MLS needs to start caring about the USMNT again

Discussion in 'USA Men' started by adam tash, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc Member+

    Sep 7, 1999
    MLS has wanted to avoid free agency since day 1. Making a 19 year old a DP only to see him gain free agency down the road would be a nightmare for the league.
     
  2. STR1

    STR1 Member+

    Atlanta United
    May 29, 2010
    McAllen, TX
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Why would free agency be a nightmare for the league?
     
  3. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc Member+

    Sep 7, 1999
    #228 puttputtfc, Jul 16, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
    MLS has done everything to prevent it. Free agency would spike labor costs.
     
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  4. Mahtzo1

    Mahtzo1 Member+

    Jan 15, 2007
    So Cal

    IMO, you have hit the key factor that has been limiting and increasing the difficulty of youth development in our country. Others have also mentioned it: soccer density. There are some pockets of density...primarily in ethnic areas and the number and size of those pockets is increasing but it is a slow process that cant really be rushed too much. In a real soccer country, there are probably 10 times the number of kids playing soccer for any given population. They aren't spread out. That means pickup games are easier. That means the geographical footprint of the leagues is smaller. Less travel, less cost (both in time and money) and it is far easier for the top players in any area to find similar competition.

    In a truly soccer dense area, the traditional select travelling team is no longer needed. The only teams that would be travelling would be the highest tiers of teams competing on the national and international levels.

    We have been able to compensate somewhat for our lack of soccer density for a few reasons, two of the most important in my opinion are the large population base we have combined with our high standard of living which allows many of our players the opportunity to travel.

    What it comes down to is that no matter how much money is put into the academies, much of the end product will be out of the academies hands.
     
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  5. Nick79

    Nick79 Member

    May 4, 2015
    Club:
    Olympiakos Piraeus
    Yeah, but if I'm a fan of that team, I'm going to the games wanting to see them TRYING TO WIN the game, and the USL CHAMPIONSHIP, I don't want to pay money to watch them develop guys for other teams later. I get that's how minor league baseball is, but if you aren't really putting winning as a priority, what FUN is it for the fans?
     
  6. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    #231 juvechelsea, Jul 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
    That's why I said there is a conflict of interest in doing this through separate USL teams, particularly ones not owned by the team itself. If I want growth in a developmental player, better fitness, improved technique, soccer IQ, etc., I might pursue a different practice approach than if my goal is winning twice every week. The local fans might want wins, but my first team and in turn the Nats might benefit from working on the players aged 18-23 some more. I know my game kept growing in that time period.

    I played on a good select team in a club that produced some MLS and minor league players. I felt like that experience taught me organized and individual defense, and how to play to win. But a lot of my technical growth came in college when I sat there and worked on skills drills every summer morning before work, and made my own decision to stress the technical part of practice, and thinking about the game on the field, as opposed to the 110% effort idea. I think we coach the exact opposite. I always played 110% but I felt like practicing that way -- which we increasingly promote as we get older -- and then playing to win, doesn't improve your game much. And no wonder players like Dempsey who seem to improve over time, are rare.

    I also think that a team concerned with winning brings in a player, and a mid is a mid, and a forward is a forward, and what do you offer me? While a team focused on developing the player might say, well, we drafted you to play x, but I see y in you. And maybe try an experiment. That experiment would have risks, but to me developmental teams should take risks. I don't necessarily want some 110% hustling minor leaguer of marginal utility, I want the one who projects out as a MLS prospect. MLB gets this, why not MLS?

    I think we are better off if MLS owns the teams, or they are reserve teams within larger MLS rosters, where they are coached by the first team staff and/or the focus is on player growth in the minors. I am not sure what the gain is from being coached by a different set of coaches, in another city, with an emphasis on winning. Is that really that much superior to them signing for USL or being loaned out there? Other than dibs that we love. What a developmental system would want is strong coaching and player growth. A more useful product for the first team. Winning is gravy. That the minor league team figures out how to win doesn't necessarily help the first team.

    I do feel like a winning understanding/mentality can help, but that mentality has to be relevant to the level. I think that would be more like, you won titles at another MLS team. Sometimes you need someone that kind of driven. But I don't think winning in USL is transferable, lower level stuff.
     
