MLS Soccer with some comparisons to other leagues

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MLS Soccer with some comparisons to other leagues

Postby PhlawlessPhelon » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:12 pm

So, the MLS often is compared to other leagues across the world in an unfavorable manner. Now, I will be the first to admit that the overall level of talent in the MLS is not up to the same standards of other leagues. However, people that are critical of the MLS often overlook the technical aspects of the league. I will address a couple points below:

1. The MLS has a salary cap - Most of my other points feed off of this point. You don't think lucrative teams like the Galaxy, Sounders, or NYCFC don't want to spend massive sums of money on players? They would gladly splurge cash on players if the rules permitted them to do so. Not only is there a salary cap, but the cap is very small. Thus, any truly talented individual is better off going overseas to play instead of developing in America. The Galaxy academy seems to be the only academy system able to produce marketable players within America (Jose Villareal, Gyasi Zardes, etc.). The designated player rule allows for talented players to be brought in, while simultaneously maintain some semblance of fair play. The Galaxy can pay 3 players as much money as they want, but only 3 players. Likewise, the Columbus Crew can do the same, but likely do not have the funds or attractions to attract the same level of players as the Galaxy. So, until the league can sustain itself financially, the DP rule is pretty much necessary. That being said, the DP rule is holding the league back. Simply put, without a salary cap or DP rule, the Galaxy (and Sounders, and NYCFC) could easily attract players and build teams that could rival some of the best teams in the world.

2. The MLS is competitive - the word "competitive" is defined as "of, pertaining to, involving, or decided by competition." So, tell me how the BPL, La Liga, Bundesliga is competitive compared to the MLS? In the aforementioned leagues, we all know who are going to be the top teams year in and year out. This hearkens back to my first point about salary caps. The salary cap and DP rule, even with their downsides, keeps the league competitive. Even though the Galaxy are undoubtedly the most successful team in the league, they do not dominate each and every year.

3. MLS has playoffs - This is America. Learn to embrace playoff systems. For those outside of America, I understand the confusion or dislike of the American playoff system for deciding champions, but it is what it is. The NY Red Bulls had Thierry Henry but struggled in the playoffs, and many would argue it was because of his lack of commitment to the playoff system. While I do think the league champions deserve extreme praise, I still feel the MLS Cup winner is the true champion because we have playoffs in America.

4. Soccer in America needs to grow - Higher salaries, better academies, better television contracts and viewership. As these things improve, and soccer becomes more profitable, the DP rules can be changed or removed and salary caps can be increased. This will improve the overall quality of the league, improve player development of Americans (and players from nearby smaller nations), and increase the overall profits for teams and the league.

5. MLS needs at least 1 year of Zlatan - I am slightly biased in this opinion, but players like Zlatan, regardless of his impact in actual games or the actual league, can help the sport of soccer grow in America. He is a character that the camera loves, and those types of individuals thrive in America.

6.Hooligans-lack thereof - Maybe it is my American ignorance, but hooliganism is ridiculous. The violence and nonsense associated with hooliganism is pointless, harmful, and detrimental to the sport as a whole.

Thoughts? disagree on any points? let me know, I love talking about soccer.
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Postby Phara » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:49 am

bump, he spent time on this assholes.

i know nothing about soccer.
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Postby PhlawlessPhelon » Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:13 am

Phara wrote:bump, he spent time on this assholes.

i know nothing about soccer.


When the forum index said Phara was the most recent comment, I was like "WTF, Phara duzz soccer?"
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Postby Hoshiko » Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:09 pm

So I've had this discussion before with a few of my mates from the UK and we came to a kind of conclusion.

The rest of the world, with it's open leagues and high paying salaries do attract talent unlike the US but there is a reason for that. Non-US countries see futbol as a culture, it's infectious, and quite important much like Football is in the US. When comparing MLS to the rest of the world, even if we remove the factor of players skill the US lacks that overarching factor of fanbase and culture. Players want to go to those countries for the higher pay, the culture, the high chance to improve. MLS doesn't stand a chance in this factor, regardless of money.

MLS is competitive and I agree with your point that we don't know who's going to be the top team when compared to other countries but that is partially due to players seeing no reason to leave their team besides retirement. Even then, there have been quite a few vocal players against what MLS itself does, so instead they leave the country all together. Even half the Women's national team is playing for UK teams. I haven't looked too much into this myself but the word around futbol fans is that MLS is almost as shady as FIFA even if the team managers and organizers try to do their best for the players.

I agree with you about playoffs as being important but when looking at the bigger picture, they are a stepping stone to Concacaf which is where things actually get difficult.

I used to follow Sounders, Chivas, Galaxy, and Redbull and out of all those teams, Chivas had the highest skill but lowest profitability. The reason is because A: it was essentially the second los angeles team, B: it had a lot of hispanics that weren't known, mostly because of the lack of a push in the organization. Therefore I feel again, it is about the lack of culture and appreciation for the sport/teams/players rather than the funding. Chivas also left the MLS a few years ago.

Zlatan can and has happened in MLS but it's a rare spark. I'm sure you've heard of Landon Donovan? and the handful of Columbus Crew players who are either insanely good looking or amazing at the sport or both; Hejduk, Dempsey, Beckerman. It can happen, just not at the level of Zlatan, Ronaldinho, Messi, Zidane, etc. Women's soccer even has a few although the ferocity seems to be higher in NWSL as far as playmaking goes; Wambach, Morgan, Rapinoe(my favorite), Heath, Krieger.

Again, for me, the lack of higher salary pertains to the lack of passion, and culture for the beautiful game in the US. The MLS as a company thinks of profitability only and will not investmore than what they already have without a huge shift.

If we take a look at the eSports world, we have the same issue with StarCraft. Around the world StarCraft is known as the beautiful game, futbol of eSports. Despite this, it is the lowest paying eSport in USA, has the least amount of primetime coverage and gets almost no recognition. League of Legends, while it is played around the world it's viewed as the much easier bastard cousin and yet it has a much higher profitability, it's more public and even has greater media coverage, especially in the US scene.

Also, if you're into the U leagues at all, keep an eye out for Cameron Osborne. He's gonna be big some day, currently rising in the texas local bvs leagues.

Bonus video for Zlatan -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlsy__JSzSM
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Postby PhlawlessPhelon » Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:41 am

Hoshiko wrote:Bonus video for Zlatan -



Love Zlatan

Hoshiko wrote:Women's soccer even has a few although the ferocity seems to be higher in NWSL as far as playmaking goes; Wambach, Morgan, Rapinoe(my favorite), Heath, Krieger.


Omgz Rapinoe is my favorite too!
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Postby anynoise » Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:31 am

Any and all soccer (football) development in the US has my support. I've attended a bunch of LA Galaxy games. And, now that I've moved, a few Portland Timbers games...great atmosphere. The stadium in Portland is always sold out.

USMNT working their way through WC qualifying is getting my attention some. US women putting up a fight for fair wages is awesome, definitely support that.

I have to admit I'm pretty big on Premiere League. Go Arsenal. Team Arsenal America!

I could talk about soccer (or most sports) all day. What can I say, I'm a girl who loves balls :D
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Postby PhlawlessPhelon » Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:49 am

anynoise wrote:Any and all soccer (football) development in the US has my support. I've attended a bunch of LA Galaxy games. And, now that I've moved, a few Portland Timbers games...great atmosphere. The stadium in Portland is always sold out.

USMNT working their way through WC qualifying is getting my attention some. US women putting up a fight for fair wages is awesome, definitely support that.

I have to admit I'm pretty big on Premiere League. Go Arsenal. Team Arsenal America!

I could talk about soccer (or most sports) all day. What can I say, I'm a girl who loves balls big_smile


I think we will get along then!

Galaxy are my favorite squad, huge fan of the USWNT, and cant help but like a girl that loves balls.
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Postby Phara » Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:47 am

//biggest sport in the world

//sticky
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Postby anynoise » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:33 pm


I think we will get along then!

Galaxy are my favorite squad, huge fan of the USWNT, and cant help but like a girl that loves balls.


Most definitely.

Have you been to any Galaxy games? I used to live on the same street as the stadium...but down at the beach. Was there to see Beckham's first game, which was like seeing a rockstar for me. ACB and Riot Squad are always doing something fun, but I never really joined up with either group. I feel a bit like a MLS good luck charm. First all the LA championships and now the Portland one.
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Postby PhlawlessPhelon » Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:32 pm

Unfortunately, I live nowhere near California. The only game I've ever been to was in Kansas City back in the pre-Beckham Cobi Jones era (wow...lonnnnng time ago).

I like Portland because they have a good following. I like teams that have loyal fanbases.
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Postby Brewtality » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:06 am

It's been very interesting watching how football has developed over in the USA since he inception of MLS in '96. Things like the 'single entity' system with the player's contracts being with the league rather than individual clubs are completely alien to me, a football fan from England and whilst I wish they'd get rid of the playoffs, it does give the sport a bit of variety.

I think one major thing that you alluded to but didn't really address is the fact that the route into professional sports in the USA is very different to how it works elsewhere. In Europe, players are usually signed by clubs at a very early age and developed in their own academies. Ryan Giggs played football at Manchester United from the age of 14 until he was 40 (he made his professional debut at 17). Clint Dempsey on the other hand, went through the US collegiate system and didn't make his pro debut until he was 21. Landon Donovan went to a private academy and that highlights another issue with youth soccer in the USA, which is the fact that it is prohibitively expensive for so many. Parents of talented young players are expected to pay subscription fees to the good clubs/academies and must then cover the costs of travel to various tournaments and matches. If you're not a reasonably well-off middle class family then good luck getting your child to play soccer to a decent standard!

I can't see Zlatan going to the MLS to be honest. He is a player who values prestige and adulation and unfortunately for US fans, the MLS still doesn't have the cache of any of the major European leagues. He's played in Sweden, Holland, Italy, Spain and France so you'd think that the next step would be to England. I'd love him at Everton anyway!

