Rogers considering a return to MLS, but not with Chicago Fire

RobbieRogersDavidBeckham2011 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

It’s a scenario that seemed unlikely just three months ago when Robbie Rogers retired from professional soccer, but now after taking part in a week’s training with the Los Angeles Galaxy, the former U.S. international is considering a return.

One thing standing in his way though is that the Chicago Fire own his rights, acquiring them after an offseason deal with Rogers’ former club Columbus Crew. Speaking on the Soccer Today podcast, Rogers said that if he wasn’t able to play near his family, he probably wouldn’t return to Major League Soccer.

“I don’t want to go to Chicago,” Rogers said on the show Soccer Today. “I think if it comes down to you can only play in Chicago, then I probably won’t go back. I need to do it somewhere where I’m totally 100 percent comfortable.”

Current MLS rules prohibit American soccer players who want to return to the States from joining the team of their choice, either forcing the players to go through a weighted lottery or giving the player’s former team the right of first refusal indefinitely. As the Fire currently hold Rogers’ rights, and have expressed a desire to sign Rogers, it looks as though the Galaxy would have to work out a trade with the Fire to secure his services. MLS could be compelled to step in and facilitate a deal if the Fire and Galaxy can’t reach an agreement.

Is it unfair of the Fire to want compensation? Not really considering they traded for his rights in the Dominick Oduro for Dilly Duka swap. A deal involving a draft pick seems like the most likely scenario.

What do you make of this situation? Do you think MLS needs to change it’s rules? Do you feel the Fire should be allowed to hold on to Rogers’ rights? Think Rogers would be a good fit on the Galaxy?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Chicago Fire, MLS- LA Galaxy, U.S. Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

155 Responses to Rogers considering a return to MLS, but not with Chicago Fire

  1. ChiTown says:

    MLS could be compelled to step in and facilitate a deal if the Fire and Galaxy can’t reach an agreement.

    —–

    Which would be a monumental mistake. The fact that you even suggest the league may rig its own system for public relations is abhorrent.

    If you want to argue a rule change, that’s fine. But the CBA was signed, and it is the law of the league until the next negotiation. Robbie Rogers can deal with it or go back to his fashion line. My sympathy ends with his personal issues. On the field and in the negotiating room he’s any other player.

    For the league to even think of putting pressure on the Chicago Fire would be a slap in the face to the many thousands of people who have worked tirelessly to advance LGBT rights for equality. Nothing says equality like the token gay guy.

    • RK says:

      Yeah, the league would never rig its own system for public relations for LA.

      • TomG says:

        Nooo, never. Except by never, I mean always.

        • Matt says:

          It’s time to take off the training wheels and let the teams operate on their own. Leave the parity (communism) to the NFL.

        • Rory says:

          They should just do a weighted lottery, put the Galaxy’s name on every ball then draw out the winner.

          • Josh says:

            I would put money that Galaxy fans still find a way to complain about this system.

            • Elber Galarga says:

              Nah, Chicago can keep that overrated guy. He’s all speed, no technical ability.

              • YesItsNate says:

                Robbie can play, he’s just always played mentally a step or two slower than this athletic ability which is what makes him a frustrating talent as a fan

    • patrick says:

      dude, if you don’t think this is done ALL THE TIME then you’re crazy. when Mcbride came back the dynamo traded the allocation top spot to chicago for chad barret, a far worse forward than mcbride. You think they did that because they’d rather have Chad? No, it’s because he wasn’t going to play for houston, same applies here. Besides, it’ll never come down to that because here’s what chicago has: The rights to a player who would rather not play, than to play in chicago. So, whats that really worth? you could get a wecond or 3rd round pick for him, which could turn into a contribuotr, or you could hold on to the theoretical rights to Rogers which does nothing for your team, ever.

      Also, you’re REALLY stretching to say that the MLS is offending the LGBT community by doing everything they can to get Robbie Rogers into a comfortable situation. Of course he’s the token gay guy, HES THE ONLY ONE TO COME OUT IN THE USA. If he wants to play, the MLS should, and probably will do everything they can to encoruage that, and they should. Having the first out/active soccer player in the world would be huge for the MLS, and soccer in the US.

      • ChiTown says:

        It was Toronto FC and they didn’t own his rights. They had the top spot in the allocation draft and McBride wanted to retire in Chicago since he is from Chicago.

        And Toronto went along and got a TON from us. They got Chad Barrett, a first round pick and future considerations. Completely different situations.

        We traded our best goal scorer to Columbus for Rogers’ rights assuming he would sign with us to come back into the league.

      • ChiTown says:

        It was Toronto FC and they didn’t own his rights. They had the top spot in the allocation draft and McBride wanted to retire in Chicago since he is from Chicago.

        And Toronto went along and got a TON from us. They got Chad Barrett, a first round pick and future considerations. Completely different situations.

        We traded our best goal scorer to Columbus for Rogers’ rights thinking he would sign with us to come back into the league.

      • Shane says:

        I have to agree with ChiTown here. McBride didnt need to play anymore, had proven himself at the top level and was a US soccer legend. After what he accomplished saying he’ll either play in Chicago or nowhere is much more understandable. He only had a few years left. This is not the situation with Rogers. He is still young and has a career ahead of him where he could achieve a lot more than he has to date, where he could realize his potential. The MNT could use a fast winger. If Rogers doesnt play again just because he cant play exactly where he wants, just because he isnt given special treatment, is letting his country down. I’m disappointed in him

        • wides says:

          Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that Rogers, as a player, is something special. He wasn’t getting back into the MNT either way, regardless of where he’s playing. He hasn’t played on the MNT since 2011, and while our other options have been improving… he has been either A) injured and not playing much or B) retired.

