Steve Goff (Soccer Insider) is reporting:
MLS players have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike if a collective bargaining agreement with the league is not reached in time for the season openers in two weeks, the Insider has learned.
In a written vote, more than 350 players supported a strike and only two opposed it, a source close to the situation said.
"We will not start the season without a new agreement," said a veteran player, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations. "To be quite blunt, it doesn't look good at all."
Of course I am not surprised, as it is clear that there are a number of veteran players who are very actively encouraging others in the locker rooms to support their viewpoints. The union has been careful in who they allow to speak to the media (ensuring they will get the coverage they want), and what they are allowed to say.
It does seem interesting that a day after an official statement from the league and the union that they are going to continue talks, that now we have one side doing a lot of talking about a strike. It started within an hour of yesterday's official announcement, with Nick Garcia talking with the CBC:
Major League Soccer's simmering labour dispute heated up Wednesday as Toronto FC defender Nick Garcia said he expects the players to strike if a new collective bargaining agreement is not negotiated before the start of the regular season - in two weeks.
For a lot of lifetime soccer fans, this situation really has them looking back at 1979, Boston.com writer Frank dell'Apa provides this thought:
Major League Soccer teams having been training all over the world in preparation for the league's 15th season. But an impasse in collective bargaining is raising doubts about the season opener, a Seattle Sounders-Philadelphia United match scheduled March 25.
Those who experienced the work stoppage in the North American Soccer League in 1979 are wondering whether both sides are familiar with the history of labor problems in professional soccer.
House of Soccer offers up his time machine thoughts about Frank's article, love the "Back to the Future" references.
I have said it before and I will say it again, both sides have some valid points, one would hope that with the guy handpicked by the President of the United States to lead the federal department that deals with labor issues and mediation that some middle ground could be found and that a deal could be reached.
Maybe it still will be, if not one has to wonder if the fans will be forgiving? The NHL, and MLB both have yet to reach the level of fan support and popularity as they did before they went on strike, the NBA and NFL both are facing CBA talks of their own and could face some sort of work stoppage. A lot can happen in two weeks, hopefully something will.
OFF MY SOAPBOX