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Donovan set to join 'unified' players at talks
March 18th, 2010 2:28AM

TAGS:  los angeles galaxy, mls, soccer business


[MLS] Days after returning from English club Everton, Landon Donovan will join Thursday's talks in Washington, D.C., where negotiators for Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Union will meet in attempt to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. He says players are unified in their effort to gain free agency and other rights.

"Nobody wants to go on strike if it can be avoided," Donovan said at a press conference Wednesday in Carson, Calif. "We've made it very clear from the beginning that we're not trying to bankrupt the league and ask for tons of monetary increases. But we need basic rights if we're going to continue playing. We want rights afforded other players in other countries that we don't have. We're very unified on the way we think."

If no agreement is reached, the players are expected to striker Monday, three days before the MLS opener between Seattle and Philadelphia.

Donovan says he might return to Everton if there's a strike, though it was not clear if the nature of the Los Angeles Galaxy's loan deal with Everton would allow a second loan deal when the European transfer window is closed.

"There's nothing concrete set up," Donovan said. "I think we've all been very clear about the possibility that I could go back if something happens. It's crossing that bridge when we get to it, right now."

Donovan called teammate David Beckham's Achilles' tendon injury that will keep him out of the 2010 World Cup and most of the MLS season "devastating" for the Galaxy.

"He's sacrificed, I think, more than anybody in the world to have a chance at playing in a World Cup," Donovan said. "When you do that and something like this happens, it's awful."

  1. Michael Venus
    commented on: March 18, 2010 at 10:39 a.m.
    please dont strike as a philadelphian and mls fan since its inception, iwas thrilled to see philly get a mls team. now it still may not happen. its a world cup year think of the fans and work out differences during the season.
  1. Tim King
    commented on: March 18, 2010 at 12:33 p.m.
    The Players recognized how important the Single Entity System was to the formation and upstart of MLS. So much so that they agreed the last CBA should last for 5 years. The Players have given MLS/Owners 14 years worth of autonomy and it is time to move on. The players want nothing more than the same rights FIFA players want throughout the world. They want control of their careers. In the beginning stages of MLS the investors did lose money (depending on how you look at the numbers/books). They are no longer losing money. If they were they would be the first to open their accounting books to show the Players Union and Media that it is true. They will not do that. It is an issue now of control and how much profit is enough profit for such an investment (MLS Team owner). It is time for the Single Entity System to be part of the (successful) history books and move on. The MLS needs to change their "slow growth" model and convince the owners/investors it is time for that. The vast majority of fans and supporter groups stand with the Players and the rhetoric from the Owners demonstrates that. This fear mongering that the league will collapse is just that - a fear tactic. They won't let their investments fail. The Players want a league to play in. They are willing to negotiate and find a middle ground with MLS, but the ownership will not move on the Single Entity System. A strike will happen on Monday and will continue until the League realizes it must change and the media pressure during a World Cup year returns them to the table with a fair offer. A strike is never good, but it is all the Players have because MLS/Owners have absolute control of the situation. I, along with hundreds of other supporters/fans, will be making my rally and picket sign this weekend to protest the Owners and support the players.
  1. Ted Westervelt
    commented on: March 18, 2010 at 2:49 p.m.
    When USSF handed out all the goodies of the single entity to MLS investors, they should have realized it was a faustian bargain. As the league flounders further and further behind the skyrocketing popularity of the game, and continues to try and extract the effects of their self made problems from the hide of their players, we all pay a price. Haven't they imposed enough trouble on the American game yet?

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