Game First - Second Day

I posted a quietly favorable review of Major League Soccer's Game First initiatives, but there's a few items out there today taking the opposite tack: quietly disgruntled, I suppose. And there's certainly some good stuff in there - though not all of it.

David, the guy who runs the Chivas USA section on The Offside, posted a two-parter on the initiatives, with the first reading less favorably than the second. The heart of the complaint turns mainly on the idea of emphaszing, and paying, foreign talent at the expense of paying the up-and-coming locals. Part two ain't all sunshine, notably regarding the fair point that the league should have been doing stuff like this long ago. D, from DCenters chucked in a good rebuttal to Part I, especially on what developmental players earn - though all parties agree that's a pittance.

As I said in my post, though, there's a bit of good news in the form of paying the bonuses during the season. As you'll see below, I see baby steps as a good way to start.

But my favorite shredding of the day came from Jay Hutcherson over on He levels all the big-picture gripes I keep in the back of my head as I watch the league grow, as well as answering to some of the sillier solutions - notably, a split season, any I've floated in the past, though only as far as it took me to figure the difficulty of selling the sport to an American audience. And he also touches on a favorite of mine: MLS's attempt to charge "major league" prices a bit prematurely. Make it cheap, gentlemen. Make it cheap.

My answer to all these, especially Hutcherson's points, with which I by and large agree, is this: it's very difficult for any organization to say something like "Wow. All that shit that came before? Forget it. What the hell were we thinking?" That's not to say they shouldn't change so much as it's an attempt to recognize that the league has certain goals in mind and it's pursuing them in a way that makes some form of sense. Put another way, these points of view can be defended pretty readily - even if the majority of us don't think they add up (and, let's face it; some of them don't). But the take-away for me is MLS is adapting - slowly, to be sure, but the trends are pretty good all in all.

So, I think I'm still hanging around quiet favorability. But it's the criticism that brings those incremental changes, so let's keep 'em coming.


1 comment:

David said...

There are a lot of negatives, but at the same time though I think that it’s great that the MLS is finally looking at the league and what needs to be changed. In my opinion that is the strength of this entire thing, showing that the fans have a say in the future of the league. You are right that Hutcherson's article was very good and it shall be interesting to see where this goes. A lot more attention will be paid to the league and let us hope that will increase.

Also thanks for the response.