Bradley, agent reveal details of how TFC transfer transpired

MichaelBradleyTFCIntroduction1 (USATodaySports)


While Jermain Defoe’s transfer to Toronto FC was slowly reported over the last few months, news of Michael Bradley’s stunning return to Major League Soccer seemingly came out of the blue.

And according to Bradley’s agent Ron Waxman, that perception isn’t far from the truth.

Speaking to Goal USA’s Ives Galarcep, Waxman detailed the workings behind Bradley’s $10 million transfer to TFC, in which the 26-year-old midfielder signed a six-year, $40 million contract. Waxman explained that two weeks before the transfer was completed, he decided to approach the TFC brass with the possibility of Bradley coming back to North America.

“I know (Toronto FC general manager) Tim Bezbatchenko well from deals we had done together and I know (Toronto FC CEO) Tim Lieweke gets things done and is a winner,” Waxman told Goal USA. “Toronto FC just seemed like a perfect fit, and Michael was exactly the kind of player they needed, so once I knew Toronto was interested in making something happen MLS was made aware so the process could begin.”

After speaking with Waxman, TFC stepped up to the plate and offered the whopping $40 million deal, one of the largest in MLS history. At that point, all that was left to do was for Bradley to speak with the TFC trio who were interested in signing him.

Once Bradley spoke with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke, TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko, and TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen, the U.S. Men’s National Team star was “sold” on returning to play in MLS.

“It happened very quickly,” Bradley told Goal USA. “It turned from an idea or some interest into a reality. When I learned about Toronto FC’s interest and was able to speak to Tim Lieweke and Tim Bezbatchenko and Ryan Nelson, I realized really quickly how committed they were to building something special here. How motivated they were. How excited they were by the potential at this club. The more I spoke to them, the more I thought about things, this was something I wanted to be a part of.”

“This was an opportunity I didn’t want to let pass me by,” Bradley continued. “If you’d asked me a few years ago if I’d be back in MLS at this moment I probably would have answered no. But I think there’s certain moments in life when you have to have the ability to forget about everything else and only look at what’s in front of you and then make a decision about what’s best for you. What motivates you, and for me that’s what this is all about.


What do you think of this report? Which details of the transfer do you find most interesting? Impressed with the speed in which it was completed? Do you think Bradley still should have turned down a $40 million contract?

Share your thoughts below.

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48 Responses to Bradley, agent reveal details of how TFC transfer transpired

  1. Nate Dollars says:

    ‘Speaking to Goal USA’s Ives Galarcep’

    lol, wtf

    • blokhin says:

      SBI sources say that Ives spoke to Bradley’s agent

    • Yusef says:

      Truly strange way to reference Ives on his own site.

      • Vic says:

        Remember when Bob Dole ran for President? Bob Dole wants to remind you all to vote for Bob Dole.

        • Chivas fan says:

          Indeed, I do. He wasn’t much of a candidate, but as the last WWII vet to run for president, he holds a special place in my trivia-laden mind.

    • Sharkbait says:

      Pretty sure all of these quotes were from his interview on the SBI podcast this week too.

    • AcidBurn says:

      What’s the big deal? So Ives writes both for Goal and this site. Awesome that he was able to get the scoop at all. Don’t know why the uproar that he links to his goal articles here.

      Stop complaining about the man getting paid, he needs $ for some new shirts for when he loses those 100 lbs and gets a tv gig :)

      • CeezNYRB says:

        I wouldn’t call it an uproar. Let’s not get carried away either. People just found that odd. No big deal.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        i wasn’t trying to comment on ives’ gig at goal, or its impact on this site.

        just thought it was a funny way to introduce ives to this site’s audience.

    • Tom says:

      Waxman doesn’t address the salary question and yet Ives prints the ridiculous figures again for Mikey as gospel when the only reference is still the original ESPN article. This of course, is the T’Eo network which mesmorized its zombie audiences with made-up stories without ever bothering to check the facts. Now, we get more fantasy from ESPN and even Defoe’s wages are being reported incorrectly in the British press using the same ESPN misreporting.

      • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

        Tom knows what the salaries are ( Defoe’s are incorrect), but Ives is just referencing ESPN ? hmmmmm.

      • Falls City Outlaw says:

        Thank you for standing up for the truth. There’s no way that an organization with as large and detailed a news arm as ESPN could possibly be reporting this correctly, not when an Italian tabloid is reporting contrary! Especially when you consider that ESPN broke this story? Those fools don’t know what they’re talking about!

        Dude, give it up. The Toronto Sun (or Star, whatever it is) is also reporting a total expenditure of almost $100,000,000 on transfer fees + salary for the two of them.

