MLS denies blocking any Red Bulls transfer

In the wake of my report on the Red Bull’s quest to sign Mac Kandji and the league’s role in preventing the signing from happening, both MLS deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis and Red Bulls sporting director Jeff Agoos have come out and denied that the league has prevented the Red Bulls from making any acquisitions.

"MLS works closely with the Red Bulls on player negotiations and, contrary to reports, has not blocked any move for any player involving the Red Bulls," Gazidis told SBI in an e-mail response.

Shortly after Gazidis’ denial came a denial from Agoos, who reached out to SBI to offer up his own denial.

"The league has worked closely with us and hasn’t blocked us from any transfer," Agoos said in a phone interview.

Neither Gazidis or Agoos would discuss Kandji specificially, citing Kandji’s status as a player under contract with the Atlanta Silverbacks of the USL.

My response? I stand by the original story and my sources.

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- New York Red Bulls. Bookmark the permalink.

96 Responses to MLS denies blocking any Red Bulls transfer

  1. Eugene says:

    Wow. Must be damn good sources.

  2. Mikemike says:

    I feel like I won’t know the real story until 2035 when I flip to chapter 5 in Ives’ memoir.

    Ives, don’t make me wait that long.


  3. Chris says:

    Just like the league to cower under the anticipated backlash. I don’t remember the last time Ives was wrong. This isn’t a rumors site.

    If I don’t see Kandji in a Red Bull uniform next season I’m gonna be pissed.

  4. quest says:

    Agoos needs to just come clean…this is ridiculous

  5. Neumannator says:


    Glad to hear you’re sticking to the story–any chance you want to respond to Gazidis’ obvious slight to this site?! Rock on.

    “It’s difficult to respond to blog entries where unknown sources are referenced – and of course blogs are driven by hits, not necessarily by the same standards as print media.”

  6. sublicon says:

    Notice the similarity in the language used. I smell a “better play your cards right” situation happening.

  7. Michael F. says:

    Next season? If I don’t see him in a Red Bulls uniform by tomorrow I’ll be pissed. The window is still open. Ives isn’t wrong – he’s right. If they didn’t do it they would have talked about it. They are full of it.

  8. KingSnake says:

    When Garber and Agoos were denying they were liars, did they do so between slurps on each others’ little goleadors?

  9. KingSnake says:

    Btw, the difference between print media and this site is one is shrinking, and the other exponentially expanding. Guess which, Czar Ivan …

  10. Mig says:

    Hang tough, Ives. Interesting story and one that is important to the league for a lot of reasons, oft discussed on this board. Credibility and transparency being the two things that jump to mind.


  11. Steve T. says:

    Spin Doctors. If they didnt block it, they wouldnt need to defend themselves.

  12. Joamiq says:

    Do they honestly think MLS fans will believe them over you?

  13. RRR says:

    Yeah, I’m sure the MLS saw the backlash and had to do something about it.

    I’ve watched Kandji in Atlanta for the past two seasons and he is the real deal, as well as many road games through USLLive. He will be a very good player in the MLS, and could develop into a superstar with the right talent around him.

    The USL is no trash league like the MLS wants it to be – the fact of the matter is that in 10 games, I would be willing to bet that USL teams would win about 4 of them consistently, and it is getting better year by year. Keeping players liek Kandji in the USL will only help it.

    The block would make no sense. Atlanta struggles financially. This would help Atlanta recover some money, while sending top talent to the MLS. Kandji is, without a doubt, the most exciting player in the league. And he can be one of the top players in the MLS as well.

    ESPN Soccernet has even featured this guy.

    Anyway, I’m a good friend of Kandji’s and it would be good to see him take his game to the next level. The only reason he is inthe USL is because of his remarkable story of how he came to this country and how he was discovered.

  14. Don Garber says:

    Tell Kandji it was nothing personal, I just needed to redecorate Ivan & Jeff’s love pad …

  15. Louis says:

    Damn Ives laid down the law! Keep up the good work Ives

  16. Phil says:

    Ives, you do yourself no favors by citing anonymous sources.

