MLS and the USMNT: Is it time for a Team America reboot

Discussion in 'MLS: Commissioner - You be The Don' started by mschofield, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    I end up spending too much time replying to a general notion that MLS is not doing enough to benefit the USMNT, and the responses to me seem as simple as they are repetitive. MLS is a professional league. The USMNT is a national team. They are not the same things and, rightly, have different goals and purposes. Equally obviously, they share some common interests.
    So, since this argument isn't going away, have we reached a point in the league's history/financial reality that someone should make another run at creating a new Team America.
    My basis for this is simple, national team play is quite fun, but compared to club play it sucks. Watching the first round of this cup, I was convinced any good MLS team would have made it to the round of 16 because, unlike the disjointed footie that was on display, clubs play like teams. Team America was an attempt to address this. It was a failure, in every way. But it was a failure because it was only a half-hearted attempt. Even that crap job of a USMNT had player who wouldn't sign on, and the owners didn't have the ability to buy away the few valuable players to make it work.
    I think we're in a different era now.
    So, if we want the US to win a world cup, and think that MLS should make that happen, why not convince the owners of, say, Nashville, to invest a shit-ton of cash into constructing a roster entirely of young, USMNT stars. I don't mean a couple, get in Lindsey and Caleton and Adams and call it good. I mean all of them. Spend the DP money to bring in Pulisic and Weah and McKennie. Use the TAM/GAM and aggresive trading to bring in EPB and Adams and Lindsey and Carleton. go all in. Get the 15 best prospects for 2022 and then fill in with young promising players.
    Then hire a top manager to mold them. Screw the new US manager, who will never get more than a couple weeks at a time with this group, this would be the de facto manager. Make it a big time, hellishly clever manager. It would fascinate quite a few big names, maybe not Pep or Klopp, but maybe.
    It is actually possible. With rights and existing contracts, it would not at all be easy. The owner would have to sign a hella talented side, then trade people away at a loss to get some players and right from current MLS sides. It would not be cheap, but wouldn't be the most expensive roster in MLS as far as salaries. Puli's rights would cost a fortune, but hey, not my money.
    There's nothing techically stopping this, and a national team with talent that played like a decent team would have a huge advantage in a WCup (the simple/naive tactics most resort to would be faced by a legit club that understands each other).
    Of course, it was tried once before, with Team America,. and was a collosal failure (the team, not the movie). Is this time, with an intriguing generation, to give it a reboot? If not, could we at least get a Team America movie sequel?
     
  2. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    #2 mschofield, Jul 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
    I realize many folks on here have no idea what I'm talking about. Team America was an attempt to make a club out of the national team back in the NASL. They sucked, the league folded, etc. Anyway, this is a piece on the effort.
    (and when I said it can happen, using the best available source, which sadly is transfermarkt, we see Puli valued at 45m, McKennie at 6.5m, Weah at 1m (all in euro). most of the rest would be at or sub the EPB line of 500,000
     
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  3. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Would the USMNT manager think having players play together was helpful, or would he think of Team USA as a rival and the USMNT to be the only team that benefits from those Americans? Teams have injuries, and the USMNT player pool should always include more players than can fit on one club. If you make a USMNT of 75 percent of players on Team USA and 25 percent of players on other clubs, would the players get along? Would you tell the USMNT that they have to play for Team USA in MLS and possibly make less money rather than playing for clubs in Europe?
     
  4. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    The USMNT manager would hate it. He would be totally irrellevant (as opposed to mostly he is under normal circs). Could kiss friendly weeks goodbye, though, that's a plus.
     
  5. jaykoz3

    jaykoz3 Member+

    Dec 25, 2010
    Conshohocken, PA
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It would be interesting if a team was created with the ethos that they would only have players who were born in the United States. Something similar to Chivas Guadalajara and Athletic Club Bilbao, though with players born in the United States. No TAM/DP players from abroad. It would be unique that's for sure, and it would emphasize home grown talent. Just a thought.
     
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  6. russ

    russ Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Canton,NY
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think a more interesting option would be a U23 team playing a full schedule of MLS ,CSL,ALeague tours,and small NTs.
    It's worked in hockey..
     
  7. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Employment law would bite them if they were public about it. Can't treat naturalized citizens and other players not born here but with the legal right to work here without a visa different than anyone else.
     
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  8. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    As noted, they couldn't discriminate, but trading away their int slots for tam/gam or players would be a possible plus.
    The only way this would work, as with my team america notion, is if a billionaire owner with a big ego who wanted credit for US nats success made it happen. He could make it happen, it would just take a lot of money, like a willingness to kiss $100m goodbye in order to brag to rich friends.
    It also wouldn't work over time,. but maybe a in 2021, give this a single season run.
     
