MLS labor talks stall as work stoppage looms

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Despite a pair of extensions to the negotiation period between Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Union, there has been no significant progress regarding the issues central to the two side's differences, leaving the sides far apart in talks for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

According to multiple sources, MLS has yet to budge on issues ranging from free agency to team control in player personnel decisions, making a work stoppage a very real possibility with the 2010 MLS season just a month away.

"We feel the league's not taking us very seriously at all," said Houston goalkeeper Pat Onstad, a member of the player's union executive committee. "We're pretty far apart at this stage.

"Earlier in January there were some indications that some progress was going to be made, but right now, I think the negotiations are really in a bad place," Onstad said. "We're a long way from getting this deal done."

Key among the issues being fought over are player free agency and team autonomy in player transactions. The union is rallying around, among other things, the chance for players who aren't wanted by their former clubs to be able to move freely within the league.

That issue has been magnified by the situations of veterans Kevin Hartman and Dave Van Den Bergh, two players currently out of contract who are in limbo because their respective teams are seeking compensation for their rights despite the fact that both teams declined contract options for the player and neither team intends to sign the player.

Veteran defender Adrian Serioux is in a similar situation, but his status is even more troubling because he played out the full four years of his MLS contract and still remains in limbo because Toronto FC is seeking compensation for his rights.

"We just want the same freedoms that players around the world have," Onstad said. "This isn't a case of us fighting over money, that's not the main issue, it's about how we are treated as players and the current CBA just isn't acceptable."

When contacted about the comments from the player's union, MLS stood by its comments from last week.

"The negotiations are ongoing," said MLS spokesman Will Kuhns. "Meetings are scheduled for next week between the league and the union and the deadline on those negotations is February 25. We're hopeful for a mutuall ybeneficial conclusion."

MLS and the Player's Union agreed on an extension to their CBA talks until Feb. 25, but with the sides still far apart and the season just a month away, a delay to the start of the season is looking more and more likely. MLS commissioner Don Garber has already stated that the league does not want to operate under the current CBA, so a league lockout is possible. A player's strike is also a very real possibility.

"All I can say from our standpoint, from the player's standpoint, is that we're ready for a work stoppage," Onstad said. "We're very unified and the guys are adamant that there needs to be major changes in the CBA and right now it's just not on the table, and as far as we're concerned, we don't want to play under those conditions."

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118 Responses to MLS labor talks stall as work stoppage looms

  1. scott47a says:

    crud!

  2. Oranje Mike says:

    Kennesaw Mountain Landis was resurrected and put in charge of MLS. No freedoms for the players.

    Get with the game, MLS.

  3. Sean says:

    While I see the players point of view, I don’t see a work stoppage doing anything positive for the league. It’s not like it has a lot of popularity as it is. I still can’t believe how uncompromising the league is on some of these issues. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Also, if there was a work stoppage, would players be free to play elsewhere or are they just stuck at home twidling their thumbs?

  4. tivo says:

    TOTAL DEVASTATION IF THIS HAPPENS!! NOOOOOO!!!!

  5. nico says:

    This is awful. I was looking forward to the season.

    I can’t imagine the National Team will be happy with the players getting even less games before the Cup…then again…maybe the will train together even longer if there is no season…?

  6. Brian says:

    Screw the guaranteed contracts, that will never happen. But what the hell is wrong with free agency? I don’t see how MLS loses with that

  7. Brian says:

    The situations of Hartman and Van Den Bergh are pretty effing retarded

  8. alexandria says:

    I think that limited free agency should be easy.

    I say no to guaranteed contracts for players with less than 4yrs in the league.

    I say who cares if you sign with the league or your team,The team can restructure your contract if you play well lookat Chris Pontius.

    The players in my eyes think they are entitled to all of these things but they are not, but I think if the league gives in on limited free agency then they will sign.

  9. HoBo says:

    Hate to see the season not get under way in March but I can understand the changes the players want. The fact that a player not wanted by their team is not given the chance to look for another team is crap and then just tossed aside. Hope it gets resolved cause I, like every other fan wants the season to start and will support the players.

    I understand it’s a business as well as entertainment for us fans but there should be some standards the players can depend on.

  10. Speedball says:

    They better go with scab players. I’m not crossing any picket line to see Steve Shak play!

