Guzan Denied Work Permit, will return to Chivas USA in 2008


                                                                                Photo by ISI Photos

U.S. national team goalkeeper Brad Guzan’s dream of playing in the English Premier League will have to wait.

Guzan was denied a work permit after a panel in England ruled on Thursday that he did not meet the requirements to receive one, a source with knowledge of the transfer proceedings told SBI on Thursday.

What will Guzan do next? He will return to Chivas USA and play out the 2008 season, which happens to be the final year of his current MLS contract.

What do you think of this decision? Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Major League Soccer, MLS- Chivas USA, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to Guzan Denied Work Permit, will return to Chivas USA in 2008

  1. That is too bad. Would he have the same problem with Celtic, since Scotland is part of the UK???

    If he stays with Chivas USA, probably means Matt Pickens would resign with Chicago.

  2. Dave M says:

    Saw this coming. Shame too. But at least he has Celtic.

  3. usnavysrchief says:

    That is just rediculous!!! If Villa was BIG 4 Club it would have happened. Celtic????

  4. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Pathetic decision.

  5. CACuzcatlan says:

    I think Scotland has a bit of its own automony, so he may be able to work something out. Dammit! At this rate, we’ll be stuck with Howard as our starter in 2010

  6. Tizzle says:

    They can appeal though. He should be able to get it on appeal. Just look at the history of American Keepers in the BPL.

  7. inkedAG says:

    That sucks! If he can appeal, I hope he does and can get to move to Aston Villa.

  8. groovester says:

    I thought there was an appeal process, just don’t know how long it takes.

  9. RYC says:

    Yeah wouldn’t he automatically be rejected at first and then have to appeal because he hasn’t played in 75% of the USMNT matches? How does that work with the transfer window?

  10. Zungazan says:

    Selfishly I hope he stays at Chivas USA. Such a great keeper makes the league better. Though I’ll eat my words when playing against my ‘Quakes…

  11. emanon says:

    Doesn’t come up to often, but wonder if there should be an exception to the 75% rule for GK’s. Since unless you are a country’s #1 you aren’t really going to see playing time. It’s not like the other positional players which might see random minutes here and there, even if they aren’t starting games.

  12. Bensk says:

    Aargh! Same laws in England and Scotland! UK is one country. Ives! Stop this!

  13. Jon E says:

    Yeah, it was my understanding that the application would almost certainly be denied (because Guzan is so far from meeting the criteria) but that the appeal would be granted. Isn’t that usually how it works, especially for GKs, who almost never meet the 75% standard.

    And, legally speaking, why would it be any easier to go to Celtic? Wouldn’t Celtic just have to apply to the exact same UK Home Office panel that just denied Aston Villa’s application?

  14. usnavysrchief says:

    I believe Tizzle has a point. An appeal may go through. It may be jusy part of the legal process in England. So there may still be hope. But can it be pushed through before tonights deadline??

  15. Pat says:

    Wouldnt he have to get a work permit from the same panel to play for Celtic? If so I think it’s pretty much guaranteed Guzan will be in MLS for another year, I dont see Chivas selling him mid-season.

  16. Johnny says:

    APPEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The FA might be trying to protect it’s number 1 gk Scott Carson b/c he’s not that great. The second time is the charm APPEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. froboy says:

    he should stay in the MLS till the summer and then could transfer for even more money

  18. EDB says:

    i think the thinking with Celtic is that they are also a large and powerful club much like United which will help them get it passed

  19. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I have no idea if this is the issue, but the “extraordinary talent’ provision (or whatever it’s called) may be relative – that is the threshold may be lower for the SPL, therefore making it easier to qualify? (Pure speculation here.)

    By the way, the UK is NOT a country. England is a country. Scotland is a country. Wales is a country. (Northern Ireland is another matter.) That’s why each has its own national team. The UK is a political entity, an association of the countries within it. Scotland has considerable internal autonomy, including its own parliament and capital.

