Over the weekend Taylor Twellman tweeted something very very much along the lines of "If you had $100 million to spend in MLS, how would you spend that $100 million?
I have to link to it? It was a Tweet, for God's sake. He said exactly that. He had 140 characters. "Someone hands you $100m and it has to be spent in @MLS. What do you do?! Who do you hire?!" Whose copyright am I outraging by not linking to it?
Maybe you want to respond to him directly. Fine. FINE. HERE.
I was in such a great mood a second ago, but thanks to this one-sided imaginary conversation, I'm bummed out. I blame YOU.
Why, yes, I do think I'm amusing. I'm not responding on Twitter, except maybe to link this effin' masterpiece, because the response demands more than 140 characters.
The guy I want to hire is Peter Wilt, and if that means I'm buying and promoting Indy Eleven with most of that money, I'm very cool with that. Nice little instant rivalries with Columbus and Chicago, Wilt back in MLS with an MLS budget. Don't tell anyone, but I think Indy is on its way to MLS in any case, so it would be nice to elbow my way into that elevator while it's still in the lobby.
Yeah, I'd do that before buying Chivas USA and renaming it after Pedro Proença. I don't want to compete with (a) another existing MLS team and (b) all the freaking headaches of trying to build a stadium/fan base/media/sponsorship against all the competition you have in LA. I've only got $100 million, for crying out loud. Notice how I have my acquisitive little eye on Indy, and not NYCFC or Miami or LA? If I can't get Wilt, or pry him away from Indianapolis, then I've got a decision to make. San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Austin, one of those Carolina triangles - I like the idea of going somewhere with an existing pro winter sport, but WITHOUT a baseball and football team sucking out all the oxygen. I'd consider making an exception for the Twin Cities, because the fan base is so strong. Sacramento is an extremely obvious choice at this point, but I have to think somebody has already noticed that, and I don't feel like getting into a bidding war with my hard-earned $100 million.
I'm also investing in some industrial espionage towards Sporting KC. I'm certainly trying to steal their front office and marketing guys if Wilt refuses to work with me (and who can blame him, really). Kansas City is one of those little cities that does have a baseball and football team sucking the air out of the room, and they folded. I mean, they moved to Oklahoma City. I mean, wait, no, they're the new darlings of American soccer, and well done too. Why the Royals and Chiefs haven't stolen all their guys already, I can't imagine.
Or maybe I'm thinking about this the wrong way. I should hire the poor schlubs who have been trying to market the Revolution all this time. "Hi, would you like to work for a soccer team that will actually, you know, try?" "No thanks, I could never leave my beloved Patriots." "Revolution." "Oh, crap, I keep forgetting."
Next, I'm hiring Liam Neeson to hunt down the people who kidnapped Carlos Tevez' father. "Yes, I brought them to justice. It was the right thing to do. Now you and your family can sleep safely. How can you repay me? Oh, I have an idea. The kidnapping rates in Indiana are attractively low, you know."
I need a coach, don't I. I'm going to risk having everyone else I hired quit on me, because I'm calling up Eric God-Damned Wynalda. I am THAT CURIOUS about whether he really wants to be a coach or a commentator. Maybe my front office and marketing staff that I've so carefully put together don't need Wynalda for cheap publicity, but my new team is probably going to stink on ice, what with me getting about five thousand words into this before even getting to hiring a player. So I'm putting Taylor Twellman's imaginary money where Wynalda's mouth is. Stick it to the soccer establishment, Eric.
If/when that blows up in my face, I can certainly outbid freaking Stabaek for Bob Bradley, can't I?
Now, let's talk about Designated Players. Kansas City is doing the right thing with Besler and Zusi, because the thing about the World Cup? The thing about the 2014 World Cup? The thing about the 2014 World Cup that every American fell in love with? Yeah, it's over. I want the guys who are going to be in the next cycle, if possible. Problem is, Sporting took a couple of the better bets for 2018. And Klinsmann is so damned capricious I can't rely on the roster remaining recognizable for the Gold Cup, let alone Russia. Assuming he doesn't up and take the Spurs job when it's available again in, I'm guessing Christmas.
This is why the Fire were probably right not to make Jermaine Jones a Designated Player. He's not going to be a World Cup player for the US anymore. Neither is Clint Dempsey, a transition that is going to be hard for literally everyone to accept, but is none the less nearly inevitable. He has just as good a chance at being a 35 year old hip hop superstar as a 35 year old World Cup starter.
If I want a right-now big-time American hero, I'm not thinking Jermaine Jones. The one real hero from the World Cup we had was Tim Howard, and hm, I haven't hired a goalkeeper yet. But there is no chance in hell the Red Bulls let him go anywhere in MLS outside New Jersey, and I didn't make my $100 million by chasing foolish dreams.
Michael Bradley is possible, since why does God need a starship? I mean, why does a Canadian team need an American national team player? But people are still blaming Bradley for having a sub-par World Cup, even though I'm still leaning towards blaming Klinsmann improvising his lineups. Bradley is younger than Besler and Zusi, too. Yeah, the second Toronto gets sick of him, I'm there. I probably can't give him a raise, I get more out of him on American soil than TFC is from trying to promote one of the all-time best American players in not-America.
I suppose my best move is to start a waiting game with the Galaxy. They're going to have to sign a Big Famous Name, and Omar Gonzalez may or may not be the next great American defender that he probably should have been at the World Cup. Problem is, as you can see, I'm the world's biggest fanboy for Omar Gonzalez, and the Galaxy can just wait for me to overpay for him. There's no WAY he's not going to be on the 2018 World Cup roster, though, is he? He's probably going to want to go to Europe, anyway.
What I should really be doing is developing my own American star, Yedlin-style. Anyway, for the price of a Dempsey or a Jermaine Jones, I can just raid other people's academy prospects until MLS finally passes a rule telling me to stop being a d-bag and open my own academy.
But I want to steal academy prospects, gosh darn it. I want other people to do the work and I want to reap the fruits. I know. I'll call up these guys. For those of you who don't click links because you're Amish or whatever, this was the excellent series of New York Times articles about how Qatar is trying to build a soccer program by importing young African players. You don't have to read too far between the lines to figure out that while there aren't a lot of trees in Qatar, it's still pretty damn shady.
Well, if I can't outbid Stabaek, Indy Eleven or Fox Sports, I can damn sure afford the guys who are being shafted by this system. Maybe they won't ALL prefer to play in the United States, but for those that do, I'll send Liam Neeson out to free them if Qatar tries any of that passport-withholding crap.
On his way back from Doha, I'm sending Neeson on a detour to Southampton to bring back Jozy Altidore. Oh, come on, Red Bulls! Howard OR Altidore back, not both. And no, not Michael Bradley, either. You could have said something when Toronto got him, you know.
Wow, so many great American players came through the Metros/Red Bulls system. They must have been a hell of a dynasty back in the day.
Like every MLS team doesn't keep a murder-for-hire specialist on its payroll. I'm hiring a mercenary corps before I hire Peter Wilt, for God's sake.