          I like the guy, and think it was brave of him to come out like he did. But he’s just not that good. He was never able to put it all together mentally. Whether that is because of his need to hide part of his identity, I don’t know. He went to Leeds United, was injured a lot… played even less, then was loaned to a League One side… where he was … injured a lot … and played even less. And then he was allowed to leave on a free transfer.

          • Shane says:

            If he was playing regularly, he was absolutely getting called up for the MNT again. Klinsmann is his biggest fan and was the one who got him the gig at Leeds. Robbie suffered a bad concussion 10 minutes into his first match for Leeds, they then fired the manager that signed him, and that was it. Also, he could pull it together mentally, he just could do it consistenly and that very likely wasnt helped the internal struggles he was dealing with.

          • Xander Crews says:

            You’re absolutely correct – Rogers isn’t anything special as a player on the field. When he was with Columbus, he had one key attribute: he had some pace down the wings. That may work in MLS, but in a league that puts a higher emphasis on skill over athleticism, it’s just not good enough. Rogers has also shown that lack of ability during his 18 appearances with the USMNT. Let’s not kid ourselves about his future with the national team, either. He wasn’t getting regular call-ups with the main squad, and he’s certainly not a part of that discussion moving forward.

            This is going to sound like a joke, but it’s not intended as such; unless he’s somehow improved his touch on the ball during his time away from the game, he’s still not going to be anything special.

            • bluewhitelion says:

              i’d like him to come back for his own sake, and to challenge himself. Always liked his pace. I didn’t like his inconsistent quality and touch, so outside of his being a lot in the news and wondering if he can resurrect his career, I don’t really care where he plays. don’t wish him ill at all, I just didn’t think he was a great player.

        • wides says:

          Also, Rogers… has all the leverage here. If MLS / Chicago really want to play hardball, then they get nothing. If they want to get something from him, then they need to work out a deal. And since Rogers is a commodity that MLS wants (even more so because of his recent announcement) and they will want to have him playing again.

          Yes, Chicago has gotten screwed out of this a couple times, and I feel bad for them. But, being a fan of MLS and not any one specific team, I think it’s better for him to be playing somewhere than not.

          • ChiTown says:

            What leverage does Robbie Rogers have?

            Rogers: I want to play for LA.
            Chicago: Hold on.
            Chicago: Galaxy, we want fair value.
            Galaxy: Nope.
            Rogers: So, how’d it go?
            Chicago: Have fun making clothes.

            • Camjam says:

              You just answered the question regarding Roger’s leverage. Simply stated, the man not only retired, but took the actions of a man who retired (took a bigger position with his clothing company and started writing professionally).

              You have no leverage over him when he is fully prepared to not play AT ALL instead of playing for your team.

              • ChiTown says:

                Except we aren’t actively trying to get him to play.

                We’ve said yeah he’s welcome here. That’s it.

                The team has all but stated outright that Rogers isn’t in our plans and we couldn’t give two **** if he plays or not.

            • Rory says:

              More like:
              Rogers: I will only play for LA.
              Chicago: OK LA, what do you offer?
              Galaxy: 2nd round draft pick.
              Chicago: We want a first round.
              Galaxy: No.
              Chicago: Robbie, they want too much for you, will you come play for us?
              Rogers: No way. I’ll retire and you get nothing.
              Chicago: Hey LA, we’ll take that 2nd round now.
              Galaxy: Too late, we’re now offering a supplemental draft pick and a signed Donovan Jersey.
              Chicago: Damnit. We’ll take it, but you have to throw in a Beckham branded sweatband.
              Galaxy: No deal. All we’re offering you now is ten minutes alone in the Chivas lockerroom to grab all their personal belongings you can carry out during their next match.
              Chicago: DEAL!!!

              • Camjam says:

                Exactly. I should have known someone from Chicago would have so little sense.

                Deep dish pizza?!?

                THIN CRUST FOR LIFE!

              • Mentos says:

                Nonsense. Getting nothing to prevent Rogers from playing for LA is a net positive for every team in the league. We are talking about a player who has been, and can be again a quality starter for a MLS Cup winner, and he could be so for the next 5 years easily.

                I’m not seeing where any team, let alone Chicago, should be in any hurry to strengthen a contender for peanuts. They would be in effect hurting themselves for the next 5 years.

        • fischy says:

          Disappointed in him? For deciding for himself where he will or will not relocate to work?

          Seriously?

          The problem isn’t Rogers, but MLS rules that don’t allow the freedom that most people enjoy to decide in what cities they will look for work.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        The worst to me was JP Angel to Chivas to clear room for Keane. “Lay the foundation of back to back titles over the unwilling body of your ground-share partners, who have no titles and are fighting for relevance.”

        Particularly considering LA has benefitted from a few of these, and is already a leading team, why would any rational GM facilitate? For this level of a player the price should be Villareal or that level. It won’t be.

        • Rory says:

          But LA also cast off some promising players to Chivas through the years too… Bowen looked pretty good until he got in Chivas’ kit.

        • whoop-whoop says:

          Villareal???? Naaah.

          There is a significant difference in trading a player under contract, in form, playing for your team and… the rights to a player… outside your league, out of contract, out of form…. shoot, out of the game, who has publicly stated he has no desire to play for you.

          It is debatable whether the trade would ever be made with the former conditions…. not even a remote possibility with the latter.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            Like someone said, Chicago traded away Oduro for his rights, on the theory he’d help the team on his return. If you’ve commodified it in this way, you shouldn’t jump in after one expensive trade and suddenly cheapen the commodity.

            Plus, all the teams should be playing by the same rules and it feels like LA is benefitting from a lot of allocations, player drafts, and such in a way that doesn’t sound even-handed.

      • Isaac says:

        Quite the repost. I completely agree.