        • Tom says:

          Toronto Star article references the ESPN (Manti T’eo Fantasy Network) article that broke the story. While ESPN might not be fools, Falls City Outlaw, they think you are (and they are correct.)

          Again, Italy reports the total amount of a contract and leaves it to you to do the division all by yourself, Falls City Outlaw, down there in your mother’s basement. 6.5 million for 6 years, not 6.5 million per year for Mikey.

  2. Vic says:

    Can’t blame Bradley at all. I would say 80% of players in Bradley’s situation would have taken the deal. Bradley left for two reasons 1) financial 2) he could still play on the national team while in MLS. Reason MLS can’t recruit many top players in their prime is because they risk not getting called up to their respective national team. That won’t happen with an American player.

  3. Dos says:

    It’s reads as a carbon copy of the justification offered by major players who chase money in the big 4 pro sports league . . . hits all the platitudes of ‘amazing opportunity’ ‘made so much sense once I talked to Management Person X’ etc. . . . obviously there is a lot of nuance to the situation here, but at the end of the day it is about the money. TFC might be as far from the champions league as you can get in the western world.

    The more MLS grows in stature, perhaps the more familiar this will become (obviously). I would love to hear what the Luis Gil/Shane O’Neil/Deandre Yedlins really think about this. MB earned ever penny of that money, but not by staying in MLS . . . will the ambition of young players veer transition from wanting to prove themselves abroad even if money isn’t an issue?

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      And I want Yedlin/Gil, etc to realize that Landon did the same thing, only with a better Nat team career by staying in the US, where we watched him play for over a decade.

  4. biff says:

    Agree, that mikey-cakes has to look out after ol’ Number One. After eight years in Europe floating from team to team and never able to successfully make the big breakthrough. And then a once-in-a-lifetime offer pops up at a salary that better players in Europe could only dream of, not surprising that a player would say: Enough. I give up. And take the money and run. No one in their right mind can blame him for securing his family’s financial future.

    That said, Jurgen Klinsmann also has his priorities and the big question mark now hanging over MB is how Jurgen Klinsmann is going to react to this. Klinsmann might perceive the move back to an easy life in MLS as a slap in the face against the Klinsmann edict to test yourself at the highest levels. And/or MB might get lazy and his form will drop. In either case, it would be easier for Klinsmann to justify sitting MB and test younger, more ambitious and hungry defensive midfielders with the potential to be better attackers, which is not MB’s strong point. No doubt there are players in the USMNT pool who would love to steal MB’s starting spot on the team. He’s gonna have to fight to keep it. Exciting times ahead.

    • Michael Bradley says:

      You forgot to mention that I only got my USMNT spot in the first place due to nepotism, but other than that, pretty good job on hitting all the Michael-Bradley-is-a-big-meanie-waaah talking points.

      • Falls City Outlaw says:


        I remember when the “die hard real fans” hated him because he was the coach’s son and “didn’t deserve his spot.” You broke my heart, Fredo. I knew it was you all along!

    • Mason says:

      I don’t think that any Bradley is capable of “taking it easy”.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      “it would be easier for Klinsmann to justify sitting MB and test younger, more ambitious and hungry defensive midfielders with the potential to be better attackers”

      The player you described does not exist.

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:


      He failed.
      He gave up.
      He took the money and ran.
      He fled to an easy life in MLS.
      He is not as ambitious and hugry as others.

      Is that all you have Biff ? I took you for a AAA whiner. That is AA ball (maybe single A) Biff.

    • Dennis says:

      I thought JK’s take on this move was quite positive.

      If nothing else, it offers Bradley the chance to have the role of a player his team depends upon to play well and improve those around him, much like his role on the USMNT is. That is the kind of role he was never going to have at Roma.

    • CeezNYRB says:

      I’m not sure why my comment was deleted. There was no vulgarity. But ok……

      Soon, we won’t be allowed to post anything. Jeez.

    • Dave says:

      Wow – your first paragraph was just ridiculous. And so impressed you have anointed him with the “cakes” designation so quickly. Decisive.

  5. 4now says:

    MLS had a real chance to distinguish itself from other American leagues by not succumbing to absurd salary scales. I can see the logic behind paying inflated amounts for a David Beckham, but the salaries for players like Dempsey, Defoe, Bradley and Cahill are truly ridiculous, and will pretty much guarantee that middle-class folks are going to be priced out of the gates in the next generation. This is all about the egos and little-man complexes of a handful of horrible businessman.