  17. ManicMessiah says:

    Honestly, it’s entirely possible that Agoos and Gazidis aren’t lying at all, but rather using some well prepared language to skate around the issue.

    If the Red Bulls never officially put in for the transfer then the league would not have had to officially block them from doing anything.

  18. cbr says:

    MLS is not used to media scrutiny. Keep up the good work Ives. Exposure like this will only force the league to become more transparent and give each individual team more autonomy

  19. Ives says:

    Nuemmanator, here is my response to that:

    I have been a journalist for more than 10 years. That is a decade of covering the sport of soccer at its highest level, and at its most basic level, from Old Trafford to Farcher’s Grove, from the World Cup final the the Passaic County final. I have honed my skills as a journalist throughout that decade of experience and have not suddenly forgotten how to be a journalist because I no longer write for a newspaper or because my stories appear on a website. I also have not, nor will I ever, lower the journalistic standards of Soccer By Ives for the purpose of driving traffic.

    Feel free to copy and paste that wherever it needs to go.

  20. KingSnake says:

    Sure, and what Bill Clinton did not lie when he said he and “that woman miss Lewinsky” did not have sex, because they she actually {censored} him.

  21. KingSnake says:

    Just to clarify, that was in response to ManicMessiah, not Ives …

  22. J.K says:


    It’s pretty clear that Ives’ source is anonymous to protect his job. For all we know it could be Agoos himself.

    If true, this is a huge cover-up that could blow up in MLS’ face. Jokes always abound that rules are made up as they go, but a lot of fans were hoping that things like that were becoming a thing of the past.

  23. Harkesy says:

    Gadzidis is crapping in his boots right now

  24. Ives says:

    Phil, anonymous sources are a normal part of sports coverage. Whether it’s coaches, GMs, players or agents, they all reside in a tightly-knit community where speaking on the record isn’t a luxury they can always afford.

    In the end it’s up the writer to judge whether the information is true and whether the sources are honest. The better the judgment and better the sources, the better the information.

  25. Tim says:

    Ives, this is why you’re the best American soccer Journalist. I don’t know why anyone would believe the MLS after all the lies they’ve told us.

    I trust you Ives, but it still would be nice to know a little more about you’re sources.

    Are they inside MLS or NYRB? I totally understand if you are not comfortable in telling us specifics.

  26. Max says:

    Don’t worry Ives, everyone believes you over those hacks.

  27. Tom says:


    For what it is worth, I believe your story. The league office does not have much credibility in my opinion.

    They pull a lot of crap because they don’t think anyone is watching.

  28. Keep up the good work Ives.

    You are always right.

  29. MasterShake says:

    I would let Ives babysit my child, thats how much I trust him.

  30. Tim says:

    Nevermind, I reread the article.I don’t need anymore detail about the sources. I probably should’ve read the article more closely before asking any questions.

    Also Ives, anyone who believes the league over you is a dumbsh*t. They obviously know nothing about the MLS, journalism, and you.

    Keep up the good work!

  31. Skinn says:

    I have been a journalist for more than 10 years. That is a decade of covering the sport of soccer at its highest level, and at its most basic level, from Old Trafford to Farcher’s Grove, from the World Cup final the the Passaic County final. I have honed my skills as a journalist throughout that decade of experience and have not suddenly forgotten how to be a journalist because I no longer write for a newspaper or because my stories appear on a website. I also have not, nor will I ever, lower the journalistic standards of Soccer By Ives for the purpose of driving traffic.

    Posted by: Ives | August 28, 2008 at 10:05 PM

    Ives, pardon my French, but F’N’ A!! [sorry lads, blog censored the ‘French’]

    And trips-R. Bang on. USL puts out good competitive sides. USOC’s show that. The Canadian CCL qualifiying showed that. And I think that CCL itself will show that. Garber and his hacks fear it.

  32. ManicMessiah says:

    I agree with you King, I was just pointing out that they didn’t really deny what Ives was saying. Looking back I wasn’t very clear at all, so my apologies.

