Empire XI: On New York Soccer and the Big Questions for 2015



7. How do American players negotiate with MLS in light of Jurgen Klinsmann’s comments?

The more career advising US Men’s National Team Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann does, the more justifiable it becomes to evaluate the club careers of the players he considers for his selection. Klinsmann’s calls on players to test their luck overseas angered MLS but they are just the foil, not a potential source of demise. Klinsmann is doing that himself with his advising. It is a high risk situation with a questionable reward considering the struggles American players are having overseas.

Those struggles for playing time and form and Klinsmann’s words of encouragement complicate the calculus for any American player looking to switch clubs. Klinsmann’s more varied squad selection in recent months allows for more players to believe that they can appear on the radar and since the coach has made it clear that an up-and-coming player in Europe has a more direct path to the senior national team than an up-and-coming player in MLS, the player has more incentive to look for a European club. MLS’ only real bargaining chip is being American and that is worthwhile and safe but uncertain. So for a young, ambitious player, how do you take that knowing that staying home minimizes risk and reward when your boss is encouraging you to maximize risk and reward.

8. How will young players be impacted by the MLS CBA?

In any league with a salary cap, the young players are always going to lose out. Since expenses are limited, teams need to prioritize their spending on players that they know have produced. Agents play this thinking to benefit veteran players hence the perpetual complaints that come when someone gets an extra year or more guaranteed money than logic would suggest for the 30-year-old. Things are a little different with MLS because it is a salary cap league in a market that is otherwise unanimously unchecked.

The only way MLS can competitively play college-aged prospects is through Generation Adidas since the player’s contract has no cap hit. Additionally, teams can only sign two Homegrown Player contracts at above the minimum salary. With American academy players being encouraged to go to Europe as opposed to signing the Homegrown Player contract, agents/advisors are in a position to leverage teams into deciding whether or not to give one of those two contracts to their player. While this puts owners and teams in a bind, it is not necessarily a win for the MLS Players Union.

The Players Union is looking to ensure that its current members, MLS veterans, receive better compensation and more freedom. As a result, they cannot really fight for better wages for rookies because the things they want the most to take from MLS benefit the established players. Although both parties have incentive to pursue reform to the Generation Adidas and Homegrown Player mechanisms, it would not be a surprise to see that cause be sacrificed to ensure labor peace.

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  • Anthony

    Christian, you should be banned from ever even talking about the #NYCosmos. Every time you try to write anything about them you do so from such a ridiculously condescending standpoint that no one can even take you seriously. You are a NYCFC apologist and gloss over the very real drawbacks of that club, the insulting way they and MLS have treated this farm team franchise…i can think of about 30 local soccer writers and bloggers than are more qualified to write this article than you..you a a fucking hack of the highest order. Why Dave even allows you to get space on his page is a mystery.

  • Dave from Dix Hills

    Hey I missed the XI! Good stuff but should have added an ALI WATCH point. Red Bulls committing suicide should be a top headline.

  • Jim F

    Agree, Ali Curtis is shooting the Red Bulls in their own foot, or head – suicide.
    Getting rid of Mike Petke (our #1 connection to the club and most successful coach) is disgraceful!

    Maybe Ali is doubleagent working to make NYCFC and Cosmos look better relative to him – he is doing a fine job of it!


    What new message do the Cosmos need to send ? I don’t get it. Ship has been sailing along pretty well. Only setback would be the SSS wait. If anything they’re the most stable of all the NY area soccer teams.

  • Lou

    “The second play is to capitalize on the frustrations of Red Bull and NYCFC fans.”

    At what point have the Cosmos demonstrated this as a “clear play”? City and Bull fans have voiced their displeasure and some have said they’ll go watch the Cosmos instead. Cosmos supporters have had their laugh at the misfortunes of those two. The FO have sniped at MLS as an institution, but not made a play for these fans. Look at their communications, ticket offers. Nothing indicates this.

    Araos at it again.

    • Smith

      The Cosmos need not worry about Man City Lite or Ali’s Army. They will play well & without ridiculous weeknight games on the schedule, they will draw better crowds to see Raul & the rest.

      I will say this, though:

      I know several Red Bulls fans who are buying Cosmos tix in protest of Arrogant Ali.

  • Not a farm club?

    Give me a f****** break… NYCFC is a minor consideration and will be for the foreseeable future. There may be valid economic reasons for it… I say “valid” but I really mean in THIS unacceptable situation.

    We shouldn’t be in the business of allowing clubs to be in a situation where their baby is given priority and we are second.

  • Larry The Turd

    And with all the screw ups made by Man Lite and the Red Bulls the Cosmos still can’t make a dent in the sports conscience of NYC. LMFFAO. You clowns are still going to struggle to get more than a couple thousand fans out to Shuart. Raul? Really? What’s he going to do, raise the attendance from 2,000 to 2,025? Nobody is going out to Hofstra to see the Cosmos, you think they’re going to beat a path to that mythical world famous Cosmos Academy? Dream on saps! New York is red ladies!

    • Smith

      Yes, Ali Curtis is here. All is wonderful. God bless all he stands for.

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