  20. Ted says:

    Legally, they have to deny it because of the 75% rule. He has to appeal it. I believe Johnson had to appeal, Dempsey had to, Howard had to, ect.

    I believe his transfer to Villa can still go through after the window passes. Because the transfer was already agreed upon by the two parties before the window closed (in what, around 6 hours I believe?), it can still go through.

    Appeals are extremely common.

  21. Curtis Spiteri says:

    That. Sucks.

    If Guzan can’t win on appeal, he sould stay in MLS and get USNT call ups and play more often nationally. If he goes to Celtic, he’ll get the same international windows as Howard and Keller.

    Guzan can compete for the starting GK job playing in MLS plus get all the USNT call ups he wouldn’t get when the international window is closed (i.e. Sweden game, when the US fields a MLS heavy side).

  22. Postmaster says:

    The application was turned down. This WAS the appeal. This is dead for the current transfer window. It is hard to see how he gets approval for the EPL in the next year or two.

  23. Ted says:

    And whoever said BPL, it’s not the British Premier League. It’s the English Premier League. Disregarding a handful of crossovers, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales all have their own league systems.

  24. NYC Brad says:

    BPL = Barclays Premier League

    Sucks for Guzan, he should have gotten in there.

  25. Ted says:

    “BPL = Barclays Premier League

    Sucks for Guzan, he should have gotten in there.”

    I automatically assumed since I see it referred to around here as the British Premier League (not an abbreviation) every once and awhile. My bad.

    This was the appeal? Do we have a link to when the application was turned down? I’m not doubting that it was, I guess I must have missed when the application was turned down.

  26. Pat says:

    How pissed would Villa be if he was given a permit to play for Celtic?

  27. JB says:

    Villa should do what Arsenal did for Vela. Take the Guzan transfer and then loan him to Belguim or Portugal for the rest of this season and then try again for the WP for Guzan in the summer if he has a few more big game caps.

  28. groovester says:

    Maybe i’m misreading it, but it sounds to me that the application was denied outright. Which means it didnt meet the bare 75% requirement and I’m assuming that means the process didn’t even go to panel discussion yet. So I think an appeal can still be made.

  29. Nic says:

    This deal, while pretty bad for Brad right now, could be good for the Goats in the future. Not only do they get to keep onto Guzan, but they’ll probably get a higher fee in the future. Let’s be honest, does anyone see this kid getting anything but better?

  30. DCAustinite says:

    England must work to keep itself English. It’s no good for morale to show them that Our #2 or 3 keeper from an inferior league is better than Scott Carson or any keeper they have.

  31. Graig says:

    Confirmation of the deal being dead from villa’s web-site:
    link to,,10265~1230385,00.html

  32. Matt says:

    This was the appeal folks.

    And while the panel may have taken a different view had it bene Celtic, they certainly won’t in the same day, since by the book the standard is the same. Plus, there is not enough time for another club to go through the process.

  33. Pat says:

    how could Howard and Hahnemann have gotten work permits if Guzan cant. Hahnemann has 1 more cap than Guzan and has been playing like over 10 years longer.

  34. kpugs says:

    I called this last week. He should have signed for Celtic. Here it comes: TOLD YA SO.

  35. kpugs says:

    As Matt said, this WAS the appeal. Anyone who thought he was going to get it on anything other than an appeal must have been drinking the Kool-aid. In this instance the intial application was a formality because he flat out did not qualify. Then he was rejected on appeal.

  36. Phillip says:

    This sucks for MLS.

    Guzan is a free transfer at the end of the upcoming season.

  37. GD says:

    Hanehmann has an EU passport since both his parents are German. Therefore he didn’t need to meet the 75% requirement.

    Howard’s mother in Hungarian so he could have gotten a passport too, but I think he won his appeal based on the evidence that it was impossible to break into the starting XI with Keller/Freidel in front of him, he had an exceptional case.

  38. Adam R. says:

    In order to get a work permit on appeal, you have to prove to the board that the applicant is providing skills that could not be readily obtained in England. How many American keepers need to be starting in England to make it clear that they are a commodity worth acquiring?

    Now Villa is going to have to pay 12 million pounds if they want Carson simply because he is English. They could have had Guzan for a third of the price. I’d be pissed if I were a Villa fan.

    If I were a Bundesliga team, I’d be lining up some money for Big Brad II come August, before his price gets any higher.

  39. Matt says:

    Hahnemann has a German passport, Howard had more national team appearances AND had Man. U. in his corner.

    the question now is whether Aston Villa tries again in the summer. He got one star in the Copa America last summer, so if he starts the two Barbados qualifiers he could make a case for being the unquestioned #2 keeper behind Howard, if that makes a difference.

  40. Amit says:

    Unfortunately, MLS is the real loser here. Guzan will go somewhere in the next year or so. MLS, however, won’t get paid to lose his services, a shame.

  41. kpugs says:

    Well said Amit.

    Just to toot my own horn one last time before finally shutting up (fine it wasn’t “last week,” it was three days ago):

    “Rather than get in to how crazy some of these theories are, as always, I’ll just point out I can’t see how he’ll get a work permit to play in England, even with Aston Villa appealing what’s sure to be an initial rejection.

    I’m pretty sure the reason it’s easier in Scotland is because obviously the home nations all have their own separate FAs, it’s as simple as that. And if this drags on for another 3 days and falls through guess what? Guzan is going NOWHERE, because the transfer window will be closed.

    I don’t see how there is even a decision to be made here. It’s Celtic or bust.”

    MLS would have gotten some money, big Brad would be on a team playing in Europe every season, blah blah blippety blah.

  42. groovester says:

    He won’t be playing out the entire 2008 season with Chivas USA, he will be gone before the end of the season or MLS gets nothing for him.

  43. Haig says:

    “At this rate, we’ll be stuck with Howard as our starter in 2010″

    Please explain your implication that this is a bad thing. Everton are in fourth, a Champions League slot, with Howard in goal. He’s one of the top performers in England.

  44. dwbpnm says:

    When Convey had his permit rejected it was widely reported that you could not apply again for a work permit for 1 year. The work permits are UK work permits not England or Scotland work permits. Unless this rule has changed in the past couple years this means Guzan can not sign with a UK team(EPL or SPL) until at least mid January 2009(not sure if its the date of application or the date of rejection that starts the clock). I can’t see Guzan turning down offers from the continent in order to wait for potential offers from the UK, as a result Guzan is headed to the continent either this summer or next December when his MLS contract expires.

  45. Free DC says:

    ummm… Tony in Quakeland. The UK IS a country. It is not a nation.

  46. sublicon says:

    Haig – you gotta realize that a lot of people who comment on Ives’s blog are not that smart. I think some of the most ludicrous opinions on this sport that I’ve ever read, I’ve read here. Zero reflection on Ives, just saying . . people say the dumbest stuff here.

    With that said, this sucks for Guzan and it sucks for us. My dude isn’t gonna get the bucks he could’ve gotten, and he’s not going to get the training and experience that he could bring back to the international stage.

    Patience is a virtue – I hope things work out for him at some point.

  47. groovester says:

    Auxerre and Olympiakos were interested in him at one point, or at least that is what skysports reported

  48. dano says:

    Just echoing some of the other comments, it’s a shame he couldn’t transfer to either. Would have been good for him, good for MLS, and good for whichever team he went to. Now it pretty much sucks for everyone.

    I had heard people complain about smaller clubs not playing by the same rules as the big 4 when it came to work permits before, but I really did think Brad’s would be approved on appeal. If dwpbnm is correct about there being a year waiting period, where would he go this summer? Does Germany not have work permits? I’d love to see him in Serie A or La Liga, but I think they have limited international spots per team, or some sort of WP, which is why it’s harder for US citizens to play there. Someone who knows care to elaborate?