    I absolutely believe that Ives was right on with his story.

  33. KingSnake says:

    You don’t think it was Lalas, do you!?

  34. Skinn says:

    I would let Ives babysit my child, thats how much I trust him.

    Posted by: MasterShake | August 28, 2008 at 10:21 PM

    I would let Ives punch my brother-in-law in the face to take my god-child and introduce it to the game with the round ball.

  35. Skinn says:

    Man I’m jacked up!

  36. Skinn says:

    It’s a good thing I don’t drink.

  37. Johnny says:

    Ives you so crazy! You go Boy! I take your word any day over the MLS!

  38. Neumannator says:

    Thanks for the response. I was not ripping your integrity, just surprised at the juvenile reaction by Gazidis. I rely on this site for a good percentage of my soccer news and appreciate the hard work.

  39. KingSnake says:

    You look at the Gazidis picture on MetroFanatic and he looks a bit rough, like maybe he isn’t sleeping too much lately. Maybe his conscience is finally catching up with him?

  40. Menace says:

    Ives, thanks for holding to your journalistic integrity.

  41. LJ says:

    Can’t we start a banner of T-shirt movement or something?

    I don’t think we should take the foot off the peddle on this BS. There needs to be better from the MLS and this is a good chance to push for it!

  42. LJ says:

    *banner or T-shirt

  43. Ives says:

    Hey Neumannator, I know you weren’t coming at me. Thanks for giving me the chance to say what I needed to say.

  44. mikeK says:

    oooohhhh how the plot thickens…

  45. MemRook says:

    I support MLS and its success because it’s “our” league and all that. But sometimes I am, “WTF!?!?” Sometimes I just wanna throw my hands up and say, “F*** that S***!” lol.

  46. KingSnake says:

    Any Photoshop guys out there? How about this:

    The three see-no monkeys, with Garber, Gazidis and Agoos faces super-imposed. Not sure which would be see-no, hear-no and speak-no.

    Or maybe the Three Stooges.

  47. KingSnake says:

    Agoos does look a bit like Shemp …

  48. WiscFan says:

    This is why I come to this site daily!

  49. BK says:

    To be fair, Ives. You and your sources have made two glaring mistakes in recent history. First, you said Feilhaber was headed to MLS. Then you said that Cory Gibbs was going to LA. Maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to try to scoop everyone else.

  50. Eugene says:

    Kandji-gate. I think that’s what we can call this fiasco. Because of the way the various players have set up their positions in this incident I anticipate someone will end up taking a bullet to their career here.

    After this rollercoaster season, I believe NY fans will want blood if the league doesn’t allow us to become a better team under the current rules. Of course I understand that the league shifts those rules around and reinterprets them just like a game of 3 card monty.

    That may allow Gazidis to save his skin. But if it turns out that the league said “no precedent” and NY was complicit even though they were in the right, we may be witnessing the downfall of Agoos.

    As NY fans, we’ve taken enough mumbo jumbo rules this season to be outraged if the team was legitimately acquiring this player and the league vetoed it anyway.

  51. Eugene says:

    And I also just wanted to add that my support to you Ives. Because at the end of the day, all a journalist has is a reputation based on credibility. While the league has proven time after time that they will alter their unpublished rule book to better serve their perceived business needs at that very moment.

    No journalist is always right and certainly no one can predict what will happen the following day (in terms of Feilhaber’s transfer or Gibbs’ transfer), but very often in these types of confrontations it’s the corporate guys that end up being the liars.

    Rock on Ives, there is a reason why all of us are here, reading what you have to write.

  52. Sean says:

    As a guy who worked in the trenches of the paragraph mines for five years, bravo, Ives.

    ‘I stand by my story and my sources’ is absolutely music to my ears. Well done, well done.

    Now, on the story – holy crap, is MLS this mickey-mouse STILL? Jesus christ on an f’in cracker, that’s LooneyToons.

    These guys sign Beckham, then learn about transfer fees? Or not even?

