MLS v Various European Leagues

Discussion in 'Yanks Abroad' started by panicfc, Nov 18, 2004.

  1. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I thought this would be the best place for this thread.

    I get so tired of all the threads comparing MLS to the various leagues that I thought we should start a general and hopefully comprehensive thread that will encompass as much as we can gather.

    A few rules and guidelines:

    Before you make a statement about MLS or any other league, please state how many games you have seen of said league. Example:

    From what I've seen of the Dutch Eredivisie [100] the players have more skill, invention, and are better in every way than 90% of MLS players [500].

    I've only seen two Belgian games, but both were of a very high standard involving Anderlecht and Club Brugge.

    I haven't seen any games involving two Greek teams, but I have a contact who has seen the Greek 2nd division [His number 15] is lower than our A-League and the Greek 1st [His number 60] and he says even the Rapids would be a good team in Greece.

    Other info:

    Contract requirements:

    Belgium the minimum salary for a non-European player is €75,000
    Netherlands the minimum salary for a non-European player is €415,715.
    Portugal has various requirements:
    The restrictions in 1st division are: register 6 foreigner players and use 4(in official games),
    2nd division register 5 foreigner players and use 4(in official games),
    2nd division B register 2 foreigner players and use 1(in official games).

    Greece apparently has no rules, and if they did they wouldn't follow them anyway. Sorry Thrylos ;)

    France: Limits on non-Europeans. I think the number in the first divison is 5, but many Africans are counted as European by the French government. I'll check on this one.

    Germany: Limits on foreigners - currently 6, but soon to drop to 5, and then 4.

    England: Work Permits- must play in 75% of your countries important matches (non-friendlies - maybe some other non game as well), plus your country has to be ranked in the Top 70 by FIFA over a period of time.

    Spain: Limits on foreign players, I think its 6. I'll check on it.

    Switzerland: Limits on foreign players, 6 again.

    Russia: Soon to impose limit of 5 players on the team.

    Okay enough for one post. More in to come later.
  2. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    One thing I've consistently heard is the speed of play is faster in Europe. Not that the players are faster, but the thought process is faster.

    I remember an interview with Vanney making such comments. Does anyone remember any other interviews? Anything from Wade Barrett?

    That brings up Denmark [0]. I expected the former All-Star Barrett to be fairly successful, yet he struggled and was eventually loaned out to Norway. I found this surprising as the club was near the bottom if I recall.

    Norway [0] - judging by Brian West's success, either he's improved quite a bit or the standard is below the level of MLS...or maybe Andrulis and company didn't use him in his best position.

    Okay I'm a bit sleepy now, but I'm sure I'll wake up to some fun stuff.
  3. jri

    jri Red Card

    Sep 28, 2000
    Its faster because you don't have 2 or 3 "THE WEAKEST LINK" on the team...which happens in MLS.....dumbs down the MLS game, IMO.

    Having said, MLS can and will continue to produce great individual young is good enough to allow premium talent to get better (to a point...)
  4. appoo

    appoo Member+

    Jul 30, 2001
    Personally, I think the biggest advantaged Europe has over MLS are a reserve league and youth coaches.

    Adidas is putting that to rights as we speak, and is helping MLS launch a reserve league next season. The next step would be youth academies that tie into local highschools and colleges.
  5. John L

    John L Member+

    Sep 20, 2003
    Alexandria, VA
    MLS Teams are at best about the lower half of EPL, Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga, Dutch, etc - Or very competitive in the second divisions of these countries - Not knocking MLS play which has made tremendous improvements over the decade - Very spotty at the beginning and now plenty of good talent and verve and savvy and creativity - Most games are actually fun to watch - But there are major differences between the best in Europe and MLS in general for several big reasons

    Major Differences:
    1) MLS is Single-Entity - In all other leagues (and sports) Teams may be governed by rules and regulations (and in the U.S. salary caps), but they are all owned individually by separate people (or groups - e.g. Green Bay Packers owned by the city) - MLS has investors, and even though they are "owners" of certain teams, MLS is still the overall corporate body - This may not seem like much, but it pervades every other major factor: Money, Salaries, Parity, Marketing, Youth Development, etc

    2) MONEY & SALARIES - European Leagues and the teams have MUCH MORE MONEY than in MLS (or anywhere else, too) - TV money is the biggest factor - Stadiums (except for the biggest 4 or 5 in the major countries) are about equivalent to most MLS Stadiums, even the newer soccer specific stadiums (SSS) - (Compare BayArena (Leverkeusen) of 22.5 K with all the other MLS SSS) - So its TV money for the prestigious leagues (and their all their teams) and UEFA competitions going to the individual teams) - "Money makes the vorld go around(t)" - Cabaret

    This means that even European 2nd div teams can easily outbid MLS for players - PERIOD - Talent goes where there's money - PERIOD - They are owned individually and if a big rich guy buys a 2nd div team, he can invest in new expensive talent and that team will be promoted into Div 1 and be in line for more money from TV and possibly UEFA games -

    This also effects size of teams and depth - Even Div 2 teams have great depth - Maybe not all great talent, but they all have 15-16 players who can go - MLS teams have only 9-13 - The weaker teams seem to have a weakness out on the field all the time, while the better teams can have two or three subs and still do well - As did DC United - But after that its a gamble

    And Reserve Games - Common in Europe and keeps 2nd stringers ready and in shape for call-up if needed - Keeps the teams deeper and stronger - Only just starting next year in MLS - Until now another major reason for shorter team depth

    MLS can just barely compete - I really think there's a lot of under-the-table moneys being given to big local stars to keep them in MLS -

    SALARIES are set by MLS (and only somewhat by individual teams) - Lack of Money is bad enough but MLS goes even further - They look at a championship team and say "You got really good players - We'll raise all their salaries as a reward for being the best team" - And then they turn around to the club and say "Hey - You got Salary Cap problems - You're going to have to get rid of your best players" - And this has happened to EVERY championship team - DC United more only because they've won more, but also to LA, Chicago, and San Jose

    This more than anything else means that MLS teams will NEVER be better than lower-rung teams anywhere else - Even in CONCACAF cup games, the best MLS teams struggle because they have already had to cut or sell their better players by the time play actually starts

    3) PARITY - European (and elsewhere) teams are on their own - Sink or Swim - Promotion or Relegation - Everywhere else the competitive nature of the Relegation/Promotion structure brings an urgency to many games even between so-so teams at the end of the season that you don't get in MLS - And the biggest and best qualify for the richer UEFA games as well

    Unfortunately this (along with the massive amounts of money from UEFA games) has brought a huge gap between the giants at the top and the pixies at the bottom and in the 2nd Divs - An insurmountable gap - So much so that games between the giants and pixies (except for FA or knock-out domestic cup games) are stultifyingly dull for the general sports fan

    (On the other hand) Parity is the main goal of MLS - (Whether they're concious of it or willing to admit it or not) - That's only somewhat true of all other major sports - They all have salary caps and better draft choices for young talent - BUT - MLS goes perversely further than that - As noted above, they tear down their best teams in the interest of keeping all the other teams with a shot at being the champion next year - This means even the worst run teams are never totally out of the running - And there are wild fluctuations from year to year in the standings - Columbus went from one of best two years ago to one of the worst last year to the best overall record this season - DC United went from the bottom last year to Champs this year - And the opportunit all gets passed around -

    Unfortunately this doesn't mean everyone gets better at the same pace - It means every team stays at about the same level of 2nd rate play - (well - maybe not 2nd rate - but only equivalent to lower-level Div 1 teams in Europe)

    MARKETING - Along with Parity, MLS markets the league as a whole - This is an important partner of Parity which keeps all League games on TV equally marketable -

    And Merchandising - Some teams (like DCU) do a much better job with their sales then others, but in general what's good for one team is good publicity for all - In Europe, while there is some League-wide publicity, again teams are on their own - And the pixies get left in the dust - (They have their own very loyal fans, but you can't buy Nottingham Forest jerseys in any sports or soccer-specialty store in the US - Again, only the giants are well-marketed around the world - Which makes the disparity even more entrenched

    4) Youth Development - Youth programs are the traditional way for the best teams to stay on top - Until now - ManU had many good players from within but now seems to depend more on buying the competitions best players (Saha of CITEH coming to the Reds - And sucking big-time) - In fact thats why I started out being a ManU fan 10-15 years ago but now don't really care that much about them or Chelsea or Arsenal - They're all store-bought talent - None much of it locally grown anymore -

