The MLS Designated Player Arms Race

HenryAngel (ISIphotos.com)

Photos by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com


Designated Players are being signed, rumors are flying, and some of the sports biggest names appear to be heading to Major League Soccer.

Yes, the times are changing.

Thanks to new MLS rules that allow teams to sign as many as three Designated Players, teams all over the league are signing or preparing to sign big-name players who may not have been otherwise signed if not for the rule change.

Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho,Rafael Marquez and Nery Castillo are names most MLS fans wouldn't have pictured all converging on MLS so suddenly, but it's clear that teams aren't being shy about spending money on big names.

Could MLS be heading for a spending war as the league's big market teams flex their muscle while smaller market teams try to find ways to keep up?

Here is my take on this new development for Fox Soccer. There is no denying that the league's landscape is starting to change dramatically thanks to the new rules, and it will be up to teams across the league to decide how best to handle the changes.

What do you think of the influx of Designated Players? Happy to see it? Worried the league is overspending or loosening the purse strings too quickly?

Share your thoughts below.

Thierry Henry (HowardCSmithISI)

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121 Responses to The MLS Designated Player Arms Race

  1. grubbsbl says:

    Per your Fox article, nice by the way, is the Marquez to NYRB deal basically done? Can I start planning to buy a T-shirt jersey (the only way to go) is what I am asking?

  2. Gorski says:

    Ives you’ve got a typo in the article…The galaxy w/ becks have also made the final

  3. afc says:

    Not DP related but DC United are bringing Jemal Johnson on trial.

  4. anonrider says:

    i think that these developments will have little effect on me other than making me jealous of teams with a DP (or DPs) and more angry with my own team.

    you see, I am a Revs fan :(

  5. Pete says:

    How serious is the talk of Ronaldinho to MLS? just a rumor or have there been talks?

  6. sread says:

    If Ronnie comes to LA, is he the bigger DP signing this summer? Or does Henry still hold that title…

  7. GSScasual says:

    I’m am supposed to dislike you, but as NJRB fan, My fellow fans and I knew all too well what it was like to have a cheap and apathetic owner.. Now we love our owner, out of respect i have not sipped any other energy drink (lol) in the past few years… I can honestly say that NJRB is my utmost FAVORITE team in ANY sport…. If i can put my friendly cap on, i hope you guys get a new owner, ughhh u deserve it

  8. Lil' Zeke says:

    Yes, worried about the purse strings. The iron is somewhat hot for the striking now though. Nothing ventured, nothing etc.

  9. Adam says:

    Isn’t there a danger in looking to DPs to constantly boost team talent?

    I’d rather see them develop their own stars and then give them DP money then try to get players at the tail ends of their careers.

    Although I think Henry is a great add (so far). He doesn’t seem to have the attitude problems that several other DPs have.

  10. catenaccio says:

    Because many teams have their own Soccer Specific Stadiums and make money beyond simply tickets I think the league will not have any issues with the new DP rule. This will not turn into NASL 2.0. And also soccer is still a team sport. Having 1 or 2 DPs will not bring you the Cup. Look at RSL from last year. If anything it makes the league more exciting by having marquee talent but any team can make a run for the cup if they formulate a strategy around solid players.

  11. futbol monkey says:

    We’re in the same boat anonrider. See I’m a Quakes fan and our GM (really only by title) John Doyle has stated that for this transfer window he’s only looking to sign an MLS veteran at the end of his career. Hard to get excited about that.

  12. Idaho Brian says:

    I am nervous that the competetive balance will shift dramatically to big market, big money teams. If there is one thing that MLS has going for it, (in my opinion), it is that there is not a giant talent gap between the haves and have nots, (such as in La Liga, EPL, Serie A, etc.). I just hope that small market teams will be able to maintain a competetive balance.

  13. Jimbo says:

    Sure but we’re talking about (maximum) three playershere. Teams still have lots of Roster spots to fill through development, and what better way to do that than to put them against top competition both on their own team and others?

  14. Franky says:

    Yeah but yall have Sam Cronin. So I dont feel too bad for you.

  15. Joe from El Paso says:

    Big names bring big crowds. PERIOD!!! Spend some money….

  16. Charles says:

    Sooo many flops with the DP before. I am guessing that this is 100% money driven. The risk of signing the next Ljungberg and many DP before him, but just like him is well established.

