MLS Needs to Refocus on the Domestic Game


Two weeks ago Commissioner Don Garber made some very disturbing remarks to the Associated Press. He indicated that MLS has to sign more foreign players and resemble European football more than it does currently to win over masses of football fans in the United States. My sense is that this is absolutely the wrong course for the first division of American football to undertake.

In the 1996 to 2000 period MLS signed bigger name foreign players than it has since, had much higher TV ratings than currently, and yet drew poorly at the gate and teetered near the edge of bankruptcy. Paying expensive imports like Roberto Donadoni, Carlos Valderrama, and Walter Zenga may have wowed fans and helped MLS stature abroad but the league did not make money. MLS in the 1996 to 2000 period in my opinion produced better quality play (if you could ignore the strange clock rules and NASL style shootout) and better international results than the league has since. Yet, MLS almost closed up shop.

Don Garber smartly tightened the league’s finances and focused on the domestic player. The two Florida teams were contracted, while expensive foreign players were either jettisoned or not replaced when they left the league. What ensued was the most successful World Cup in US National Team history (coming on the heels of a huge struggle in CONCACAF qualifying during 2000 and 2001) and the deepest US player pool ever.

Between 2002 and 2005, MLS now focused on the domestic game and not signing over priced, unmotivated foreign players (with a few notable exceptions) made dramatic strides in player development, deepening its domestic player pool and forming teams that has continuity and thus better quality play.

The period was so successful that several franchises began to turn a profit, DC United was sold for a record amount, expansion fees were tripled and the league earned its first TV rights fee. Fans of the American game will support the American leagues regardless. Fans of European football will always look down on MLS, USL, College Soccer, local ethnic leagues, etc. That’s the nature of the best which Don Garber fails to understand.

We’d all like to see MLS quality of play improve. Personally the play at times is appalling, but that is not the point. I’ve been criticized in the past for pointing out how mightily MLS clubs have struggled when thrown into international competitions. This is true, but the comparison has come up not because of me but because of MLS fans and Commissioner Garber trying to sell the league as something it is not, and something quite frankly it never has to be to maintain the loyalty of those who have supported the league and the American player.

The truth is the quality of play in MLS is so far inferior to the top European leagues, it will still take years and years of almost uncontrolled spending to reach the level where TV money and viewership fuels the success of the league. MLS brass has shown a great deal of Hubris in over selling its product the past several years to try and hook European footy fans stateside. Over promising on certain players and claiming the league’s successes in contrived tournaments and pre season friendlies have made MLS look silly when it comes down to it. In a FIFA sanctioned tournament, an MLS side last reached the final in 2000. So basically, MLS isn’t a top league and didn’t need to be among the top leagues to watch many of its teams turn a profit, hook fans and develop top American talent.

MLS is a far inferior league from a playing standpoint to its nearest neighbor the Mexican League and continues to struggle in international competition. Too many American and Canadian players of quality have found their way to USL the last two seasons since MLS increased its foreign player limit and the USSF did nothing to stop this change. The Mexican League is superior to MLS not simply because of its lengthy head start time wise but because of its over reliance on importing players. So MLS should not aspire to eclipse the Mexican League but should learn the lessons from the failure of that league to adequately support its nation’s international ambitions.

The reliance of the FMF on importation of South American footballers has deeply wounded Mexican National pride and more importantly damaged the national team in the deepest possible fashion. While it can be argued that Mexican footballers are now surrounded at the club level by better players than 15 years ago, the truth is that the supporting roles most domestic players are thrust into means that they do not developed the leadership skills required to compete at a high level internationally.

The US National Team has become more dependent than ever before on European based players in the past two years. Even in the 1990 and 1994 World Cup qualifying cycles when the nation lacked a FIFA sanctioned first division, the USISL/APSL (now USL) and contracted players to the USSF formed a core of the national team.

Those players developed in MLS that now form the backbone of the national team, such as Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra and DaMarcus Beasley may never have been given the pitch time to develop their games to an international caliber level in today’s MLS, obsessed with foreign players and fully developed parts. Adding more foreign players and burning any increase in the salary cap on expensive imports ultimately does not help the American game. Its sole purpose is to attempt to repay anxious investors: I understand MLS is a business, but it was also founded to develop and promote the American game. The league has an obligation above all to continue to focus on its mission.