  9. Gamecock14

    Gamecock14 Member+

    May 27, 2010
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    In a soon to be 30 team league (probably in the next decade), the most this does is give 15-18 American players first team opportunities.

    When accounting for one of the teams averaging 6-7 Americans getting significant minutes which would be replaced by "Team America", this results in 8-11 American players receiving first team opportunities. This assumes that the American talent pool is not further diluted by rapid expansion.

    The question would then be, if subsidizing development at around 10 mil a player (your rough estimate of 100 mil) to HOPEFULLY develop a player to a national team player in that one year is worth it.

    It helps that Chivas is one of the most popular clubs in Mexico.

    2010 - Mexico (5 Active Chivas Players on Roster)
    Chivas Academy Graduate - 7
    Chivas Transfer and Player before 23 - 0
    Chivas Player in Lifetime - 1

    2014 - Mexico (0 Active Chivas Players on Roster)
    Chivas Academy Graduate - 6
    Chivas Transfer and Player before 23 - 0
    Chivas Player in Lifetime - 0

    Players came heavily from Club America, Pachuca, Cruz Azul, and Atlas

    2018 - Mexico (0 Active Chivas Players on Roster)
    Chivas Academy Graduate - 5 *
    Chivas Transfer and Player before 23 - 0
    Chivas Player in Lifetime - 0

    * One player left Chivas as teen, ended up at an MLS club and went back to Chivas as a first team player in MLS prior to turning 23
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    2010 - Spain (2 Active Bilbao Players on Roster)

    Bilbao Academy Graduate - 1
    Bilbao Transfer and Player before 23 - 1
    Bilbao Player in Lifetime - 0

    2014 - Spain (0 Active Bilbao Players on Roster)

    Bilbao Academy Graduate - 0
    Bilbao Transfer and Player before 23 - 1
    Bilbao Player in Lifetime - 0

    2018 - Spain (1 Active Bilbao Players on Roster)
    Bilbao Academy Graduate - 1
    Bilbao Transfer and Player before 23 - 0
    Bilbao Player in Lifetime - 0

    For Spain, players come heavily from Barcelona and both Madrid teams.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I guess it really comes down to how much money one will spend in the hope that something works out.
     
  10. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    yeah. to be clear, I'm not suggesting Team America be about developing the talent that will fill the US nats. That is clearly a road to failure. The best US players will develop whereever they develop. Instead I'm suggesting a billionaire look at the most likely top 15 USMNT player and bring them in to a single team for a year or two, that sort of Team America. Over time, the Team America concept will fail. It would probably fail period.
    But if, and I use Nashville because I have no idea what their team will look like, decided to do this and go all in, the USMNT would have for one cup cycle a massive advantagge, being able to actually play like a team. I love the WCup, but there is so much bad soccer on display. Teams have one plan, and only one. Defenses are clearly trying to learn how to play together, etc.
    The level of US player right now would make this an interesting experiment, IMO. The last time, Team America was only a marketing gimmick, they never went all in, and even if they had the player pool was really shallow. Best case scenario at that time, they were gonna suck.
    But this generation? It could be interesting. At least until the players started sniping and hating and forming cliques etc and ruined the vibe.
     
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  11. adam tash

    adam tash Member+

    Jul 12, 2013
    Barcelona, Spain
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    wrong.

    a pro team can pick any players they want. no one's holding a gun to any soccer team's head and forcing them to sign foreign players. since they CHOOSE who is on their team...this is a total non-issue.

    this is just an insane premise. (like much of what you say).

    to be clear, though, i think this would be a good idea...in 94 the USMNT played together under bora and exceeded expectations.

    I do think that the NAtional team manager would still have lot to say and would use a lot of players not on such a team...

    look at bayern...they have 5-10 german players at any given time on the national team...but bayern and germany arent 1 and the same.
     
  12. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Shocking, you're wrong.

    If the team went public and said "we're only signing U.S. citizens", which was the scenario I proposed, they would be hit with a lawsuit from the first non-citizen green card holder who didn't get a job in MLS (or refugee, or such). Its textbook employment law that a business can't discriminate between citizens and green card holders solely on the basis of they being non-citizens unless their work status was germane to the job, which in this case it isn't. In fact, this is exactly the rule MLS had in 1996 (citizens only are domestic) and they were quietly advised to change it to the current rule (anyone legally working without a visa are domestic) before they got sued, which they did for the 1997 season.

    Now a team could certainly try to get away with it behind the scenes, and might for a while. To your point, a team can sign whomever they feel fits their team and they could easily make the claim that they picked players for their system and it was just coincidence that they were all citizens. I doubt they'd get away with it for more than a season or two before somebody noticed and the true nature of the system came out, but its possible.

