So the MLS talks with the MLSPU over a new contract (CBA) have began to resemble a soap opera, with a bunch of he said she said. If you haven't been following it, check out the player complaints and their comments about the situation on this SBI post. Which of course caused the league to use the same forum to respond, by saying we have offered a lot but they won't talk to us.
With just 4 days left in the latest extension of the CBA, one has to wonder if both the league and the players have lost their minds. I would say this to the players, if you are getting such a horrible deal, then leave, quit, go play in Europe if you are good enough or in the 2nd Division if your not. You have some valid concerns but you have to realize that you are getting to do what you love and call it a job, for most of the people who pay to watch you play they live in a very different world where a job is just that a job, something we do so we can earn enough to enjoy the things we love to do.
I would say this to the league, you are on the verge of becoming a major player in US sports and while many of your owners have sacrificed much over the past 15 years, the times are changing and you need to change too. If you really want to make the league grow, understand that you can't continue on the path you are currently on with the players. While I don't expect you to give them everything they might be asking for, how about you work with them and say here is what we can give now and we will give more if conditions are met. Sign a deal that allows both sides to prosper if the league and sport prosper, then become transparent about things.
The CBA will not be the only soap opera in MLS this week, nope it seems that the signing of Luis Gil, the 16yr old stiker (the 2009 U20 player of the year by US Soccer) by MLS will be filled with drama.
More after the jump:
So when a young player turns down rumored deals from Arsenal and Real Madrid to sign with MLS, one has to wonder a bit about that decision. I actually think it might be a smart move, instead of being relegated to some youth roster with a huge team, he could get not only attention of a MLS staff but if the hype is anywhere near true he would be able to get playing time. That could increase his value and cause the move to Europe to be an easier move in a couple years.
So the drama really begins when you understand how crazy MLS is, so no team can just sign the young man since the league owns all the contracts of the players. In order to determine where he will play MLS will hold a "weighted lottery", a system where the worst team over the last 30 matches has the best chance of getting the player, while the best team has the worst chance of getting him. In itself this wouldn't seem to complicated but then comes this:
"already, the rumour mills have been going, suggesting that Gil's agent, Mike Gartlan, has stipulated that his client only wants to land in either Seattle or Salt Lake City - and if another team wins his allocation rights, it will be expected to make a deal with either the Sounder or Real Salt Lake."
that quote comes from the Toronto Sun and leads to an interesting potential issue for MLS to deal with. Given the CBA issues that are heating up, how would a player coming into the league and saying he will only play for one of two teams impact talks where "free agency" is one of the hot button issues that is holding up the new CBA.
So if the rumor is true, which team has the most to gain from Luis Gil? Who is Luis Gil? He is a 16 year old kid who was named the best player under 20 years old by US Soccer, he recently was on trial with Arsenal but that didn't work out. He is a 5'8" 155 lb kid who has a ton of upside, with the U17 team he has 4 goals and 4 assists in 17 international matches.
He is a project player, who might be able to offer a team a spark off the bench but at 16 years of age I would question if he could become more than a role player for any team in 2010. His "choices" offer some interesting insights to what he and his agent might be thinking.
In Seattle you get a team with high exposure, and one of the all time best coaches in MLS in Sigi. You get to play with another young talent in Montero, plus the experience of Ljungberg and Keller. In Salt Lake you get to play with the defending MLS Champions, and one of the US's potential break out stars in Robbie Findley. You also get to be coached by Jason Kreis, who has was the first player ever to hit the 100 goal mark in MLS, a coach who former player Yura Movsisyan said "I wouldn't be the player I am today without Jason".
Whatever happens in the lottery on Monday, the drama is likely to have only started both for Gil and MLS in a week that is likely to be more like a soap opera than soccer.
OFF MY SOAPBOX