Beginning with the signing of David Beckham in early 2007, MLS began representing itself as a big time player in world football and on the domestic sports scene with very little bite to back up this obnoxious bark. Beckham flopped in the US, and by extension damaged the credibility of the league’s pronouncements about the signing of the next great “savior” for a league so financially strong that it has not needed a savior in years. Again, the Hubris of Don Garber and his ilk get in the way of any clear perspective on reality.

Today, fewer and fewer regulars from the US National Team play in MLS. Also, more and more young American look to move abroad, not only because of the lure of European football, but because they likely would be treated with more respect financially by the league if they had a funny sounding last name or carried a different passport. Even if they do sign in MLS they quickly see their chance to develop taken by a foreign signing or over aged American player returning home to finish out his career.

Yet this year’s strong college draft proves what many like myself have believed for years. Player development in the United States is good enough to sustain a top flight professional league and to also support a second and third division. Foreign player slots should be limited with exemptions/exceptions for foreign players developed in the American college system or USL/PDL.

USL-1/A-League which for years resembled a minor league, a third or fourth division masquerading as a second division now has emerged since 2006 as a legitimate second division with some clubs that could compete at a first division level. This has happened largely because MLS has lost out on a number of quality college players to USL because of incentive laden salaries not possible in MLS.

Moreover, scouting and player development in MLS as well as tactical management has not kept up with the rapid development of the American game. This has by default helped USL-1 who has seen an increase in talent, even young talent in the league that used to get nothing but used leftovers.

MLS’ continued emphasis on foreign players has also allowed many domestic bred talents- both American and foreigners developed in the US College system to drop to the USL-1 or USL-2 levels. Then when MLS teams are desperate at season’s end for cover they sign players from USL and MLS oriented commentators express shock at how effective these players are. A good example was Greg Janicki with DC United last season. Janicki finally got a shot in MLS, but probably would never had slipped to the USL-2 level had it not been for the top flight league’s emphasis on star power and foreign players.

Yet for all this emphasis, MLS TV viewership has continued to drop, with last season’s MLS Cup Final featuring one of the most decorated players in Copa Libertadoras history garnering the worst rating in the 13 year history of the league.

Appealing to American based European Football fans by making the product resemble a Euro league on American soil is not the best course of action for the growth of the game at all levels in this country. I understand that MLS is an investment driven business, but believe after the novelty of foreign stars wears off, you better have a respectable Americanized product to survive. Nobody wants to see foreign players driven out of the league entirely, but when half your senior roster is made up of imports, most of whom make more money than the comparable American player with the same skill level, you have a problem.

It’s ironic that for years the MLS was so obsessed with the perceived failure of the NASL it didn’t even want NASL related nicknames or themes permeating its league. While MLS’ first eleven seasons were about promoting the American player and American game, the last three have been about trying to find an audience in a world of football obsessed with European stardom. MLS though not the NASL would be wise to heed the words spoken by Bobby Smith of the Cosmos 30 years ago:

“We have owners who don’t know what’s going on, who are being influenced by British coaches and a British commissioner. The British coaches don’t feel any obligation to develop American players. They expect an American to walk right into the first team after he’s drafted. If he doesn’t they don’t want him.”

Obviously the context of 2009, when the United States best World Cup run of the last 15 years matches that of England’s best performance is different then the 1970s when the US hadn’t participated in a World Cup since 1950, and had qualified for one Olympic Games in Football in the period (1972). But of course England failed to qualify for the 1974 and 1978 World Cups.

The point is that many American owners and coaches now assume someone with a foreign sounding last name, be they British or something else will instantly bring better skill and credibility to their teams and league than an American. In fact this logic is backwards: Americans want to see Americans excel at this sport. We have many top class players who once developed move abroad and see their jobs in MLS taken by foreigners. When DaMarucs Beasley left MLS each team was allowed four senior foreign players but now that number is eight and per Commissioner Garber’s comments, likely to increase in the near future.

MLS needs to emphasize bringing in more tactically savvy foreign managers (as USL has done probably by accident) and increase referee exchange programs with top European and Latin leagues. This will bring about the desired affect in increased quality and respectability without ripping out the American soul of the league.

But increasing the number of foreign players and money spent on imports whose desire to come to the United States is often based on a desire to get one last pay check or to live large in American cities is not the best future course for MLS. The league needs to rethink this strategy of appealing to European oriented football fans and recall why the league is in existence today in the first place.

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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

29 Responses to MLS Needs to Refocus on the Domestic Game

  1. DC10 says:

    from your mouth to God’s ear

  2. Ryan says:

    The point is that many American owners and coaches now assume someone with a foreign sounding last name, be they British or something else will instantly bring better skill and credibility to their teams and league than an American.

    Best sentence in the entire article. Just because you come from the UK doesn’t mean you know anything about the game. It’s like me going over to Spain and coaching baseball. Sure, I could do it, but it doesn’t mean I’m better than a Spaniard who knows his stuff.

    There are two thoughts to the MLS
    1) A development league for US Players
    2) A league to attract in foreigners to compete with the leagues outside of the US

    I personally think that soccer in the US needs to market itself to the US fans, and not to the European ones. Fans of the sport will like the sport if there are Americans playing, BUT also with some quality foreigners sprinkled in. The MLS is better off developing the US players and helping them succeed and moving on then to bring over foreigners at the end of their life and trying to give them another few years of playing.

    Yes, the standard of play is down, but really, how long has soccer been growing here in the US? Maybe 10 years? And now, with better American coaches, better players, more clubs developing a youth-adult setup, we are growing.

    The addition of Adult Clubs to Youth Clubs (in the NPSL and PDL) are also helping players progress with one club until they can gain a pro contract somewhere, which is a step in the right direction.

    Great article Kartik!

  3. JOHAS says:

    The best article ever on this website.

    Well thought out and brilliantly argued.

    Can you imagine the US missing the World Cup and the damage irrevocably that would do to the game here?

    Seem impossible. I think it’s likely to happen in 2018 0r 2022 if MLS continues to masquerade as a mini premier league.

    Footy fan know a quality product and MLS is much more about hype than quality. They will never be about quality unless they import the Mexican or Argentine leagues which is impossible.

    The league to be successful must continue to grow the American player, the American game and the American footy culture. Adopting or renting a European or Mexican culture means you become like England or Mexico- a gimmick sure to last two to three years at the most.

    The NASL at its height was bigger, better and more visible globally than MLS has ever been. But where is the NASL now? I love that Bobby Smith quote………….classic and appropriate stuff!

  4. John H says:

    I still don’t understand how signing Argentine 2nd division players and cast offs from England’s championship improves MLS.

    I’d much rather have a league focused on player development and building a strong soccer infrastructure nationally than what MLS is aiming to be.

    But the USSF is ultimately to blame. They have allowed MLS to embark on this course and have approved every change to squad limits on foreigners. As someone on this site said before Gulati needs to start protecting the American game and stop behaving like an MLS employee.

  5. Brazilian Fan says:

    Awesome… Another great article!!!

    Honestly, MLS DO NOT NEED EUROSNOBs!!!! If this so called “soccer fans” do not follow soccer in its own country and never cared about it, why MLS owners would want to bring them to watch the league? Why now?

    Even if MLS is successfull with that, in the first sign of trouble or changing this Eurosnobs will leave and criticize the league even more.

    Eurosnobs wont sell out stadiums. Eurosnobs wont make the tv ratings grow up. But fans of american soccer will.

  6. Rebecca Jill says:

    I’d prefer a U.S. performance in the World Cup that has the likes of 2002 than I did the performance we saw in 1998 and 2006.

    Is this focus on more foreign players what played a part in us not doing well at the 2006 World Cup? I’m curious as to what your opinion is on this.

    Love the Bobby Smith quote on the NASL. My home city of Tampa lost both the NASL Tampa Bay Rowdies and the MLS Tampa Bay Mutiny due to this focus. I don’t want to see that happen to other clubs.

  7. Peter C says:

    Good stuff!
    This article covers so many issues, I don’t know where to begin so I’ll limit my response to this…

    I think the league has to balance its role as developer of domestic talent and provider of a quality top level professional league.
    As a sports fan who followed the ‘big four’ for decades, when I switched my sports allegiance to soccer and subsequently started following MLS, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the nationalities of the players. As a sports fan, I just wanted to watch our domestic league. More(or fewer) domestic players would not effect my desire to follow MLS

    As to domestic player development, I think the infusion of foreign players is good for US soccer and here’s why I think that.

    Players like Blanco, Beckham, Schelotto and others bring a vision of the game that I find lacking in most US players. I can’t help but think that time spent with these players on the practice field and game days exposes our players to a broader understanding of the game. As Kartik mentions, the increased allowance of foreign senior slots displaces domestic players who end up in USL or foreign leagues. Most, with some exceptions, get regular playing time and if their play warrants and the price is right, they get picked up by MLS, like Janicki and others. Some, like Adu and Altidore sit and watch. That’s just the nature of the beast. Nothing stopped RBNY from making Altidore its designated player, if money was the only issue for Jozy.