  11. Speedball says:

    That is, they better not go with…

  12. Idaho Brian says:

    No one will win by a work stoppage…both the players and the league are at fault here, (in my opinion MLS perhaps is a bit more to blame) and both sides risk damaging the game in this country…

    Please guys, stop playing chicken to see who gives in first and work on this collaboratively for the mutual benefit of everyone involved…

  13. Adam M. says:

    The players are in the better position, particularly the better players who could find work elsewhere, and particularly in a World Cup year. MLS already struggles with attendance and tv viewership and those problems, which are the owners problems, will get far worse if there is a stoppage, lockout, or scab games. MLS has taken a slow and steady approach for a long time, with some success. But that prudent approach was developed largely before top European and South American games were regular appointment viewing on a host of U.S. channels and before it became clear that they were sitting on a sleeping giant of soccer interest. If MLS doesn’t give the players most of what they want, and substantially loosen its self-imposed financial constraints now, it will be another generation before Americans can see even good soccer in a professional league here and another generation before whoever owns these teams then will be able to see any real revenue growth. Forget about big name players coming to MLS post-2010 World Cup. Forget about revenue generation from socccer specific stadiums or the marketing of the Henry’s of the world. Fans who can’t even see decent soccer live in person will gladly sit at home and watch the best soccer live on HDTV and pick up a live game when big name teams do their summer tours. MLS owners, to their credit, have spent a lot of money on stadiums. But they are going to get empty stadiums and rapidly declining brand value if their failure to step up to the plate results in a season that doesn’t start on time.

  14. Smith says:

    They should just go to binding arbitration & get it over with. There, a mutually unsatisfactory deal will be reached & it’ll be over with.

  15. Goalscorer24 says:

    Maybe Landon can extend his stay with Everton!

  16. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    The inability to sign where you want after your old team cuts you is about the dumbest and most unfair practice I can think of in sports today. Until the owners concede this point, any work stoppage is entirely their fault.

  17. tivo says:

    totally agree, all progress that has been made will be lost. Lock outs hurt the game, and if it happens to “soccer”, the sport will be looked at as a major fail in this country. Look at the NHL, its a only a vestige of what it once was. MLS needs to stop playing chicken, and come to a mutual agreement with the players union. These past few years have been an indication of how big and succesfull this league can be in the future. Getting the CBA signed is imperative for future growth and development of the game in this country. C’MON MLS GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!

  18. EssEff says:

    When you don’t make that much money, you have less to lose. In this respect, the current system just galvanizes the players to tough it out.

  19. Derek Young says:

    Unfortunately I don’t think the league can survive this.

  20. angler23 says:

    Bingo, sign of a good compromise, everyone leaves unhappy.

  21. Nicole says:

    I don’t know about no one – according to another writer, Donovan will definitely extend his stay at Everton if there is a work stoppage.

  22. Nicole says:

    I forgot to add…I think that’s a “win” for him.

  23. Goalscorer24 says:

    If a team cuts you, then you should be free to go. Are the teams worried that players will make unreasonable contract demands so they can get out of their contracts to play with another team?

  24. Rex says:

    I do not think the league should have true free agency, but out of contract players should be able to sign a provisional contract (the standard 2 to 3 at their previous rate) with MLS. Their club would have X amount of time (30 days?) to sign the player (and trade or whatever) or he goes into the wavier draft. If they are not picked up then the contract is void and their team still owns their rights. Sucks for old overpaid guys coming off big contracts. Teams could still take a risk on a player hoping to renegotiate after the draft.

  25. Thorpinski says:

    Guys, Guys Guys it’s early they will get something worked out. It’s not as if Scott Boras was representing the players and would have no problem with a lock out

  26. ELAC says:

    Que cosa?

    I’ll never understand how the MLS fails to see progess with the little vision they are able to utilize.

    Oh well, time to watch more soccer on TV.

  27. roysterer says:

    Oh man, I hadn’t thought about that. That would be fantastic. If I had to choose between Donovan staying at Everton and getting to watch the Revs play crappy soccer on a crappy field in a crappy stadium, that’d be a pretty easy choice.

  28. St Addi says:

    Would Donovan be considered a scab by the players if he extended his loan during a strike? I know it’s a different league, but the galaxy would still be compensated for his playing.

