Zusi, Besler sign Designated Player contracts to stay in KC

Matt Besler


KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Graham Zusi and Matt Besler are fine calling Kansas City home.

Ahead of its home match against the LA Galaxy Saturday, Sporting Kansas City announced that both Zusi and Besler have signed Designated Player contracts to stay with the club long term. Additional terms of the new contracts were not disclosed.

“Getting these deals completed is extremely beneficial for the organization and the two players,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in a release. “Graham (Zusi) and Matt (Besler) have both proven over the past almost six seasons that they are core players within this club. They have had a tremendous impact on creating a winning culture and these agreements keep us on the path of attaining our goals and expectations.

“I want to thank the ownership group for their continued vision and commitment to securing both players for the long term.”

Both Besler and Zusi have been linked to possible deals in Europe, with the former linked directly to Fulham and Sunderland as two of at least 10 clubs in England and Germany bidding for his talents.

“This is a dream come true to know that I’ll be playing my whole career in Kansas City,” Besler said. “A lot of factors went into this decision, but the ownership and the great fans played a huge part. Now, there is a responsibility to go forward to keep pushing this team farther and farther.”

“This is where I have always wanted to be,” Zusi echoed in the release. “I would like to thank Peter Vermes and the Sporting Club ownership for working with me toward this long-term contract and I look forward to continuing my career in the best stadium in MLS in front of the best fans in MLS. I have always respected players who have played their entire career with one team and I look forward to a long career in Kansas City.”

Besler and Zusi have amassed four MLS Best XI awards and six MLS All-Star selections between the two of them. The defender and midfielder joined the league together in 2009 and spent their rookie year together staying at Besler’s parents home in Overland Park, Kan.

With the move, Sporting KC has filled its allotted three Designated Player spots with Besler and Zusi joining forward Claudio Bieler.


What do you think of the move? Is this a good career move for Besler and Zusi to stay in Kansas City for the long term?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Sporting Kansas City. Bookmark the permalink.

120 Responses to Zusi, Besler sign Designated Player contracts to stay in KC

  1. Del Griffin says:

    John Brooks says thank you very much.

    • JayAre says:

      Lol he definitely is. Besler might rotate in and out until the Confed Cup (if we qualify) but if all things go as they are planned 2018 looks like a Brooks Gonzo year

      • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

        It all depends if Brooks keep improving. I can see Besler start over Gonzo. In fact I think a besler brooks combo may work out fine. Gonzo needs to improve simple as that.

      • Matt J. Brooks says:

        Packwood is going to push Gonzalez hard

    • Quen047 says:

      Get real. Besler is our best CB and will continue to be so for the next few years- CB’s frequently peak in their early 30’s. Klinsi obviously isn’t a Eurosnob and can see that. If and I mean IF Brooks is going to take over from anyone it will be Cameron, but he’ll have to deal with competition from Gonzales.

      • Kmac014 says:

        +1. Besler is easily out best cb. What’s the difference if he plays in mls?

        • Todd T. says:

          What differences does it make? Really?

          • Mike R says:

            The difference is they won’t get much better now.
            Without being challenged by better players there growth is gonna stagnate.

            Would a baseball player turn down a chance to go to the majors if is AA team offered him a ton of money? Wouldn’t that player get better hitting/pitching elite pitchers/hitters?

            • GW says:

              They can be replaced on the USMNT roster.

              They are of greater value to the game in this country by helping make SKC a powerhouse team and proving to kids that Americans can make a nice living in the sport without having to leave the country so that our player pool can be just like England..

              Their players hardly ever leave the UK.. Only one player on the English World Cup squad played outside the EPL.

              So maybe someday the USMNT can be just like England, with a player pool of homegrown gutless players who wilt away from home.

              • Gregory says:

                and we could go out in the group stage just like england

              • Matt C says:

                England = Not the country we want to imitate.

