George John was never officially a member of NYCFC

IMAGE, FCDALLAS.COM

by DAVE MARTINEZ

George John’s name was on the New York City FC roster page all season long. He appeared in every media guide from the first match of the season to the very last. He trained with the club at their Purchase complex. His health was continuously updated in press conferences throughout the season. He was even with the team during their club signing event at the adidas store this summer.

But George John was never officially a member of New York City FC.

As EoS has learned, NYCFC’s claim to John goes so far as holding his rights within MLS. He was never an NYCFC player. He was not under contract. He did not draw a salary from NYCFC. He didn’t draw a salary from City Football Group, either. He did not occupy a roster spot. He never appeared on either the Spring or Fall salary releases from the player’s union — and his name was omitted from the team’s roster release this past Friday.

Instead of a steady salary and a spot on the club’s roster, John’s stay at NYCFC was compensated through team-provided medical attention and team-funded housing.

How did this arrangement come about?

Well, John was picked up by NYCFC during the 2014 expansion draft; one of ten players to be picked up by the organization on the day to be exact. He was made available for the expansion draft thanks to FC Dallas, whom declined to pick up his option year.

Nine of the ten players selected at the draft moved on to sign contracts with NYCFC. John was a different story.

NYCFC took a risk in drafting the injured defender. He missed the entirety of the 2014 season due to a knee injury — one that would eventually require an osteoplasty of the medial femur of his knee in July of that very year.

While John was in no state to play at the start of the 2015 season, NYCFC were drawn in by the possibility of his acquisition. After all, John is a former MLS All Star and a vibrant defensive talent; one that garnered much attention from foreign markets.  In the eyes of the organization, John was a low-risk, high-reward opportunity; a player that represented a chance to acquire one of the best MLS talents at a bargain basement price.

Once in New York, however, it became clear that John’s health was worse than originally feared. Aspects of his original treatment were misdiagnosed, setting John’s recovery back further than either he or NYCFC expected.

As a consequence, John was not offered a contract by the March 1st, 2015 roster deadline date.

But NYCFC were not ready to give up on John just yet. After all, they own the player’s rights and a healthy John would go a long way in shoring up their thin defensive line.

NYCFC offered the towering centerback a unique proposal. The club would not offer John a contract on the season. However, they offered him living arrangements and full access to their medical team and staff with the hopes that the one-time All Star could peacefully recover and, perhaps, bolster their defense sometime during the season.

Clearly, things did not go according to plan. John spent the entire 2015 season on recovery, unable to make even a single bench appearance for the club.


John’s situation is a puzzling one. New York City FC clearly presented him as a rostered player throughout the season. Likewise, MLS did not correct that designation — even as they continued to include John’s name in each and every NYCFC media game day guide from the start of the year to the last game against New England.

So why was John listed as an NYCFC player if he was never under contract or rostered? And why didn’t MLS step in to correct the situation? That is a mystery; about as mysterious as a player joining a club at zero salary (though it is worth noting: John was paid over $300k a season during his time with Dallas which could have helped ease the blow).

EoS contacted the league about John’s employment situation. The response? John was “selected in the expansion draft, but was not rostered” by the club by the March 1st deadline.  That, of course, does little to answer why his name was omnipresent with NYCFC all season long.

Now, John’s future remains up in the air. There is no indication whether he will continue his healing arrangement with NYCFC through 2016, though it would seem unlikely at this point. Several sources tell EoS that early retirement may also be an option for the 27-year-old centerback.

John is also currently out of contract with MLS, further muddying the future of one of Major League Soccer’s brightest defensive stars.

 

 

  • The Realist

    The season may be over but the laughs keep coming

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  • The Real insider

    I don’t get the issue, the player was injured and NYCFC did the right thing in trying to help him get well. There is no harm here to anyone.

    • This is true. I think the part that has people apoplectic is how neither MLS or NYCFC went out of their way to clarify his standing with the club. He was on every gameday roster all season long.

      MY biggest issue? NYCFC should have just said they were doing this from the start. Makes them look so GOLDEN. Taking care of an injured player who can perhaps bolster their club while not having him under salary? Fans would have carried the team on their shoulders for such brilliance.