    • Pete says:

      Gee, MLS just can’t win with some people. The league can now offer a quality American player a chance to make very good money right at home. After all the concerns that America could never be a world power in soccer specifically because American athletes could earn more money in other sports, why is this a bad thing?

      • 4now says:


        It’s comparative. And its precedent.

        MB is not a 6mil player, nor is CD an 8mil player. Those costs will funnel down to the fan.

        LD makes 2.4mil – fine. That seems to reflect a reasonable scale. And that’s probably what MB and CD should be making.

        But these inflated salaries are absurd. It’s bloated Wall Street logic. It’s millionaires acting out of bloated self-interest with no concern/understanding/consideration for the common fan.


        • DWE4 says:

          MLS owners: Damned if they don’t spend money. Damned if the do spend money. Damned if they spend money on aging European/South American stars past their prime. Damned if they spend money on the best American players still in their prime.

          Only promotion/relegation could cure these woes!

      • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

        Pete, whiners whine….it is what they do best.

        This is perfect for them and what they love most.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      It’s pretty simple…. if MLS wants to compete with top leagues, if you want to see a product on the field of that quality, there are compromises… you are going to have to pay for it…. there is no getting around it as professional soccer and it’s talent competes in a single worldwide marketplace. If it is a more grass roots experience is what you crave, there will always be options… college, NASL, the local field… your daughter’s AYSO team.

      • 4now says:

        Short term thinking.

        Long term thinking would be – instead of paying MB 6mil/year, I’ll offer him 3mil a year, if he takes it, great. If not. I invest the 3mil on a real market value 3mil/year player – this is roughly Coutinho’s salary at Liverpool btw – and then invest the other 3mil in the academy system.

        Instead, you pay 6x the market value to sign MB, toss 10mil out of the US soccer scene into Italy, and then – eventually – ask fans to pay for it in gate prices, etc.

        Yes, it is pretty simple.

        • MC says:

          No, It’s simply this:

          Michael Bradley in MLS will easily payback via what US TV broadcasters will pay for MLS rights in the upcoming 8 year TV contract.

          $6M/6 yr Michael Bradley (and Clint Dempsey), stars of USMNT – in a World Cup year, and inspiration for US youth to choose soccer as a high paying/profile professional career IN THE US (similar to NFL, MLB), will get you more money, via 8 yr TV contract being negotiated right now.

          Easily enough to pay for the $3M in academy upgrades as well and still come out ahead vs. the alternate scenario you suggest….

          $3M Coutinho and $3M invested in the youth system will NOT get MLS this kind of TV deal.

          Also, because of increased TV revenue, Fans won’t have to pay for MB/CD in gate prices. I’m sure MLS has completely analyzed and approved the ROI on this.

          • Nooneimportant says:

            I disagree that Michael Bradley will have that big of an impact on TV rights because I do not think he will move the needle in ratings.

  6. CeezNYRB says:

    Regarding Klinsmann’s reaction: link to

    Also, regarding your claim that Bradley now has to “fight” to keep his spot: Who exactly are these players that MB suddenly has to look out for? In a World Cup year, I’m assuming that the players you have identified are significantly better than Bradley so as to warrant the unseating of Bradley at *his* position. Please elucidate.

    • CeezNYRB says:

      This was in response to Biff at 12:26 pm but somehow it’s its own thread. The joys of a moderation queue…

  7. UMF89 says:

    I understand all the comments about MB90 and the $$$. I am really torn, MB, is my favorite USMNT player but I have to say now (and I hope I am wrong) but 3 and out in Brazil. Also, I would not be shocked if JK takes a job in Europe for a club or national team after the WC. JK must be dumbfounded by this decision!!!!!!! The mental aspect he has spent the entire WC cycle building was just shot to hell in the last 12 months. Dempsey and MB his two best in-form players leaving Europe. So when it come down to it, in that moment when the WC knockout stage is on the line and you are Portugal (a fragile-minded team) and they step on the field and ask themselves…are we better than a bunch of MLS players…mentally that may be the difference. JK is thinking something along those lines right now and he may also be thinking maybe these Americans do not have the mindset or mentality I thought they had? BOY, DO I HOPE I AM WRONG COME JUNE!

    • CeezNYRB says:

      You will be. You seriously underestimate the strength and quality of MLS. I am not claiming it’s at the level of Serie A, EPL, Bundesliga, or La Liga but it is not a dumping ground either. Too many USMNT “fans” are getting carried away with hyperbole. I would venture to say the majority of the complaints are coming from those who don’t even follow MLS. Those who do follow MLS acknowledge our league isn’t at the European level yet but you don’t see us getting all hyperbolic.