The competitiveness in the MLS is a major bonus point for me. It really is great not knowing who's going to win the league when the season starts. But then, who would have seen Leicester leading the Premier League with 6 games to go? The current increase in TV revenue for English clubs is going to have a huge effect over the coming years. All television income is split evenly among the 20 clubs so everybody will have a substantial 'war chest' from which to build their squads. Unequal distribution of TV money is one of the main things which hamstrings mid and lower-table teams in Spain. Barca and Madrid get the lions share of the money so how is anyone else supposed to compete?

As for hooliganism, I have never seen any in all my years of following football in England. It was a problem in the 1980s and to a lesser extent in the 90s but all-seater stadia and increased ticket prices have deterred those who followed a club not for the sport but for the rivalries and the fights with opposition fans. There's still trouble sometimes with teams travelling in Europe but that's going t happen any time you get big groups of drunk people together.

Cheers for the topic!
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Postby PhlawlessPhelon » Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:17 pm

Brewtality wrote: Landon Donovan went to a private academy and that highlights another issue with youth soccer in the USA, which is the fact that it is prohibitively expensive for so many. Parents of talented young players are expected to pay subscription fees to the good clubs/academies and must then cover the costs of travel to various tournaments and matches. If you're not a reasonably well-off middle class family then good luck getting your child to play soccer to a decent standard!


Very good point. I know the Galaxy offer many scholarships for their academy, and they even offer college scholarships to players that want to go to college and continue playing soccer. However, that is just one academy of many. My club team growing waived my fees, but in general, I agree that costs prohibit the development of many talented youth players.

Another issue is American football and basketball siphoning athletes away from soccer.
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Postby Brewtality » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:33 am

Yeah, it's a shame that the other sports take away the athletes but until the money is there for them, that will continue to be the case. To continue with the LA Galaxy theme, over half of their squad last year earns less that $200,000 a year. You can get that in a week playing in the NFL! It won't change though because however big soccer gets in the USA, it will never challenge the dominance of the big three sports.
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Postby PhlawlessPhelon » Fri Apr 08, 2016 1:00 am

Brewtality wrote:It won't change though because however big soccer gets in the USA, it will never challenge the dominance of the big three sports.


One can hope, but yah, Basketball, Football, and Baseball will likely always remain more popular in USA.
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Postby Pawly » Fri May 13, 2016 4:46 pm

Soccer ....

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Postby anynoise » Fri May 13, 2016 5:46 pm



My exact sentiment when someone starts to talk about baseball and it's 400 games per season. I wonder if there is a person out there who loves every sport. Anything competitive. I don't know. Darts can only be entertaining for so long amiright? :)
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Postby Brewtality » Fri May 13, 2016 11:00 pm

Growing up in the '90s in England, America was almost like this mythical land of coolness. New York. Disneyland. Hollywood. As such, most people I know have tried to get into American sport. However, the English and the American sporting cultures are so different that US sports just don't translate. Baseball? Fuck that. We'll play cricket for five days straight and if it ends in a draw then fair play my good man. American Football? How about we make it so you can only pass backwards and you wear no pads! Basketball is far too showboaty for British tastes. We are a people who like the underdog and when you win you celebrate, but not in a way which is disrespectful to the opposition.

I love football and I've always wanted the USA to get in on the act. I was actually happy when the US beat England in the World Cup because I was hoping it might make people sit up and take notice of this great sport but it definitely seems to be on the slow burn.
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Postby anynoise » Sat May 14, 2016 5:37 am

I was just talking about it today that I have no idea what Cricket is or any of the rules. My ignorance on the topic of Rugby is equal. I am absolutely outnumbered when it comes to talking soccer. Even when I was a kid, it was a girl sport or something boys who weren't good at football played(in my out in the middle of nowhere WA state town). That sentiment has changed. There has been progress...but it is definitely slow.

When Beckham started playing for the Galaxy the stadium went from half full to sold out. I lived just down the street from the stadium and knew things had changed when I had to get there early to get my GA seat up front. I think it helps having big names from the PL come over but some people say we should be fostering our homegrown players. Give them a chance to develop and spread the money out evenly among top players. I can see both sides so my opinion is a bit neutral.
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Postby Corgimom » Sat May 14, 2016 3:15 pm

Heck I dated a woman who was later on 1985 women's team and I don't understand the game.
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Postby anynoise » Sat May 14, 2016 4:02 pm

What?! That is amazing/ridiculous. My family came to watch me for 10 years and my mother and sister still have no idea the rules, much less strategy or skill. I think they enjoyed socializing on the sidelines. Or possibly reading a book?
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Postby PhlawlessPhelon » Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:44 am

Brewtality wrote: I was actually happy when the US beat England in the World Cup because I was hoping it might make people sit up and take notice of this great sport but it definitely seems to be on the slow burn.


Fun fact, USA has never lost to England in the World Cup.
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Postby PhlawlessPhelon » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:18 am

Found this gem, and I think it fits nicely with this discussion of USA vs. The World when it comes to sports and soccer.

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Re: MLS Soccer with some comparisons to other leagues

Postby PhlawlessPhelon » Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:26 am

Its 2017 and the Galaxy shall take home the MLS Cup this year. I'm calling it now!
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