    $1.3 million for a guy that is unwilling to do what it takes to win…not worth it on the field.

  17. author says:

    I would disagree with the tweet NY fans are the most tortured fans. They have had an endless stream of talented players and big name players come through the team over the years, and they have played for a championship. Have they had their share of bumps? Yes. But a team like Dallas, who had to play at a high school and have never been to the finals, and are subjected to the Hunt wonder kids, probably have them beat. Hell FCD got their own stadium and managed to completely F that up.

  18. Juve177 says:

    The DP rule is great in that it allows teams to get stars and create interest but also maintains a salary cap which heeds the lessons learned from the old NASL. The problem however is that soccer is a team game. You need more than 1-3 good players. Under the current system the DPs eat up too much of the cap, limiting the $ available for quality MLS regulars. A much preferable system for achieving all MLS’ goals would be 3 DPS but DP#1 with no salary cap hit, DP#2 a $200,000 salary cap hit and DP#3 a $300,000 hit. The big teams could therefore sign some big names and have a balanced team, and the risk of overspending would always remain checked.

  19. ben says:

    didn’t the galaxy and beckham play in the final against RSL last year?

  20. DC Josh says:

    It’s fine with me if MLS teams spend money on big names, as long as it is kept to a minimum. Sure MLS clubs need to make money, they are businesses. But the roots of MLS are the youth of our nation. MLS is here to improve the quality of American soccer. When DP’s get in the way of this improvement, it’s time to stop. But I believe having 2 or 3 world stars, with a sprinkling of up-and-coming Americans like Omar Gonzalez or Chris Pontius, and hard working lesser-known players, is a recipe for success.

  21. Jake says:

    Call me crazy, but I think a stacked couple of teams does the league well. If you look at the best leagues in the world they are always dominated by the same 2-4 teams. And even that’s not always the case, just look at Liverpool this season and how many teams were right there for the 4th spot when they faltered. It encourages other teams to step up their game. And with our playoff system there is no way you see the same teams at the top every year because the season doesn’t matter, and it comes down to who plays better on the days that count.

    I also think that this will actually boost the academies because teams that for one reason or another can’t get DP’s will now look harder into finding young talent. And while DP’s may lead to sucess while you have them, I think we all know having a bunch of young talents mixed with good under DP level signings is the key to sucess in this league. I think the DP signings can only be positive for the league.

  22. RK says:

    Soccer in the US has momentum after the World Cup. Keeping LD around while bringing in talents like Henry and Castillo help to raise the bar and make this game look better. I watched the first MLS game back from the WC break (Hou-Tor), and it was awful.

    I’m encouraged not only by these top-tier talents coming in, but also other possibilties like Jemel Johnson and Zizzo, because the raise the level of the fringe players. There are so many players out there right now that really should not be filling a roster spot.

  23. WantMySilverback says:

    oh stop your gripes….

    At least you guys have an MLS team.
    Us folks down here in Atlanta have to just keep on wishing. Arthur “daddy big sacks” Blank seems like the only real possible owner here but he’s busy with the Falcons. sheesh

  24. Ryan says:

    Did anyone else see Nick Webster’s tweet today stating Ronaldinho would be an LA galaxy player by the end of the month? Can someone confirm this?

  25. JoeW says:

    I actually don’t think it’s going to affect the competitive balance that much. Here’s why: most of the real “name” DP signings have resulted in teams not doing that much better. Yeah, LAG made the finals last year. But I think that had a lot more to do with the players who were with them all season long–guys like Gonzalez and Ricketts and Donovan and Buddle.

    What the history of the league has consistently shown is that well run teams with good coaches with depth do very well. When you spend half or more of your salary cap on just 3 players, that means you stint on depth and veterans.

    Where I will worry about competitiveness is if the salary cap is allowed to be circumvented. Then some teams (like LAG) could spend $50-70 million per year on salaries.

    I think NYRB has a chance to be a very good team this year. But that isn’t b/c they’ll have 3 DPs. It’s b/c they’ve evolved into a much better run team, some of their young players are panning out, their foreign signings (lindpere is the best example) are generally pretty good, they are well-coached (I eat my words from when Hans Backe was hired). If they could find a good organizer/defender under the DP level, they’d still be good (for instance, if you could instantly allow them to acquire Brian Carroll or Geoff Cameron for nothing).