  49. Il Consigliere says:

    As a Villa fan, I am pissed that we didn’t get him…but I don’t think MON pays for Carson anyway…As for Guzan, there is always the next window to move on somewhere…

  50. Jloome says:

    Uh, sorry Matt, but I think you’re wrong. The SPL is not judged the same as the EPL, even though it’s the same home office, because part of the appeal judgment is whether the player is of generally recognized skill to raise the overall profile of the entire league in which he plays.

    I don’t know whether that’s reflected in the ease celtic, rangers, livingston and others have had in signing non-eu players but I wouldn’t be surprised.

  51. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    I’d expect Guzan between the pipes for Mexico to work on that 75% rule ..;)

  52. Craig says:

    If I remember my history correctly from the Convey case, Villa are precluded from applying for a permit for Guzan again for a full year. It’s more likely that (like Convey) he’ll go to a different team.

  53. sammy says:

    By the end of the summer, Brad will have a new team. Some in Germany, France or Holland will come calling and he will be gone. two years playing there and he will end up in England.

  54. mike ruze says:

    DOH!!!!!!!!! shoulda went to Celtic

  55. Luis says:

    why did villa make a bid so late in the transfer window?

  56. Mike Warchol says:

    What happen with Arsenal?
    I thought Guzan was going to Arsenal?

  57. Andrew says:

    is it just me or does it look like the worm is packing a lip in that picture?

  58. Luis says:

    Well at least we now know who is winning goal keeper of the year in mls

  59. eric says:


  60. Joamiq says:

    Actually Ted, no one has ever called it the British Premier League on Soccer by Ives.

    This is pretty ridiculous if it’s final. At first I thought the conspiracy theories were stupid, but maybe the Brits are pissed off that our keepers are so much better than theirs.

  61. Johnny says:

    THIS SUCKS! I would like to address the board for appeal…
    Exhibit A- Brad was the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year
    Exhibit B- The top keepers in the BPL are from the states. Brad would be a brillant addition to the American Keepers contingent.
    Exhibit C- Brad would have been a lock for Villa’s starting keeper position next year. Wait a second, Uh-oh, I was unwawre that he would be taking away Scott Carson’s position who just happens to be England’s number one keeper! Yikes.

    This all could have been different if Brad wasn’t potentially taking away Carson’s spot.

    IVES what is the rule for a reapplication of a work permit. Will Brad have to wait until next year? If so that would be terrible b/c he would thrive in England. If not maybe he will be able to make a move this summer. THIS IS A REAL BUMMER!

  62. mexicanbluefish says:

    The logistics of Brad’s alternatives are confusing us all. It seems unlikely that he wouldn’t go somewhere else where he would make more money, play in a little tougher league, the mls would get something. Maybe his agent is thinking that next year there would be a much bigger payoff. All of our goalkeepers should be considering anywhere EXCEPT England simply because we have a plethora of talent at the position and we cannot convince a work permit that, despite all indications of recent history, American keepers are becoming to goalkeeping what Brazilians are to…the rest.

  63. mexicanbluefish says:

    The logistics of Brad’s alternatives are confusing us all. It seems unlikely that he wouldn’t go somewhere else where he would make more money, play in a little tougher league, the mls would get something. Maybe his agent is thinking that next year there would be a much bigger payoff. All of our goalkeepers should be considering anywhere EXCEPT England simply because we have a plethora of talent at the position and we cannot convince a work permit panel that, despite all indications of recent history, American keepers are becoming to goalkeeping what Brazilians are to…the rest.

  64. Moneyball says:

    slowly but surely, England stakes out its vengeance for the Boston Tea Party

  65. Ricci says:

    OK, so let me see if I got this right. To get into the UK all you have to do is come from any Islamic country and go right on to welfare, but they don’t want any Yanks who may actually work?

  66. cassano says:

    I guess i’m the only one who doesnt think it sucks. I never expected Guzano to win his appeal even though the move makes sense.