  7. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    #232 juvechelsea, Jul 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
    I'm not big on the politics and optics, i want practical action. i want signings, salaries. i want playing time.

    my concern is the current structure isn't really creating tons of opportunity anywhere. Europe is a lottery. And domestically MLS is ever more tilted to spending money and open to foreign players. it starts to become its own lottery. i realize there are no sure things, and players may need to elevate their games and develop, but the precise breakdown of how many kids get playing time, and how many pro teams will play our kids, may have an impact on how quickly (or if at all) our youth players mature into seniors. i think we have more teams than ever open to signing people. but that is not the same as more teams than ever willing to play them.

    i think a lot of eurosnobs miss that one attraction to our players is cheap labor relative to a domestic option. that margin is shrinking as our players become more in demand. this is one reason all the loans to scotland don't tend to pay off. they will play our talent. but will they pay our talent. they don't actually want to pay the transfer fee we deserve. a complication created by our increased attractiveness and value would be that you'd need to go to bigger and bigger clubs to have that cash in the bank, but those are the hardest places to break in.

    i am not saying do away with wins. you always play to win. but between those wins you could handle minor league teams with different emphases directed towards producing a different, more polished product.

    i am not saying don't be ambitious. but i think some tweaks to the system, or U23 all star teams in USL, or such, could shift the focus back on domestic players some, without really affecting business and profitability. personally i think MLS benefits when USMNT does well and there are domestic stars to cheer for. right now, with the attitude of my Dynamo, they put more effort into Honduras than the US, and if they have another bad season, there isn't even an upside to the cynicism, or American internationals to cheer for. this team used to be like 5 or more US internationals plus 2 Canadians.
     
  8. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    #233 juvechelsea, Jul 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
    I would

    drop international slots to 5 like USOC for both MLS and the USL affiliates
    drop open DPs to 2
    have an extra DP that can be spent on a capped senior or youth US international
    create a U23 USL team composed of the most coveted MLS signees who haven't broken into first teams (dibs of the owning teams preserved, but they only get them if they play them)
    turn the MLS affiliate USL sides into U24 teams

    this would create about 50 first team lineup slots for Americans, encourage teams to sign domestic internationals, and shift the USL teams we run towards development. otherwise, i look at my dynamo, and we have capped foreign internationals on RGV being socked away, we have players as old as 27, and we have many in their mid 20s. there are then many of appropriate age, but that is a second team not a development team. some of the players lined up in our minors are older than the first team players they would possibly replace, eg, 26 year old Belize international Salazar and 24 year old Panama international Small waiting in the wings behind the 23 year olds Elis and Manotas. that's not development, that's an insurance policy.

    I am not dictating how USL and the non affiliate teams run their sides. they can field 30 year olds if they want. those older players would provide a good test for the younger MLS prospects. but our teams shouldn't look like their teams too much or they are just second teams. USL in general could even soak up the best of the players ageing out of an age-limited MLS feeder system. you can keep chasing your dream outside and maybe a MLS team signs you one year. but until then, i just don't see the point in 25 year old capped internationals or 2-3 year college draftees taking up minor league slots. this is not silly, this is how Germany runs their second teams. they were historically branded U23. EPL has age group leagues up to U21 and U23. i get that college complicates things somewhat, but U24 would give half a decade to HS signees and probably a couple years for 4 year graduate draft picks. and the reality is if you get 4 years of NCAA plus 2 years in the minors and still can't impress enough for a MLS deal, you are probably career USL at best.

    also, while not telling MLS they can't sock away foreigners at USL affiliates, limiting it to U24 would ensure they are at least vaguely developmental age, and not just a roster rule loophole.
     
  9. Nick79

    Nick79 Member

    May 4, 2015
    Club:
    Olympiakos Piraeus
    Well, actually the point could be to sell tickets, I bet Phoenix in USL may have gotten some fans out when the signed 39 year old Didier Drogba last year? The teams have to survive, and fans want to see a show, they aren't all coming out hoping that their team develops someone for MLS or USMNT for 3 years from now.
     
  10. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    #235 juvechelsea, Jul 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
    Response: Phoenix has MLS aspirations and is no one's affiliate. So their sole goal is self maximization. In their eyes: Attendance, immediate field success. So, yeah, Drogba. They also have a defender AJ Cochran who sucked when he was here in Houston, other players who are MLS washouts in their late 20s. If a MLS team signed those people it would go nowhere with its affiliate. Too old or definitional washout already. You want people who for the most part are on their first chance, or at least have a first team horizon longer than this season. There is next to zero point in an affiliate of players other teams tested and rejected. Now, that might be a decent competitive recipe for the level -- ie, players who were marginal for MLS, and perhaps perfect for a life in USL -- but those are two different things. MLS wants players with more potential than that. But to do so you might have to bet on and put energy into kids whose curves would start lower than that -- wet behind the ears -- but who would flourish in a professional environment and rapidly eclipse the career USL guy. The Efrain Alvarez.