    The original rationale for the DP was to sell tickets (by signing a name guy like Beckham or Gallardo). But I think the far smarter approach is to sign a good player who fills a key gap. Angel was exactly that kind of player. I doubt his signing really produced a lot of ticket sales. But his caliber of play, his consistent excellence–that has sold tickets and now positioned NYRB to actually have a pretty good season. DCU’s (Blaskovic) is an example of a guy who isn’t a “name” and probably won’t generate ticket sales individually but play key roles that probably couldn’t be filled for a lot less money.

  26. RSLfan says:

    Not too worried about the league overspending…its only a few teams spending lots of money and it does alter how much they can spend on complimentary players. There is still a salary cap…

  27. Strathcona FC says:

    Dear DPs: I love you.

  28. ESCHardcore says:

    AEG sucked yes, but they kept us alive insead of folding. Also Kludge and Subotnic weren’t bad, they did spend money but like a lot of owners around 2000 they bailed out.

    But your point stands with respect to NE, the Krafts are never going to get wild on salary and DP’s its against his business philosophy

  29. sread says:

    I agree. The DP slots allow the big dogs to roll the dice and try to secure a superstar cast of players but that competitive balance still makes the cup anyone’s to grab. RSL and Columbus probably won’t be signing DPs anytime soon but who can count them out of the playoffs at this point? That’s what pushes the excitement in MLS right now, imho.

  30. T. Slominski says:

    I have mixed emotions about the whole thing. I see it as a marketing ploy and not much else – there are wonderful players within ‘the norm’ that could fill the bill – it reminds me too much of the NASL – I recognize the differences, but nonetheless… My take is here: link to spotofthefoul.com

  31. Busdriver says:

    I think DPs are great for some teams in the league. Chicago had to of made money on Blanco, and the Red Bulls are going to sell a grip of Henry jerseys. LA plays by different rules and the rich will get richer. But teams like the Rapids and the Revs will never sign a DP. The owners have to see the cash first, and that may never happen. Giggs has spent time with his family in Vail, but the team will never shell out the cash to bring him to Colorado. It will be exciting though to see more world class talent in the league and I think it can not hurt. Here we are 16 years or so into MLS and I think it is time to bring bigger talent to the league. Great work Ives!

  32. MAES says:

    The Revs could use a Robbie Keane or Figo type player as a DP. Satisfy the Irish and/or Portuguese/Brazilian communities

  33. Jose says:

    I like the fact that teams can go and get DPs. But we also have to be cautious and learn from mistake committed by the NASL. Hopefully MLS can continue to also proceed with growing home grown talent not just people from abroad.

  34. plug713 says:

    I’m old enough to remember the NASL, from start to finish, and I can’t say that I share the enthusiasm of many fans at the prospect of increasing numbers of foreign players coming to MLS. The NASL became a league of foreign players with a few Americans here and there to keep up appearances. It did very, very little to enhance the development of the sport in this country. MLS must be very careful, in my view, not to go down that road.

    In his column, Ives mentions a couple of names of DP’s who didn’t work out in MLS. The list of failed DP signings is much, much longer. In fact, players like JP Angel are the rare success story for DP’s in this league. Thierry Henry has had two very forgettable seasons in Spain and was not able to establish himself as a starter on a French national team that was bloody awful. I see nothing in his play since he left Arsenal to lead me to conclude that he will be a success in MLS. Ronaldinho is much the same story; he appears to be another Brazilian who has partied his way out of a brilliant career and is quickly running out of career options, hence his interest in MLS. In fact, I think his agent is using MLS as a cat’s paw in negotiations with Milan.

    It has been my opinion for several years that the biggest problem in MLS is not a shortage of talent, although that is an issue. The biggest problem is a lack of a truely competitive regular season. The league has adopted a model based on the other big American sports, a long regular season designed to eliminate a few teams from an overblown play-off system that largely trivializes those regular season games. I dropped my season ticktes for DC United three seasons ago because I was no longer interested in going to games that were played at half-speed by players who didn’t seem motivated. It is rare to have a six-pointer in MLS, and there are very, very few really big games during the regular season. Only in the last two or three weeks, when teams are trying to make the last play-off spot, do the players seem to give it there all on the pitch. Soccer is different than other American sports. There are many leagues all over the world and I can watch their games on a regular basis. I know the goods when I see them because I can watch teams like Chelsea and ManU battle it out for first place in a tough league. After 38 regular season games, one point is the difference between earning the silverware and coming up empty. MLS has nothing on offer to even begin to rival that, and all soccer fans in this country know it. The league needs to go to a combined table, get rid of the play-offs, or, more likely, reduce them to the top four teams, and generate a meaningful regular season. Personally, I would much rather see an exciting game played by players who are leaving it all on the pitch, than a match involving once-great players hanging on for an few more seasons in a marginal league.

  35. Cliff Poncier says:

    Great job with the post title and picture!

  36. Tuffy says:

    Hey you want Nick Garcia!!!! Please!!!!

  37. kpugs says:

    In other words, you are the worst Euro snob of all time who attempted for a short period of time to masquerade as an MLS fan.

    The league is barely 14 years old, what do you expect? The league doesn’t need fans like you. And while I hate DC Scum, their fans are legendary. I’m surprised you managed to get out of that stadium with your head on straight with this smug attitude. Good riddance.

  38. kpugs says:

    These owners aren’t poor. It’s just like major league baseball. Look at the Florida Marlins. They spend almost nothing despite having an insanely rich owner, who operates his team for profit. And that’s that.

    MLS teams may not all be profitable, but every owner can afford to sign at least one DP if they choose to do so. If they choose not to, that’s their own problem. Personally I love the rule and applaud the teams who are sticking their necks out and signing DPs.

  39. GSScasual says:

    I hate to break it to you, but that is every league and every sport… its inevitable. Just happy im a NJRB fan

  40. A Guest says:

    ” also think that this will actually boost the academies because teams that for one reason or another can’t get DP’s will now look harder into finding young talent. ”

    +100

    The MLS needs to change the compensation split for “homegrown” players from 25/75 (team/league) to something like 60/40 (team league).

  41. cb says:

    Uh, pretty much ditto what plug713 sez…

  42. Erik_the_Orange says:

    Ives, please add to your list of busted DP’s….Houston Dynamo’s very own supreme human gordito, Luis Landin. That’s not a knock on his race, but on his girth. Fatty only scored 2 goals in 20 games and was sent on his way home this month, thank the Lord.

  43. Lee From NYC says:

    Henry’s first season with Barca he won the sextuplet.

    And as for France, I have one word, Domenech.

  44. sammysounder says:

    I’ll agree, and throw out Freddie as an example. Great player, but not what the team needs.

  45. bryan says:

    didn’t hear that. not bad.

  46. AKA says:

    Bravo to KC!

  47. Jake says:

    I agree, the league is not finding these players, it’s the teams. Currently, I think there is not enough incentive for them to do so. We are in a league were DP’s are payed millions and the MLS applauds it’s teams heavily for bringing them in, yet almost turns it’s teams away from developing strong academies.But if smaller teams wish to remain competetive, and therefore profitable, (which, let’s face it, is what every team is built for) they are gonna need to turn to their academies.

  48. bryan says:

    they held talks. but they made it clear it was only talks and that Dinho wanted to hear what they were offering.

  49. sread says:

    DPs are great and I love the signings that are in the works out there…Castillo included.

    But I think the real gem of this league is RSL without a doubt. Considering how long they’ve been a franchise, look at everything they’ve accomplished:

    -Avg attendance at or around 16k each yr

    -Great scouting of mid-range foreign talent that end up as stars on the field (Morales, Olave, Espindola, Saborio)

    -Great transfer signings for mid-range American players that end up being huge moves for the club (Beckerman, Findley, Borchers, Rimando, etc) when other teams were looking to off load them

    -Positive steps toward a solid youth academy as well as young signings for futuredevelopment

    -A world class SSS that came up as fast as with any other franchise

    -A strong fan base that keeps getting bigger (doesn’t just show up for the big games)

    -Business as well as Soccer savvy in the front office

    -Jason Kries, perhaps the up-and-coming coach in US Soccer

    -Silverware to show

    Not included on that resume is a DP. Again, I’m a fan of bringing in reputable talent–I would love to see it, but one has to wonder how important they are at this point for a team that has done nothing but make all the right moves.

  50. Aristophanes says:

    I’m no Eurosnob, and I mostly agree with a lot of what Plug said here. It’s not euro-centric to see that the regular MLS season is relatively meaningless (can you name the last five Supporters’ Shield winners?) and that the MLS Cup is over-hyped. There’s no doubt that teams coast a bit through the regular season and then try to go all out in the playoffs. That is not being a europhile, that’s just fact.