    IMHO something/some club better than villa will come around. Its unfortunate for villa but in the end i believe it will work out for guzano. Who knows, a top 5 bundesliga team may come in for him or even a top team in ligue 1 or serie a.

    it’ll work out for him in the end.

  67. Tim F. says:

    Bogus decision. Protectionism at its worst!

  68. Tim F. says:

    Chivas USA is lucky!

  69. Manny F says:

    I can tell that Guzan is going to be a great keeper because he seems to be thinning at the top. Just look at that hair.

  70. papa bear says:

    of course he was denied. The FA is desperate to find a goalkeeper who is a step above that corpse known as Robinson and Carson is about as close as they’ve got to achieving that. (and he still sucks)
    If Guzan was going anywhere else he’d be in.
    Tim F: absolutely (on both of your above posts). I hope they remember that they next time they are filing BS protectionism charges against the US with the WTO, Goalkeepers are more important than farm subsidies. :)

  71. YankatOxford says:

    Those of you who feel that Guzan should have gone to Celtic because it would have been “easier” to apply a work permit are INCORRECT. Also, those arguing that Villa have to wait a YEAR are incorrect (He must wait until the first of June for the new season at which time Villa may request another permit/panel)

    The criteria for a work permit in the UK:

    Work permits will be issued to international players of the highest calibre who are able to make a significant contribution in footballing terms to the development of the UK game at the highest level (i.e. clubs competing in the Premier Leagues and Football Leagues in England and Scotland, the Welsh Premier League and The Irish Premier League in Northern Ireland).

    To be eligible for a work permit:

    1.A player must have played for his country in at least 75% of its competitive ‘A’ team matches he was available for selection, during the two years preceding the date of the application; and,
    2.The player’s country must be at or above 70th place in the official FIFA world rankings when averaged over the two years preceding the date of the application.
    Competitive Matches

    The definition of a competitive ‘A’ team international match is a:

    World Cup Finals game
    World Cup Qualifying group game
    Football Association confederation tournament game, for example:

    The FIFA Confederations Cup;
    The UEFA European Championships and Qualifiers;
    The African Cup of Nations and Qualifiers;
    The Asia Nations Cup and Qualifiers;
    The CONCACAF Gold Cup;
    The CONCACAF The Copa Caribe;
    The CONMEBOL Copa America;
    The OFC Nations Cup and
    The UNCAF Nations Cup
    International Appearances

    It is NOT any easier to qualify for a permit in the SPL than in the Premiership. Celtic would have faced the same standards. This has nothing to do with Scott Carson and the actual Football Associations get no input in the initial decision, and very little in the appeal process a “panel” review.

    HOWEVER, after 1st of June Guzan will be eligible to apply for another permit, because the same club (Villa) cannot request a panel twice in the same season. Yet unless Guzan has the required appearances for the U.S. it would likely be pointless (this is why Convey had to wait a year after Tottenham’s first application; he didn’t have the required appearances).

    If the criteria are not met:
    Where the player’s initial contract was for 12 months or longer and the club have requested a panel, the Border and Immigration Agency’s sports and entertainments team will consult with the governing bodies by email. They will ask whether the application needs to be considered at a panel.

    If the Panel Appeal is denied

    If the club has previously made an application that was unsuccessful at panel a further panel cannot be requested for the same player during the season. For these purposes a season is deemed to run from 1 June until 31 May.

    For more information for professional footballers visit the official UK site of the border and immigration agency:
    link to

  72. Flyingoose says:

    Ives, can you shed some light for me as to why the FA requires a minimum of 75% appearances for a national team for a work permit to go through? Or is it an entirely different body who requires it? I think that this barrier prevents some talented player from pursuing options in the EPL, as is the case with Brad Guzan.

  73. eric says:

    Those this mean that Guzan is going to be paid another lowsy $45,000-62,000 salary if he remains with Chivas USA for the remainder of his contract?