In the second of his three-part interview with MLS Deputy Commissioner Ivan Gazidis, Ian Plenderleith focuses on officiating in the league, its quality and the way players treat match referees. Gazidis also discusses the ongoing struggle to keep roster rules in line with the league's growth, and the question of where to build soccer-specific stadiums, the suburbs or downtown. He also says the league is negotiating a new tournament with Germany's Bundesliga.
Bench behavior definitely needs to improve, Gazidis says simply. Players have to stop jumping up and protesting every single decision, he says, and those on the field have to treat officials with more respect. He gives a diplomatic answer about the quality of officiating, saying it can always improve, but bringing in four full-time U.S. Soccer officials is a step in the right direction, and he hopes to bring in more.
While some coaches contend that MLS coaching, with its foreigner and salary cap restrictions, is a job for "math majors," but Gazidis says the rules aren't that difficult to follow. MLS's system is made more complex by the existence of the free world player market, and the fact that its teams are competing in a world where no restrictions exist. As for stadiums and their location, Gazidis says there's no "one-size-fits all solution." Downtown will work for certain cities (like Toronto), but in the case of Frisco, home of FC Dallas, there's the opportunity to become part of a developing community.