    I think that’s good. I think we’re seeing the evolution of the pro game in the US. Between USL 1,2 and PDL, the college game(this was a pretty good year eh?) and the expanding network of MLS affiliated academies and youth programs, the pieces are being laid out to develop domestic players. How it will all shake out is unknown, but it’s early in the game.

    The detriment to the Nats of domestics playing in foreign leagues, as I see it, is the reduced time that the core players can spend together due to the difference in league schedules. How much better could the team be if the coach could look at the schedule and more often than occurs now, find a window where the Euro based players and the MLS players could spend a week(or more) working together?

  8. Mike Martin says:

    Very well thought out article! Made me re-think some of my own concerns about the way MLS is going these days. I also agree that this year’s draft is extremely promising, but last year’s wasn’t so it might be too early to say college players are the savior of MLS. The best point you made though, was one that increasingly bugs me too. US players are consistently undervalued by MLS while sketchy foreigners always seem to be able to get a bigger paycheck.
    That has got to change or MLS is doomed.
    Anyway, well done.

  9. Cavan says:

    Excellent piece. I completely agree with you about not catering to the Eurosnobs. That niche of soccer fan will always criticize the MLS regardless of how good or weak it is. They just criticize it because it’s not Manchester U or Chelsea or whatever debt-ridden 800 pound gorilla they follow on pay-per-view early weekend mornings.

    Those other leagues have been around for 100 years. They’ve cultivated a fanbase over decades. Our league has to grow over the years, too. To cater to those who hate our league and want it to fail is both self-loathing and a failure of a business strategy.

    It’s about the American player. The MLS fans care about the teams. If you staff it with Americans, the league will grow just the same or better as if you staff it with second division players from Europe and South America.

    As an example, my favorite team did that experiment last year. DC United stocked up on foreigners, including the big name DC Gallardo. While those players were successful in other leagues, they weren’t successful when thrown together in an unfamiliar league with other players they don’t know. This year, United went back to a deep team that’s consisted of young Americans (such as Wallace, Janicki, Pontius, Jacobson), veteran Americans(for instance, Olsen, Quaranta, Namoff, Simms, Burch, McTavish), and some core foreigners (Moreno, Emilio, Gomez, Fred, Crayton). While we don’t know how the season will end up, it’s already apparent that the second strategy has been working a lot better than last year’s Frankenstein team.

    It’s a good metaphor for the league as a whole.

  10. Max says:

    Great, great piece!

  11. Max says:

    A strong arguement but you do realize the battle is lost. Garber will point to declining TV ratings and stagnant attendance and the need to win over eurosnobs. Gazidis said last year he wanted MLS to be a mini EPL before he left. His vision is now being implmented and while MLS won’t fold like the NASL it certainly may hurt the USMNT as badly as the NASL did. The US never qualified for a World Cup during te NASL’s existence and qualified for one Olympics. (Participating in a second as a host.)

  12. Mike says:

    The author states:

    “Two weeks ago Commissioner Don Garber made some very disturbing remarks to the Associated Press. He indicated that MLS has to sign more foreign players and resemble European football more than it does currently to win over masses of football fans in the United States. My sense is that this is absolutely the wrong course for the first division of American football to undertake.”

    I’m sure the author will be happy to link to the Associated Press story wherein Garber made these “disturbing remarks” and provide direct quotes that MLS needs to “sign more foreign players” and “resemble European football more than it does currently,” right?

    Unless, of course, the author is making stuff up.

  13. CleartheBall says:

    Great article. I attend RSL matches and am constantly amused by the assumption that the Latin fan is major demographic. Announcements are made in English and Spanish even though, based on what I see, about 5% of the fans are Latin.

    I enjoy having some foreign talent on our team. Players who have developed skills in another country often bring a different skillset than our domestic players. Playing with a different type of player has improved skillsets around the league. For example, look how much the first touch for players in MLS has improved over the last ten years. However, I completely agree that the league should work as a force to improve US soccer. It seems as though a 4-6 foreign player limit would be adequate.

    I watch as much European soccer as I can find time for. These teams have incredible skill. However, I enjoy watching RSL in person far more than I enjoy televised soccer. MLS has an exciting, athletic product at a great value. Just because they are not at the level of a Premiership club does not diminish that.

