Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Some MLS dates, and rules, make no sense
by Ridge Mahoney, July 3rd, 2008 11:30AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

The contract guarantee date has come and gone, yet not all MLS players still employed are assured of being paid in full for their 2008 services.

This is just one more topic for the MLS Players' Union to address as it bargains for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, to take effect for the 2010 season. To be sure, issues of minimum salary and some process of free agency within MLS will take priority, but MLS players deserve a bit more security, seeing as very few of them can negotiate guaranteed contracts. (That's another reason so many players head to Scandinavia and other smaller countries; not only is the pay better, but guaranteed contracts are much easier to secure.)

Most players are "semi-guaranteed," meaning they are guaranteed as of a specific date, in this case July 1. But there are exceptions.

Each team can leave a player or two hanging after the July 1 date, pending outcomes regarding other deals that may be in the works. Los Angeles is trying to trade players -- including Carlos Ruiz -- so it can clear salary-cap space to bring in a defender reported to be Eduardo Dominguez and perhaps one other player. New York has signed Venezuelan midfielder Jorge Rojas and Argentine defender Juan Pietravallo but needs to make other moves to officially register them.

For those unfortunates twisting in the wind, they may need to wait a week or two to find out if their contracts are indeed guaranteed, and can still be waived during that period. At best, they'll be traded and their contracts will still be in force; at worse, they're cut loose before the All-Star Game.

It's great for the teams, since it gives them wiggle room in case pending deals are hung up. It's great for the league, since it can save money if the players are waived and not picked up, since a team that wants them can always try to sign them at a lower salary once they clear waivers.

It's hell on the players, most of whom are, like the rest of us, day-to-day as far as security is concerned. Granted, not many will be in that situation each season, but still there's a better way.

The contract guarantee date should: (a) apply across the board and not permit teams and the league to jack around players more than they already do; and (b) be the same as the closing of the domestic transfer window, Aug. 15, which would increase salary costs to the league somewhat but makes much more sense so deals and decisions would have to be finalized at the same time.

Domestic transactions, i.e. trades and all other player acquisition mechanisms -- discoveries, etc. -- would have their own deadline, which in 2008 is the roster freeze date of Sept. 15.

Another complication, one that MLS has no control over, is that the transfer window only applies to players who move from a club in one league to a team in another league, but there's also a rule that inhibits the registration of players out of contract.

MLS can sign an out-of-contract player at any time, but only if his previous club released him during the domestic transfer windows can he be registered immediately and be eligible to play. (This doesn't apply to a player who has been out of contract for longer than six months.)

Kansas City has signed Josh Wolff, whose contract with German club 1860 Munich had expired, but that expiration didn't take effect until last month, far beyond the closing of the primary U.S. transfer window April 15. Had he been released prior to that date, he could have been signed and registered to play in MLS right away. Instead, he must wait until the secondary domestic window opens July 15.

(Scottish striker Paul Dickov and English forward Darren Huckerby, who are being assessed by several MLS teams, as well as former U.S. international Brian McBride, destined for Chicago, supposedly, are in the same situation.)

Wizards head coach Curt Onalfo reiterates that no roster moves are needed to clear salary-cap space so Wolff's salary can be accommodated, and regarding midfielders Sasha Victorine and Kerry Zavagnin, said, "In this league players' names come up all the time but, no, we're not looking to move either player."

That's good news for Victorine and Zavagnin, but a few of their colleagues elsewhere in the league have no such assurances.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Dynamo can't afford to stumble again in wake of Coyle departure    
Both former head coaches of the Houston Dynamo are natives of Scotland, and were born in ...
Il caso Giovinco: Italy's loss is MLS's gain    
Sebastian Giovinco isn't going to the Euros. Italy's loss is MLS's gain. More particularly, Toronto FC ...
Philadelphia Union embarks on its toughest stretch of games to date    
The Philadelphia Union, the Eastern Conference leader, plays in Orlando Wednesday, flies halfway across the country ...
Perry Kitchen finds a new niche in Scotland    
Perry Kitchen left MLS after five seasons though the destination turned out to be somewhat of ...
Howard leaves Everton for a much different MLS and USA    
Is the time right for Brad Guzan to take over as the U.S. No. 1? Both ...
Kamara deal shakes up stagnant Revs    
Nobody can match the production of Kei Kamara since he joined Columbus prior to the 2015 ...
Busy midweek schedules add to unique travel woes in MLS    
No MLS head coach or executive has ever praised the league's schedule-makers. Conflicts with other competitions ...
It's time for Klinsmann to go young    
At first blush, there is nothing startling about the 40-player list from which Jurgen Klinsmann will ...
NYCFC's Pirlo problem won't go away    
Jason Kreis, New York City FC's head coach for its expansion season, never came out and ...
Recent incidents sharpen focus on how video replay can improve the game    
MLS and other North American soccer leagues are awaiting specific guidelines to be issued by FIFA ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives