The 24/3 list

Going to try to be fair to MLSsoccer.net. For one thing, people say "NHL hockey" and "NFL football" and "NBA basketball," so "MLS soccer" isn't something to get Zombie Will Strunk on a rampage. Certainly better than "The MLS."

Oh - "themls.com" was taken, too. Well, pro soccer will be in America longer than the housing market, so it's just a matter of time.

So I'm not trying to hate on the new web site for no reason. Yeah, they apparently got a deal on the font from the Championship Manager 2003 screen. Fine, that's their choice.

What does frost my almonds, though, is the inability to conveniently get information that was easily available on the old site. Like, say for some weird reason you wanted to find out how many players were over the age of 24 and had 3 years of experience. That would be two clicks on the old site.

On Major League Soccer Soccer? Fat chance. Had to look on each individual roster, because even the alphabetical listings are incomplete - assuming you wanted to do twenty-six freaking clicks to look at the league's players. Thanks a diaperful, new site.

Anyway, there are 112 players with three years or more experience who are over twenty-four (four players - Gaven, McCarty, Ward and Wynne - have three or more years of MLS service but are under twenty-four). It will be interesting to see, in the age of guaranteed contracts, how that number changes in future years.

I've listed the players below so you can check my math. I did not list Busch and Van Den Bergh, because MLSsoccer doesn't.

Albright (NY)
Alvarez (SJ)
Arnaud (KC)
Ballouchy (COL)
Barrett (TOR)
Barrett (HOU)
Beckerman (RSL)
Borchers (RSL)
Bornstein (CHV)
Boswell (HOU)
Brown (CHI)
Buddle (LA)
Burch (DC)
Burpo (NE)
Califf (PHI)
Cannon (SJ)
Carr (CHI)
Carroll (HOU)
Ching (HOU)
Clark (COL)
Cochrane (SJ)
Conde (CHI)
Condoul (NY)
Conrad (KC)
Convey (SJ)
Corrales (SJ)
Cunningham (DAL)
Davis (HOU)
De Rosario (TOR)
Donovan (LA)
Dunivant (LA)
Garcia (TOR)
Garey (CLB)
Gaven (CLB)
Glen (SJ)
Goldthwaite (NY)
Gordon (LA)
Grabavoy (RSL)
Graham (SEA)
Gruenebaum (CLB)
Harris (DAL)
Hartman (DAL)
Hejduk (CLB)
Hernandez (DAL)
Hernandez (SJ)
Hesmer (CLB)
Ianni (SEA)
Ihemelu (DAL)
Jaqua (SEA)
Jazic (CHV)
Jewsbury (KC)
Joseph (NE)
Kamara (KC)
Kirovski (LA)
Klein (LA)
Kljestan (CHV)
Kovalenko (LA)
Larentowicz (COL)
Leitch (SJ)
Lewis (LA)
Magee (LA)
Mapp (CHI)
Marshall (CLB)
Marshall (SEA)
Mastroeni (COL)
Mathis (LA)
McBride (CHI)
McCarty (DAL)
McTavish (DC)
Mendes (NY)
Moor (COL)
Moreno (PHI)
Moreno (DC)
Miglioranzi (PHI)
Mullan (HOU)
Mulrooney (HOU)
Namoff (DC)
O'Rouke (CLB)
Oduro (HOU)
Onstad (HOU)
Oughton (CLB)
Pause (CHI)
Perkins (DC)
Petke (NY)
Peterson (TOR)
Pickens (COL)
Quaranta (DC)
Reis (NE)
Riley (SEA)
Rimando (RSL)
Robinson (CHI)
Robinson (HOU)
Sala (DAL)
Serioux (HOU)
Simms (DC)
Stammler (NY)
Sturgis (SEA)
Sutton (NY)
Thomas (PHI)
Thornton (CHV)
Thorrington (CHI)
Twellman (NE)
Vagenas (SEA)
Wahl (SEA)
Waibel (HOU)
Ward (CHI)
Williams (RSL)
Wingert (NE)
Wolff (KC)
Wolyniec (NY)
Wondolowski (SJ)
Wynne (COL)

I listed the guys in bold because during this CBA they will, of course, be in the guaranteed contract category, assuming they renew with MLS. Here's the breakdown by team, which I list because a couple of teams stand out.

Chicago - 9.
Chivas USA - 4.
Colorado - 7.
Columbus - 9.
DC United - 7.
Dallas - 7.
Houston - 12.
Kansas City - 5.
Los Angeles - 10.
New England - 4.
New York - 8.
Philadelphia - 4.
Salt Lake - 6.
San Jose - 8.
Seattle - 8.
Toronto - 4.

The real surprise is New England - Steve Nicol has been furiously trying to remake that team. If this past weekend is anything to go by, he'd better keep trying.

Meanwhile, their arch-enemies in Houston have kept as many veterans around as possible. Hard to argue the Dynamo haven't done well with the players they have, but that is a fine way to get too old in a hurry...like New England did the past couple of years. Of course, whether Houston has kept the right guys is open to serious debate.

The Galaxy stat is wildly misleading - the only guys on that team from 2005 are Donovan, Dunivant and Alan Gordon (and Dunivant spent a year or two away). LA's roster turnover has been proverbial in the Beckham era, it's just that Bruce Arena wanted veteran leadership for his expansion team last year. (And that's not even counting guys like Berhalter, Birchall and Ricketts, who weren't what you'd call prospects.)

Toronto, Kansas City and Chivas USA have been furiously hitting the "undo" button, so their lack of veterans is no huge surprise.

But so few veterans on the Union is, counterintuitively, unusual. Philadelphia stands in sharp contrast to the other recent expansion teams - most of the new teams feel comfortable with a heavy amount of MLS retreads - er, I mean, experienced veterans. Nowak, on the other hand, wants young, fresh innocents.

Will it work? Chicago imported a bunch of solid pros for 1998, and won a double. Miami tried to build a young team around Valderrama, struggled, got really good, then folded. San Jose tried to bring back as many of the old gang as possible, and have fallen flat on their Amways. Chivas USA blows up their teams every year, but so did Salt Lake until recently. Toronto has been a revolving door since before they ever took the field; Seattle stuck with largely familiar names.

Nowak, obviously, was around for the 1998 Fire, so if he's choosing a different tack, one imagines he has his reasons.

Anyway, back to the actual point - as of today, about one out of every three and a half players in the league will qualify for guaranteed contracts. How many guaranteed contracts the league will end up writing...that's something we'll find out.