      • soccerhorn says:

        +1

    • JoeW says:

      I think you’re being a bit sanctimonious here. No-one is saying the LAG gets Rogers for free. But it’s too easy for teams to play hardball. Chicago knows they aren’t going to get Rogers. So they can prevent LAG from getting him…or get a King’s ransom. The problem is that it’s a good thing for Rogers to be playing in MLS. It’s a statement of diversity and tolerance (that would get some coverage world-wide). And he might actually become a NT player. Or retire again in a year.

      I’m thinking of the Danny Szetela situation. He ended up originally in Columbus. And that turned out to be a bad fit. Not that he should have been gifted anyplace (like NY/NJ). It’s just that with talented youth, the washout rate is high (“paging Mr. Adu, could Mr. Adu please pick up the white courtesy phone”) and US soccer isn’t good enough yet that we can allow domestic talent to be trashed or stay in retirement just b/c one team is determined to play hardball.

      Finally does anyone really want to argue that Chicago deserves a king’s ransom b/c they gave up….Oduro? Please.

      • Matt B. says:

        Oduro’s scoring rate so far this season will have him at about 15 goals at the end of the year. Chicago should get something good out of that.

        • ed - houston says:

          Oduro is back to his wasteful ways, don’t kid yourself.

        • soccerhorn says:

          Oduro’s scoring rate this season should have Chicago looking in the mirror wondering “what are we doing wrong?”

      • SilverRey says:

        Everyone keeps talking like Rogers was the only thing Chicago got in return for Oduro. Over the last week I think I may have heard Dilly Duka’s name once, maybe twice! It’s not like Chicago is giving up the farm here by trading away Rogers, his rights were more of an afterthought deal closer between the Crew and Fire.

    • What a suprise says:

      ChiTown with the first comment.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      Who suggested it would be for PR? MLS can step in and help push a deal along just to keep things moving in the league. They’ve done it before and they’ll do it again. Call it the benefit (or curse) or single entity.

  2. Phil says:

    As long as he’s playing, who cares where he goes

    • Darwin says:

      Apparently he cares.

    • TomG says:

      If he’s going to deal with the death threats, the hate letters, etc., I’d guess he wants to do that close to home so he can have his friends and family close by. It makes sense, certainly. Jackie Robinson was able to do it by himself, but that guy was insanely tough and he felt like he was, to an extent, the representative of his entire race. I think Robbie doesn’t really feel that way. I think he just wants to live his life. He doesn’t really seem to have much desire to be the flag bearer for all.

      • Al17 says:

        PLEASE STOP with the Jackie Robinson comparisons it’s nothing like what Jackie Robinson had to deal with when he broke the color barrier and he sure as hell doesn’t have a fraction of the athletic ability that Jackie Robinson did.

        Furthermore, Chicago is one of a few cities in North America where his being open about his sexuality isn’t an issue. Chicago’s LGBT community is HUGE, Diverse and very supportive and one ACTIVE Community.

        • patrick says:

          If you don’t see the similiarities between Robinson and Rogers, its because you don’t want to. They aren’t the same for sure, but there are certainly things common to both situations

          • Rory says:

            I just hope Robbie doesn’t have to finish his career racing in foot races against horses at state fairs and stuff like that to make ends meet, as Jessie Owens did.

          • Al17 says:

            THE ONLY similarities they have are two professional athletes. Robinson

            1. Didn’t have an option of coming out, hiding skin
            color is pretty damn hard to do.

            2. Socially segregation was the norm and
            acceptable at the time JR played.

            Robbie’s Sexual orientation in today’s society is more accepting than a Black man playing baseball back in the day. Hell many people could care less about his sexuality. You’re seeing something that isn’t there. We’re not a perfect society by any stretch of the imagination but UNLIKE when Jackie Robinson played people were not coming out of the wood works supporting him. Not the case today.

            • slowleftarm says:

              Totally ridiculous to compare the two. Watch the episode of Ken Burns’ baseball documentary dealing with Robinson breaking into baseball and what he went through then tell me that that’s comparable to Robbie Rogers. I wish Robbie the best and I’m sure there will be some bumps in the road for him but comparing him to Jackie Robinson is just laughable. Look at most of the comments here – they’re mostly focused on his abilities as a player and the merits of the MLS rules on returning national team players.

            • Don Quixote says:

              Wow, did that really happen?

            • TomG says:

              They would both be breaking barriers, they’d both be getting death threats and hate mail, they’d both be shunned by some of their teammates. To say that the only similarities are that they’re both pro athletes is completely ridiculous.

          • twin city fire says:

            I just don’t see the comparison to Jackie Robinson. JR had to fight to enter the league, and fight to stay in it. He endured the physical attacks on the field and endured the death threats. He didn’t walk away because he wasn’t “comfortable”. If he had, I’m sure MLB would have celebrated their “win”. They certainly wouldn’t have bent over backwards to accommodate his wishes to play on the team of his choosing so that he felt good and safe about playing in their league. Rogers isn’t breaking any sort of “gay barrier”. He’s not the first, nor will he be the last gay pro athlete. We celebrate JR because of his character and strength as a human being. We celebrate him because of what he accomplished in spite of the difficulties. We don’t celebrate him because he was black. Being black, or gay, doesn’t make you less of an athlete or a person. I just think the comparisons are silly and disrespectful to the legacy of JR and others who fought the good fight. The ones that didn’t say “I want to be a difference maker…but only on my terms, when it’s safe and I’m comfortable.”

        • ac70 says:

          The color barrier in sports was broken in the late 1800s and early 1900s with the sports of boxing and cycling when those were the supreme sports in the US before the rise of Amer. football and baseball.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Because it’s likely to involve a farcical trade like the old Freddy Adu deal where a team, which may not have much history, will clear the way for a more storied team to get another good player. We thought the era of published salaries was the end of the gerrymandering but it seems to be subtly coming back on DPs and rights to returning players. Everyone cannot play in LA or NY.

