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Another 48 hours (will this one be as bad as movie?)

Well we are just two days away from the end of the latest extension of the MLS CBA, and while the league has said there will be no lockout and they are willing to continue to operate under the current CBA while the two sides continue to work on a new one.  The players on the other hand have made no such "no strike" statement.

I have in the past looked that 4 major issues that were first brought up as points of contention between the two sides but no it seems that there is a single issue that is left, and that is "Free Agency" and while I am not sure of the details of what the players are wanting or what the league is countering with, I do believe that this issue has merit and should be discussed but at this time there is no way to solve it.  The organization of the league and it's very structure would have to change for any real type of "Free Agency" to take place, and that is simply something that I doubt the owners or league leadership are ready for.  It is something I think must take place for the league to grow in the future, but I placed a 4-5 year timeline on that shift, not 48 hours.

So there are two very good looks at the issue:

  • MLS and the MLSPU: players may have to strike (from the Fox Sports Community) the writer makes some valid points but I would say he needs to realize that the Union is fighting more for "Free Agency" than they are for living wages at the bottom of the salary guideline.
  • An Open letter to MLS Players (from Match Fit USA) we know I am a fan of the open letter and this one is spot on.  
I can only hope over the next 48 hours that cooler heads will prevail, it seems that a lot of lines in the sand are being drawn up in the soccer community with people taking sides.  For me this is the most dangerous thing of all, as it could be the breakdown that long term causes the foundations of MLS and soccer in the US to crumble.  It was long ago that a US President said "A house divided against itself, cannot stand".

Both sides have very valid issues, and both sides want believe they know what is best, but are they thinking of what is best for themselves?  I challenge each and every person involved from fan to "the Don" to stop for a few minutes and simply ask themselves "what is best for soccer in the USA?".  Not for today, or even for this season, almost everyone one of us has a desire to see the sport we love as fans, players, and owners grow into a top class league in the world.  That isn't going to happen overnight, it isn't going to happen in the next couple years (length of a CBA), I have said I think it is a 20 year vision that needs a 5, 10, and 20 year plan worked on, and agreed to by all parties involved.  

We stand today on the edge of a cliff, we can chose to walk over that cliff and hope for the best, or we can make plans to build a bridge and work together to ensure we survive and thrive for a long time to come.  The choice rests in the hands of the owners, the players, and the many many lawyers that represent them.  We the fans can do nothing but sit back and watch something we love tear itself apart or chose to work together to create something as beautiful as the game itself.