    I think it would be great for the MLS to win over fans like Plug.

  51. Aristophanes says:

    further note: SBI doesn’t need jackarse commenters like you.

  52. RK says:

    Did you miss the “Soccer Cabinet” that was just formed this week?

  53. Kevin_Amold says:

    Didn’t Henry score 25+ while winning the treble in 08-09? Truly pathetic.

  54. Kevin_Amold says:

    And just as bad were the 19 he scored in 07-08.

    All sarcasm aside, that first season wasn’t the greatest for Barca, but it can’t all boil down to Mr. Henry.

  55. Chivas USA Front Office says:

    What’s a DP?

  56. Judging Amy says:

    A bit harsh. Some of his gripes are certainly reasonable.

  57. Moose McDowell says:

    A small market team has won the Superbowl in 2 of the last 3 seasons. Very true for the NBA, though.

  58. Judging Amy says:

    Excellent post.

  59. John from Philadelphia says:

    I love DP.

  60. jmc says:

    Having the DP’s should increase revenue so the teams can afford to raise the minimum salary to a point that everyone in a squad is truely a professional. The home grown talent will come when US players can afford to do nothing else than play and train at the top level. We are not there yet.

  61. Lost In Space says:

    Personally would have preferred if MLS kept DP signings at 2 per team, and given an salary cap exemption to teams having Senior National Team Players on their roster. Keeping MLS competitive with the Norwegian/Belgium/Scandinavian/Mexican leagues and therefor having the possibility to Keep some of the Young US playing here in the US.

    We’ve seen how the country embraced the WC squad, now imagine that each team had 1 to 2 USNT players or potential players where fans could see them week in week out. Would have preferred this to having aging players come in to Milk another 3-4 years of checks.

    Just my 2 Cents.

  62. Dan says:

    As a Philadelphia Union fan, I would love to see my team sign at lesat one DP, because I think it’s a great idea. But I also love the ownership and management of my team. I think they have a great business and marketing model and a terrific coach.

  63. Jorge says:

    Designated Player.

  64. nico says:

    I rather see a significant increase in salary cap, and get rid of the DPs.

  65. TGA says:

    The slippery slope down the same path as the NASL is now in full gallop. Wasting money on these washed up foreigners makes no sense. Meanwhile, USA players like Clarence Goodson have to go to freakin’ Norway to make a living.

  66. Jimbo says:

    wooosh

  67. ELAC says:

    Gotcha! LOL!

  68. JW says:

    Maybe Beckham will buy the Revs when he is done playing and then he will try to sign all his friends for your team :)

  69. MensreaJim says:

    No NY/NJ fan can possibly think market size matters in the NBA or NFL. The teams that have blown past the soft salary cap in the NBA have never done well except for the Mavericks. The Spurs and Pistons have won nearly half the championships in the past decade out of ‘small’ markets. Boston, LA, and Miami have won because they are attractive locations for a core group of players, not because they have more money. And of course in the NFL market size doesn’t matter at all.

    Baseball is the only culprit of the big 3.

  70. Reid says:

    Where they are located now a portuguese player would be nice.

    As far as Irish, unless they are right off the boat or 1 generation away from Ireland I couldnt imagine more then half the Irish Americans to know who Robbie Keane is, and of that half I don’t know many that would care.

    The Revs at this point are looking to satisfy the Soccermom community.

  71. Jacob A. says:

    Love this.

  72. Stephen says:

    What?

  73. MensreaJim says:

    Bah, and the Lakers of course are also over the cap, but so were some small marekt teams.

  74. Jorge says:

    Hey kind of slow today… :-)

  75. john.q says:

    agreed. this is coming from an rbny fan btw

  76. Jorge says:

    I know. Good job… LOL

  77. inkedAG says:

    The signing of DPs and expanding that program was inevitable. Hardcore soccer fans are few and far between in this country. To get the casual fan or a bandwagoner, you need to have a star because that is all those types of fans know.

  78. Erik_the_Orange says:

    Donkey Punch

  79. It’s also about putting butts in seats.

    Say what you will about Blanco. He put butts in seats wherever he went. Chicago were a better team with him.