  3. Josh D says:

    Rogers sounds entitled here. If you won’t play in Chicago, you’re quitting soccer? Are you sure you’re playing for the right reasons Robbie? This makes him sound very petty. He’s not a world beater, nor is he an upcoming young player or a returning US hero. He was a decent MLS player who did poorly abroad (albeit with injuries) who quit the game recently, and now wants to come back, but only if he plays for the team of his choice.

    I would assume LA is his all or nothing choice, but do LA really need him? If I’m an LA fan, I’d rather the team give the youth more opportunities.

    I’m all for bashing the way MLS treats free agency, however, to say you’re quitting the game unless you get it your way leaves a bad, immature taste.

    • Beto says:

      +1, good comments

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      How has he been immature about this at all? He said he willing to come out of retirement for the right situation (LA). Its up to Chicago, LA, and MLS to make it work now. That’s how the system works. This happens all the time in MLS (most recent example Herc Gomez). They can work out a fair deal or he stays retired. simple as that. He isn’t whining about MLS or how the system is unfair to him. Simply stating he wants to stay close to his family. Can you blame him?

    • Dimidri says:

      How about the elephant in the room…you want to be close to your family in LA? Sure. That’s fine. Chivas is in LA and is offering the Fire way more than what LA is (hypothetically). So what’s it gonna be Robbie-Lakeview or Chivas?

      • WhiteHart says:

        I wondered that as well.

        I don’t think they will (doesn’t fit with the “Latino” flair they are after), but what if Chivas wanted him, and was willing to trade..

        If Robbie’s fine going to Chivas, than I don’t have any problems with him saying Southern Cal or staying retired, but if he will ONLY play for the Galaxy, than I think that is a little much.

        Also, if it was simply down to a supporting community, I don’t think anywhere would be better than San Jose, but I think it’s clearly more of a being close to family situation.

        Really all this raises the issue for me is that a team can own someones rights, even after they have finished their contractual obligations and moved to another league..

        • Hogatroge says:

          There are a lot of MLS cities with vibrant, large gay communities and open-minded attitudes.

          Any of the West Coast teams, Chicago, NY, and even Houston (believe it or not!).

          He’s gotta stick the the family angle to make this seem sincere.

          • Jubez says:

            If that is what he means by “comfortable,” he should jump at an opportunity to play in Toronto.

    • soccerhorn says:

      If you watched the Galaxy game against Houston last night, you’d know that Galaxy want Rogers for more than just his PR potential.

    • Riggity says:

      Heaven forbid he not be able to make a living in the place he wants.

  4. Al17 says:

    This smells Rotten to me. He needs to work this out with the Fire. As a Fire fan, I’d prefer not to see him here since he doesn’t wanna be here but since he didn’t work something out with the Fire prior to the trade then he and the Galaxy need to pay the Fire and dearly in my opinion. Trades happen all the time and most players know what’s going on before they happen and have a bit more say so in regards to how it plays out for them. No one in their right mind wants someone who doesn’t want to be there and I know that’s the case with the Fire but a deal is a deal.

    Seriously, in the past few months, not even “half” a season, he’s gone from retired to training with the Galaxy (whom I would bring up on tampering charges if I were the Fire, assuming they exist in MLS) to I’ll only play with the Galaxy to be closer to my Family. It’s foul and he could have and should have handled this better from his end.

    • Hogatroge says:

      He’s training with the Galaxy because he lives in Southern California, not Chicago.

  5. Jacknut says:

    If I were Chicago, I’d ask for Villareal and McBean for the rights to Rogers. No reason to play softball when you have the rights to an American International.

  6. Beto says:

    I have said it a million times; the rule that prohibites US internationals from playing where they want/can sign is THE DUMBEST RULE EVER!

    The moment they remove this rule I bet a number of Americans Abroad return.

    • Al17 says:

      I bet you it’ll be at the same rate. MLS may not be perfect but one benefit of this rule is to prevent what is blatantly happening at the moment. Remember, he “retired” no one forced him to leave.

      • bryan says:

        i don’t see your point. how is it bad for an professional athlete to have a say in where they go??? this rule is not helping the situation like you suggest…it’s CREATING the situation to begin with.

        who cares if he retired? what does that have to do with why he should have the right to go to a team/city he wants to play for.

        now, with that said, rules are rules and Robbie is being a baby. this is MLS, you know how it works. but i’m sorry, i think the rule is really awful and MLS is mature enough to do away with it, IMHO.

        • Al17 says:

          I never said such a thing. Look at what I’ve posted earlier in regards to his knowing about coming to Chicago before the trade went down. He could have worked this out in a much better manner and he didn’t.

          His retiring is actually a big deal and if I’m not mistaken the other pro leagues have rules in place that require you to stop playing for a said period of time once you officially retire. One of the reasons for such a rule is to prevent a player from quitting one team for whatever reason then deciding they’ll play with another and their origin team gets Nothing.

          It’s barely 3 months and he’s no longer retired and it makes me question whether or not he had this planned all along – it’s fair game to ask considering his remarks. Come on, people can change their mind but this is just a lousy way to do business.

          If Fire said screw you, you’re coming here or don’t bother playing people would be losing their damn minds despite the fact that they’re playing by the rules.

          I’ve lost a lot of respect for him as a player. He should have held off of these comments til he dealt with the Fire (as far as we know he hasn’t).

          • WhiteHart says:

            The issue isn’t that he ‘retired” from the Fire and they aren’t getting anything in return, the issue is why did Columbus “own” his rights anyways.

            As the rules are written, the Fire were smart to trade for his rights (thinking he eventually would come back to MLS), but why can a team trade for a players rights once he has played out his contract..

