Would Having the Best Players Going Abroad Kill the MLS?

Discussion in 'MLS: General' started by soccerchick584, Sep 26, 2003.

  1. soccerchick584

    soccerchick584 New Member

    Jul 28, 2003
    I was wondering you guy's opinions on players like Donovan and Damani Ralph going to Europe to play and if that would kill the MLS. Donovan says the reason he did not join Bayer Leverkusen was because of "the weather" but said later that if all the star players moved abroad, the MLS wouldn't survive.

    I can't disagree more. I think that if Donovan went to Germany or England or somewhere and did well, respect for the MLS would be more widespread. He needs to go somewhere and develop his skills to where he will be truly unstoppable.
  2. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    No player at any position from any country became a full-time ambassador for the club or league from which he came, only the national team on which he plays. Failing that, US Soccer is more than just the talents of individual players, or even the national team. We haven't yet finished building a league here at home to the point where we should have to worry about the respect of the rest of the world. Moving the American top tier of talent abroad won't necessarily kill MLS, but it will keep MLS in neutral when we can afford to go where we want to go with a domestic league.
  3. Morpheus1271

    Morpheus1271 Member

    May 30, 2003
    Long Island, NY

    To those that don't want our star players going abroad!

    I think that MLS and it's fans are beyond that stage of a single player or even a few players making or breaking the league.

    Give yourself some credit for following the "game" of soccer, following all of the young "up-and-commers", and give MLS some credit for being able to market more than one star.
  4. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    Re: Hey!

    People really have to start reading comprehension. And I mean soon.

    The point is that in the future, I would like MLS to be able to continue to market its stars. I would like the league to HAVE stars, pretty please. Those that are the top tier of the league not just because they're simply of a higher caliber than everyone else in MLS, but because their caliber is comparable to some of the best in the world.

    And before this turns into a useless "face it, players go where the money is" discussion, the question was how it will affect MLS. I think we can all agree that the league and the teams affected suffer when their best evacuate.
  5. ojsgillt

    ojsgillt Member

    Feb 27, 2001
    Lee's Summit MO
    MLS will always have its stars. There will always be atleast one person who will get more attention than the rest. They may not be the same people every three years, but they will still be their.
  6. Bonji

    Bonji Moderator

    Feb 4, 2003
    Denver, Colorado
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Many of MLS' stars have come from America, either college, P-40 or the A-league. These players became stars when the established starters went abroad or were injured or retired. There is no reason to think that if the stars go abroad MLS will be left in a power vaccum of good players. New American players will come up and new stars will be born.
  7. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    That's not good enough. Any league depends on its marquee players who define the league when they've retired from the game. Either they represent a team in MLS or a team somewhere else in the world, and I would rather it be the former. For its own sake, MLS cannot be a revolving door for players who leave before they've hit their prime.
  8. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    I agree with you, but that's not what I want MLS to be. I don't want a farm league that never has its best players when they are at their best.
  9. Casper

    Casper Member+

    Mar 30, 2001
    New York
    And most American players who do go to Europe will eventually come back, bringing back their star power (a major trend this year as Stewart came to MLS, and Moore and Hejduk came back.) On a net basis, this year's star power of key American players who left the league is not appreciably greater than those coming back (Howard, Barrett and Cannon, though he's back, don't equal the above three national team regulars). Even if Convey had been allowed to leave, this still wouldn't have been a "net drain" year. Now when Jovan comes plays for San Diego next year...
  10. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    This is not about numbers. You cannot put a value on the impact of Tim Howard's absence, or the absence of Beasley or Ralph or Convey. And it's not about how many wins team x would have gotten if they stayed, it's about being able to see those particular players up close in American venues.

    You guys should look at it from a fan's point of view once in a while.
  11. Texan

    Texan New Member

    Jan 8, 2001
    Minor League baseball is doing record business and their stars leave every year. As somebody wrote earlier, there will always be players who will excel over others and they will become the new stars.
  12. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    Because I'm sure that's what everyone wants, MLS to be just like minor league baseball. No, this is for people who, while big supporters of the national team, wear Real and ManU merchandise and don't give one iota for MLS and its teams.
  13. bojendyk

    bojendyk New Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    South Loop, Chicago
    I think the whole debate is much ado about nothing. How many players from the states can qualify for work permits in Europe at any given time? Not many. How many marquee players have actually made the leap across the pond? Almost none, especially when compared with the number of players who we think are "definitely gone at the end of the season" and who somehow don't go anywhere.