    Regarding the Mexican league, I think MLS is comparable in talent and play. Much of the lack of success of the MLS in international play is due to the fact that many or most of these are played when MLS is off-season. Just because the MLS all-stars always beat the European invitee does not mean the MLS all-stars would fare better than Chelsea in the Premiership. It merely means Chelsea was playing out of season/an exhibition match.

  14. GInge says:

    Don Garber and Major League Soccer have one purpose, to create a successful and financially sustainable professional sports league. It’s not there job to create talent for the US National Team, in fact, I would go so far as to say that Don Garber would be better off telling Sunil Gulati to piss off. MLS is a business, not a player development program for US Soccer. That said, the MLS is not setup to discourage player development. It’s a “if you can’t help now, we don’t need you” system.

    Young players have to go to USL to develop because Major League Soccer has crippled itself by not fully utilizing a youth academy system as of yet and signing and developing young players separate from collegiate soccer (which is generally atrocious and full of coaches that do more damage to a players development than good) or youth club teams. MLS teams don’t have the financial resources or roster allotments to sign, develop and hold on to young players. With the Reserve League gone, where do young players not ready for the first team get games? They don’t! MLS teams have to worry about winning right now with a limited roster and there is no room for player development. Therefore, you get a situation where a reliance on developed foreign players grows because of the hamstringing of the teams in being able to develop their own talent.

    It also doesn’t help that MLS spends more time scouting South American players than it does American players. Anton Peterlin wasn’t even on the radar for an MLS team but he’s good enough to impress David Moyes and join Everton? As an Everton supporter, I’m thrilled to have him in one of the best development systems in the world at Everton. If he has the chops, it helps my Toffees and potentially provides US Soccer with another player for their pool.

  15. Mike says:

    Again with “the MLS.” How hard is it.

    MLS = Major League Soccer.

    The MLS = The Major League Soccer.

    When people write “the MLS” the look stupid.

    As far as “the MLS (sic) is a business, not a player development program for US Soccer” good. If players aren’t good enough to play for the national team by the time they’re collecting a paycheck as a paid professional, we don’t need or want them on the US team.

  16. Mike says:

    I can’t go back and edit, I guess. That last respond should read

    When people write “the MLS” they look stupid.

  17. Sticky says:

    “Obviously the context of 2009, when the United States best World Cup run of the last 15 years matches that of England’s best performance is different then the 1970s when the US hadn’t participated in a World Cup since 1950, and had qualified for one Olympic Games in Football in the period (1972). But of course England failed to qualify for the 1974 and 1978 World Cups.”

    Kartik can you go back and edit this? I don’t have enough time to untangle it. 2009 is not 1950, or 1970? Or maybe 1972? What are you comparing here?

  18. pedro says:

    Player development will not improve if US player do not play with or against quality foreigners. Australia baseball would benefit from having American major league baseball managers and baseball players. They will not improve playing with or against Fellow Australians. Garber is focused on the results of a study MLS paid to determine hoe the Premiership raised its level. It was with foreign players and coaches. If you want to improve, you have to play against players that are better than you.

  19. Brazilian Fan says:


    In parts you are right. Players like Derek Jeter would be an amazing help to Australian Baseball League. But now think that many players from A or AA baseball team are going to play in this Autralian League and taking the spot of the australian players just because they are americans. Would that help to develop their league and their players? Think about it…

    By the way, you dont need to have that many foreign players to develop the quality of the league and players. Brazilian teams have almost all brazilian players and every year many players are exported to Europe. Brazil is five times World Champion and brazilian clubs had won many times the Fifa Club World Cup.

    Off course there is foreigners in our league but those are just top level players, National Team players like Tevez, D’Alessandro, Sorin (for Argentina), Valdivia (for Chile), Lugano (for Uruguai), Gamarra, Arce (for Paraguay) and many others that i wont remember now. All of them played here before go to Europe so you can have an idea how the helped the league in terms of quality and transfer fee.

    Another thing: if MLS is simply business and money is the important thing, well, MLS owners are twice stupid. First: they spend money with mid level foreign players. Second: they dont gain money with players because they dont get the young talented players before they leave to Europe and that means that they dont get the transfer fee of that.
    How can they be so stupid?

  20. christian says:

    All i know is if the league brings in a player like beckham for every team i most definatley be seeing double the amount of games that i see now. Dont see how increasing salary and foreigners would hamper the US team,i think it would only help them with stiffer competition and they wouldnt want to go overseas anymore…Do it Garber!!

  21. peteo says:

    “MLS in the 1996 to 2000 period in my opinion produced better quality play…”

    Really? I think the quality of play the last three to four seasons is much, much better. MLS almost went bankrupt because of the lack of profits due to those years of playing in rented stadiums.

  22. Joe in Indianapolis says:

    Speaking of focusing on the domestic game, I just read that Seattle Sounders FC scheduled a friendly with FC Barcelona on Wednesday, August 3. I have followed the Sounders all year. As far as MLS teams go, they are my team. I suppose I am supposed to be incredibly excited that my Sounders are to be taking on one of the best clubs in the world, except for one problem. Wednesday, August 3 falls in between two MLS games for Seattle (at San Jose the previous Sunday; home against Salt Lake the following Saturday). Is Sigi really expected to play his starters against Barcelona? Of course, the starters will WANT to play against Barca. Who wouldn’t? They will all beg to play. Mark my words, Seattle will start a bunch of back-ups in one of the two MLS fixtures that sandwiches this Barcelona game. If Seattle drops points because of this, I will seriously consider ditching this team. I want my team to want to win trophies, not want to be the whipping boys of a European juggernaut. Maybe I am over-reacting to this. But when MLS throws European friendlies into the middle of the schedule, they disrespect their own domestic product. Let Barca play another team on summer break. But not the Sounders. Not in the middle of the season. This is embarrassing. It says “we care more about jerk-off friendlies that will get us exposure than we do about our own league fixtures.” WEAK!!!!!!!!!!

  23. MLS Rumors says:

    Kartik…tsk tsk..

    What you have not done in this article is point out the amount of revenue generated in MLS now through TV contracts worth tens of millions (unheard of in 1996), expansion fees of 30-40million (unheard of in 1996), shirt sponsors with multimillion dollar deals (unheard of in 1996), a diversity of ownership numbering in the teens, most of them well heeled (unheard of in 1996) and the fact that it is far easier to capture ancillary revenue in a Soccer Specific Stadium or one where the team pays no rent (which MLS will have 17 of out of 18 in 2011) is VASTLY different to the situation in 1996.

    What’s the point of building all these stadiums if the soccer fan in America couldn’t care less? What’s the point on having some billionaire owners in the league if they won’t spend money to improve their product? Why would a shirt sponsor want to fork out millions to advertise on the Colorado Rapids with no real players of world wide acclaim?

    Dig deeper Kartik. Great article but it misses the point. Don Garber knows what he’s doing and the league owners who want to spend money now outnmber the “go slow” crowd that used to dominate MLS Board of Governors meetings.

  24. MLS Rumors says:

    Brazilian fan said:

    Eurosnobs wont sell out stadiums. Eurosnobs wont make the tv ratings grow up. But fans of american soccer will.

    Think Toronto and Seattle would disagree….

  25. jean-guy pepper says:

    I disagree with this article.
    America is all about competition, and having more foreign talent compete with domestic talent is good. If the American talent can compete at a high level, then they will play, if not they won’t. Besides most domestic players are cheaper than foreign players, so if there are domestics who are comparable to a foreign player, simple economics would win out every time. Why the protectionism?

  26. MLS Rumors says:

    Agreed Jean Guy Pepper.

    Also the article ignores the fact that many American players go straight from College to Europe now, bypassing MLS entirely, not for lack of money or playing time but for the prestige of playing in Europe.

    That was not the case in 1996.

  27. Vnice says:

    Joe from Indy…

    A lot of teams around the world play friendlies in the middle of their seasons.

  28. Lars says:

    Toronto’s fans, by and large, aren’t Eurosnobs. We cheer for the team because we’re grateful to have one. We’re happier Canadians are playing on the team and performing well. Our ideal situation is to field entirely domestics and be competitive, but sadly we can’t…

  29. Brazilian Fan says:

    MLS Rumors.

    Well, i am quite sure that Toronto and Seattle fans are not Eurosnobs just because they are going to the games and supporting their LOCAL teams. If you consider someone who watch european soccer an Eurosnob its your interpretation… I dont think that way.

    To me a Eurosnob is those ones who just watch european soccer AND criticize every other league just because its not a European one.

    Perhaps i should be called an MLS snob just because i like to watch the league, right?

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