    • Shane says:

      The rule is for parity and isnt dumb. American players are in Europe for these reasons: to play in a top league, to earn better money, to develop to their full potential as the perception is that player development abroad is superior to MLS. It is myth that lots of Americans would come back if MLS would change this rule; these players are there for a reason. Do you not see the logic flaw here? Do you really think an American player will stay in some Scandanavian country where they speak a different language, where he has no friends, just because Chicago has his rights but he wants to play in LA? No players willing to play in Scandanavia or Russia or lower tier England are by definition willing to play in any city.

      • Rory says:

        I don’t think this rule is just for parity sake. I think part of it is to encourage a team not to stop MLS from selling a USMNT player. Think about it, it’s an extra bit of reward for letting the guy go: “Hey, if it doesn’t work out in Europe, and often it doesn’t, at least he won’t come back and sign with your rival, you’ll get his rights to then sell or trade.”

      • Camjam says:

        I think you’re missing the point. More often than not, the US players are taking a discount to play in MLS. The reason so many players (and pundits. An ESPN article recently addressed this topic) hate this is that MLS is essentially asking for a hometown discount without the whole “hometown” part.

        Think about this. It’s not unreasonable to play, or maybe not play, in scandinavia or lower level England if you’re going to make 400-800k. This is glaring most particularly when MLS will pay 200k for your services. But does that same 200k look good if you get to play in your hometown? It seems to a lot of players it does (Mcbride, Hahnemann, Keller, Corrales, Cooper). But when MLS wants that discount, but doesn’t want to allow you to choose your city the same way EVERY other star-caliber player can, it seems frustrating.

        I honestly believe this may be the rule which most needs to disappear in MLS. Rogers to me is just the latest example.

        • Shane says:

          And you’re missing my point. Changing the rule wont result in any noticeable increase in American players coming to or returning to MLS. The only ones who will return are the ones who have admitted they’re not going anywhere in Europe, and these are the same guys who will return to MLS regardless of the rule change. The only thing that will be different if you change this rule is certain teams will get more of these players because most would rather play for LA than Columbus. Rogers was never happy playing for Columbus and now just because he comes out as gay, and everyone wants him in MLS, we’re suppose to think it’s okay for him to play where he wants. Apply different rules to him. What happens when the next player comes out? Should MLS let him choose his team too?

          • Claudius says:

            “Rogers was never happy playing for Columbus” This is not true, at all. He left Columbus for one reason and one reason only: California Klinsi told him he needed to leave his comfort zone in Columbus and play in Europe to further develop his game.

    • Freddy says:

      I think two rules should be put in place:

      1. If a player returning wants to go back to his old club he should be allowed that option.

      2. If a player wants to return to MLS but wants to play in his HOMETOWN club he should be allowed to go there.

      If those conditions aren’t met upon the player’s return, then he goes through allocation.

      I do like the idea of the allocation rule since it prevents every player automatically wanting to join a top table club.

      • bryan says:

        sounds pretty good. but seriously, out of all the players coming back from Europe, how many of them are top players that a “top club” would want to sign?

        this rule was put into place to prevent the BEST usa players coming back and all going to the same team. but the unintended effect is that players like Rogers get put in a lame situation. and chicago/la for that matter.

      • Hogatroge says:

        The problem with the “Hometown Club” thing is that there are 19 MLS clubs sharing 17 states. That’s a lot of hometowns that don’t get this benefit.

        Maybe, you can either go back to the team that you left or your hometown club if you spent time in their academy.

    • Beto says:

      If Wayne Rooney wanted to play in MLS he would have his pick, hell if John Rooney wanted to sign in MLS (and an mls team wanted him) same deal but if Dempsey, Boyd, DMB, Bocanegra or even a youth player like Cody Cropper wanted to come home he would be assigned to Montreal or something…

      • Josh D says:

        John Rooney had his chance in MLS and didn’t do anything. He wouldn’t get his pick of teams.

      • Claudius says:

        Montreal seems like a pretty awesome place to play tbh.

      • ThaDeuce says:

        Great point, never thought of that. The rule is absurd.

      • Kevin Hall says:

        I don’t think that’s true. They have Discovery Claims for other internationals. I could be wrong though.

    • Josh D says:

      This makes no sense because it’s discrimination and while more Yanks Abroad MAY come back, we’ll certainly send the foreigners scattering away from a league bent to favor “Americans.” And how do we determine our brethren who play for us, but weren’t born here?

      And how do we define US internationals? If I played one game, am I always considered an international? If I play u20s, am I an international?

      It’s all or nothing for me. No need to show favoritism.

  7. Riggity says:

    I understand what MLS is trying to do by allowing teams to hold rights of players but can someone explain to me why the heck they just don’t do what the NFL does and give compensatory draft picks? The trades that happen in these situations are always lopsided and they build resentment among the fan base that gets the raw end of the deal. If a player leaves MLS they should become a restricted free agent(when they come back) free to go anywhere with the team that’s holding the rights to receive either a compensatory draft pick or a draft pick from the club that receives the player depending on the players tender(salary offer).

  8. bottlcaps says:

    IANAL, but this smacks of the reserve clause that was struck down by arbitration in baseball several decades ago. In the case of baseball, a team owned your rights practically FOREVER, precluding moving to a team on your own. When the reserve clause was struck down, it gave rise the FREE AGENT, and changed salaries in professional sports forever. It was one of the things that the MLS needed to get a hold of to created a low-salary league.., ie. to put a cap on unrestricted free agents wherever and whenever possible. The MLS is the envy of every league or owners that pays top dollar for players, and is constantly beaten back from implementation (salary caps) overseas by the powerful players unions. SI was the lawyers representing players unions that several yearsstruck down restrictive transfer rules in European soccer, given rise to the Bozeman free transfer.

    The fact that you sign away those rights when you sign with the MLS dos not make it legal. The MLS is just awaiting someone to challenge this and for the courts to further clarify the current MLS transfer rules. Remember, the MLS is a single entity ownership and it is not totally exempt under anti-trust rulings. The fact that the MLS still owns the rights to your playing in the league and BENEFITED from selling your rights when you transferred over seas, may be overreaching. But unless it’s challenged, they will continue to enforce these rules on allocation and rights until told not to do so.

    I hope Robbie Rogers chooses to fight instead of acquiescing to the MLS. Although. it’s the team that signs him that ultimately pays the piper, it does effect his bottom line on his playing career and financial well-being.

    • Rory says:

      I don’t think the courts will ever rule that MLS has a monopoly on pro soccer. You are expecting the courts to ignore the fact you can play in Europe or Mexico while also ruling that there is some difference between playing in MLS and playing in NASL. I simply don’t think a judge is going to say that the chance to play top tier soccer and be eligible for the concacaf champions league is significant enough that playing in MLS is a monopoly when the second division here can pay you just as much for most players.

      • Hogatroge says:

        Players in NASL might be making more than the end-of-bench guys and non-1st-round rookies, but the kind of players this rule is in effect for will be making big bucks (relatively).

        Bocanegra ain’t getting allocated to Toronto and then getting $44k.

    • Clay says:

      You’re going to have a hard time comparing the Curt Flood/Oscar Robertson cases to MLS. One plays for the league, not the team. It’s apples to oranges, really. Nothing would prevent Rogers from playing NASL or USL if he wanted to, no?

      And when a player is sold overseas, they aren’t selling rights, they’re selling a contract. If Player A completes his contract in MLS, he can go overseas for free and MLS sees no kickback for it. A transfer fee is essentially paying to sever a deal with one team so the new team can renegotiate (akin to paying to break a lease to move to a new apartment).

      It’s Robbie Rogers’ choice to return to MLS. He certainly doesn’t have to, but make no mistake, he’s returning to MLS, not a team. MLS is what his previous deal was through, not Columbus Crew.

  9. Dos says:

    Seems like everyone will have a soapbox on this issue . . . really tough to say given the unique circumstances. Ostensibly he is just a physically gifted American player who needs game . . . but obviously there is a lot that goes with his situation going forward, and it seems like anything short of a balanced trade will set people off in some direction or another.

    what is his trade value? He didnt really thrive abroad and hasnt been capped for a bit . . . but he played well in the MLS?

  10. RPH says:

    Chivas would be close to his family, right?

    • Freddy says:

      Very good point.

    • Rory says:

      He’s the wrong ethnic background. This isn’t about that kind of diversity.

      • Jose says:

        He could change him last name to a Mexican name. Would he fit in then?

        Win, Win, Win! Close to family, Mexican name on Chivas shirt, MLS get a diversity point.

  11. kpugs says:

    MLS stepping in to find a solution=MLS effing Chicago and forcing them to trade Rogers’ rights to L.A. for 3 practice cones and a new white board for the locker room.

    That is how this league works, and I think we all know it.

  12. Steevens says:

    What I think so many are failing to consider here is that Rogers has been far too quick to speak here. While I fully understand his statement that “I need to do it somewhere where I’m totally 100 percent comfortable.” Rogers has equated 100% comfortable to being home or close to home.

    Let’s take a moment to remember that Rogers also retired, apparently out of the conviction that he could not be 100% comfortable being out and playing. I think there is a strong possibility here that if Chicago plays the right cards, they can convince Rogers that the Fire organization will do enough to make the situation comfortable.

    Rogers may have another press conference soon where he announces that the Fire are a great organization willing to work with him and his unique needs at this point in history and he is happy to play for a club willing to support him.

    • drew11 says:

      He is free to play for LA Blues or any other team “close to home” if he doesn’t want to play by MLS rules. How about Xolos? Wonder if they want to sign him?.

    • Al17 says:

      Is he worth the effort from a playing perspective? Remember, Leeds loaned him out to Stevenage (3rd division English Football) and the skill level in English 3rd division is definitely a few steps down from MLS.

      • WhiteHart says:

        Not that I’m necessarily disagreeing, but how do you make a blanket statement that “the skill level in English 3rd disivion is definitely a few steps down from MLS.”

        In all honesty I’m just curious as to how people judge leagues that never compete directly, i.e MLS to Scandanavia vs Ukraine vs Russia vs Random other leagues (S. American)

        • Al17 says:

          Based on observation the watching league matches and the number of players rising from the ranks for 3rd Division teams compared to the number of MLS players who have been recruited and signed by EPL and Championship sides recently. I’m speaking off the cuff on my numbers but I’m guessing there are more MLS players whom have signed to play for EPL and Championship clubs in the past 5 years than the number rising through the ranks from the English 3rd division and I’ll exclude American Goal keepers.

          Actually play in Ukraine & Definitely Russian top divisions are above MLS and they were better before the large amount of money arrived. Technically none of the leagues compete directly with MLS save for the Mexican First Division and other leagues in CONCACAF.

          • broadsthooligans says:

            You probably don’t want to look at EPL numbers(that will probably lean unevenly towards English players, who will lean unevenly towards the English lower divisions in comparison with MLS. If you look around at the rest of the top leagues in Europe, I wouldn’t be surprised if that holds up. More players probably go from MLS to top leagues (or their second leagues) than players from the English divisions below the third making that jump.

  13. Mike R says:

    If he doesn’t want to go to Chicago and LA doesn’t want to give equal trade value than screw him he can stay out of the game.

    Anything less than Villanueva in a trade then screw LA.

    If Rogers signs with LA I will boo him loudly for not wanting to come to Chicago and not cause he’s gay thou ill bet that’s how many will take it.

    • Dimidri says:

      Let’s be realistic here-zero chance we’e getting Villareal (though Charlie Villanueva on the other hand…). Zero. Galaxy don’t need Robbie Rogers, they’d like to have him.

      Here’s the thing-despite the league’s historic propensity to help LA (somewhat), I think they recognize that a) having Robbie Rogers in the league would be good and b) that they have a perception problem with regards to LA/NY and the Rest and that the Fire need to be properly compensated. I don’t have a problem with MLS stepping in because they can act as the mediator to say “Chicago, you’re not getting Villareal” and “LA, he’s a good player-they deserve more than a second round pick”.

      Some combination of the following would be realistic for the Fire (obviously not all of these)-
      Allocation money, draft picks, Michael Stephens, Leonardo, Charlie Rugg, Greg Cochrane, Hector Jimenez.

      • Steevens says:

        Not sure I agree that any combination of those players is fair, unless the scale is heavily weighted with money and/or picks

    • soccerhorn says:

      ok, we’ll give you Villanueva.

  14. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    MLS will force Chicagos hand. LA will get him. Trade for Sarvas seems fair.

  15. Rory says:

    Hey thanks for sharing that. I haven’t heard that and it is interesting. I’ll put about as much faith in these rankings as I do the Coca-Cola Fifa National team rankings back in the day, but still interesting that there’s groups out there attempting this sort of thing.

    • Al17 says:

      LOL, I was thinking the same thing and I’m HUGE Bob Bradley fan but these rankings and lists tend to boggle my mind.

  16. KJ says:

    Chicago has all the leverage here. They can hold out for whatever they want, and if they don’t get it, nothing is lost. And that’s completely their right. They don’t have to give him away for any reason.

    • Joe+G says:

      But that means they gave up some value for nothing. They have his rights — why not get *something* out of it?

      Both sides have some leverage & it will get worked out eventually.

    • broadsthooligans says:

      Yes, Dom Oduro is already lost.

  17. Thomas says:

    Rogers could use the Cosmos as leverage or as an alternative and not be concerned with MLS rights.

    • Steevens says:

      THIS!

      Actually a really interesting idea for Rogers professionally. But his beef with Chicago is not with MLS rules (unlike Herc. currently), but rather that he wants to stay close to his family in LA

  18. Charles says:

    So he would be fine with Chivas then ?

    Yeah, that is what I thought…….

  19. bryan says:

    as a LA fan, i hope Chicago play hardball. this is just ridiculous. can’t wait to see this rule go away. and having this issue turn into a big blow up with Chicago not caving in will help with that.

  20. Travis says:

    Over/Under of two weeks before the MLS forces a trade to LA. We all fully expect it to happen, this rule is dumb but it needs to be enforced. Chicago gave up good pieces to get him, LA should have to do the same.

    • unbeknownst says:

      Chicago didn’t give up anything to get him. Rogers was a throw-in in the Dominick Oduro for Dilly Duka swap. Oduro for Duka was even regardless if Rogers was in it or not.

      A future late draft pick or IR spot is what he’s worth. Not Sravas, not Villarreal or McBean. Jimenez, Hoffman, or Clark are equivalent to Rogers rights, if we’re talking player swap.

      • Steevens says:

        Oduro for Duka is not quite even in most people’s eyes. Hence Rogers rights moved as well.

      • Travis says:

        Duka=/=Oduro. I am not a huge fan of either but at least one has produced occasionally and his name is not Duka

    • Brain Guy says:

      MLS “forcing” a trade? If that’s even possible, let alone plausible, it calls into question the very integrity of the league. Rule-making on the fly is not what legitimate leagues do.

      • Claudius says:

        …and yet that’s what leagues all over the world do. All the time.

        • Brain Guy says:

          Claudius and Travis: I’d appreciate examples of other leagues forcing trades on unwilling or uncooperative teams, or of other leagues changing rules on the fly to benefit a particular team.

      • Travis says:

        You live in a very naive world if you think deals are never forced by leagues. Some people around here would say the MLS changed rules in the past specifically for LA

  21. Brain Guy says:

    LA : MLS :: Cosmos : NASL. Rules? What rules?

  22. euroman says:

    Rogers just isn’t a good enough player to decide where he is willing to play. If Chicago wants to play hardball then he is effectively retired from MLS.

  23. Isaac says:

    This is fairly similar to Landon’s situation. He wasn’t comfortable either, so he started performing better when he went to LA and played closer to family/friends. Obviously Landon failed at a bigger club, and has had more output thus far in his career, but he also sets a precedent for what can happen when a player is placed in a setting that he’s fully comfortable with.

    Now, personally, I think Rogers has potential. He’s got speed. He’s got control. He can dribble. He can cross. He’s got a powerful shot. We won’t know how much all of that was hampered until he actually puts on a kit and plays again, but Rogers, in my mind, deserves at least that chance to show he can play when he has his mind cleared. If he doesn’t perform, then he’s another flop. If he does, then it’s another business-savvy investment by LA, who’ve shown a real eye in the transfer market and behind the draft pick table.

  24. Matt says:

    this is bs, the fire got his rights under mls rules. im a big supporter of lgbt rights but this guy has always seemed to be a ass to me.

  25. bryan says:

    here is another example of this rule causing issues for US players who aren’t even senior team players:

    Ocegueda recently moved to Chivas on loan but now can’t play for them because he plays for the USA U-20s. they wanted to send him to Chivas USA but this rule prevents that from being a possibility. so now we have a U-20 player who can’t even play for his team, on any level, but is a big piece of our U-20 defense and won’t play until June. although, Ramos knows what’s up and will likely bring him to the 2013 Toulon Tournament in late May.

    not all of this can be put on MLS, but once again this is another example of this rule causing problems for players who it wasn’t intended for in the first place. him and his agent should have realized Ramos would call him up, Chivas wasn’t going to soften its policy on only Mexican nationals, and that MLS had this rule…i get that, that’s awful planning. but i think my point about the rule remains.

