Nowak Calls in Brunner

Looking over the roster US U23 Head Coach Peter Nowak (we tease because we love, Piotr) is calling in for the Toulon Tournament ONE NAME POPS OUT AT YOU from among the players being given a last chance to impress the coach and perhaps earn a spot on the Olympic team:

No, I'm not talking about Robbie Rogers; presumably he doesn't have a lot more to prove at this point and, anyway, Sigi Schmid would likely put out a contract on Nowak were he to take Rogers out of his team at this point.

Rather, the player who leaps off the page at you is another guy who's been much discussed on this page:

Eric Brunner.

The ex-RedBulls defender is listed as being "out-of-contract" a term which, in other, more normal locales where words actually have meaning, would indicate that he's not owned by any team at the moment. And we all know that, in Ivan Gazidis' little world, that ain't how it is.

One other guy is listed as "out-of-contract", that of course being Dominic Cervi. Ironically Cervi, who was the 12th player taken in the 2008 Superdraft, turned down a $32,000 offer from the Fire and is looking for work elsewhere, while Brunner, who was taken four picks later, DID sign a $32,000 offer and has had it torn up by his team who, according to Jeff Agoos, thinks it would demonstrate excellent "character" if he'd agree to play for about half that for a couple of years.

On the face of it, you'd have to guess that Brunner doesn't have much of a shot at seeing Beijing this summer unless he buys a ticket, which is another thing, besides food and gasoline, that he wouldn't be able to afford living in North Jersey on $17k.

But it would seem to indicate that the kid does have some talent, and one would think the RedBulls would be more than a little embarrassed that Nowak thinks the kid is good enough to be given a shot at making the Olympic team but Agoos and Osorio just got done ripping up his contract.

The guys who run MLS and NYRB ought to be embarrassed by all of this, but as well all know they lost any capacity for shame a long, long time ago.

Meanwhile, the league has generously provided the Players Union with another excellent example they can show the players at the combine of why signing with MLS is a bad idea.