MLSPA weighs in on 'deplorable' treatment of Heinemann

The Major League Soccer Players Association issued a statement that FC Cincinnati's treatment of Tommy Heinemann, whom it released on Jan. 31 after signing a month earlier, was "deplorable and well below the standards necessary to succeed in MLS."

The statement came as FC Cincinnati continues to seek to find a home for a stadium that MLS requires before it signs off on Cincinnati as an MLS expansion team.

Background. Heinemann, who played for the NASL champion San Francisco Deltas was signed by FC Cincinnati on Dec. 5, but was released after it said he failed a preseason medical examination.

In its statement, the MLSPA said Heinemann didn't have a medical exam but disclosed his injury history and provided access to medical records before he was signed. It said FCC later asked Heinemann to take a pay cut because of a previous knee injury. He was then cut when he refused to accept the pay cut and took his case to the USL, which ruled in Heinemann's favor.

Next steps. FC Cincinnati has since taken the case to binding arbitration and Heinemann signed with the USL's Penn FC at what the MLSPA stated was a lower salary and after he was forced to move his family for the second time in the offseason.

Penn FC is the 30-year-old Heinemann's 10th club in a career that has taken him from the USL First Division to USL Second Division to MLS (three seasons with Columbus and Vancouver) and the NASL (the last four seasons).

In a statement issued via Twitter, FC Cincinnati said it strongly disagreed with both the MLS PA and USL's positions and was looking forward to presenting its case in arbitration.

The MLSPA is not a bargaining agent for USL players. They don't have a players association.

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