of the system all around the world,shouldn’t we have a poll about promotion and relegation in North America?

    I think we should.

    • SSReporters

      March 12, 2010 at 7:24 pm

      Never going to happen. I love promotion/relegation but North American sports ownership would never allow that.

    • Charles

      March 13, 2010 at 3:22 pm

      You might as well have a poll on whether people think I would make a good president. Probably more likely to happen.
      In many cases finding out whether the population supports something might shape the way you do business…..this is not one of them.

      • Roger

        March 13, 2010 at 6:49 pm

        So,you are basically saying that the fans should not be taken in consideration?

        Do you think that a system that could allow hundreds of cities to have a club representing them,would be bad for american soccer?

        I am sorry.I am not buying that some of you pro owners bloggers are real soccer fans. You have to be either too inocent,wich I doubt; or on MLS payroll. There is no way that you guys are real soccer fans.

        NO WAY

        you can fool some people some times………..

        • CTBlues

          March 13, 2010 at 8:07 pm

          Most of them were probably hired as Robert Kraft’s personal ball washers.

  17. Logan

    March 12, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    I am not optimistic. I feel what the players are asking for– i.e., guaranteed contracts, fewer unilateral contract options, and free agency for out-of-contract players– is completely reasonable and should be granted. I don’t understand why MLS feels they can’t offer those things. They should be a given!

    However, MLS is what puts the product on the pitch. It’s their money that is making it happen, and it’s their structure that got the league this far. AND, soccer is simply not popular enough in this country, and MLS is not strong enough for the players to make demands, really. I mean, or is it? Not just yet, anyhow.

    And it is true that when MLB and the NBA started up their players were working OTHER jobs to make ends meet. Just because one plays pro sports does not necessarily mean they should be making more than school teachers.

    Unless, of course, the league is making enough money to pay them their fair share and give their players more options.

    I’m really not sure, but it seems like that. I mentioned to my roommate that MLS was striking and that was the end of US 1st division soccer and he just laughed at me. Literally. Because, really, most people DON’T GIVE A RAT’S ASS.

    The players strike, the league folds. And I’m getting the feeling they are going to strike. They’ve come this far without a compromise and an agreement, why should things change now with LESS than 2 weeks before first kick?

    Anyway, I have no knowledge of NASL, but I’m prepared to start following it if the players strike and force the league to fold. However, I have no idea how to follow a league that doesn’t broadcast their games.

    Is there a NASL team near Chicago?

    • DCM

      March 12, 2010 at 6:04 pm

      St Louis & Minnesota will be in the NASL/USL DII League starting this season… which means there is not a team in the Chicago area that you can follow. 🙂

  18. adrian

    March 12, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    MLS, because it’s the base of everything related to

  19. hens

    March 12, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    how can I pick a side to support when nobody has revealed the positions of either side?
    I have no clue where the sides are in terms of compromise.
    If I had details on the current proposals of either side I could make an informed decision. I don’t believe, for example, that the players should have 100% free agency (if that were even possible in a single entity)… but I dunno if the players are even asking for such a thing.

    • CoconutMonkey

      March 13, 2010 at 3:47 am

      My feeling exactly.

  20. Ivan

    March 12, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I take the players’ side (some sort of free agency and increased salaries) to a point and I did vote for them in the poll.
    That being said, most MLS teams are still losing money, and if it wasn’t for MLS, Nick Garcia (Toronto FC, I had never heard of him prior to the CBA negotiations) would probably struggle to find a team in Norway’s Division VII; heck, I am not sure if Harchester United would have the guy, considering how God awful Toronto FC are…
    Bottom line is, strike would be awful for everyone (don’t forget loyal fans and season ticket holders; they are the most important part of the equation).
    The parties have a federal mediator helping them to work out their differences and they have 2 weeks to get a workable compromise and start the season on time. I am optimistic that there will be a MLS season this year, even if it starts a little late…

    • Pedro

      March 12, 2010 at 9:38 pm

      Owners would like you to think they are in the poor house because of their investment in this league. Are they? The truth is, only they know because they won’t open their books for independent 3rd parties to see.

      There are so many ways to manipulate the books to say you’re losing money in one area of your corporate empire – you just move the profits to other areas (say, SUM) and stick the expenses in the business you want to say is losing money.

      If there has been some independent analysis of MLS books, then please cite it. My understanding is that all people have to go on is MLS owners assertions, and that’s worth nothing.

  21. CTBlues

    March 12, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    I think the MLS will be looked upon as a joke until it gets in line with the rest of the soccer leagues in the world. They need to set up lower leagues so there can be real religation and promotion and to say that it couldn’t work here in states because small market clubs wouldn’t survive is a joke as well. Look at MLB’s and NHL’s minor systems and indpendent leagues. They are small clubs that are supported by their local communities. Imagin what could happen to a city or state if there team say the Hartford Wolfpack won the Calder Cup got to move up to the NHL people would go crazy and that small team would generate more revenue which would be good for the team and the city/state. The system we have now was ok to make sure it would survive the early years but I think the league has mature enough for a change to accure.

    • Scott

      March 12, 2010 at 2:24 pm

      I agree CTBlues. I live in Tulsa, OK and there is a large soccer community here. Granted we couldn’t support a MLS team but a minor league team would be perfect here. They could be an off-shoot of Kansas City or Dallas (similar to what we do with our Baseball and Hockey minor league teams). There are many other cities like this throughout the US that could really help grow the league.

    • Quakes

      March 13, 2010 at 12:24 am

      I could respond to this but I don’t want to waste my time… needless to say MLB and the EPL have a 100 year head start on MLS, so it’s a lot easier for them to have a minor league structure than for MLS to have one at this point.

    • Jammer

      March 13, 2010 at 1:05 am

      I think your post will be looked upon as a joke.

    • David

      March 13, 2010 at 5:49 pm

      They are still trying to grow the MLS to 20 teams and couldn’t even manage a solid reserve system for those teams a couple of years ago. Who is going to pay for a minor league and how is that going to make money?

      The MLS will spend the next few years growing. Maybe the NASL will also grow. Maybe in a number of years they will both have enough teams and be strong enough that they could work out a deal for some kind of relegation and promotion. But that’s a long shot and a long way off as a practical matter.

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