  29. RLW2020 says:

    its not that early! they pushed back the deadline!

    this is a bad development for sure.. hope the owners move a bit on this and a deal is worked up very soon!

  30. Clayton says:

    Nooooooooooooooooooo!!! Please make it work. The thought of no soccer in my country is devistating. Please!!!!!

  31. Mike says:

    Joe Cannon just posted on his facebook page that he might need a new job in a couple of months. What a shame. I’ve been involved in a work stoppage before and nobody wins.

  32. grubbsbl says:

    MMMMMMM…… maybe I should dust of the old boots. Ill be a scab. I was playing college ball a year ago.

    Preliminary Resume:
    Age: 22
    Position: Left Back
    4yr starter on top 25 DII team (3 NCAA Tournaments, 1 Conference Championship).
    3 yrs PDL
    Goals Scored in College: 0
    Assists: 3
    Time spent on PDL bench: Alot.

    Think anyone will be interested?

  33. roysterer says:

    The owners will have to give in on this. The players can leave and play elsewhere, but the owners are stuck with their teams and stadia.

    Other American leagues represent the world-wide pinnacle of their sports, both in quality of play and in the amount of money they bring in, so they’re in a position to exploit their players. But there’s better soccer and more money all over the world, so MLS is in no position to demand what, in the rest of the world, are ridiculous restrictions on player movement.

    The salary cap is supposed to be what’s preventing an NASL-like demise for MLS, not all this crap about teams and their rights to players who are out of contract.

  34. grubbsbl says:

    All joking aside, this would be horrible for the league. No one will pay to watch me play. The league needs to grant players free agency rights. The current situation is an absolute joke.

  35. mark says:

    Garber, get your head out of your ass right now! You are wrong. If a player is out of contact, he should be free to sign ANYWHERE. Out of contract is out of contract.

  36. Carone says:

    The MLS will eventually have to abide to FIFA or become a pariah. How many here have ever heard of FIFPro? The players’ rights in the MLS are in complete violation of FIFA rules. I hope there is a strike.

  37. jess says:

    If I were the head of the Players Union, this would be the best possible year to have a strike in terms of bargaining power.

    The owners of Seattle, Toronto & LA want to avoid a strike at all costs because of season ticket holders. The Red Bull owners want to avoid a strike at all costs because of their new $200 Million Arena. The Philly owners want to avoid a strike because its their 1st year & they have a new stadium . Plus Don Garber wants to avoid a strike because its a World Cup year, the Beckham debacle is still fresh in everyones mind , the new NASL wants to compete against MLS, Vancouver & Portland are supposed to join the league in 2011, and Garber is asking for a new $3 Million per year salary for himself.

    A player making $50,000 a year who already probably has a 2nd job (because everyone is 1 injury away from MLS retirement) has much less to lose than an owner paying $200 Million for a new stadium. If I were the president of the players union its not a question of “Should I strike?” Its a question of “When should I strike?”

  38. paul says:

    In what other job in the world, can you be fired, not paid, and are not free to offer your labor within the industry? MLS is living in an other century. If the players stick together they will win, and as much as I don’t want a stoppage, I hope they do win.

  39. centrejack says:

    Lets all think carefully about the questions concerning a players rights after they are cut or the contract has expired. I am trying to get why the owners won’t budge on this matter. What is the purpose of its?

    It only applies within MLS so the players can go to another league therefore it does nothing to create revenue to the league as a whole, and may actually drive the best players to leave the league for good once a contract expires (it sure as hell doesn’t incent them to stay).

    Therefore, it seems very insular and that the only benefit is to an individual team not to the entire league. After all any exchange in dollars, draft picks, allocation, is within the league itself.

    I can’t imagine that they think it will help control player salary inflation. Due to the cap it can’t create an out of control price war for an out of contract player since everyone has limited $ to spend.

    Are they doing it in some way help maintain parity between teams (if so their logic is fd up).

    Am I missing something?

  40. Josh D. says:

    I’m all for the rights of players. Be a better flick off to the league if they walked out halfway through the season.

    While I’m for the players, I think a walkout would cripple the league and would benefit no one. The players wouldn’t have a league to return to and the owners would lose hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Let’s hope they go to a bar, relax, and sign some papers.