  80. reverb says:

    That’s what she said…

  81. northzax says:

    the NFL is different though. alone among leagues I am familiar with it combines serious revenue sharing with a hard salary cap that is below the shared revenue. pretty much everyone maxes out the cap, every year (give or take a few million) because the shared TV money basically pays for it. Tickets are just gravy. this is why the arms race in the NFL these days is for coaches. that’s really the only way an owner can distinguish himself from all the other owners.

    this works in the NFL for a couple of reasons it doesn’t work elsewhere: first, the NFLPA is a broken union. people root for the team, not for the player (As was ably demonstrated during the ‘replacement player’ lockout in ’87, people still went to games and watched on TV) second: the relative scarcity of places to play professional football, where else are you going to go?. third: the scarcity of games means that fans are heavily invested in purchasing and keeping season tickets. fourth: most players in professional football are simply marginal improvements on others. with a few exceptions, is a guy who gets ten sacks a year worth more than a guy who gets six? since you’ve already basically maxed out revenue in major markets (and even more in a lot of smaller markets, go try and get a ticket to a Steelers game) why would anyone spend the money? the scheme is what matters almost more than the players.

    no other sport is like this. although early 00s MLS was pretty close. but even in soccer we want to see stars, not just a jersey. people will buy tickets to see a comparatively mediocre (on a global level) team like NYRB to see Henry play. people will buy tickets to see Beckham. to see Ronaldinho. would you buy a ticket to an Arena League game because Brett Favre was playing?

    with a hard cap of around 2.3 million and a draft, MLS teams were basically on level footing. finding one or two stars and a quality supporting cast, with a good system made you a powerhouse (see: New England, DC, Houston) especially since those salaries were covered by the league (just like NFL salaries are, in essence, covered by the league’s TV revenues) now that there is a soft cap, and a team that has money and wants to spend it can multiply that cap several times (figure Henry is getting what, 2,5 million a year? Angel is at least a million and Marquez as well, you’re looking at NYRB spending, in essence, three times the cap. the Galaxy, if they sign Ronnie, will be looking at seven or eight times the cap)

    plus, more than just money, other things now come into play in attracting players. to enter the NFL almost every player is an amateur and enters through the draft. if you get Detroit, then you go to Detroit, unless you don’t want to play. you go to Green Bay or wherever. you think your average 22 year old athlete who’d about to be a multi-millionaire would rather be in Green Bay, Cleveland or Miami? if your company transferred you from the New York office to the Green Bay office, would you be thrilled? so now teams like Kansas City and Salt Lake have to compete for international talent with New York and LA. New York and LA will almost always win that game, especially if they also have more money to spend.

    one of the great things about MLS is that building a team has been one of the great challenges. who can do more with exactly the same potential resources? that game is over now. the arms race has begun. and as history teaches us, arms races almost never end well. look at the European leagues. the only new team on the scene from the past decade of dominance has been ManCity. and that’s because they’ve got literally unlimited pockets. otherwise, the odds are on Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham. you can’t even get odds on anyone else without requesting them, no one even bothers. but you can get odds on the Lions winning the Superbowl (roughly 150-1)

  82. JohnC says:

    in the new CBA I thought the splilt was closer to that- where if a player played 1, 2 or 3 years the compensation kept going up.

  83. alex says:

    While I don’t mind the DP signings, what i would like is an academy system on steriods that would rival those from professional clubs in europe.

    If we want to produce more of our own talent this is the next step.

  84. johnnycougar says:

    To me, it’s Henry, but mainly because I don’t think he’s declined as much. Ronaldinho is probably the name the would make a bigger splash for the casual soccer fan.

  85. EA says:

    Why the hatred for Gregg Berhalter and Brian McBride?

    I agree with you, BTW.

    I think Torres would be a hit for some MLS fanbase with a large percentage Mexican-Americans. I think having Edu, Feilhaber, Holden types as “faces” of franchises would be great for MLS.

  86. revs fan says:

    Ives,

    Have you heard anything on where Deco is heading during this transfer window? I feel like he would be great for the revs but i feel like they’re not trying to get him.

  87. K-Town says:

    How about MLS throwing out some DP money for some DP Ref’s?

  88. Lost in Space says:

    No hatred for Berhalter or McBride. Great mentors for young players…same as having 2 DP’s available per team. Just think that having some of the younger USNT players would improve the MLS product and give a greater interest, and maybe capture more Fans post WC.