    • broadsthooligans says:

      maybe if they put a cap limit on it? Like the EPL work permit where you have to have played 2/3rds of the international games. That stops current top players from coming back but allows fringe and below players, along with the likes of Bocanegra who have faded out and are looking for playing time to get back into the team.

  26. Matt says:

    the funny thing is Chicago has one of most accepting and biggest LGBT communities in the country

    • Jose says:

      But their community is cold and windy, crime ridden, on the downward slide, doomed to failure because of politics. On the other hand LA will be wiped out with the next earthquake. Pick your poison I guess.

  27. DS says:

    Not that I have any real insight to where Chicago stands on this, but some of you seem to be leaving some essential details out of your reasoning here. The Fire granted Rogers’ request to train with LA – which obviates any argument for ‘tampering’ charges that some of you are lobbying for. Of course Chicago is going to say they’d like to have Rogers as he’s a decent player with a good pedigree, but more than that he has value as a potential trade asset – almost exactly why they traded for his rights in the first place. At the time, it was unknown if he would stick in Europe – absent the various injuries and turmoil at Leeds, he may have had a more productive stay there, and this would all be moot. But on the chance that he failed there and came back to MLS, it couldn’t hurt to have him as a bargaining chip for any team desperate for a winger.

    Honestly, the Oduro-Duka trade was about two players agitating to get out of their current clubs – the rights to Rogers were hardly a key part of that exchange. Anyway, my point is this: if LA and Chicago can work out some compensation (a draft pick, a bit of cash), then Chicago’s gamble worked and they got exactly what they hoped for when they made the Oduro trade – turning basically nothing (the rights to a merely above average player currently plying his trade in Europe) into something. Lots of anger towards Rogers/LA/MLS on this (and I’ll admit, MLS has some bizarre personnel policies and I don’t at all like the idea of any team owning the ‘rights’ to a player that has been sold or departed at the end of his contract – especially when that player has never suited up for said club), but I don’t see why something can’t or won’t be worked out that is satisfactory for all parties. Rogers is a pretty decent player that still holds some potential, and a good story to boot, so everyone should have an interest in making this work out.

  28. Luke says:

    I think Chicago is in a lose-lose situation here.
    First, I think this whole weighted lottery and former teams holding a player’s rights if he loses are ridiculous. If a player leaves for another country, the team he was playing for gets a part of the transfer fee and that should be it. I also don’t see why a player should have to go into a weighted lottery in order to come back to the MLS just because he’s played for the MNT.

    Second, I completely understand Rodgers position, and agree with it, however it has put Chicago in an awful position. Either Chicago can take next to nothing for an impact MLS player and be happy about it, or they can be the team that denied the player who was willing to break the barriers that no other active American athlete (I know he was retired but considering his comeback) at the time was willing to make from being near his family in order to be comfortable enough to play. I hope it works out for both parties, but you know that Chicago won’t get fair value.

    • dan says:

      agreed, you get money and then wash your hands and be done with it.

      another one of the thousands of problems with a single entity, lets get rid of it.

      It’s not right that MLS teams have to pay the wages for high profile players like Beckham (that should be 100% on LA) but it’s also right that when teams sell a player (ie Rogers) they should get all the transfer and be done with it

  29. dan says:

    Ridiculous bs as usual. Sure the Fire deserve something for trading for him but they also knew the risk like every team in the world that the player might leave one day. If the Galaxy want him then ok they can trade Chicago but if both sides can’t come to a deal then it’s absolute garbage that MLS can come in and force a deal to happen, pretty much screwing the Galaxy over like they did for Ruiz

    • Oranje Mike says:

      If MLS forces a deal, how exactly does that screw the Galaxy? MLS bends over backwards to accommodate LA. If anyone gets screwed it will be Chicago.

  30. jimcrist says:

    He should just skip over all those silly MLS roster rules and sign for MN United. Easy enough.

  31. Clock Gobbler says:

    Nobody has said it yet, but can we all just admit that Rogers is really, really good looking?

  32. soccerhorn says:

    LoL Dead Silence.

  33. Crazy Jon says:

    Wells Thompson cough cough

  34. Marco says:

    Lamps ain’t comin over.. so why not sign the guy who played in a city close to where lamps plays

    \

  35. Juan says:

    Current MLS rules prohibit American soccer players who want to return to the States from joining the team of their choice, either forcing the players to go through a weighted lottery or giving the player’s former team the right of first refusal indefinitely. As the Fire currently hold Rogers’ rights, and have expressed a desire to sign Rogers, it looks as though the Galaxy would have to work out a trade with the Fire to secure his services. MLS could be compelled to step in and facilitate a deal if the Fire and Galaxy can’t reach an agreement.

    Lol if LA wants him… no league rule will stand in the way. A team that has $6.8 mil + in salary for just Donovan + Keene pretty much gets what it wants.

    There are rules for the league but that excludes LA and NY

    • barnie says:

      Fire can throw in McDonald in the deal anytime, I’m sure LA could use another DP!

  36. Felix says:

    This whole scenario shows why the allocation draft for returning US internationals is a joke – because a move will be forced regardless.
    When Donovan returned from Bayer Leverkusen, SJ had his rights, a move was forced for Donovan to return to LA. When McBride returned to the league from Fulham, Toronto FC has his rights, a move was made and he returned to Chicago.
    The argument has been made that its to ensure parity, but there’s already a powerful tool in place to enforce parity – the salary cap. The allocation draft is just a redundant, cumbersome mechanism that only serves to frustrate fans and the US internationals they want to see come home.