  41. Sonicdeathmonkey says:

    Ummmm….why are you venting against Garber? He has NOTHING to do with this. It’s the Investor/Operators against the players union. Perhaps its you that should be the one getting his head out of their ass.

    (SBI-Actually, you have it backwards. It’s the MLS front office against the union. the investor/operators are kept informed on decisions by the league but it’s the league officials, with Garber as their boss, that are ultimately guiding the labor talks. Now, the question is whether the investor/operators will put pressure on the league to get a deal done.)

  42. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    Absolutely ridiculous that the owners wouldn’t gran players they won’t resign freedom. Makes no sense. It’s greedy, unfair to the players and is total detached from the way all other leagues around the world work. I’m all for the players going on strike even knowing it means I don’t get to enjoy the games at the new Red Bull Arena.

  43. EA says:

    Both sides need to get this settled, and soon. The NHL hasn’t recovered from their work stoppage, and it took rampant cheating in baseball to get it back to where it was before the ’94 strike.

    “Those who don’t learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”

  44. jcr says:

    I agree. The teams I beiieve would also rather ruin a players career than have him sign with another team. This league has also given so many players a chance to play and maybe something more. I believe half the players in the league would no longer be playing soccer if it wasn’t for MLS, but the league does need to back down somewhat with something of the sort here said. Not total free agency but not a situation where players such as Van Der Berg, Hartman and Serioux are stuck not playing even their prior team doesn’t want them anymore. This is such the wrong year for this to happen.

  45. Phil says:

    I dread hearing PTI or Jim Rome report on this – “as if ANYONE cares, a work stoppage is looming in our country’s least watched sport” blah, blah blah – Please, both sides get to the table and work it out so that MLS is not the laughing stock of sports radio!!

  46. einar says:

    the ownersw need to wake up and create a free agency. every league in this country has a free agency! And they want more guranteed contracts at least to the most experienced players. worst year to have a strike when we r gaining so much momentum

  47. einar says:

    cant obama put everyone at the white house garden sitting at picnic tables and having beers and just talk and agree with each other?

  48. Mike says:

    Do I have this right?? Garber is asking for a new deal worth 3 million a year?? Isn’t that about 500K more then the salary cap per team? Man if this season ends in a strike time for Don to go!

  49. g-dub says:

    Maybe the owners are content to drop this season. This is the great recession and maybe some owners are looking at weak ticket sales and thinking it would be better financially to pause. Plus it’s a WC year so there would be a break anyhow. Plus, a delayed season could provide a chance to sync with the FIFA calendar. I’m not saying I like this position, but I’ve got to wonder if there are some veiled motives in being so unreasonable about getting a deal done.

  50. acj says:

    You’re allowed to work in the industry, just not the company. It’s more like if you were fired from Nike’s shoe division it’s t-shirt division isn’t allowed to offer you a job.

    That said I feel for the players when it comes to wages. I think the league has a moral obligation to bump up the base salary to a livable wage.

  51. Felix says:

    Ives can you explain why would MLS would want clubs to be able to keep the rights of players whose contracts they terminated or allowed to end without a renewal offer???
    I can’t think of a good business reason. I can see things like salary cap or developmental player wages or even guaranteed contracts in a league that still loses money overall, but why keep such a hardline stance on player rights???

  52. bleepblip says:

    try AC St. Louis. They’ve signed like 8 left backs for some reason, and continue to do so. if you’re from st. louis they’ll sign you for sure.

  53. Seriously? says:

    I have to disagree. “The players” as a whole are not in a better situation. Yes, the “better” players might be able to find work elsewhere, but what percentage of all MLS players could find work elsewhere? A majority of the players? I don’t think so, or A LOT more players would leave when their contracts are up. Let’s not exaggerate, it would be a small percentage.

    You make it sound like it’s easy to make it in foreign leagues, or perhaps lots of players could earn the same money in the limited number of spots that would be available in the new 2nd division here. Plus, if players are under contract, even if there’s a lockout, can they play for another club? I’m no expert, but I wouldn’t think so.

    And for those players who would be able to find work overseas, it’s not like they could just go get a team right away, as if they were free agents. Do you really think that if the teams were to lock the players out, or the players were to strike, then the teams or the league would be at all willing to let players go out on loan.