    That being said, USL teams these days seem to foolishly insist on their contracts, but there was an interesting period where some NASL were selling. A team less obsessed with MLS expansion could maybe make a business model out of scouting just the right kids and selling them on. And with some USL teams now having their own academies, this could even be done with local kids on purpose a la Ajax and not just people they sign as pros. I will not make you sign for 4 years, and if you give me a half year or year, and there are offers, I'll consider selling you to any interested parties. Domestic or abroad. So I see another possible model that is not now-centered. No reason a USL non affiliate couldn't be premised on development and selling too. It would start out an odd choice but maybe if they had some success selling be an alternative to a long term MLS deal, going on loan to the affiliate, etc.

    But, again, teams that MLS owns and pays payroll for, I would think the point to the control is not having your prize prospect fighting it out with 30 year old washouts. That might hit the box office but the bigger money is in the first team and making it better. And fwiw teams like Seattle probably make so much money they can afford to make a nominal amount on affiliate play. Like Arsenal and whatnot. Those teams are likely not premised on the reserve squad being profitable. The parent is more than profitable -- pays for all the other kids and women's teams -- and the point is staff the profitable team up with some internal talent. So I don't have to go buy it from down the street at veteran market value. Someone was advocating that the other day but no sane team is out to staff up their whole team at full market price. The whole idea is to get some cheap homegrowns whose pay rises with progression.
     
  11. Nick79

    Nick79 Member

    May 4, 2015
    Club:
    Olympiakos Piraeus
    I was watching Louden United lose to North Carolina 3-0 last night. They apparently are a developmental team for DC United, they looked bad, and the game was horrible. I live in Baltimore and there is talk of us getting a USL team, if we do, I hope it's independent and get's Drogbas and 28 year olds with MLS experience, because if I'm paying for a ticket, I want to watch wins and see a team competing for the USL title, just for my personal fun, rather than watch teenagers lose 3-0 and get valuable experience for after they leave that team.
     
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  12. gogorath

    gogorath Member+

    None
    United States
    May 12, 2019
    It's an interesting conundrum. RB2 seems to be the only team that can compete in USLC -- PTFC2 does well, but I don't think they play entirely young guys.

    North Texas is leading the table in USL1, so maybe that's the level the 2 teams should be. But then you lose playing against USLC teams.

    Then there's the option of a U19 league, but then the players don't get to play against grown men, etc.
     
  13. onefineesq

    onefineesq Member+

    Sep 16, 2003
    Laurel, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    An answer to this may be teams like Loudoun going down to League 1. Each club knows how it intends to use its 2nd team. If DC United wants to use its team simply for the teenagers (primarily), that would be a good option. And as a fan of DC United, I would approve and go to the games anyway ... but maybe I am the exception.
     
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  14. jond

    jond Member+

    Sep 28, 2010
    Club:
    Levski Sofia
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It would spike wages for a few due to competition to sign them.

    But with a cap in place overall spending would be the same from MLS' coffers.
     
  15. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    #240 juvechelsea, Jul 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    See, isn't there a tension between "going to watch them win" and "going to watch the next generation of first team players?" Cause at least the sales pitch on minor league baseball is that you are going to watch the guys who may be on the Astros in 2 years. I get where you're saying I want to watch wins, but it's kind of pointless wins if it's 30 year olds for whom this is the last bus stop on the way to retirement. Some of the joy is you were in the stands when Correa came through.

    I was in Paris when the Tour de France 1999 came through the day Lance officially won his first. At the time, it was neat. It's now kind of smeared. So to me it's like that win your minor league soccer team got playing no hopers has an asterix. Or a footnote like this was Drogba's last competitive game, or whatever. But if I was a minor league fan I would be more eager to be "I saw Efrain Alvarez on the way up...." Maybe as big as Drogba in retrospect, perhaps -- though you won't know it at the time -- and less cynical. And to me if you go watch an explicit farm team what do you expect? I understand Phoenix Rising. Unaffiliated, trying to impress MLS and win things.

    I do think they owe you a good job with their particular youngsters, relative to other affiliates. I do a similar "check" on how our academy teams fare relative to their leagues (poorly). I'm not tossing wins or championships out the window, I just think this is a specific, different version of the same conversations we have in development over and over, what do we emphasize, organization and winning? Or skills and thinking? That right there is the time period when we can change how our players turn out. This IS where it's like, we've turned development over to the academies and they need to pick up the slack. A lot of focus goes on the NT to change how we play. But it's THIS period -- and youth ball -- where that change would actually take place.

    I keep going back to, I felt like my biggest skills growth burst was actually college, where I worked on it all the time. If I had strictly followed my college coach's program it would have just made me a formation drone and physical player. To me it's a function of what you emphasize. The majority of coaches trying to keep jobs are going to emphasize winning, formation, shape, and hustling. They might get into how they want you showing to the ball, and deadball drills. They are not going to work on skills and such, and that's why the maxim is show up for your chance at that level already prepared. But if we are doing academy programs up through U23 I don't think they have to be run by the same cynical win now principles we all know first teams are.
     