    But as I said, if they specifically announced it they would be obviously guilty of illegal discrimination.

    Put it this way. If they said "we're only signing white players" or "we're only signing Catholics" would they get away with that?
     
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  13. Gamecock14

    Gamecock14 Member+

    May 27, 2010
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Technically, as long as a team never privately or publicly have a statement/comment about hiring only MNT eligible players then they could do it. The problem is when/if they get sued by another owner or third party, there will almost always be an email or recorded conversation where someone will state the policy.

    Now, if they were able to somehow bring in National Security as a reason and/or say that players require security clearance, then apparently anything is possible.

    Funnily enough, there is a government agency that oversees this and the law prohibits employers from hiring only U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents unless required to do so by law, regulation or government contract.

    Team America's formation and collapse in 1983 occurred prior to the new 1986 law and subsequent enforcement of said law.
     
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  14. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Sorry @Gamecock14, its an insane premise. I don't know what we're thinking.
     
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  15. Gamecock14

    Gamecock14 Member+

    May 27, 2010
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Maybe it works if the league could find a way to ensure players like Roger Espinoza, Andy Najar, Guiseppe Rossi, Kei Kamara, etc don't sue if they can't get on a team.

    There is always a chance that an executive order is passed which allows it and congress and the courts do nothing.
     
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  16. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    I was only hoping you wouldn't make that particular point but I can see that you're more than a match for me:)
    I don't see any block against actively pursuing US nats in bulk, but the entire squad strategy would be better if non-discriminatory. Also, weren't Roger Espinoza, Andy Najar, Guiseppe Rossi, Kei Kamara, etc all US MNT eligible?
     
  17. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm not saying you're wrong, but do you remember the topic title something like "Charlotte Eagles: Soccer For The Chosen Few"? I can't find that topic but I found a different topic in the USL forum. They had the players be players and missionaries and only allowed Christians who were not Mormons. IMO unrelated jobs should not be allowed to be combined like that.
     
  18. Gamecock14

    Gamecock14 Member+

    May 27, 2010
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Like you, I think it would be cool if we had Team America. I don't know if it would work, but it would be cool have a team of only American players who would then compete for NT spots. For the casual fan who only watches NT games, it might draw them into MLS.

    Unfortunately, the US does not treat sport/clubs the way Europe does and our leagues are not old enough so that they can avoid being grandfathered in to some laws.

    Personally, I think it's better that MNT players in MLS are playing against a team like LAFC than Chivas USA. If there was not expansion and the number of American was physically coming down, I would be worried.

    I think Vermes handled EPB as well as someone could. He could have lost the locker room if he benched Opara or Besler for EPB without EPB actually beating one of them out. I mean actually beating them for a spot, not beating them out because of potential.
     
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  19. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

    Jul 16, 2004
    Santa Monica
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    You could do something like that, if you didn't follow it as a rule, but think there are a couple of issues.

    It's increasingly important to have expensive DPs to compete and there just aren't a lot of American players of that quality who don't want to be in a top league.

    Also, lets say you manage to have a team with mostly Americans, would anyone really care that much. Toronto, ironically, had Altidore and Bradley, but that didn't make them America's team :D
     
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  20. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    IIRC they got away with that because they classified the team as an outreach program from their religious institution or something.. The Feds tend to take a hands off stance when it comes to questioning something like that.
     
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  21. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    I don't disagree that these are fundatmental flaws. I think bringing the expensive players back, and right now that's really Pulisic, could be done, but it would cost a lot. I tend to think that professionals love playing champions league, etc, but like massive buckets of money more. I admit I may be wrong.
    Would anyone care? You know, they really didn't with the original Team America As with any US based club, they'd have to be successful, and I think they could be. It would be a good challenge for marketing. Huge upside, I'd think. Very sad downside, with a historical precedent.
     
  22. jaykoz3

    jaykoz3 Member+

    Dec 25, 2010
    Conshohocken, PA
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    For what it would cost to bring him to MLS now, you could buy an expansion team, or build a state of the art training center and residential academy complete with a school that has grades 6-12.
     
  23. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    Schools are overrated.
    FTR i wasn't saying he would be cheap, and I wasn't saying it would be a good investment. I was saying it isn't my money.
    Seriously, is he over $100m? Hell of a player, but Coutinho money for him?
     
  24. Elninho

    Elninho Member+

    Sacramento Republic FC
    United States
    Oct 30, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    There would be a huge "losing the opportunity to play in the Champions League" premium, I'd imagine.
     
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  25. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    True, but better barbecue, so maybe that would balance things a bit
     

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