Superdraft News: Union Fans Need to Grow Up

Posted on January 17, 2014 2:51 pm

It’s really terrific that so many Philadelphia Union fans were able to get the day off from their jobs at the mall so that they could attend the Superdraft. Footlocker’s loss was our gain.

Unfortunately, this allowed these same fans to demonstrate why Philadelphia bars should not open before noon as Union fans reminded me of what somebody once said about going out on New Years Eve: “I don’t drink with amateurs”.

Or in this case, “petulant, ungrateful, ignorant little children”.

The last words of the brief introduction of Major League Soccer’s Commissioner – “the man who deserves the credit for finding a way to make professional soccer work in the US” – had barely been spoken when the Convention Hall exploded with loud, angry booing.

A first, most of us – Don Garber too, it appeared – figured it was just a little good-natured grumping from some fans that would quickly peter out. But it didn’t.

On and on it went, as loud and even louder as before. BOOOOOOOOOOO.

Garber, looking a bit shaken, began his remarks, but it continued anyway. BOOOOOOOOOO.

He was three, four, five sentences into his speech and the booing – fierce, angry and very very loud – continued to drown out whatever it was he was saying.

Normal human people in the hall began to look around uncomfortably, catching other normal people’s eyes and exchanging hopeless shrugs.

Finally it began to die down as even drunken morons need to catch their breath. Garber continued talking, although with the extra added advantage of being heard, but the Union fans weren’t through.

Individuals heckled and hooted and catcalled. Nobody could really hear what they were saying, not that it mattered since I doubt there was much cleverness or wit involved.

And I’m not even going to discuss the ridiculous “capos” who seemed to want to organize the affair. Apparently Union fans are too stupid to bitch, moan and act like drunken shitheads without directions. Sad.

Now in case you missed it, Philadelphia fans have their special pink Hello Kitty panties all wadded up because, according to them, the league has “rejected” a deal to bring Maurice Edu to the Union.

But I hope Union fans can get their faces out of the beer trough long enough to hear a few pertinent facts:

1) Don Garber does not negotiate individual player contracts. That would be Todd Durbin or, when it gets particularly involved, possibly Mark Abbott. Commissioner Garber did not “reject” a damned thing.

2) The theory current among Union fans that the Union “had a deal done but the league rejected it” is, you’ll pardon the expression, asinine. There are two sides here, not three. The Union and MLS, speak with one voice as they – I hope you’re sitting down – are part and parcel of the same single entity.

3) The problem with the Edu deal is that Mo wants a lot more money than he’s worth and everybody with a functional brain gets that. It was rumored that he wanted $1.2 – 1.4 million and reports now indicate that that estimate is way low. Sorry boys but he’s just not worth that kind of cash.

4) Nothing has been “rejected”. This is a negotiation, and both sides are still trying to reach an agreement. The odds are that Edu will be in a Union uniform when the season starts.

Apparently fans in Philadelphia believe that whatever Edu wants should be immediately given to him: millions of dollars, mansions, yachts, cars, broads, anything. And if MLS doesn’t instantly bend over and drop their pants then Don Garber is a bastard.

Seriously? Is this the level that your brains work on?

In case you need reminding, Don Garber played a major role in putting a team in Philadelphia in the first place. Trying to shout him down with booze-fueled stupidity and hate is not the way most people say thank you.

It was a disgraceful, embarrassing and inexcusable performance in front of the draftees, their families and the media that left a lot of people shaken and angry.

I said the other day that conducting the Superdraft in conjunction with the NSCAA Convention was a brilliant stroke, and it was. It provided an instant, ready made audience and turned a relatively small affair into a major event.

But hopefully by the time the NSCAA returns to that venue in 2018 other arrangements are made.

Philadelphia proved yesterday that they don’t deserve it.

Fortunately for the 50 or so RedBull fans who made the trek to the Philadelphia Convention Center ballroom, Union fans made such jackasses of themselves that their moments of concentrated stupidity seemed minor by comparison.

For the record, let me just point out that when the Commissioner mentions “all the great coaches” the league now has, it’s really not a cue to start chanting “Michael Petke clap, clap, clap-clap-clap” over and over again for 30 seconds. What exactly was Garber suposed to do? Stop talking until you decided it was OK to continue?

It pains me to have to say that the fan award from yesterday goes to the DCU contingent, who acted as belligerent and obnoxious as they proudly have since 1996 but did so in the context of the event and with intelligence and wit.

Jeez, that really hurt. I must go punish my fingers for having just typed those words.

As for the draft itself, a couple thoughts:

Most of the time movement up and down the draft board like we saw yesterday indicates teams getting themselves into position for this or that player whom they covet.

Yesterday it seemed more like there wasn’t much of anybody on the board teams were in love with and if somebody would give them a ham sandwich or a case of beer they’d gladly swap with you.

Before the draft there was a good deal of discussion around the SoccerSphere about whether the whole deal is even particularly relevant any more now that teams are able to use the HomeGrown rule to cherry pick the player pool.

But while it’s obvious that the depth wasn’t there, and isn’t going to be in the future, what it means is not that there’s no talent there but rather that teams are going to have to work harder at figuring out where it is.

Mock drafts have always been a more or less silly conceit. In the future, anyone who bothers to read one, let alone sit down and draw one up, is nuts. Players won’t be picked by consensus, but by individual scouting and workouts.

Mostly though I felt a little sorry for the assembled rookie prospects. With the 30 player limit not likely to change in any meaningful way until the new CBA, there are just darn few spots available for kids with a lot to learn.

The new USL arrangement will help for those teams with affiliations, but still, looking around the league, nobody much has roster spots available.

It’s going to be a tough year to nail down a job.

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