    Jesus. It’s called Championship Manager – sorry. It’s called Football Manager (Worldwide Soccer Manager if you’re in the USA). Buy it and play it. You’ll learn all sorts of stuff about how the game is managed, y’know, worldwide.

  53. KingSnake says:

    … instead of on MLSNet reading what they … say. Say, where *is* the article press release on the non-transfer?

  54. J.K says:

    To be fair BK, Ives had the chance to say that his source was wrong. The fact that he’s sticking to his guns suggests that there’s more to this story than Gazidis is letting on. I wouldn’t roast Agoos over the coals, he has to stay mum if he wants to keep his job.

  55. KingSnake says:

    But surely someone that talented at talent acquisition could find another job elsewhere in US Soccer?

  56. Peruco83 says:

    Wow I just saw the story picked up on Gol TV News.

  57. Eugene says:

    I don’t have any evidence, but this is what I believe:

    If the question is about Agoos keeping his job, I question who he is working for — the league or the team. Because this league is not helping NY this season. This season NY has had to take every hard knock to get this far. While it would be nice to add Kandji to the roster next season (if he’s on a free transfer at the end of the season, but not now), the reality is that we have 9 games in our play-off push left and we potentially have play-offs afterwards. If we are going to make the most of this opportunity, we could surely use this player now and not later.

    Maybe it would be more expedient for MLS to pick up this USL player when it doesn’t cost $200k, but the league has fostered competition and because of that competitiveness this year we need to do something for now. This scenario of paying good money for a USL player was inevitable as MLS got more competitive and the summer transfer window exists.

    At some point, the league just needs to make the system and it’s rules transparent, keep the salary cap, but let each team manage it’s own business (i.e., get rid of the single-entity structure).

  58. Haig says:

    Ives, how tight is MLS’ non-disclosure agreement for league/team employees? Could that be coming into play?

  59. jpc says:

    I think you should stand by your sources, every journalist should (as long as they are reliable)… From what I’ve seen Ives, you have been quick to call out your own mistakes in the past. The fact that your standing by your sources here leads me to give you the benefit of the doubt, good stuff

  60. Ives says:

    BK, I wrote that Feilhaber was in talks with MLS and if he signed he would join the Revs. As for the Gibbs deal, you’re right, I wrote LA was signing him and it didn’t happen. Given the shake up in LA, it is clear that there was plenty of fluidity in everything going on there. You should also note that just three days after that Gibbs to LA story I was out in front with Lewis to LA and Gibbs to Colorado.

  61. royce says:

    i think this is the type of thing we can expect while the wynalda/lalas/etc.. generation is replaced by american players and soccer professionals who are more trusted. i also think that mls needs leadership who are visionary enough to remove the training wheels. this is a bad precedent not so much for the two teams involved, and not so much because of the amount of risk involved from the league’s point of view. this is a bad precedent because it is reinforcing the idea that american soccer players cannot be rewarded for practicing their profession at the highest level and being rewarded appropriately in the US… in short, the mls is in danger of moving from being prudent to becoming a prude joke.

  62. Dannyc58 says:


    Really appreciate the hard work. Clearly there is SOMETHING to your story, or they wouldn’t take the time to deny it.

    Love the site, and keep it up.


  63. Jacob says:

    They don’t call us “The SBI Mafia” for no reason.

    I think Mr. Garber and Co. see us walking up to league offices with pitchforks and torches and the like in their nightmares.


  64. Kartik says:

    I’ve heard from a source that Ives was correct and that MLS is simply trying to “spin” its way out of this. I only have one source on this and won’t report it but feel it is safe to put here in support of Ives.

  65. chosun says:

    Honestly, I’ve been supporting MLS since its inception, but after all the strange policies that seem to pop up, I’m finding it harder to continue. It’s actually very painful for me because I really do want the league to do well and I support RBNY, but there is far too much secrecy in the way MLS handles its business.

    Perhaps MLS teams should jump ship and join the USL. I’m much more loyal to RBNY than MLS, and USL seems to have their business sorted out properly.