    If there were a lock out or a strike, it would hurt the league, which by extension would hurt the majority of players, the ones for whom their best option for playing is in MLS. If MLS wasn’t their best option, they wouldn’t be here to begin with.

  54. Zack says:

    I know I’m not Ives, but I think I outweigh him (275lbs). Free agency leads to competition for players, which leads bidding on players, which would inevitably lead to higher wages for all players in the league.

    I think that’s the major concern by the league and clubs.

  55. patrickhattrick says:

    No. A strike would not work for anyone. Players aren’t making money or even getting the oppurtunity to make more money by showing skills to the leagues in Europe. All of the good players would leave for Europe. No one would care about the MLS at all anymore. The only people that would profit from this are the USL and NASL. They would be the only soccer happening in America. They would have the opportunity to get better players in lower-level MLS players who can’t afford a strike. Everyone else would be out of a job.

  56. Karl Marx says:

    Fight the power. Power to the people. Who puts the balls in the back of the net? We do! Try doing that from your corner office.

  57. Supsam says:

    For those who watched “The Office”: Remember when Michael found out that Toby has returned?

    I will have the same response in front of my computer if a player’s strike/lockout happened.

    NOOOOOOOOOOO! NOO! NO! NO! NO! No…….NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  58. Matt says:

    Synching with the FIFA calendar is a non starter. You wanna come visit the Northeast or Upper Midwest right now and see why? So retarded.

  59. Bob Dobalina says:

    I do, since I doubt any of the public will even notice.

  60. Joamiq says:

    This would be devastating. The league needs to give something and get this moving.

  61. Bob Dobalina says:

    Why would they care with a hard salary cap how much players could possibly get? Make absolutely no sense. Unless of course that many teams don’t even come close to the salary cap.

  62. Tucson.Soccer.Fan says:

    The only good thing that could come from this is a longer loan for Donovan.

  63. Ed says:

    I’m telling Palin.

  64. Ed says:

    The players are being selfish, think of all the fans that have been laid off; the players should be thankful they can bring them some cheer in their life…even for just 2 hours a week.

  65. Cindy says:

    mm makes me want to watch Newsies! singing and dancing the players’ demands just may help!

  66. Lenny says:

    A strike or lockout would be devastating to MLS, and unconscionable as we head into the World Cup and campaign to host the WC in 2018 or 2022.

    Free agency like MLB should not happen, but MLS has to give in on scenarios like Van Den Bergh’s.

    I’m ready to buy season tickets for RBNY, but even the voicemail from Conor Chinn the other day won’t sway me until the CBA situation is resolved.

  67. Jim says:

    The league is taking such a hardline stance because if they give one inch on free agency, it destroys the notion of single entity. And if the single entity status is destroyed then all sorts of free agency can negotiated for by the players or sued for through court.

    MLS was created by a group of owners who wanted to create a league that would never give the players any influence. They used their experience with the ownership of other teams in other sports to do this. The structure of the league will never change. If it does the league fails.

  68. gstommylee says:

    Last i heard FIFA stated that MLS wasn’t violation of any fifa rules and refused to get involved.

  69. That’s exactly what they’re worried about, and it is a sensible enough fear with a salary cap in effect.

    Still, I cannot believe the league won’t budge on anything with the players. That just seems ridiculous.

  70. gstommylee says:

    And i’m almost to the point of not getting an tickets for the opening game for seattle or any at all and just watch from home this season.

  71. Please tell me you’re joking. A lot of these players aren’t making much more than the fans paying to watch them. If they sit out it is a huge dent to their bottom line. The players would be taking a huge risk to sit out; the owners are taking a huge risk by essentially daring them to do so.

  72. Carl says:

    For a lot of these players if they can’t play in MLS then what are they going to do? USL?

  73. This will sound aggressive towards you, so preliminary apologies, but that is easily my least favorite historical proverb. I say this as a possessor of a history degree, and I just don’t think it applies at all. Every situation is different. The current MLS situation is hugely different from the NBA, MLB, and NHL situations, and the ramifications of it are also hugely different.

  74. There is no FIFA calendar to sync with.

    THAT’S the most annoying thing to me when people talk about going to a traditional calendar. The Russians and Ukrainians and Nordic countries are getting ready to start their seasons, and the South Americans play through the summer because it would be too freaking hot to play down there right now. The Australians are playing now because they’re in the same situation MLS is in; it is summer in Australia, and it’s the only time soccer can play without competition from the more established sports. This argument is so tired it barely merits argument anymore.

  75. Someone mentioned it earlier, but a work stoppage would be DEADLY in Philadelphia, Seattle, LA, and probably Salt Lake. There’s so much excitement around those teams right now, if there’s a stoppage it would kill it dead.

  76. Dooshbag says:

    LOL! I love MLS but could now not give two ishhes if they lockout or strike. They players view the teams as different entities, but they are not because it is one company. When waived or cut, the players can go find another league to play in. It is that simple. Dave Van Den Berg, if you don’t like it go back to the Nederlands. Hey Hartman, if you don’t like it, go “abroad” and get a job. MLS is one company, and free agency within a single company is recockulous. Its like “I don’t want to work for HP Denver because HP Dallas will pay me more.” What? Exactly.

    None of the players or their union representatives have any idea of how business operate. Sure they are all free, they can find different leagues. I just don’t get the problem here.

    If the players strike, its over for all of them. So effing what. I can still watch the important leagues on TV, and guess what, not a single MLS player has the quality to make it in one of those leagues.

  77. Dooshbag says:

    priceless!

  78. JJ says:

    It was mentioned earlier here but I think this all comes down to one concept: protecting the legal status and arguments around the “single-entity” model. They give on that, they open themselves up for challenges later and the economics of the league are in peril. Single-entity is the holy grail and that is why the NFL is trying so hard with the American Needle case to backdoor their way into being a single-entity. I bet the MLS labor lawyers are dictating the conversation on free agency and other labor law issues and not giving an inch there.

    I feel for the players like Hartman and Serioux and others but their plight is not going register with the owners.

  79. majora999 says:

    Even if there isn’t a work stoppage Donovan should try to stay in Europe…. I’ll be very sad if he comes back willingly or if he’s forced. He’s playing so well over there. Who really gives a crap about the Galaxy anyways?

  80. majora999 says:

    yea I don’t think they are actually in violation of any of FIFAs rules… MLS just has ludicrous positions on right the players should have like the free agency thing.

  81. Matt says:

    WE ALL KNOW that if a strike happens our league is over! WE ALL need to start emailing, mailing twittering.. whatever to Garber an tell him TO GET HIS HEAD OUT OF HIS ASS!! I thought that he was smarter than this but apparantly not. Maybe us fans can have some influence on this! WE ARE what made the MLS what it is today!

  82. Tim F. says:

    Horrible management of the negotiations process by the league. Failure to get the league going on its regular schedule would be a collossal failure. What is Garber thinking/doing??? The new CBA should have been agreed months ago.

  83. RLW2020 says:

    who watches Jim Rome anyways.. guy is a tool, im surprised that he is still on the air

  84. RLW2020 says:

    you name equals the quality of your post.

  85. Chris in Brussels says:

    “There’s a power in a Union!”

  86. Jersey Scouser says:

    This is what I feared most. I put my money down for season tickets and now they may strike. I do not blame the players on this one who should have free movement within the league if their contract is up. ImagineBeckham ‘retiring’ from the Galaxy at the end of a season only to ‘unretire’ in the hopes of playing with Henry in New York only to be told by The Don that LA still owns your rights and that NY has to pay LA for you to play there. I know this is an extreme example but as silly as it sounds now think of the player who is making 12 or 17k a year being told the same thing. I know the league wants to grow at a slow pace but restricting player movement when you have how many teams that have either came into the league or are coming over the next 3 years sounds a little mickey mouse to me. MLS needs to change up some of these rules to be able to keep better players and bring even better ones into the league.

  87. Javifuego says:

    I agree with earlier comments that we as fans must have our voices heard. A lockout would be disastrous for the league but also for all of the fans. The prospect of it alone makes me sick to my stomach. Any place where we could sign a petition to let know MLS we demand they compromise? Could you work something out Ives?

  88. PhillyMLS says:

    Are you kidding me? This is the same exact thing you have posted on another message board multiple times. Would you drop the whole thing. You just brought up your stupid 50k a year and second job argument in an article that has a player even saying it isn’t about the money! Remove your head from your lower extremities and come up with an original thought that matches what this article is saying.

  89. He would NEVER stay on loan at Everton if there is a strike.

  90. You have no idea what you are talking about. At all.

  91. You do realize that it takes TWO sides to negotiate, right?

  92. aristotle says:

    I don’t see the point in taking sides. A stoppage will set this league back a long time. In fact, I think it’s VERY possible it would kill the league. The people here who seem to think the players should strike are clueless. Haven’t we seen this enough already? All around the world we have unions causing devastation to companies and countries alike. I fail to see what driving your employer out of business accomplishes. I think if MLS players can just hang in there a little bit longer they will slowly, but surely, get better pay and conditions. Regardless, the league is still in no position to be making costly financial concessions. I could see it if the league was doing really well, but the league starting to break even is no reason to hit them up for money. The most important thing at this point is for the league to survive. When the league started they set a goal of achieving average attendance of 17,000 or more by the second season. More than a decade later they still haven’t achieved that relatively modest goal.

  93. Scott A says:

    Just work it out

  94. Gazza says:

    @Jersey Scouser: In no league in the world can a player retire from a team in the middle of a contract and then unretire and play with another team. Beckham still has 2 years remaining on his deal.

  95. EA says:

    No problem, and I see where you a coming from. But you have to see it from a fan perspective. 95+ percent of fans don’t know how crappy MLS is about all of this. They see a player strike and think, “these guys get paid, TO PLAY SOCCER, in this economy, and they’re bitching about it? Screw those guys.”

    That’s the history that I referred to. That’s what happened in baseball and hockey, and that’s what will happen here.

    If a work stoppage lasted more than a week or two, (or one CBS Nightly News Story) it could be a death knell to the league.

  96. As fans, of course, we don’t want a work stoppage. But also as fans, and presumably as folks who work for a living, shouldn’t we support the players. They are asking basic rights, rights that players in nearly all other countries already have. What the players are asking for will cost the league little or nothing and will probably strengthen the league in the long run, by making it a more attractive place to play. Isn’t it time for a little solidarity with the players?

  97. war says:

    she’d just smuggle the players to Russia from her backyard

  98. alexandria says:

    Alot of industries make you sign a clause that you can not work for a competitor or someone else in the field for up to 6 mths to a year, if the players stick together they lose, becuase under fifa law they are contracted to MLS, unless the league folds and releases the players they won’t play anywhere. I don’t see how thats a win situation.

  99. war says:

    It’s a shame FIFA don’t want to get involved and even more of a shame that they dont see a problem with the current structure. Give the guys a contract they want to sign. This whole deal also has deeper implications. If things progress as they are it may show that the players believe playing in the US is not even worth it given the current conditions. This will greatly harm the game at a senior and youth level. Garber should just go along with the players demands for the sake of the sport in the US and stop being such a tighwad.

  100. davidaubudavid says:

    The players rights are still held onto by the league so I don’t believe that the players are free to leave the league without a transfer fee. At least this is what i took from it, but you could be right I’m not quite sure.

  101. laughable says:

    you actually think any of these MLS owners are paying for these stadiums? ha

  102. alexandria says:

    Yea, ask those UAW workers how that union is working for them!

  103. laughable says:

    right…and you as an employee somewhere I assume probably think your ENTITLED to insurance and a pay scale comparable to the job your doing and have been training for your whole life….but your not

  104. Moose says:

    Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey…goodbye…..repeat.

    I am surprised the delusional MLS fanatics aren’t happy about this. I mean if MLS is so great that means a good% of the players will find great teams overseas. Let me know how your MLS teams are doing this season hahaha.

  105. alexandria says:

    So, if you walked into your bosses office and told him, I think I have a better idea of how to run the business and that you think he should tear up the business model and start doing things like they do all over the world what do you think he’ll say? The players are stupid, the situations with van dn bergh and hartman, if another team wants them thn their team can trad their rights for a draft pick, or they can resign with their team for less money, its not like they don’t have options, they do! thy just don’t like them.