    BUT the biggest clubs with the best youth programs still develop the best talent for others to buy

    MLS and US Soccer together also have a good (albeit smaller) Youth Development Program that has already brought dividends with Donovan, Beasely, Convey and others of about 20-21 - And now other younger players finding time on the full Nats - Its not as big but the best talent is on a par with any others - Just not enough to really supply a whole league - And again it gets passed around to the worst teams in MLS first so they can get better next year - PARITY again

    5) National Team Coach - This is where the US stands up to the big guys - The Bruce is simply one of the best ever - He's taken a modest amount of talent (at the world level) and done wonders with it on the world stage - Not to knock some of the other great coaches for England, etc but The Bruce has done what few others could have

    And he's done it mostly by teaching - He's taken younger players with only modestly good coaching (even now the US Soccer Academy can do only so much) and made them world-class - Advancing the round of eight was no fluke - A bit of luck maybe but not a fluke -

    And his teaching of younger players in National Team Camps has made them much better players in MLS - This has happened for so many 2nd rung players with modest games - Taken them to camps, given them some international competition - And even if they dont make the full team consistently, they are far far better for their time spent with The Bruce - In the US far more than any other country, the national team coach has had a direct influence on the level of play in that country's league
  6. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Guys, just for sake of consistency, can you post the games you have seen from leagues abroad and MLS. Just to assist with the scoring at home. Thanks.
  7. OmiKell

    OmiKell New Member

    May 2, 2004
    During the last 2 years, I saw 12 matches of NYMS and 10 matches of Belgian league's Standard Liege.
    I saw also PSV-Feyenoord last season, and Man Utd - AC Milan at Giants Stadium's World Series.

    * Fair-Play: both public and players. No insults, NY applauses SJ's goal if Landon scored it. You can bring your family to the game.
    * Spectacle: lot of goals, games are usually not frozen by defences, like you have in Italy and Belgium. Wolyniec can control the ball at 5 yards without being pressed.

    * Technique: Surely linked to salaries. Best individuals are playing in Europe.
    * Agressivity: Is it the money? Is it the sport culture? But you feel the players more motivated and faster on the ball owner in Europe. Henk Vos said: "now, you've got to know where you will send the ball at the time you receive it."
    * Media Coverage: 5 channels were showing national team games yesterday night; Italy-?, France-Poland, Spain-England, Germany-?, Belgium-Serbia.
  8. Metrogo

    Metrogo Member

    Apr 6, 1999
    Washington Hghts NY
    No, the biggest advantage Europe has over MLS is money. It should go without saying.
  9. aloisius

    aloisius Member

    Jul 5, 2003
    Panic, you( or your friend) are underestimating the Greek league. It is almost as good as the Dutch league. Every objective measure tells you that.
  10. The Big Ticket

    The Big Ticket New Member

    Jan 30, 2004
    MN -> UIUC
    It's difficult to believe Denmark [0] have a better league than Norway [0] when you look at the UEFA Coefficients.

    Norwegian teams have done better in the UEFA Cup and Champions League over the last 5 years. I suppose the Norwegian league could be more top-heavy and the Danish league maybe has more evenly distributed talent.
  11. Red Star

    Red Star Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    Fayetteville, AR
    Roster Size

    I have always thought that one of the stumbling blocks over comparing MLS (100) teams with the European (200) teams is the roster size. While I believe that in one off or short term competitions the MLS squads compare well with lower top division squads in Europe. IMHO there is no way the MLS squads could sustain that level over the course of an entire European season with their current (or even new expanded) roster limits.

    Therefore I believe it is difficult to make the claim that DC United would consistently compete with the lower level EPL or Bundesliga1 teams over the course of a season.
  12. soccerfan

    soccerfan BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 13, 1999
    New Jersey
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    yes it is, but we can't compare it just on money alone

    we must keep in mind this European leagues have been at it for decades

    they have a pyramid in place, every town every village has a soccer team,and youth teams

    after the WW ll " ALL" the countries had a system in place with divisions with Pro/Rel same as is today, it is the biggest sport in Europe and you have so many nations in a relatively small area.

    It will be difficult for MLS/USA to continue to grow just because of this reason. MLS will have to bring in star players sooner or later.