  16. Nick79

    Nick79 Member

    May 4, 2015
    Club:
    Olympiakos Piraeus
    DC United is my team in MLS as well, even though I don't watch as much because they screwed the local TV situation. But if I get a USL team, I want it for personal entertainment, not for next years DCU.
     
  17. Nick79

    Nick79 Member

    May 4, 2015
    Club:
    Olympiakos Piraeus
    Not pointless to me, I watch minor league teams totally independent of the world outside their league. Just the guys I come to see winning, even if they suck in the grand scheme of things, it's just a night out, like going to the movies, just to see a good show. I love the Baltimore Blast, I love that they are 10 time champs, it doesn't matter that they are champs of "guys that suck too bad to play real soccer" it's fun and a show, I go there for that, going to see "guy in the big leagues in 2 years" lose, is not appealing to me.
     
  18. onefineesq

    onefineesq Member+

    Sep 16, 2003
    Laurel, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I get it. But for me, watching up-and-comers IS entertaining. The speed at which young players improve with experience is a sight to behold. Watching a bunch of topped out 27 year olds (while I would watch) does not provide the same bang for the buck to me. But I understand how others may not see it the same way.
     
  19. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    #244 juvechelsea, Jul 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    To me, FCD shows it can be done. They are selling to Europe and putting many picks and HGP on their first team. They are in League 1 with their farm team, and at the moment top of L1 (like they are now) or meh in the Championship (if there was pro/rel) might be what a properly calibrated farm team should do. If they could magically improve and win even more in a higher league, sure, do it, but I wouldn't compromise the setup to do it....

    I mean, Salazar, a Belize international who has previous been released from Montreal, has recently gotten a Dynamo first team contract at age 26 after being at RGV. He is older than the CF he backs up. When he goes on for the first team he is useless. What was the point of it all?

    FWIW in Germany the reserve/second teams cannot advance beyond 3.Liga. I think most if not all are not above the Regionalliga right now. Some of the perceived competitive pressures may reflect the teams being plunked in the Championship against free standing independent teams.
     
  20. Clint Eastwood

    Clint Eastwood Member+

    Dec 23, 2003
    Somerville, MA
    Club:
    FC Dallas
    FCD is certainly playing a lot of homegrowns and also selling to Europe.

    One thing they're not doing is selling tickets to games or getting folks to watch on tv.
     
  21. RalleeMonkey

    RalleeMonkey Member+

    Aug 30, 2004
    here
    Can't believe I'm just seeing this thread.

    I've posted this before: Garber says that the league has zero interest in developing players for the NT. Listen to his interview on Grant Wahl's podcast.

    He says the league has no intention to go after fans of the NT.

    I've long said that the league would rather develop the next Mexican superstar than American. The untapped pool of Mexican soccer fans in the U.S. is wayyyyyyyyyyyy larger than the pool of U.S. soccer fans. MLS would be better off if Alvarez choses Mex.

    And, the insidious thing is that MLS has a tremendous amount of control over the Fed. Enough to make you question the Fed's motivations.

    Resulting in the gross hypocrisy of rolling out rainbow jerseys for the women, and then unnecessarily scheduling the P*to's for friendly for not reason (other than $$$$ for SUMLS).
     
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  22. RalleeMonkey

    RalleeMonkey Member+

    Aug 30, 2004
    here
    Exactly where MLS should be, but isn't, developing American players.
     
  23. RalleeMonkey

    RalleeMonkey Member+

    Aug 30, 2004
    here
    Reduce the number of foreign slots so that young U.S. players get opportunities.

    In the old days, it seemed like every team was saddled with an out of college rookie in the starting 11. Most of those guys washed out and the next year it was some other rookie. But, some of them developed.

    Now there are no young players playing offense, anyway and very few in the back.

    Another change I'd make is limiting the offensive DP's. I'd limit it so that you can only have one one DP per "tier." You can sign one DP on offense, one in the midfield, and one in defense. Do something similar with TAM. Of course that would be hard to enforce. The enforcement would come at the signing. If you're going after a forward, the league looks - do you already have a DP forward? If so, no signy. "you may have signed that guy as a CB, but you're playing him at forward. NO (dp) FORWARD FOR YOU! NEXT!"
     
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  24. RalleeMonkey

    RalleeMonkey Member+

    Aug 30, 2004
    here
    But it is the truth.
     
  25. RalleeMonkey

    RalleeMonkey Member+

    Aug 30, 2004
    here
    The French had a few guys with more professional minutes than the whole U.S. team combined.

    This was a great post all the way through, btw.
     

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