    I agree that MLS needs to protect its assets, but I also think we need to be realistic about the level of demand for US players. It's going to be years (if ever) before Europe considers the US equal to Brazil or Argentina.

    It would be fun to compile a list of players people seriously speculated would be heading to Europe & who didn't go anywhere.
  14. McGinty

    McGinty Member

    Aug 29, 2001
    Sporting Kansas City
    As a fan, I tend to think that certain players are going to leave the league regardless of what MLS does to keep them, and, as a fan, I realize that it is better for the league to make money off the player that they can't keep anyway. It will look "minor league" anyway, and its easier for the league to make a big deal of a selling a player to a big club rather than a player leaving via free agency.

    Nobody is advocating a fire sale. MLS should try to keep these players, but they have to know when there is no chance of signing them to a new contract.
  15. Minnman

    Minnman Member+

    Feb 11, 2000
    Columbus, OH, USA
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Isn't this a rather silly argument because .. well, the last time I checked, MLS was losing very, very few of it's so-called stars each year. And getting to the final 8 in last year's WC didn't seem to change the situation very much either. Only the true paranoid would worry that MLS is somehow in danger of losing all of its best players to richer leagues.

    A few points:

    - MLS is not feeder system for top Euro leagues. Just look at the history. How many players, over eight seasons, has MLS "lost" to better European leagues? How many good European players has MLS brought to the States, players who've become "stars" or at least very good performers here (guys like Stewart, Molnar, O'Brien, Ecklund)? How many MLS stars have gone abroad, only to return (Razov, Cannon)? Frankly, I think that MLS comes off looking pretty good in the comparison, especially being that it's managed to get sizeable transfer fees for at least a few of its players (Howard, John).

    - There is a food chain in int'l soccer, of course, and MLS is, if you will, mid-table. You want feeder leagues? Well, look at what places like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are to MLS. A guy like Carlos Ruiz would have no shot whatsoever of getting a big pay-day in Europe but for a league like MLS (or the MFL). CONCACAF and the lesser S. American teams produce some terrific footballers. But, not being Brazilian or Argentine, I doubt that they'll get many looks from European scouts. So maybe they'll toil away in their sub-par, poor domestic leagues. OR, maybe they look to Mexico or the US as their stepping stone to greatness. Thing is, MLS seems to have taken this lesson to heart. The league appears to have put things like the Lothar Matthaues signing behind it and has realized that players like Amado Guevara or Carlos Ruiz cost a fraction of an old dog like LM, perform far better, and, maybe someday, will become marketable commodities (i.e., will pull in big transfer fees). I'd rather make a few million selling Carlos Ruiz than blow a few million signing a loser like Lothar any day.

    - MLS had no (or almost no) big stars for the first several years of it's existence. The fact that we now have a stable of players who, clearly, can perform in the world's top leagues is a sign of MLS's success, not something to be feared.

    - There exist real and unavoidable (for most players) barriers to going to Europe. There are work permit issues in the UK, non-EU player roster limits in many countries, competition from players from other non-EU countries in central Europe, Asia, Africa, South America. Finally, there are softer barriers. How many European leagues are THAT much better than MLS? How many pay their players THAT much more than MLS? And how many American MLS players have the desire to play abroad (even if they - maybe - should, in order to make themselves better players ... like Landon Donovan ... maybe), especially if playing time in MLS is all but guaranteed, while in Europe it is not, and they have USMNT aspirations? Right now, most Americans seem to be heading to Germany, where work permit rules are easier to overcome. But there are only so many jobs available in Germany, England, Spain and Italy (and almost no interest in American players in those last two places).