    I read a very positive article this morning, that give me hope,titled :

    "MLS should look to rest of world"
  13. King Rooney

    King Rooney New Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    seriously its not all about money....most players dream of winning the cl or their national league. Qatar pays the most money and only old has-beens play there. i don't know about american sport but it seems to be money driven, i'm not stupid, i know that alot of the chairman r in it for the money but most of them r there for success. another point is that players are not queing up to join chelsea even tho they pay a lot of money (this will change if they hav great success this year). imo europe will always be the place where the best individuals play, although maybe if the american league gets better and richer sum good s.americans will play there. there are many rich leagues outside europe that don't pull in young talent leagues like brazil, argentina r certainly not poor becuz they sell all their best players to europe for £10- £20m, i've also herd that mexico is a rich league too, although they keep their talent they don't attract any. football is about medals and passion not money.
  14. Metrogo

    Metrogo Member

    Apr 6, 1999
    Washington Hghts NY
    I didn't say money was the only thing. I said it was the biggest advantage Europe has over MLS. If we had 18 different investors willing to spend huge amounts of money to buy players, and no single entity, we'd have one of the best 5 or 6 leagues toot sweet, whether or not we have Apoo's youth academies.

    King Rooney, I can quite assure you that 1) the list of Chelsea's targets that signed with Chelsea for huge sums is much longer than the list of chelsea's targets that haven't. and 2) A couple of Qatarian clubs spends a lot of money on a few players, I believe. They don't just spend a la Real or Chelsea, and, at any rate, New York is New York, and Qatar is...well... you get the picture. Yes, I admit that money being equal, players would rather play in the US or Europe than Qatar.
  15. jri

    jri Red Card

    Sep 28, 2000
    Sure, MLS will improve over time, and that's a good thing. But benchmarking against top European leagues is somewhat losing exercise. The money and passion just ain't going to be there for decades, if ever.

    I'm more interested, and think its more realistic, to have a league that is entertaining enough, has an interesting mix of foreigns, young Americans and American vets, and (most importantly) is economic viable AND can continue to nuture and produce fine American talent that can play in the big Euro league.

    It is a far secondary (or further out) concern or need, in my opinion, to care or worry if we are approaching Premiership status (at any point) or even Holland for that matter.....don't care...
  16. Metrogo

    Metrogo Member

    Apr 6, 1999
    Washington Hghts NY
    This si just not true. Europe hasn't always been the epicenter of great club football. It's only that way now because of money.
  17. John L

    John L Member+

    Sep 20, 2003
    Alexandria, VA
    OK - I've seen a few DC Dips games and Fairax Stars A-League Games (while they were still in existence) all live - And scores of DC United games (mostly live): regular league, playoff and championship and CONCACAF - About a dozen Men's Nats games live and a bunch on TV, plus live WC games in 1994 in Wash DC - And on TV about a hundred EPL (and a few early FA cup rounds), La Liga, French, Dutch, Argentina and Brazil - Plus the Italian Super Cup live in Wash DC

    Italian games are highly skilled and very tense - But tactically DULL DULL DULL DULL DULL - Did I mention Italian games are dull?- Typical lower EPL and div2, etc games are wha(n)ck the ball upfield and hope the defense mis-handles the ball - Only the giants have consistent creativity and skill and pace - Everyone else has pace but no skill - Arsenal is the most impressive - EVERY pass is rolling along the ground to the teammate's foot, but as I said they're a store-bought team - Passes by lower level teams are bouncing along all over the place - Scottish games are worse - Dutch games are highly variable - The few best play really well - I hope for a resurgence by Ajax but I'm a sentimentalist - German games are a bit harder to watch as I'm not familiar with the players - Spanish games usually have a lot of flair and creativity but Real Madrid is merely another store-bought team - Hoping for a Dutch resurgence of Barcelona and back to the days of Johann Cruyff (sp?) - Brazilian games are very inconsistent - Some are good but mostly its hard hacking fouls with lots of set pieces

    The best bang for the buck are the better teams from Argentina - Boca Jrs and River Plate - Except when they play each other and then they are the absolute ugliest games you've ever watched

    MLS versus Europe (Part DUH)
    - MLS is competing against Football (pro and college) and Baseball for the attention of the average American general sports fan - For that reason they can't afford to have many lop-sided games like you can get by with in a big European league with games between the giants and the pixies - Thats another big reason why they're so concerned about parity - Wathing four of five individual highly skilled plays amongst a dull game won't sell the product in the US the way it can be sold in Europe - Not in soccer where the game is continuous - Other sports, yes, because of all the breaks in the games - But not in soccer
  18. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    My friend has played there, I'm just repeating what he said. The best of the Greek leagues - Olimpiakos, Panathaniakos, and maybe AEK - are quite good. Top half of the Dutch league easy. But they won't beat the Ajax, PSV, Feyenoord's consistently.