  66. Don says:

    A modest proposal. How about the USL rename itelf the United Major Soccer League and go head to head with the Non-Major League Soccer League. In every com-petition, the current USL holds its own against all comers. Let the games begin.

  67. jloome says:

    I’ve been a reporter for a long time and my instincts on bullshit artists are pretty good, and Ives isn’t a bullshit artist. You noticed Agoos said the league didn’t block the “transfer.” He didn’t say the league didn’t veto the payment of a “transfer fee.”

    This kind of weasely wording is very common in politics, but always justified as “technically accurate”, and increasingly common in plenty of other fields, including sports management.

  68. Tim says:

    BK they were two major things that disrupted the Feilhaber and Cory Gibbs stuff.

    NE couldn’t compete finaicially with the other club, so it isn’t like there wasn’t an effort to get Feilhaber.

    Cory Gibbs had two major disruptions as well. The change in the LA organization and Eddie Lewis’s committment to go back to the MLS.

  69. j1m says:

    I think the only way for the MLS to prove Ives is wrong is to sign Kanjii to a Red Bull contract without forcing RBNY to spend allocation. I’d forgive Ives for starting “rumors” if this happened. Keep up the good work on the site!

  70. martha in miami says:

    You have a typo Ives, MLS not *MILS works…*The fact that I know you care about that, and are one of the few whom corrects it, speaks volumes of your professionalism. As a Metro/Fusion/Redbull from day one, devastated by MLS when they ripped our heart out by removing our beloved Supporters Shield Fusion, whom had captured magic in a bottle!…its hard to give them the benefit of the doubt. They need to have better p.r. to the fans. Maybe not *blocked* but *stifled* due to lack of funds overall!

  71. martha in miami says:

    Yes, other leagues are better to watch and are highly paid with great funding, but this is MY country and I want to watch it LIVE. Yes, it stinks compared to Europe but it was MINE to love!!! So can I A. Have my team back now please? and B. Quit messing with my adoptive team, so I at least enjoy that! Thanks in advance!!! Oh and btw, can you just pony up the cash to the salary cap…like yesterday? Thanks again, Still your loyal fan…in spite of it all!

  72. Pablo Chicago says:

    Wow! Much ado about a measly $200K.

    Interest set of circumstances. Ives can’t reveal his sources without losing credibility even when his credibility has been publicly called into question by Mr. Deputy Comish.

    A very ill-advised statement from the Deputy Dog. He could have easily denied it without attaching Ives.

    Karma, she’s a bitch, no?

  73. KingSnake says:

    That’s the kind of small-time behavior you expect from a bunch of yokels — Garber, Gazidis, Machnik, etc. — who have been in their jobs far longer than you would expect if they were competent. Because, if they were, someone else would have hired them away sometime in the last 10 years …

  74. Kyle says:

    Thanks Ives, for holding your ground and not folding to more MLS BS!!!

  75. Jayson Blair says:

    “It’s difficult to respond to blog entries where unknown sources are referenced – and of course blogs are driven by hits, not necessarily by the same standards as print media.”

    Right, Ivan. Print is clearly a higher standard. Just take the NY Times for instance; they would never plagiarize….oh…wait…

  76. Tom in Newark says:

    Keep up the good fight Ives. I put very little stock in public statements/denials from the Gazidis and Agoos. I doubt very much that MLS actually put much thought into denying the request, in gauging how pissed fans would be when they find out that this move was blocked by MLS. Agoos needs to grow a backbone and actually start doing his job.

  77. GeneralMSU3 says:


    Great job w/ the story! This is the the type of journalism that will fuel change for the better with this League. This has not been a good year for MLSHQ on many fronts….SuperLiga bonuses (or lack thereof), discovery claims, and now this. I also think there is something fishy going on with expansion. (I think they already know where they want to go.)

    The fact that you and other journalists are finding these stories will help move this League forward in the right direction. And they (MLSHQ) should hope that it does.

    This year has been a MAJOR turn-off for me!!

