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Dear Don, can you focus for a minute?

So MLS is sitting without a contract with it's players and the comish is off on a working holiday in Europe. Wasn't he there just a few months ago telling the EPL that they need to establish a salary cap?  Now he is over there telling them that they should be investing in MLS teams? Read More here

My god man get yourself back in the US and maybe focus on getting your league closer to a contract with their players, soccer in the US is still a fringe sport and while associations with European teams would be helpful, there are still some very large issues that need to be addressed and in my opinion are a hell of a lot higher priority than "the Don" hanging out in Europe at a 3 time a year convention.

I would love to see a real plan for growth of MLS and soccer in the US, not a try to convince Barca to put a team in Miami and when that fails see if Man City will start a team somewhere.  There are real things that can be done in the US with MLS and US Soccer to grow the sport and the league, how about we come up with a 5 year, a 10 year and a 20 year plan to get the US a World Cup title, and to move MLS into the top 4 sports in the US and out of the fringes?

I have over the past month listed 10 things that I believe could get MLS out of the "niche" sport market and into the mainstream of American sports.

Check out the list after the jump:

Part one of my list included:

  • Larger Rosters (28 players at least)
  • A real 2nd division, complete with partnerships between each MLS club and a 2nd division club
  • A nationwide youth system, a partnership between MLS and US Soccer to create a talent based youth system
  • Better Pay for players, including higher min and max salaries as well as a larger salary cap for teams
  • Improved Play, better officials along with a performance based incentive system for players and clubs
  • Better Promotion of the sport, finding a TV partner who will play matches in HD in prime time slots, and better overall marketing and promotion of the sport.
  • Embracing the Fans, no more lip service but real things like away sections in every stadium, league and team support in merchandising and marketing supporter groups
  • Reduction of League Control, the move to teams controlling their own business more, things like owning player contracts (which could lead to free agency), jersey deals with vendors and sponsors.
  • New Television Deal, with only 20 teams getting the sport on TV is the only way to get other markets involved and this is key to long term success and larger TV revenue deals
  • New Leadership, I have a ton of respect for what "the Don" has done over the last few years, but moving forward I believe a leader who is willing to turn over control to the teams and work without a strangle hold on every detail is needed.
I would love to see US Soccer, MLS, MLSPU, and the NASL/USL sit down and really come up with a plan on growing the sport in the US. It is time for turf wars and power struggles to end, the sport and the fans deserve better.

So for me to hear that the leader of MLS is off in Europe trying to get people to invest in teams, while we have a league without a contract and are just 3 weeks away from the start of our season is a very disturbing thing.  We are paying this guy a million a year for this?  The owners want to give him a new contract with the potential to earn more than the salary of an entire team, and we don't even have a decent TV deal for every team, oh the madness will it ever end?

OFF MY SOAPBOX