      But alas …

  • Cosmo

    Drama in NY associated with soccer in the norm now.
    If it’s not nycfc, then it’s red bull, if not cosmos.
    The drama in NY in soccer keeps coming and it’s never going to end.
    Will red bull survive in the NY area and buy a big dp?
    Will nycfc find land for their stadium and will their old dps make it a whole season?
    Will cosmos ever make the jump to MLS or stay in nasl and dream with their fellow nasl friends?
    Soccer in New York has never been this high.
    Imagine if cosmos buy red bull, New York would explode.

    • EnglishRBNY

      “Imagine if cosmos buy red bull” – stop, you sound like a retard.

      • Hector Perez

        Not only a retard but a complete ” a$$ hole ” Probably Cosmo’s Stover is behind of this bull $hit.

  • Kevin

    I love the drama of all 3 teams. Without it there would be no EOS. Just shows how soccer continues to grow in the NY/NJ area

    • Cosmo

      I would love for MLS to reach 32 teams but also make an MLS2.
      If MLS does reach 32 teams, then ny can have 3 teams but I won’t happen.
      The best that can happe to MLS is for some billionaire to buy red bull and if cosmos want in, then they might have to be the third teAm

      • MTF

        Garber has gone on record saying there won’t be three teams in NYC. Now I’d never say never, but since MLS has mapped out its expansion to 24 teams by 2020, and to 28 beyond (let’s say 2030), I think it’s safe to safe the Cosmos won’t be in MLS in the next 10 years. Why does everyone constantly bring up the Cosmos buying Red Bull? There’s no serious news of Red Bull looking to sell, and the Cosmos already rejected buying into MLS and giving up control of their oh so valuable brand. The Cosmos and the NASL’s endgame is public knowledge: challenge MLS and fight USSF on the Division 1 designation. That’s it. If the NASL remains saddled with a D2 (or worse D3) label they’ve admitted their future is much more challenging.

        • EnglishRBNY

          ^what this guy said. If you think comps are buying the red bulls then your either not paying attention…or you’re a window licker

  • Anonymous

    All of this stemming from MLS and their bullshit CalvinBall rules and regulations.

    They own his “rights”

  • Jspech

    Yikes!! The ill quest for legitimacy.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe I’m not seeing it, but where’s the drama?

    • OpenCupFan

      Certainly not on the field of a #bushleaguemls game – must find somewhere else.

  • jason

    hey “opencupfan” if you consider mls bush league then why have MLS teams won the last 16 straight US Open Cups?…

    you know who really is bush league – the nasl, which lost 7 games in a row to USL teams. – the facts man, the facts.

    • The Realist

      Not a farm club:

      http://sbisoccer.com/2015/12/vieira-could-manage-man-city-after-developing-with-nycfc

      And I’m a RED BULLS ticket holder, not a Cosmos supporter & I am saying this.

    • HydraHamster

      That’s easy. The reason is because of the USOC set up. The professional leagues have a advantage over the amateur teams because the pro leagues play those games last. It goes as:

      * Amateur division left over vs. USL
      * Amateur division and USL left over vs. NASL
      * Lower division vs. MLS

      MLS teams are last to jump into the USOC tournament, so they have the biggest advantage over all the divisions. It’s just another way of the USSF giving anything, but the MLS, the middle finger.

      P.S: I am not @OpenCupFan, but I decided to answer your question.

      • johnny99

        You mean it’s got nothing to do with the MLS teams being better than NASL/USL/USASA teams?

  • OpenCupFan

    You’re a bush league b/c you can’t survive on your own, if not propped up by USSF, what would you do? Eat sh!t!
    .
    Plenty of other stuff too – like, Cosmos B had higher attendance at NPSL Final than all #bushleaguemls playoff games.
    .
    Oh yeah, you’re also bush league b/c everyone in your sh!t league makes the playoffs – why even have a regular season?
    .
    You’re also bush league b/c dog shows and foreign leagues with 6am start times get better tv ratings.
    .
    No reason to go on, might never stop.

    • johnny99

      NPSL final attendance: 18,227
      Attendance at first 3 MLS playoff games that I checked: 21,747, 19,525 and 21,144.

      No doubt that’s a great showing for an NPSL game, even if it’s not bigger than MLS playoff crowds. By the way, you might want to point out that the game was in Chatanooga, I doubt the Cosmos B team had anything to do with the attendance.

      • DanGerman

        Just for comparison the NASL final has 10,166. So does that mean the Cosmos B team is more popular?

      • OpenCupFan

        Actually, whether it is in Chattanooga or in Peoria, that 18,000+ is an actual number. Unlike #bushleaguemls pretendance which is COMPLETELY unreliable. So yeah, NPSL final got better attendance than any mls playoff game, sorry if that doesn’t conform to mls narrative.
        .
        Also, considering that this is double any other attendance in Chattanooga – including other NPSL playoff and championships games they have been in. Therefore, it isn’t a stretch to say Cosmos B had something to do with it. Full credit goes to CFC, no doubt, they’re doing a great job without any support from USSF – unlike mls which steals $ from the USM/WNTs. I still like mentioning Cosmos being involved – btw, Cosmos are another team that doesn’t get any support from USSF.
        .
        Why do you guys think mls is so great when it is only around because it takes money from USSF?

        • OpenCupFan

          DangerMan – have you figured out how to use a computer yet? This is the guy that claims to be a Cosmos fan, but can’t figure out how to use the computer to buy tickets online – but he can use the computer to slam the Cosmos – incidentally, this guy never posts anywhere else, just on Cosmos articles attacking the team.

  • OpenCupFan

    Funniest thing about tv ratings is that teams in foreign markets too small to be allowed in #bushleaguemls are getting higher tv ratings here than all McWendys teams.
    .
    Major League Sh!te – this is what your league is known is in Britannia – before you say who cares about that place, remember your league is paying to be televised there and so the locals can call it sh!te.
    .
    #bushleaguemls is crap.
    .
    Support your local independent soccer clubs!

    • Anonymous

      You mad Bruh?

      • OpenCupFan

        Not really, just dropping some facts.

        • DanGerman

          Stats from official sources=Facts, care to share some stats to back up your facts?

          • OpenCupFan

            Official sources? You mean like #bushleaguemls.com where official attendance are pretend? What a joke, did you get your history degree in a Cracker Jack box?

            • DanGerman

              No I’ll take Espn.com or NASL.com or any other reputable source. Just not your word.

              • OpenCupFan

                Excuse me if I don’t take seriously the guy that gets on here and says he can’t figure out how to buy tickets to a Cosmos game online.
                .
                That’s a fact right there.
                .
                DangerMan “Cracker Jack Diploma”

                • DanGerman

                  So you’re saying you have no stats to back up your idiotic statements because a rational person would want to prove his words with something tangible.

                  • OpenCupFan

                    You’re boring, you should ask the mls bot help desk to get you some new programming.
                    .
                    Why do you support a league that steals $ from the USNTs?

                    • DanGerman

                      Still nothing huh. Well I’m not surprised you can’t back up ANYTHING you say.

                    • OpenCupFan

                      I can back-up the fact that you asking for facts is pretty hypocritical considering your claims to be a Cosmos fan, but all you do is slam the club – in particular when you say things like you the Cosmos website is so bad you can’t figure out how to buy tickets to a game, is that a fact or were you blatantly lying – it is a fact that you are a liar.
                      .
                      So stop asking me for facts when all you do is get on here and tell lies…
                      .
                      btw – everything I say is accurate, not my fault your programming only allows for the regurgitation of #bushleaguemlspressreleases

                    • DanGerman

                      IF everything you say is accurate then please “show your work”. Or do you believe saying something over and over again even in the face of evidence to the contrary is going to make it become true?

    • EnglishRBNY

      “Support your local independent soccer clubs!” – cracks me up every time.

      • OpenCupFan

        Thanks! Get some toothpaste and suck on a lime! Ur the man!

  • jason

    OpenCupFan – you did not answer my question:

    If MLS is so bad then why have MLS teams won the last 16 straight US Open Cups?…

    you know who really is bush league – the nasl, which has never won an Open Cup or been close, and they lost 7 games in a row to USL teams this year. – the facts man, the facts.