    Thanks Ives. Keep it up!

  78. Freddy says:

    I’m proud of you Ives! Stick to your guns! And don’t worry, the SBI Mafia knows you would never bs us!

  79. onionsack says:


    There is a very simple reason why MLS cannot and will not under any circumstances admit this.

    MLS aquired an anti-trust exemption for single entity that was later upheld in a court challenge. MLS severaly risks that exemption if it confirms that it in fact is refusing to pay market prices to other US soccer leagues with the intent on surpressing the market for those players and not setting precidents that it needs to pay for those players to keep USL from competeing in the US soccer marketplace.

    Also, with a CBA fight looming, the last thing MLS wants is to also have to fight a legal front against its player policies as well.

    So dont expect MLS to cave in and admit to this, in fact they will likely go to their graves denying this.

    They could allow the transfer in an attempt to try and offer proof they weren’t engaging in anti competitive actions, but that doesn’t mean and wouldn’t mean that Ives story was ever false.

  80. KingSnake says:

    Which just means Garber, Gazidis and the rest of their ‘crew’ are even bigger sleazeballs that most people ever imagined …

  81. Kartik says:

    Ives is without a doubt right. As I said last night a source confirmed to me that Ives was right and beyond that and more importantly this is the sort of thing that MLS does: it’s believable for me without the source or even without Ives report. In the early days of the league when Logan was the commish and Gulati had the Gazidis role they did much of the same. Then it seemed Garber stopped meddling so much but now the last few years it’s back to the old big bag single entity MLS.

  82. KingSnake says:

    Try that again … link to

  83. KingSnake says:

    Hmmm, works okay when I paste it directly into the address bar …

  84. Haig says:

    “MLS aquired an anti-trust exemption for single entity that was later upheld in a court challenge. MLS severaly risks that exemption if it confirms that it in fact is refusing to pay market prices to other US soccer leagues with the intent on surpressing the market for those players and not setting precidents that it needs to pay for those players to keep USL from competeing in the US soccer marketplace.”

    Thanks, Sack. I was wondering if the restraint of trade doctrine might come into play, as a result of the grounds of the Fraser decision.

    I’d love to see more lawsuits. MLS is a freaking cartel.

  85. JMR says:

    MLS and Agoos are obviously denying it based on a technicality. Reading the inital report states the discussion of the transfer took place.

    The commish has egg on his face.

  86. bangersandmash says:

    I think by now every MLS fan knows that the MLS standard opearting procedures manual is 50% dialouge from the wizard of oz and 50% “introduction to public relations.”

  87. inkedAG says:

    I don’t really have much to add to this post, other than I support and believe Ives over MLSFO and Jeff Agoos.

  88. Mikemike says:


    1) MLS and NY were trying to do a good cop/bad cop thing.

    2) USL/Atlanta doesn’t sell, and leak story.

    3) Because of antitrust regulations, MLS has to deny plan, even though they were really just trying to help out NY. It therefore follows that NY would not rat out MLS.

    Assuming this story cannot be dug up, the trick would be to look into other transfers from USL to MLS. MLS had to of done this with other players.


  89. Don Garber says:

    I did not have intereference with that transfer, Mr. Kandji.

  90. Tony H says:

    “At some point, the league just needs to make the system and its rules transparent.”


  91. Don Garber says:

    On the Record: “Blogs aren’t credible”

    Off the Record: “Keep up the great work!”

  92. quartz62 says:

    Stick to your guns Ives, we believe you and back you up 100%

  93. martha in miami says:

    Ay Dios mio/ oi vey! LOL on the 3 stooges, great we keep our well needed humor, as an MLS fan…and hey, dont insult the cartels that way, haha…says the Italian Colombian lover!

  94. BigJake says:

    Is it possible that the source is within the Atlanta organization? RBNY could have stated that MLS blocked the $200K fee, and that info was passed on to SBI. RBNY could have bluffed for a lower fee, or the info could be technically correct, much like Bill Clinton’s famous “not-have-sex” comment.