    - The real brain drain is not to be found in the arena of MLS's players moving abroad but, rather, in some of the top, young US prospects skipping MLS altogether: Gibbs, Spector, Casey, Donovan initially and, maybe, eventually. I'm sure these boards will be lit up as soon as Freddie Adu makes his decision on where to play next year. MLS needs to expand, to create more jobs for young American talent; to create reserve sides so that younger players have an incubator within which to develop; and, of course, sweeten the pot a bit with regards to rookie salaries, if it wishes to net more and more of these guys in the years to come.
  16. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    Which is good. Hope it stays that way. And it's not about the numbers. People need to read.
  17. Treetaliano

    Treetaliano Member

    Jun 29, 2002
    San Diego
    We read fine. We just don't all agree with you.

    Guys like Clint, Boca, Ruiz, DMB, LD, Buddle etc will be gone sooner than later. I'm going out on a limb here...but I think MLS will be just fine
  18. bojendyk

    bojendyk New Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    South Loop, Chicago

    I agree that MLS will be fine, but I'd also like to make a prediction: half of the players you listed will never play in Europe, no matter how much they deserve the chance. Of course, I'd be happy to be wrong, for the sake of the Nats for the sake of pride in US product.
  19. Treetaliano

    Treetaliano Member

    Jun 29, 2002
    San Diego
    You've already pretty much lost your prediction. LD and Ruiz have already played in Europe. Clint and Boca are 100% gone after this season.

    The the that I find most ironic about this discussion everytime it comes up on BS, is that people fail to realize that the PLAYERS, almost to a man, would rather be in Europe.

    When I was in France at the Confederations Cup, myself, Captain Splarg and about 3 or 4 other posters here on BigSoccer went to the team hotel to meet with the guys, drink a few beers with them what have you...and speaking face to face with the nearly all of them, was told by Howard, DMB, Boca, Clint, Califf, Convey and Martino, that they would rather be in Europe and would go at the first chance they get.

    Does that mean they'll get that chance? Not necessarily, but these guys want to go.
  20. bojendyk

    bojendyk New Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    South Loop, Chicago
    Ah, maybe I should revise that: half will not be playing Europe in the future. Probably some will, though. Not Clint, though, but that's a different subject altogether.
    For the record, I'm not really disagreeing on anything else--only on the assumption that MLS is slated to lose several of its best players, when, as I and others have pointed out, there are several barriers preventing them from leaving (at least for England), regardless of whether they want to.
  21. denver_mugwamp

    denver_mugwamp New Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    Denver, Colorado
    You have to live with it...

    I expect MLS to lose a couple of players a year to Europe. Big deal. For every player who goes abroad, it seems like two come back. MLS is in a unique position because it's set up to develop players. The small rosters and limited number of foreign roster spots tend to give young US players a unique opportunity. Players like Chris Armas and Ante Razov have gone from expansion draft fodder to mainstays of the USMNT because it's a league that give players a chance to develop. If Beasley or Donovan head to Germany or Europe, somebody, from the U-17's or college or some teams bench will move up and take the position. That's how its always happened in the past, and especially with the increase in youth development, that's how it will continue to happen.
  22. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    Actually, when I say this, I mean I am agreeing with you, and it's most likely not the point.

    MLS will be just fine. It'll be stuck in neutral if the top talent in the league goes abroad, it will never be greater than what it is, but it'll be just fine. Some people will be fine with MLS being a developmental league because they have more emotional attachment to the Champions League final than the MLS Cup - which is perfectly valid - but I won't.
  23. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    Re: You have to live with it...

    It's not about the numbers. And as long as people try to quantify American talent instead of consider their potential contribution to MLS during their prime, we will endlessly go in circles with this argument.
  24. denver_mugwamp

    denver_mugwamp New Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    Denver, Colorado
    Re: Re: You have to live with it...

    Hey Roehl, I never said it was about the numbers.
    (1) I have faith that it's not a serious problem.
    (2) IMHO, it might actually be a good thing for the USMNT and US Soccer in general.
    (3) (And most important!) Neither one of us can do a &*%$# thing about it.
    I've always thought that if you're gonna worry, at least worry about something you can do change.
  25. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    Which is fine, but if we're going to admit that it's the natural conclusion then let's call it for what it is, that it does MLS more harm than good.

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