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MLS's Designated Players lack staying power
by Paul Kennedy, April 2nd, 2010 2:44AM

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TAGS:  mls, soccer business


[MAKING A LIST] Major League Soccer announced plans to expand its Designated Player program, offering new mechanisms for teams to acquire star players. But up until now, MLS's Designated Players have lacked staying power.

Only three of its 13 current or former Designated Players could be termed outright successes. Cuauhtemoc Blanco, David Beckham and Juan Pablo Angel are the only players to have spent three or more years in MLS as Designated Players, and of them, Blanco is now gone and Beckham faces a long injury layoff.

Besides Angel and Beckham, there are four other players with Designated Player status in 2010: Freddie Ljungberg (Seattle), Luis Angel Landin (Houston), Julian de Guzman (Toronto FC) are in their second season in MLS, while Landon Donovan (Los Angeles) is in his first season as an official Designated Player.

Ljungberg will be considered a DP success is he stays healthy. Ditto for Donovan if he doesn't permanently move abroad. The jury's out on de Guzman, while Landin has up until now languished on the Houston bench. (That may change with Brian Ching's injury.)

DESIGNATED PLAYERS:
4 YEARS:

Los Angeles -- David Beckham (2007-10)
New York -- Juan Pablo Angel (2007-10)

3 YEARS:
Chicago -- Cuauhtemoc Blanco (2007-09)

2 YEARS:
New York -- Claudio Reyna (2007-08)
D.C. United -- Luciano Emilio (2008-09)
Seattle -- Freddie Ljungberg (2009-10)
Houston -- Luis Angel Landin (2009-10)
Toronto FC -- Julian de Guzman (2009-10)

1 YEAR:

FC Dallas -- Denilson (2007)
D.C. United -- Marcelo Gallardo (2008)
Kansas City -- Claudio Lopez (2008)
Columbus -- Guillermo Barros Schelotto (2009)
Los Angeles -- Landon Donovan (2010).



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