  89. Big Chil says:

    +1 for the article-length comment. Totally worth reading.

  90. Adam M. says:

    Ronny is two years younger than Henry, coming off a very solid season with AC Milan, and undoubtedly would have made Brazil’s World Cup team with another manager. He’s also a human highlight reel, as Nike well knows. Henry is probably a better ambassador for MLS, but Ronny would be the bigger DP signing overall, particularly as Milan (publicly at least) still claims to want him and, at times, he still plays like the best player on the planet. Very good trend if MLS can get this quality of player in their early 30s.

  91. Lee From NYC says:

    lol.. agree!

  92. tonytdc says:

    its OBVIOUSLY ronaldinho – anytime you can attract hot brazilian women to a venue, it’s a deal breaker! didn’t you see the nike commercial during the world cup?! very tan, very toned, very supple brazilian chicks dancing in the stands in bikinis… hello?!

  93. Adam M. says:

    Talk of past DPs is like discussing the joys of great station-to-station baseball players before Babe Ruth arrived. As soon as Henry starts pouring in the goals, everyone will want one like him and realize that the game has changed too much to look at the past as a predictor of the future. In other words, the quality of the DP pool will grow (and has grown) consistent with the addition of soccer specific staida, more slots, more spending power, and an ever-improving image of the league outside the US. If MLS can attract world class players in their early 30s or younger (and Ronaldinho is only 30 and coming off a very solid year with Milan), the league and play on the field will only improve, with the result that teams able to attract the really good DPs will do better.

  94. Adam M. says:

    Talk of past DPs is like discussing the joys of great station-to-station baseball players before Babe Ruth arrived. As soon as Henry starts pouring in the goals, everyone will want one like him and realize that the game has changed too much to look at the past as a predictor of the future. In other words, the quality of the DP pool will grow (and has grown) consistent with the addition of soccer specific staida, more slots, more spending power, and an ever-improving image of the league outside the US. If MLS can attract world class players in their early 30s or younger (and Ronaldinho is only 30 and coming off a very solid year with Milan), the league and play on the field will only improve, with the result that teams able to attract the really good DPs will do better.

  95. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Small market teams can do quite well in the NBA. Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, San Antonio, Detroit, OKC, Dallas, Sacramento, Utah, Orlando, Cleveland, Indiana, and Detroit have all been among the league’s elite for long stretches over that past two decades.

    Small market NBA teams that struggle do so because of incompetence, not lack of funds.

  96. Jonathan says:

    I am glad everyone is sooooo excited about getting all these NAMES that are past their prime. Will they tear it up in the MLS, yes, because it is below the standard they are no longer good enough for. As a Dynamo fan I know we will never get a substantial DP while AEG owns us and the Galaxy as we know we are the red headed step-child. All these NAMES coming past their prime is like the old new york cosmo days and it sucks the MLS has not learned from the NASL mistake. I like the guy that went to the Fire, 26 yrs old and trying to revive his career, excellent investment. Open your eyes, big names no one else wants does not validate our league, it makes it a retirement home.

  97. Jonathan says:

    agreed! SuperLiga refs are even worse.

  98. thedude says:

    LOL! Nick Garcia! I still can’t believe you guys traded for him.

  99. A Guest says:

    Thanks, I’ll look into that; I’m not sure how current my info was on that topic. Especially now that you say it, it seems to be ringing bells!

    Hopefully they’ve made some steps in that direction.

  100. A Guest says:

    Yeah, looked into it more; was also writing my numbers in the wrong order above. It used to be 2/3 to the team, 1/3 to the league. The CBA moved that to 3/4 to the team, 1/4 to the league. An excellent development.

    The rising scale based on service is for Gen Adidas players. At 1 year it was 1/3 for club, 2/3 for league. At 2 years, 50/50. At 3 or more, was 2/3 for the club, 1/3 for the league.

    For all other players, it is 2/3 league, 1/3 club!

    Also they increased the amount of transfer fees that can be put against allocation money (500k to 650k). That’s actually a pretty nice deal.

  101. Nathanael Greene says:

    I used to be on your side. I used to wish that the MLS would adopt a European style, so we could be more like the Premier League. Now I love the fact that our league is distinctly American and I embrace it’s playoff system. I suggest you do the same. This is American soccer.

  102. Nathanael Greene says:

    Yes! Checketts has done a fantastic job with this team in just about every aspect. I was worried when Kreis went from being player to coach, but he has really done a great job.