    He thinks the lower half of the Greek 1st division is rather poor. More so than other leagues in Europe.

    Just repeating his thoughts.
  19. aloisius

    aloisius Member

    Jul 5, 2003
    The big three in Greece have performed in Europe basically in the same way as the Dutch big 3 recently. Smaller clubs from either country have done very little.

    A small Greek team Egaleo is having a decent season in the UEFA cup this year.
  20. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    King Rooney, welcome to the site.

    Mexico does have a lot of money. A lot of money.

    Brazil and Argentina do not though. The stars in Argentina might make $20,000 a month, and I think Brazil is much lower than that. They don't have the economy to pay the big money, plus many of the players actually belong to an agent, I think his name is Pablo Casal - and he makes the money on those transfers.
  21. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    My memory is fading a bit, I'm getting old and I get distracted easily.

    When did Ajax last have their great Champions league run?

    When did Feyenoord win the UEFA Cup?

    I don't remember any Greek teams getting to the quarterfinals of the UEFA or Champions league in recent years. I do remember one of them doing well and upsetting a Man U though. That was impressive.

    Let me finish this by saying this is about MLS v European leagues. How many MLS games have you seen? How does MLS Compare with the Greek league? How many Greek games have you seen?

  22. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    French rules and restrictions:

    There can be 5 non-EU players in the League 1 and 2 in the League 2, but players from countries who signed the**Cotonou agreements (most African countries) or who have agreements with the EU (most Eastern Europe countries) are considered as EU players and don't count in the restrictions.

    How's that for an open door policy.
  23. savan

    savan New Member

    May 16, 2004
    Well.. Yes, it is a fact that Norwegian teams have done better out in Europe.. But that's mainly because of the giants Rosenborg! (13 times Norwegian Champions in a row, and have been in the Champions League 8 times of the last 9 years, I THINK!!)
    This topic (Norwegian League vs. Danish League) is in a huge discussion over at the scandinavian board, in the Royal League thread..
    And the new scandinavian league will maybe show who's right in the end..

    And about Brian West, Yes...He has done good.. But not THAT good! He's not exactly one of the big profiles in Tippeligaen!
    So, I would say (in my opinion) that the Norwegian League [100++] is better then the Danish one [10?], so then again: maybe better then MLS [0]...
  24. Thrylos

    Thrylos New Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Panathinaikos were the last Greek club to advance to the 1/4-finals of the UEFA Champions League (2001/2002) and the UEFA Cup (2002/2003)

    Panathinaikos are Greece's most accomplished club in European competition.

    Here's their CV:


    European Cup Final, 1971


    1970/71: European Cup Finals
    1984/85: European Cup 1/2-Finals
    1987/88: UEFA Cup 1/4-Finals
    1995/96: Champions League 1/2-Finals
    2001/02: Champions Leauge 1/4-Finals
    2002/03: UEFA Cup 1/4-Finals


    1970/71: European Cup 1/2-Finals: Panathinaikos 3-0 Red Star Belgrade
    1970/71: European Cup Finals: Panathinaikos 0-2 Ajax
    1987/88: UEFA Cup: Panathiniakos 1-0 Juventus
    1995/96: Champions League 1/2-Finals: Ajax 0-1 Panathinaikos
    2000/01: Champions League: Panathinaikos 3-1 Juventus
    2001/02: Champions League: Panathinaikos 1-0 Arsenal
    2001/02: Champions League 1/4-Finals: Panathinaikos 1-0 Barcelona
  25. Thrylos

    Thrylos New Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Current UEFA Country Ranking

    1. Spain - 67.842
    2. England - 55.510
    3. Italy - 54.186
    4. Germany - 45.132
    5. France - 43.755
    6. Portugal - 39.833
    7. Greece - 33.165
    8. Netherlands - 33.164

    (note: these coefficients are calculated through results in European competitions over the last 5 seasons. they determine number of entries into European competition.)

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