  106. alexandria says:

    Your entitled to nothing! nothing in this life is guaranteed. I’m pretty sure millions of people who where laid off would take anything right now, Yea, they would hope to find something at the same pay scale but sometimes it doesn’t work that way. I don’t feel for these guys at all. Vanden burgh could easily resign with dallas for less money, same with Hartman, but they don’t want to, so now their agents need to find them a place to play, thats what thos guys get paid for, if either player where worth it then someone would pick them up but they aren’t worth it at their current salaries, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

  107. JJ says:

    Well, why don’t you tell me what I should be talking about?

  108. Ed says:

    He isn’t asking, they gave it to him. Now would you turn down a raise to $3 mil? Didn’t think so.

  109. Scottie says:

    The players aren’t stupid, quite the opposite. Who has more to lose? By far it’s the owners. You think a strike is going to cripple a player making 50k, 80k or 100k a year? How about what a strike will do to essentially the lowest rated major sport in America?

    If the owners want to cling to their single entity system they might find themselves holding onto to it in their own proverbial graves.

  110. Why assume that management has all the answers and that the workers have nothing to contribute? How would what the players want harm the league? The only additional costs would be those caused by guaranteed contracts. Surely holding management to the contracts they signed is something that we all should favor. Otherwise, the salary cap and the limits on roster size are already important concessions on the part of the players — way beyond the working conditions that apply in the rest of the world. With those limits in place, management can readily control salary costs. Allowing for free agency after contracts expire and having contracts negotiated by teams rather than the league costs management nothing and leaves the important controls on cost in place. Various folks have asserted that free agency would negate the single entity concept, but I have yet to read a convincing explanation for this claim. Corporations with multiple subsidiaries allow the subsidiaries to negotiate contracts and to recruit employees from one another without falling apart. How is MLS any different?

  111. matt in Detroit says:

    I see the general trend is to allow players whom don’t get their option years picked up or offered any kind of new contract should be granted either free agency or to go through the waiver draft to allow another team to pick up that contract.

    I agree with this but not unrestricted free agency. Having MLS teams bid against each other for the same talent would only increase the salaries of a few against the cap.

    I don’t agree that most contracts should be guaranteed in the long run (Sergio Galvan Rey anyone?) but making MLS teams guarantee the first year sounds fair.

    IF teams are worried about buying a lemon, they can sign players on temperary contracts like that Ghanan guy Ansah who got cut by Dallas.

  112. Derek says:

    To me the name of the league doesn’t matter, if MLS folds, then NASL/USL will become the top division and those American players that can’t make it in Europe anyway will go down to USL or NASL and it will be fine. Better to let a terrible system implode then to continually bail it out. It’s only MLS that is shooting itself in the head, not Soccer in America.

  113. Ron says:

    Screw MLS and every damn owner. I’m in love with this league but I’m at a point where I don’t give a crap if the league stops. Those freaking owners want to hold those players as SLAVES. That’s exactly what they want… that’s the mentality of Corporate America and the MLS is no different. I’m with the players, screw this damn league and the owners and let’s stop play. I’m so freaking ready to be a full time EPL, La Liga fan anyways.

  114. Mike says:

    So what if everone else would be out of a job? What money are they making anyways right now? Almost nothing. The ones who are making good money are good enough to go to the NASL and USL or abroad. Very few players will lose so F the MLS and the owners.

  115. andrew says:

    The players can’t go to NASL or USL during a work stoppage. Part of the “USSFd2″ arrangement that allowed NASL/USL teams to play this year specifically forbids MLS players to be on div2 teams during a stoppage.

    Why yes, Sunil Gulati, head of Kraft soccer (Revs) and a long time person in MLS and SUM, is the head of the USSF.

  116. Catamount says:

    I have not heard anybody mention the possibility that the owners would be willing to fold the league entirely. I think this would be the most likely outcome if the players strike. Kraft and AEG don’t need MLS. There are big corporate sponsors that will most likely pull out forever.

    They are in MLS because they see soccer as potentially viable, and perhaps because they like it. If they and the corporate sponsors pull out of the league, it ceases to exist, simple as that. They won’t even notice it on their balance sheets. They have already cut the development league.

    If the players strike I think they may be saying, “If we can’t have what we want, then we don’t want a top tier league in the United States.” If that is what they want, then they will most likely get it. As always the fans are the ones that suffer.