  103. Rex says:

    Ironically in the Fox article Ives compares Houston to LA in regard to spending habits when in fact they have the same owner. Whats wrong with that picture?

  104. Mr. X says:

    Beasley should be announcing where he’s going by week’s end. Chicago still has the DP slot open. Any truth to the rumor the Fire might sign him?

  105. phil says:

    I heard he’s buying the English national side for the same reason. he’s gonna be captain in 2022 BTW…

  106. phil says:

    agreed, they’d have to get lucky the leprechaun to resonate with “the irishes” up there…

    now get a looker like Michel Arteta for the mommies and you’re talking seaosn ticket increases.

  107. phil says:

    THREE RESPONSES:

    “It has been my opinion for several years that the biggest problem in MLS is not a shortage of talent, although that is an issue. The biggest problem is a lack of a truely competitive regular season.”
    1. WELL SAID

    “There’s no doubt that teams coast a bit through the regular season”
    2. yeah, but that’s the part played in August, and it’s more like slogging than coasting.

    “The league is barely 14 years old, what do you expect?”
    3. Personally, I expected a merger with USL by now and a PROMOTION/RELEGATION system where EVERY GAME COUNTS, and with the equality of a salary cap you would see a lot of horses running for their lives in that kind of race, not the big 4 team stalemate on the other side of the pond. I just don’t get the “not american enough a model” argument… it’s the most meritocratic system out there, and what american pie hole filling american wouldn’t love such a up from the bootstraps story as someone like the Harrisburg City Islanders taking the MLS title after a three year long meteoric rise?

    But I also expected that MLS would be on a synchronized calendar with the spain and italy and england leagues by now as well, so what do I know?

  108. phil says:

    well said. don’t forget Yura.

  109. sciroccer says:

    As a RSL fan I’m a bit worried. I think RSL, and LA have the most depth of talent on their teams. However, I can’t see any team in the MLS competing anymore with LA and NYRB. I thought the whole point of the leagues payroll design was to keep it competitive? I know every team has the same options, but let’s face it smaller markets won’t be able to compete with LA, and NY. Those major, major cities will start to purchase bigger names, assuring themselves they are 1 of 2, or 3 teams that has a shot at the cup. Fans in other cities lose interest, stop buying tix, and the league folds! I wonder if Don Garber remembers the NY Cosmos???

  110. phil says:

    careful there’s usually a kick afterwards….

  111. phil says:

    OR the league could just put a 4 million dollar pricetag over their heads like they’re gonna do with LD.

    You know, that’s a great idea. I get it when a player leaves MLS to give EPL, Liga Serie A etc. a go, but to lose a rising nats players to the interlands of the NorBelScaxican league is a bit of a buzzkill for the fan (yes it’s all about us).

    Of course, in another 5 years the MLS will be more competitive than NorBelScandinavian leagues so we won’t have quite the same problem anymore, so….

  112. phil says:

    hear hear!

  113. TGA says:

    The casual fan doesn’t know Thierry Henry from Henry Kissinger. The point is that the league will over spend and over expand just like NASL. Is any MLS team making money today?
    Once the league crashes we can then entertain the casual fan with the Austin Aztecs v Tampa Bay Rowdies in the league championship

  114. 45245245246423 says:

    The Revs are close to huge Portuguese and Brazilian communities so a player like Deco, Ronaldinho, Diego, Nuno Gomes etc would really help attendance.

    (Not saying these are realistic DP targets just using them as examples.)

  115. Matt says:

    I’ll probably be lambasted for this, but i think teams should take DP money and put into a youth system so we can foster our own players…

  116. RPH says:

    I’m more concerned about those sleeveless practice jerseys. They make the players look like my high school girls volleyball team.

  117. bf says:

    Dallas’s problem is marketing

  118. bf says:

    nice… he sucked. I say H-town doesn’t need a DP. We have a good coach who has produced solid players. Viva Naranja.

  119. bf says:

    I think Kissinger playing for NYRB might draw more fans

  120. RooneyFan_05 says:

    As a Revolution fan….we wait…..and wait…..and wait…with no TT, and no Ralston, how does this team score goals. The rookies can’t do it. Dube can’t do it consistantly, and Nyassi can’t cross the ball.

  121. Brent McD. says:

    +1