      I still say let’s wait and see. As an MLS fan from 1996, I have seen the evolution of the league. The league is here to stay and is stronger than ever. All it will take is a good result in Brazil for all the naysayers to finally jump the bandwagon. Get on the bandwagon while you still can. Afterwards, you’ll just be “one of those”.

      Have faith, people. Jeez!

    • Vic says:

      Don’t agree with your doomsday scenario. Many young players in MLS will still want to go to Europe for money and higher level playing experience. Bradley and Dempsey have 14 years in European experience between the two of them so its not the same as a young player saying I want to stay in MLS my whole career.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      Doesn’t compute.

      Why would Dempsey or Bradley’s example dissuade young players from going to Europe when the pathway to developing themselves both commercially and on the field for both of these players was through doing well/proving themselves in Europe? Seems to me that to someone paying attention, this would encourage a player wanting to play in a top 5 league.

      • UMF89 says:

        OK let’s use a different example. Gonzalez from LA Galazy. Went to train or on trail to Germany and was hurt in his first practice. He is now a DP and I doubt he will go to Europe unless he kills it at the WC. He is a youngish player (for the college/US system) vs. The Brooks kid at Hertha Berlin (currently injured) which one is taking on the bigger challenge? I hope MLS does become a Big 5 league in the future and this maybe (I hope) the start, but, that does help JK now and it does not help US soccer development between now and the 2018 Cup. DPing US players young or old in MLS is not a positive for the US. Yes the $$ may be good for the player himself but it will not be good for US Soccer in general in my opinion.

    • away goals says:

      The whole “stay in europe” approach is a mixed bag. Sure it’s working for some guys (now), but for others it basically cost them a spot on the usmnt roster.

      While edu and parkhurst languished on benches in europe, they saw themselves jumped on the depth chart by MLS regulars beckerman and evans.

      Bradley’s usmnt spot wasn’t in jeopardy, but his match sharpness was. He could have taken his chances at another european club, but there’s no guarantee he would have found minutes at a new destination either.

  8. bottlcaps says:

    The MLS is going to gret length’s to dispel the erroneous perception that the MLS is a “retirement league” for players wishing to make some better than ordinary money before they hang up the cleats. It is true that the MLS has signed many an ageing star, but, in the most part they were good moves as the players signed were willing to play here and they brought skill sets that the local market did not have. That was then, this is now.

    The MLS will get more money from better TV contracts, better endorsements and, more teams and even better attendance. Although we are still behind the major Euro teams in terms of TV money, many teams in the bigger markets have signed side deals.

    The salary cap keeps many of the more naive owners, to build sensibly before going after marquee players. This keeps the MLS from pulling another old NASL failure of overextending and then folding.

    The whole purpose of going abroad is to a.) challenge yourself b.) make better money c.) make inroads to selection to the national team. If most of that can be attained at the MLS level, the only reason to go abroad is to challenge yourself at another level. We are fast approaching another competitive level. With the addition of the good DP’s, the cultivation of Academy, homegrown players, generation Adidas and College drafts, we are getting a better pool of players.

    The MLS is going in the right direction and is taking bold steps in doing so. and I think that, when it starts playing, NOT ONE player that will go to Beckham’s Miami MLS team, will come there for the retirement.

  9. whoop-whoop says:

    Something that I haven’t seen mention of this week is that the USMNT match in Seattle may well have played a major role in turning the tide and having these players look at MLS in a new light… as a viable, credible option. Many of the European based players on that team commented on how surprised they were at the quality of atmosphere in the stadium and city for that match, including the Germany based players. Hearing the league has progressed is a much different thing than experiencing it firsthand and the difference from their MLS experience had to be striking for both MB and Deuce.

    This is a factor that needs to be paid attention to by MLS. Hosting US National Team matches as well as friendlies, All Star games etc are not only an opportunity to market/promote the league to fans, but to quality professionals outside MLS as well. In setting up these games, putting their very best foot forward in presenting premier facilities, cities, atmosphere, supporters is vital. How the games are televised, how cameras, mics/audio are staged for supporters groups/ noise… and yes… NFL striping on the field… all of these things count!!! Like it or not image/appearance play a huge role in pro sports, especially when it comes to young image conscious players who have spent years trying to make it to the big time. As well… the nature of most sports fans is as frontrunners… to want to associate themselves with quality and success.

  10. Brian S. says:

    Can someone explain to me the workings of an MLS contract as far as guaranteed money. Is this similar to a baseball contract where the whole thing is guaranteed no matter what or a football contract where only a portion is guaranteed money and you can be release at any time after that?