    • OpenCupFan

      Reading comprehension is not your strong suit, you asked why it was bush league and I told you.
      .
      You just ignored all the reasons it is bush league, that’s on you buddy. Better question might be why you ignore all the reasons it is bush league?
      .
      Also, why don’t you talk about RailHawks beating #bushleaguemls champion LAGalaxy three years in a row?

    • yes, MLS is probably higher in quality at this point than NASL. But let’s face it, neither league makes the top 25 world wide. And frankly, I’m ok with that. I think what the committed soccer fan ought to want is an individual club structure, without the enforced mediocrity and conflicts on interest embodied in MLS. But I’m in the minority with that opinion, so go ahead and enjoy yuor MLS soccer family.

      GO SOCCER!!!

      • HydraHamster

        Actually, people who like MLS’s dysfunctional system are the minorities in the United States soccer fan base. Many soccer fans who watched eventually stop supporting it because they complicating things for no reason when the whole world already showing them how to make a soccer league right. Same goes for the USSF. Most soccer fans in this country hate the American elitism that comes out of MLS and some of it’s fans. MLS can not make their mind up on what guideline they will follow because it changes almost yearly.

        The soccer fan base is severally split. There are those who like the soccer system the world follows, those that like the sports system North America follows and others that just watch soccer every four years during the FIFA World Cup. Between the three, MLS come in last place. It’s a no contest.

        • HydraHamster

          I forgot about the fans that support independent soccer clubs in our lower divisions.

        • DanGerman

          Who are these people that dislike the MLS system and where are they? They surely aren’t the people going to the games because if you look the highest attended soccer games in the United States those games are MLS games. I think you’re overplaying the dislike angle, most fans are at most ambivalent to the MLS set up. There are a lot of fans who dislike it, I’m not discounting that but its not as big as you make it to be or otherwise they’re doing a poor job showing it. Also as the league evolves you may be surprised to find them becoming more and more like what people want. This the first year of free agency in MLS and players will be allowed to move and make more now then anytime previous. It’s an exciting time in US league soccer right now, NASL is growing and hopefully has a reserve league setup with the NPSL hopefully that leads to more players playing and getting chances to expand the player pool for the U.S.

          • Smith

            I do see both the Red Bulls & the Cosmos & enjoy both. MLS is better quality right now, but I immensely dislike MLS’s playoff structure, player aquistion rules & overall lack of transparency. I also think MLS has done little to improve the quality of the USMNT.

            I am the one you seek.

            • OpenCupFan

              You’re not the only one buddy, you just happen to be on e of the few that feels this way and continues to watch mls garbage.

            • DanGerman

              Sure but you and a few thousand other people does not make a huge movement. When you are in the middle of a few thousand people it may appear like a majority but in reality its not.

              • OpenCupFan

                Considering that the most popular comments sections on here don’t involve mls, I’m going to say it is significant.
                .
                Support your local independent soccer clubs!

                • DanGerman

                  These forums do nothing for the Cosmos as we here are all big fans of one team or the other. Casuals and new fans won’t see your comments and think the Cosmos have rational and reasonable fans, so you’re doing more harm then good here.

                  • OpenCupFan

                    Who writes your posts for you?
                    .
                    If the Internet is so pointless for discussion then why do you push your antiCosmos antiNASL agenda online? mls bots spend a lot of time online for something that doesn’t matter a whole lot.
                    .
                    I would say you’re being a hypocrite, but that ship has sailed many many times already.

                    • DanGerman

                      I’m neither anti-Cosmos or anti-NASL. Hell I praised the league in this article for its expansion efforts and for possibly starting a reserve league with the NPSL so yeah again you’re talking out of your ass.

              • Smith

                I didn’t say I was part of a huge movement. I was speaking only on my own behalf.

  • Goodfella

    I’m going to demand a refund for my George John #6 long sleeve authentic!

    • Larry’s a Simpleton

      I have a George John Thong!

      Hot, baby!

  • jason

    Leo – agree with your GO SOCCER! sentiment.

    However, I’m not so sure you can say there are more than 24 full leagues around the world that are better than MLS, but agree with you that we should be fine with wherever they supposedly land on the international scale, I want to support our local US teams either way.

    I also agree with you that you are in the minority thinking about the admin/business structure of a league as a key point – who really cares, MLS teams and their academies are the ones developing future US talent in the game, I don’t care whether their ownership groups are structured as S-corp or LLC partnerships?… The Nasl is owned and run by criminals from traffic sports, do the fans care about that admin issue?

    The other point is that as more and more revenue is coming into MLS every year, the teams will get more and more freedom to spend as they see fit, etc. – we already see it for next season with more mid-roster funds being given to teams to spend above the cap – which is needed…

    • HydraHamster

      Not anymore. The NASL split from Traffic Sports months ago and the fans fought for Traffic to hand over the Carolina club ownership.

  • jason

    not true, criminal Traffic still owns majority of voting shares in nasl, they did supposedly divest the Carolina club now at least…

    • They own Class B, non-voting shares. They do, however, have the clout to help dictate direction with said shares. They arent involved in the day to day, but when it comes to big picture things like franchise fees, that is where Traffic still holds sway.

  • OpenCupFan

    Who gives a cr@p about Traffic – tell me one illegal thing Traffic did to benefit the Cosmos? Or even NASL for that matter.
    .
    mls on the other is taking $$$$$$ from the USM/WNTs everyday – but no mention of that. Where’s the articles on that? USSF gives mls a subsidy every year just to keep it running. Money that should be going to, oh I don’t know, how about the WNT so it doesn’t have to continue playing on sub-par fields. WNT are world champions, mls can’t even beat the Cosmos, but somehow USSF is neglecting the WNT and giving $$$$$ to #bushleaguemls
    .
    btw – how about an article on how the current tv deal for the Centenario that mls received is like 1/3 the fee that dirty Traffic paid for it? Where’s the article on that, but yeah keep trying to slime NASL.
    .
    If you’re a fan of USNT, you should those teams are being robbed my mls routinely. Don’t expect an article on it on #bushleaguemls.com, go look into it yourself.
    .
    Support your local independent soccer clubs! Don’t accept that crap McWendys is feeding you.

  • jason

    criminal Traffic put the funds up to start the nasl and prop up the league, they owned multiple teams initially and were owed $450K payments from each of 1st 10 teams, their majority shares can control items like league budget or approving a new expansion team, etc. Traffic also received 30% commissions on nasl commercial rights of media, sponsorships and merchandising.

    “For the NASL, the second division league in the US club system, the link is direct. The indicted Aaron Davidson, an American citizen, who along with his company Traffic Sports, features heavily in the accounts of bribes and kick-backs, was the driving force behind the creation of the league in 2009.”

    • OpenCupFan

      None of those things are illegal.
      .
      What did they do illegally to benefit NASL, or in particular the Cosmos? Still waiting, God I wish you could read so I don’t have to keep repeating simple things like this.
      .
      btw – I notice you don’t object to #bushleaguemls stealing money from the USNTs, keep this in mind if you’re on the fence about #bushleaguemls, it steals money from the men’s and women’s national teams. This point is never refuted by its supporters – just check it out, I have said this over and over and it has yet to even be addressed. mls steals money from the National Teams of this country for its own benefit, this money is not shared with other clubs, or even the players themselves. This is #bushleaguemls

  • jason

    what Traffic did, along with the head of nasl, was illegal and they are indicted for it.

    Traffic were the main nasl backers – their majority shares can control items like league budget or approving a new expansion team, etc. Traffic also received 30% commissions on nasl commercial rights of media, sponsorships and merchandising (albeit that is probably next to nothing). Where is the transparency from nasl on that? Have not heard any specific details regarding Traffic’s continued ownership in shares and their involvement?

    MLS is not stealing money from anyone, the allocation of monies from the USSF for marketing/TV rights, etc. is their call, if you don’t like it complain to the USSF.

    And, why wouldn’t MLS get a good deal from the USSF, they are the main developers and any young and future talent for the USSF…