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
Angel sets DP bar very high
by Ridge Mahoney, February 16th, 2009 5:45PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

I hope not just the executives and officials of MLS, but the fans and journalists who follow the league, are paying close attention to the offseason goings-on regarding Designated Players as the high-priced option comes into its third season of existence.

It's getting to be a case of sink or swim, have and have not, is it not, with the nots clearly in the lead. That running soap opera, As the Beckham Bends, is only the most glaring example of how radically things can spiral out of control once ambition and self-interest take over.

Injuries and bad choices also take their toll. Marcelo Gallardo bailed on D.C. after one lackluster season, Denilson turned FC Dallas into a Farce Celebre, the Wizards have downgraded Claudio Lopezout of the DP ranks, and Claudio Reyna did what he could yet ultimately didn't measure anything close to a $1 million player, especially compared to a Red Bull teammate who epitomizes what a DP should be, but often isn't.

Red Bull New York announced Monday that forward Juan Pablo Angel has signed a multi-year extension, which implies that the DP option will be granted life when it is reviewed at the end of the season, or that if it is dropped, players like Angel will be "grandfathered" for the duration of their contracts.

Doubtful, though, given the track record of DPs is any reasonable hope that league officials would add a second DP slot per team and instead retain the current system by which slots can be traded. Those rumors flying about prior to MLS Cup 2008 that the MLS Board of Governors was leaning in that direction were fueled by nothing more than wishes and dreams channeled into the cyberworld.

Another option is for there to be two versions of DPs: one category for international players, and another for those eligible to play for the United States, and in the case of Toronto FC, Canada.

But in any case, teams and journalists and fans should be forewarned that MLS and Red Bull got it right, and perhaps got a bit lucky, with Senor Angel, whose class and professionalism on and off the field - as well as 35 goals in 53 regular-season and playoff games - set the DP bar rather high, which is where it should be for a league trying to keep afloat in a roiling economic storm.

"I'm very excited to extend my contract with the Red Bulls," Angel said in a statement. "As I have said in the past, I think that the League is very competitive and is growing every year. Red Bull has shown me that they are dedicated to improving the club and the quality of the sport year after year and I am looking forward to be a part of it as we move into a brand new stadium next season."

The controversy surrounding David Beckham and his aspirations to play for England is a unique case, yet somehow I seriously doubt that if Angel learned he'd be recalled to the Colombian national team, he'd have clandestinely arrange a loan with one of his former clubs, say Nacional Medellin, tell MLS and New York about it after the fact, and upon arriving in Colombia to join his temporary team, disdainfully criticize his current one.

Had Beckham last summer told AEG and MLS officials he'd rather join Milan on loan instead of playing for the Galaxy in lucrative offseason matches, he'd have been flatly turned down. Never did it cross his mind to work within the system rather than bypass it. Now he and his team(s) are ensnared in a very public squabble.

If he's dragged back to MLS, Becks will shrug, flash that perfect smile, say a few politically correct things, and probably play decently without any real passion or commitment. Stolidly yet effectively, Angel has not only said the right things, but done them, on and off the field, and teams scouring the world for possible DPs should look at those high-priced players who are also first-class men.

 



No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Struggles of MLS Cup finalists are to be expected for smaller-market teams    
Portland and Columbus defied the odds -- and economic reality -- by reaching the MLS championship ...
Olympic women's soccer: Our winners & losers    
Olympic women's soccer left the taste of what might have been. A USA-Brazil semifinal at Maracana ...
'Cagey' Swedes deserve some credit    
The USA women fell short of the semifinals of a major tournament for the first time ...
'Worst MLS signing' Lampard is tearing it up    
A great run of form earned New York City FC midfielder Frank Lampard Player of the ...
Assessing the middle third -- of the MLS season    
Coaches and executives often speak of dividing a season - much as they do of the ...
Schmid departure starts to clear Sounders' deck for Lagerwey    
Eighteen months after joining the Sounders as president of soccer and general manager, Garth Lagerwey is ...
Toronto FC must rebound after embarrassing defeat for crucial home stand    
After an eight-game road trip to open the season, Toronto FC is in a playoff spot ...
Quakes need to build on stunning victory    
Every struggling team looks for a spark, a turning point, a shift of fortune that transforms ...
MLS Midseason Awards: Villa and the other Kamara are among the leaders    
The six major categories of awards presented each season by MLS run the gamut of experience, ...
Are U.S. women ready for another union fight?    
This should have been a good week for the National Women's Soccer League.
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives