Soccer Business

Major League Soccer

Recalibrating our ideas about lower division American soccer

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By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (Jun 23, 2017) US Soccer Players - They arrived by the hundreds, some hours early even on a weeknight. Their vehicles backed up for miles down the small country roads and residential streets like the crowds flocking to the baseball diamond in "Field of Dreams.

The soccer game in Cincinnati

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (Jun 14, 2017) US Soccer Players - The life of a second division soccer team in the United States is mostly about pushing limits. It's working out what it means to be a second division soccer club in the United States. While it would be easy to make the argument that striving to break through limits in the lower divisions here is a function of the lack of promotion and relegation, it's unlikely you'll hear too many of the clubs themselves moaning about that missing opportunity.

Playing the transfer game in MLS

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (May 19, 2017) US Soccer Players - The international transfer market is, ostensibly, a an exercise in economics. Buying a player means exchanging capital for talent you believe will help your team win more games. Selling a player brings about the opposite result. You may lose someone who could help you on the field, but the financial return strengthens the club.

Why do the LA MLS teams insist on a Mexico connection?

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By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (May 3, 2017) US Soccer Players - In the early days of MLS, the league pandered quite a bit. The strategy in the mid-1990s seemed simple. Bring in players from certain countries and fans/citizens of those countries residing in MLS towns would turn out en masse to watch them play.

Portland plays the new MLS stadium game

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (Apr 28, 2017) US Soccer Players - On Wednesday, the Portland Timbers announced an audacious $50 million upgrade to their stadium, Providence Park. The proposed renovation would add 4,000 seats to the venue, pushing capacity close to 25,000. The plan would add four new levels to the east side of the building, including one for enclosed club seating and a top level for group seating.

Why does the MLS Players Union release salary information? A Q&A with Bob Foose

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By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (Apr 27, 2017) US Soccer Players - It's become something of a biannual holiday among hardcore fans and other MLS observers, and it arrived this week: The MLS Players Union's public release of its members' salary information.

"The salary drop," as it's informally dubbed, spawns a litany of chatter and media content.

With Drogba, Phoenix makes its MLS intentions clear

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (Apr 14, 2017) US Soccer Players - The battle for one of the four - or maybe five - available expansion spots in Major League Soccer is largely about the financial clout of the ownership group. That includes building a soccer stadium. Those two factors will guide the league's choices more than anything else.

Lessons from another MLS failure in the Champion League

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By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (Apr 7, 2017) US Soccer Players - After Germany's 2014 World Cup triumph, much analysis centered on the program's long, methodical climb. It started after their humiliating three-and-out performance at Euro 2000. One cycle removed from winning the 1996 edition of the tournament, a proud soccer nation got a stinging slap.

Ibrahimovic in MLS

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (Apr 7, 2017) US Soccer Players - Let's start with what we know. Nothing indicates an imminent MLS arrival for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Despite a few sporadic reports to the contrary, the solid reporting says that the striker's future remains uncertain. Maybe Ibrahimovic will sign a new contract with Manchester United.

Real Salt Lake “dismisses” their coach

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By J Hutcherson (Mar 21, 2017) US Soccer Players - Real Salt Lake decided it was time for a coaching change three weeks into the 2017 MLS season. The international break had barely started when RSL announced the club had dismissed Jeff Cassar. Credit the management with using "dismisses" rather than "parted ways", since the scenario is almost always the club telling the coach it's time for him to go.

China is the wrong example to push MLS in the transfer market

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (Mar 15, 2017) US Soccer Players - Andrea Pirlo is many things. Fashion icon. Wine connoisseur. New Yorker. Soccer legend. What he is not is an expert on the business of Major League Soccer, or how the way MLS operates affects its ability to compete in the larger soccer world.

What’s the MLS metric?

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By J Hutcherson (Mar 13, 2017) US Soccer Players - It's tough in professional club soccer, especially in North America. Nobody is turning off Major League Baseball because the Japanese, Korean, Mexican, or Dominican league is so much better. Nobody is choosing the Kontinental Hockey League over the National Hockey League.

Jesse Fioranelli tries something different in San Jose

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (Mar 10, 2017) US Soccer Players - San Jose Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli wasn't a typical choice for the job when his new club hired him to replace John Doyle in January. Fioranelli joined the Quakes from Roma, where he was part of management team that oversaw player scouting, player development, match analysis, and recruitment.

DC United breaks ground

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DC United held the groundbreaking ceremony for Audi Field, finally getting their own soccer-specific stadium.

What haunts MLS?

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Major League Soccer's successes run alongside an obvious issue the league has had difficulty improving.

News Update

The power of the Premier League

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Friday's soccer news starts with another example of how much things have changed in the Premier League. Crystal Palace, far down the list of Premier League clubs in general and London Premier League clubs in particular, is closing in on a new manager. Frank de Boer left Ajax for Inter Milan last season, losing that Italian job after three months.

MLS expansion season has issues

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Tuesday's soccer news starts with MLS expansion. MLS might have interested parties in bringing a team to their cities, but that doesn't necessarily obligate local governments. That was the story a few months ago in St Louis, and it's a scenario playing out in San Diego and Charlotte.

San Diego's city council isn't interested in holding special elections for ballot measures this year, according to a report by The San Diego Union Tribune's David Garrick.

The focus is on the Champions League

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Thursday's soccer news starts with reports that UEFA and the European Professional Football Leagues. Inside World Football's Andrew Warshaw reports that the two groups may figure out a way to not botch the biggest moneymaker in club soccer.

That would be the Champions League, the competition that will crown another winner on Saturday.

Borussia Dortmund makes a change

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The DFB Pokal celebrations didn't last long for Borussia Dortmund. The Bundesliga club made a coaching announcement in Tuesday's soccer news, parting ways with Thomas Tuchel.

"We would like to thank Thomas Tuchel and his coaching staff for the sporting success they have brought to BVB...." read Borussia Dortmund's official statement.

The cost of the Championship

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Tuesday's soccer news starts with an item that isn't exactly a surprise. David Moyes is no longer the manager of Sunderland, one of the new members of the Championship. According to reports, Moyes had indicated a willingness to stay with the club a league down. He officially resigned on Monday.

Sunderland's relegation became official a couple of weeks ago, capping a tough season in the Premier League that began with only two points from ten games.

Pressure in MLS

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Two views on the MLS experience starts Wednesday's soccer news. The Mirror's Alex Smith has Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger's comments about quality of play in MLS. FC Yahoo's Leander Schaerlaeckens talks to Atlanta United coach Tata Martino about lower pressure in MLS.

The MLS expansion standings

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St Petersburg, Florida voted in favor of letting Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards revamp Al Lang Stadium. Edwards wants to spend his own money to continue converting the former baseball park into an 18k-capacity MLS venue. It's worth noting that Edwards also paid for Tuesday's special ballot initiative, driving home the point that he doesn't expect public money.

The Manchester derby doesn’t impress

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Friday's soccer news starts with the Manchester derby. City and United played out a cliche of professional soccer with a 0-0 draw at Etihad Stadium. It was the kind of game most people would want to forget while watching it, much less at the final whistle. For City fans in person, that meant encouraging their team to hurry up with a stoppage time corner kick.

Serious issues for English clubs

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When the tax authorities come calling to seize information and make arrests, it's never a good day at the office. That was the scenario for West Ham United and Newcastle United yesterday, calling into question how both clubs conduct their businesses.

The Independent's Jack de Menzes has some of the details on the accusations the clubs now face.

Eintracht takes their place in the DFB Pokal final

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Wednesday's soccer news starts with Timmy Chandler's Eintracht advancing to the DFB Pokal final. Eintracht knocked out Borussia Gladbach on penalties. Eintracht took the lead on the road when Taleb Tawatha scored in the 15th minute. Jonas Hofmann equalized for Gladbach in first-half stoppage time.

FIFA submits its corruption report

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At least $30m dollars, 1300 pages, and almost two years later, FIFA submitted its internal corruption report. Shocked looks all around, the contents are confidential in FIFA's opinion due to ongoing legal proceedings. The report is now in the hands of Swiss prosecutors and eventually the US Department of Justice who continue to prosecute former members of world soccer's governing body.

UEFA and the super clubs

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The soccer news starts with UEFA noticing how their soccer clubs spend their money. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is talking luxury tax, squad limits, and the transfer market, in an attempt to curb the payrolls of the super clubs. Fair enough in theory, but it's worth asking how the clubs are going to respond to UEFA attempting to impose limits.

Real Madrid

Is soccer getting worse?

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By J Hutcherson (Jun 15, 2017) US Soccer Players - The NBA finals came to a close this week with many people feeling that the league blew an entire season of games and four rounds of playoffs to get to the obvious conclusion. We all knew who the best team was in October. There's more to this than what we now expect in the era of hot take sports coverage.

The International Champions Cup is on for 2017

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Wednesday's soccer news starts with the announcement for this summer's International Champions Cup. The 2017 edition brings Juventus, Spurs, Roma, Manchester United, Manchester City, PSG, Real Madrid, and Barcelona to NFL stadiums, Orlando's Camping World Stadium, and Red Bull Arena. It's yet another chance to see the giants of European soccer without having to sit through an eight-hour plane ride.

English Premier League

The Premier League map

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By J Hutcherson (May 9, 2017) US Soccer Players - There's been plenty of talk about the pro sports footprint in North America. A league like MLS has spent considerable time trying to expand theirs, but even the bigger leagues with 30 teams have plenty to consider.

The NFL opened the Jacksonville market and moved a team to Nashville and nobody followed.

Spending Premier League money

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By J Hutcherson (Apr 20, 2017) US Soccer Players - There's a long tradition in professional sports in trying to figure out how the owners make their money. In America, the focus shifted from owners solely committed to their club to entrepreneurs and corporations with a variety of interests.

Are the super clubs playing a losing game?

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By J Hutcherson (Mar 16, 2017) US Soccer Players - It's almost too easy with an underachieving super club. Laugh along as they spend too much not to win. There are plenty of handy metrics to show just how badly a club like Manchester City is underachieving in the Champions League.

The Rest

Soccer’s Super Bowl

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By J Hutcherson (Jun 6, 2017) US Soccer Players - The FIFA Club World Cup final isn't fooling anybody. The game that determines the best team in world soccer for a given season is the Champions League final. UEFA reigns supreme in world club soccer for a reason. They pay more and they do a better job of exploiting that commodity.

Garber in Montreal

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MLS commissioner Don Garber took the league's roadshow to Montreal on Tuesday, meeting with media and not exactly flattering his hosts. The Montreal Gazette's Stu Cowan had Garber calling for "relevance" for the club in the market.

"We need more relevance for this team," Garber said.

US Soccer’s $100 million problem

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By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (May 4, 2017) US Soccer Players - This week Grant Wahl delivered major news that should reverberate across the American soccer scene for months, likely years, to come.

The Sports Illustrated and FOX correspondent revealed on Tuesday that the US Soccer Federation is sitting on a whopping $100 million in surplus cash.

Playing the lower division soccer game in the USA

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (Apr 19, 2017) US Soccer Players - Nature abhors a vacuum. So, it seems, do American soccer's ample supply of investors and opportunists.

By virtue of US Soccer's decision to sanction both the USL and NASL as Division II for the 2017 season, there is now a vacuum at the third level of the American soccer pyramid.

Bastian Schweinsteiger in the new era of the MLS Designated Player

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Apr 10, 2017) US Soccer Players – It was a decade ago that David Beckham left Real Madrid and signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy, ushering in the era of the Designated Player for MLS. The move shown a global spotlight on Major League Soccer at the time, while sparking a surge in jersey sales and unprecedented growth in attendance.

Is FIFA’s expanded World Cup ruining the future for international soccer?

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (Mar 31, 2017) US Soccer Players - The picture for the expanded 48-team World Cup is starting to come into focus. FIFA released their proposal for dividing the places for the tournament on Thursday. The increase in the number of participants means some confederations stand to see a significant bump in representation in 11 years time.

Can European soccer handle disruption?

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By J Hutcherson (Mar 10, 2017) US Soccer Players - If you pay enough attention to European soccer, there's the feeling that they're as surprised as anyone the game is so popular. Take any league or any tournament, and the growth charts in a way that wasn't predictable. Those in charge don't do themselves any favors with their plans to make things even better.