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Pitfalls Await Foreign Dabblers In MLS

  • Goal.com, Monday, December 8, 2008 12:45 PM
Spanish giant Barcelona and its President Joan Laporta are tough competitors, writes Andrea Canales, but that doesn't mean they'll know how to succeed in Major League Soccer should they land the Miami franchise.

"It's nothing new for foreigners to bluster into MLS full of confidence and flush with capital and success elsewhere," she writes. "That doesn't translate into making it in MLS, as David Beckham is now well aware." Ruud Gullit talked a good game, "but he really had no idea how to work within the MLS system to build a good team." She recalls too how Chivas de Guadalajara owner Jorge Vergara introduced Chivas USA to the league in 2005 by declaring that it would teach the league how to play soccer.

Vergara's 2005 team didn't manage that, setting an MLS record for losses in a season. Though the team has played much better since, it is still struggling to regain fans turned off by that debut year. "The bottom line is that it doesn't matter how much energy or ideas someone brings to MLS," she says, "they've got to perform where it counts, on the field."

Outside of the U.S., the shortcut to success is fueled by cash. With the salary restrictions that dictate MLS rosters, foreign coaches or investors are deprived of that option. "Basically, it doesn't matter how tough and shrewd Laporta seems or how well-known Barcelona is -- an MLS squad in Miami won't succeed without victories."



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