I hope you are all happy. Because of Major League Soccer my sleep pattern is wrecked and my wife hates me. Every time there is a mediocre game on that I want to watch I set my alarm to go off at god-awful o’clock and wake both me and my wife up. I have suggested she joins me and watches DC United v Real Salt Lake City but sadly she just suggests I sleep in the spare room. Even so I wouldn’t swap my MLS experience. I have enjoyed even the meaningless games that count for very little and it seems as a Toronto FC fan I will have a few more of them to come before the end of the season.
This week I have been busy studying players wages and Major League Soccer’s interpretation of the salary cap. I am an advocate of capping the wages of overpaid footballers but English football has gone past the point where it could ever be possible. MLS on the other hand hasn’t and perhaps has devised a system where they can both pay footballers relatively reasonable wages yet still attract big names. For any of my English followers there is a very long and complicated list of all the roster rules and regulations here, but very basically what it boils down to is this:
- Every MLS club has $2,675,000 P/A to spend on 18-20 “Salary Budget Players”
- The maximum budget charge for a single player is $335,000 P/A. fi
- Each club is allowed to acquire up to three players whose salaries exceed their budget charges who are called designated players e.g. Thierry Henry and David Beckham.
I could go further but I am conscious that I may bore my readers who are familiar with Major League Soccer and its rules into submission.
Since the beginning of my MLS journey it has become clear it is a competition where parity is paramount. To some degree the salary cap reflects this yet it does raise questions. The dilemma for Major League Soccer is that parity can never wholly coexist with designated players. Chivas USA pay Juan Pablo Angel $1 million per year while LA Galaxy pay David Beckham $5.5 million and Robbie Keane $2.9 millon per year and the table reflects that. However if MLS is to expand and succeed within America it certainly needs to attract big names. Whilst “DP’s” may not bring parity they certainly will bring with them the ability to enthuse and perhaps increase attendances. There are no Chelsea’s or Manchester City’s in Major League Soccer and under the current guidelines there never could be and that is refreshing. For me the MLS interpretation of the salary cap is a far better system of wage structure than we have in the UK. It seems close to fitting in with Major League Soccer’s identity but perhaps it is not quite there. From the outside looking in maybe a larger salary cap on designated players could be an idea worth exploring. Whilst it is clearly important to attract big names the current DP system does punch a hole in the club equality ethos MLS seems dedicated to.
I was out having a quiet drink with a friend this week when he made the mistake of asking me what I did with my weekend. I foolishly launched into a tirade about how I spent Saturday night and Sunday morning watching a game I think resembled football. For those unsure I’m talking of Chivas’ 3-0 demolition of Toronto FC. Those close to me will tell you that I do enjoy a grumble but in this case I’m sure most will agree with me. Before kickoff it was difficult to see any logic in starting the first choice eleven, but by full time the only difficulty was seeing how they in fact could be anyone’s first choice eleven. Toronto were naive, lackadaisical, lazy, average but worst of all short of ideas and if Saturday’s performance is replicated against Puma’s then they will be battered once again. Still every team can have a bad day, and perhaps Saturday was simply exactly that. I leave you with perhaps the most disturbing stat to date:
Julian De Guzman is paid a base salary of $1,910,746.00 per year. That is more than Danny Koevermans and Torsten Frings put together. That is well over 4 times what possible MVP Dwayne DeRosario earns.
Brilliant. Until next week goodbye!