              • Lorenzo says:


                Or like Germany or Spain, whose players grow up and play in their league and then go win a World Cup on another continent. Tonto

              • GW says:


                In their WC squads, Spain had 8 players playing abroad and Germany had 7.

                Spain , 2014 World Cup squad

                Raúl Albiol Italy Napoli
                Javi Martínez Germany Bayern Munich
                Fernando Torres England Chelsea
                David de Gea England Manchester United
                Juan Mata England Manchester United
                Santi Cazorla England Arsenal
                David Silva England Manchester City
                Pepe Reina Italy Napoli
                And Pique and Fabregas spent significant time in England.

                Germany, 2014 World Cup squad

                Sami Khedira Spain Real Madrid
                Mesut Özil England Arsenal
                André Schürrle England Chelsea
                Lukas Podolski England Arsenal
                Miroslav Klose Italy Lazio
                Per Mertesacker England Arsenal
                Shkodran Mustafi Italy Sampdoria

            • DCLee says:

              What are you smokin Mike R? Can I have some.

              MLS worked great for Landon Donovan and it will be fine for Besler and Zusi. the league is strong enough. Have some faith. If you look through most WC rosters you will see that the majority of players play domestically.

              And I think Bradley had an alright WC. Could have been better or worse. I think he really missed having another technical player to combine with like Landon Donovan or Diskerud.

        • Cylo says:

          You guys act like Besler CB play is top notch in the world cup. Klinsi played a bunkerdown style with Beckerman protecting that back four for a reason. Lets not even mention all the Belgium shots at Howard. We all consider Besler our top rated CB right now and he needs to get better. To get better is playing against the best. He took the easy route. Scared to lose a starting job and fight for one in Europe

          • Citronomics says:

            Or maybe offers from Fulham, Sunderland and other clubs pursuing him weren’t attractive enough. Not saying that going to Europe wouldn’t help Besler improve, just that it’s likely fighting for time on a club like Sunderland won’t help a ton either.


      • Jake says:

        Yep, Klinsi obviously isn’t a eurosnob at all.

        • Quen047 says:

          I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic, but if you are keep in mind the number of MLS’ers on the 2014 WC team vs 2010 with Bradley. Sure, he likes his Germaricans and for good reason, but Talented MLS players had real opportunities this year.

          • Mike R says:

            Yes and the last five goals against in the US in the Wc could be attributed to Bessler.

            Also yes there were ton of MLS ers but the ones that have never gone over seas didn’t do much besides yedlin and I would say Bradley has regressed.

            • Shock Value says:

              You could make the argument that the 5 goals were attributable to Besler. But then we’d have to keep a straight face. Please don’t.

            • beachbum says:

              Beckerman did well, life long MLSer. Gonzo played well vs. Germany, then looked like a guy who hadn’t played 90 minutes in 2 months when they played Belgium a few days later; that’s on someone else though imo.

              re. Bradley can you explain what you call his regression in your opinion?

  2. JayAre says:

    This is good for MLS, I’m glad they didn’t go to Europe especially Besler. He was our best defender and the offers he was getting was a shame. Hopefully the new CBA is more favorable in terms of player salary so we can keep more players and bring in better players instead of overplaying old has beens. As for Alexi Lalas…….. I just don’t get why he’s always trying to start something. This guy was a failure as a GM and he criticizes like he’s done better.

    • GW says:

      Did Lalas comment on Besler? What did he say?

      • Bac says:

        Bretos congratulated them both
        Then he asked Zusi a question about the decision, then Besler answered the same question
        Over to Lalas…
        “Matt, now that you’ve signed a DP contract, do you think Collin deserves a similar contract and DP money?”

        • GW says:

          That’s a valid question.

          I don’t know what Collin’s contract situation is.

          Forget about the on the field stuff, I spent some time in KC recently and while I’m no expert, it seems like Collin is a pretty prominent player in Sporting’s marketing campaign’s. And he seems pretty important on the field as well.

          • JayAre says:

            It’s a valid question for the SKC front office not Besler. Whats Besler suppose to say? “Hey pay me less money and pay Colin”.

            • GW says:

              Besler is a big boy now.

              Everyone wanted soccer to become a big time sport in America. With that comes media attention.

              Some media are intelliegent, insightful and classy.

              Then you get guys like Lalas.

              You take the good with the bad and be thankful that there is any good at all.

              There was a time not so long ago when Besler would not have even been interviewed..

    • Matthew R says:

      I thought the same thing when Lalas said that. Why are you asking a player to comment on his teammate’s salary on National TV? Alexi, would you like it if someone asked Max Bretos what you should be payed compared to him? I don’t think so, but if someone did I hope Bretos would say ESPN should drop Lalas. So many skilled Americans have played the game since Lalas was on the USMNT, and quite frankly if Dempsey “Hasn’t done s***”, I don’t know what to say about Lalas’s career. I wouldn’t mind him as an analyst if he didn’t have such an ego and constantly try to stir the pot, but he does and it’s time for someone new.

      • Bac says:

        Eventually the sports world caught up with the broadcast careers of Dan Dierdorf, Matt Millen, Bill Walton etc…

        • GW says:

          Eventually the real world caught up to Hilter,Stalin and others but about 40 million people had to die while everyone was figuring it out.

          Lalas is where is he is because ESPN and outlets like that like their pundits be colorful characters with a bit of an “edge”. He’ll be on the air as long as his ratings are good. In that sense, Alexi is the pundit that US soccer fans deserve.

          Martino and even Taylor are far more insightful and intelligent but they don’t have Alexi’s “it” factor.

          • Bac says:

            Well then my next question would be how does one define “his” ratings vs “espns” ratings..
            Eventually his “it” factor will catch up to him… which was my point about the previous pundits I mentioned.. at least for our sake I hope it’s sooner rather than later

  3. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    Really thought Besler had enough tools and talent to play reguarly in Europe. I understand why he would stay for personal reasons.

    However, from a Proffessional perspective theres not much more for him to do in MLS. Hes already been defender of the year, all star and Won MLS Cup. Really thought a new challenge wouldve been good for him as a player.

    Hope his DP deal was worth it!

    • OofDa says:

      These posts are the height of arrogance. But, I suppose it’s the point of a comments section. We–the unwashed masses–have zero knowledge of this individuals reasons for making a decision about their EMPLOYMENT for chrissakes.

      • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

        I stated my opinion. And youre be condesending because it differs than yours. Thats Arrogance A-hole.

      • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

        Oh calm down. You said it yourself — It’s speculation on a comment board because that’s all the info we have access to. Moreover, it’s a fairly valid perspective given the information that has been provided here and elsewhere over the past few weeks included strong suggestions that Besler was hankering for a move abroad.

        The “height of arrogance” is a little over the top… The intrinsic value a soccer player is very minimal in the grand scheme of things– professional soccer does not feed hungry people, cure cancer, or power industry. The sole reason Besler (or any player) can command this type of money for playing this game is the engagement of the fans they entertain. And yeah, sometimes they ask questions.

    • mikeg says:

      Better than going to a scrub team like Sunderland with the potential of degressing and sitting on the bench. Sporting KC is learning to win. I see the challenge of building a potential dynasty team appetizing. I am pro Budesliga or Eredivisie, but considering scrub teams in England and what SKC is doing SKC wins, but a long-term deal could backfire.

  4. Jag says:

    Big mistake for Besler. There’s nothing more he can do in MLS. For his further development, he needed the challenge of competing against the best attackers in the world week in and week out. He had an option to do that, but chose to stay in MLS. Time will only tell if this move costs him long term. As the above poster stated, I think John Brooks will eventually move ahead of him. I really thought for 2018 Russia, that a Besler Brooks combo would be our best. Omar probably has options to go overseas too, and should take them. Our national team guys need to be in Europe improving their game.

    • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

      I agree. But I’m interested to see if SKC broke the bank on these DPs. Keep in mind Beslers contract was going to expire next year. After this WC his stock was probably at all time high.. I do believe that Besler still can improve but I think his improvement could have been more and at a more excellerated pace abroad.

    • BFBS says:

      We also have Will Packwood (21/6’3”/starts at Brum), and he could very well challenge for the starting spot.

    • Torvald Coolguy says:

      Costs him long term? He’s 27, there really isn’t a long term for him in with regard to future contracts. This was his chance to cash in, and if the most attractive offer for him was in Sporting KC, I aint going to hate on a guy just because what he wants might not be what I want him to do.

      • OofDa says:

        Yes. This.

      • Ali Dia says:

        This really is it for me, too. His most likely suitors would be looking at him as experienced cover, rather than a first-choice option. If he were 23, I’d be more enthusiastic about a move abroad.

    • Matt C says:

      JAG, i’m generally in line with you. He probably won’t regress in the MLS but facing competition (for a spot..and those he’d play against) he’d see in Europe would improve him. Harden him. Sharpen him.

      However, what we don’t know is Who was offering money and how much money was being offered. Sure as heck wouldn’t suggest he go to Europe for less money…or to a crap club.

      A lot “depends”..and we just don’t know the details.

      Still, we can speculate and have fun.

  5. USMNT Fan says:

    Hopefully, Yedlin will look to improve his game against top competition overseas.

  6. come on, you need to go to europe says:


    MLS could have made 5 million dollars selling Besler and a million selling Zusi

    • JayAre says:

      Sporting KC has own their own stadium so they make a lot of money from that and MLS is getting a better TV deal so there on the up and up in terms of finance. $5M isn’t really worth it losing your top talent over. That is what is killing teams like DC United. MLS teams are worth more than ever before, almost double what they were worth a few years ago. Thats why I’m not mad a team like Seattle is holding out with Yedlin. They don’t need the peanuts that Euro teams are offering. Euro teams have to catch up with the growth of MLS $5M won’t really move a players anymore. Especially if that player is deemed a potential franchise corner stone.

      • tw says:

        Agreed, the attitude in Seattle and SKC should be “F U, pay me. We’re think we’re better than Sunderland”. Time for MLS to put on the big boy pants and start acting like one of the big boy leagues when it comes to their stars rather than selling them to lower table EPL teams. I’d actually like the Red Bulls to try to bring Jozy back to MLS.

        • Anthony says:

          While I think some players belong back in the MLS, Jozy is not one of them. He got caught in a bad situation and is a better player. He is only 24! I think USMNT players should play with and against the best competition that their ability allows them (unless personal reasons dictate a move back to the states). I think Jozy can still play in an elite league and stays. I would rather have mentally strong players prove themselves than weak guys give up and come home. Don’t mention Dempsey and Bradley, they proved themselves. Besides, I think he is more likely to play for Beckham’s team in 6 or so years since he is close to his family.

    • Quen047 says:

      Or they could keep their best American players and continue to earn respect in their newfound ability to take care of them financially. Not sure what selling good players does for MLS.

      • jb says:

        It does nothing positive for MLS, like you say. The conflict for us fans is that top Americans moving to Europe to play (assuming consistent PT against top competition, etc) is going to be better for our USMNT.

        This innate conflict between MLS and US Soccer needs to be managed carefully because both are important in growing the game here.

        For my part, I think you need a balance. I think its great if the older stars (and at 27 Besler is older) can stay in MLS and get paid and help increase the quality of MLS. While maybe the younger “breakout” stars (Yedlin) should go test themselves abroad.

    • Kmac014 says:

      Zusi especially worth more to mls by keeping him then

  7. Siberian says:

    This is the way to build a club. Great news for Sporting KC.

  8. come on, you need to go to europe says:

    What happened to Yanks braving the obstacles to go abroad and play?

    Altidore may have flopped in England but at least he has the balls to go there and challenge himself to play against the best. Not settle for a 3rd tier league. MLS is growing. In 20 years we might be a true feeder league to the PL ala Holland/Belgium. 40 years we might challenge the EPL.

    but Besler/Zusi staying to help grow the league is ridiculous. They can’t possibly change things. Perhaps add some allure to SKC but none more.

    Heck if Donovan had stayed at Leverkusen and performed better. He could have been 1 of the top stars at a CL club. Maybe 1 of the biggest stars in Bundesliga or EPL (if he had gone to England instead of MLS)

    Grow the NT and then the league. come on

    • GW says:

      It’s a balance. The stronger MLS gets the stronger the overall pool of American players should get.

      However, the US still needs to have players go abroad and succeed at the highest levels possible. The overall player pool needs the experience and intangibles those players can bring.

      Otherwise, they risk becoming England where none of the players ever leave.

      • why LORD why says:

        The NT should come first.

        MLS is 30-40 years away from being the top league they all imagine it to be. The NT can become a top 12 nation if say we keep winning Gold Cups, finish in top 4 in the Copa A and quarterfinal finishes of the next 2/3 World Cups

        • GW says:

          Besler is 27 and while he would improve at the right team in Europe, it is possible he did not get the “right offers” from the right team.

          In which case, it is smart to hit up MLS for a huge raise and see what happens down the line.

          3-4 years is a long time. Things may change next year. Loans are possible. What if Besler has a killer Copa America in 2016? Those offers could still be there.

          I’ve been there and KC is great town to be an MLS player in. Vermes obviously has a great relationship with JK. .

          Besides if Besler drops off in quality it seems there are a number of good prospects coming in down the line so , at this point, I’m not worried about the USMNT.

        • Mike says:

          See, as fans of the USMNT, see it as a decision that could hamper the progress of the players. But the players themselves see it as getting paid well where I am beloved, why would I want to leave?

  9. Kmac014 says:

    I really wanted to see besler in Europe but after seeing the teams he was linked too (Sunderland and Fulham, who r in the championship in case anyone forgot) I’m ok with him staying

    • why LORD why says:

      surely there were more clubs.

      Sunderland is in the PL but we can justifiably expect another season in a relegation fight.

  10. why LORD why says:

    SKC is paying them what 500-700 K a year to stay

    They could have gotten 1.5 million in the Premier League

    • quitetheschemer says:

      Nothing quite like home. I would have probably signed a DP deal if it was me. 800k a season in MLS or taking a risk you pull a michael parkhurst in europe. I would take the safe cash on the long term deal. They probably received 5-6 year contracts.

    • Mike in Missouri says:

      If they got 800k, they break even at worse when factoring in 2 sets of taxes s, houses, travel, etc.

      • Increase0 says:

        I hate that for the US we have to pay US taxes and foreign taxes…. It’s soooo annoying,

      • Paul says:

        I have lived abroad and I think you misunderstand the US tax code. You only pay US tax (above 133k a year), if the marginal tax rate in the country that you live in is less than than the same marginal tax rate on the same amount in the US. Taxes in Western Europe are all higher except for Switzerland, so you would not owe any federal taxes to the US government.

  11. quitetheschemer says:

    I am really interested to see what the new CBA will be as far as salary cap. These teams have the loot to spend, so let em. I understand the fact that our league in the 80s went bankrupt. But times have changed. This league is really starting to grow. Its great to watch. A six million dollar salary cap with an extra DP for a CONCACAF national team player or any player born in the CONCACAF region would do wonders for the league. Come to think about it, there really arent that many americans playing in europe anymore. I dont know if this is good or bad.

  12. Mikey K says:

    Man, I wanted Besler to go to Fulham or somewhere like QPR. And people criticizing Graham Zusi talking about he was horrible i dont know What cup were you all watching who are saying Zusi is not a good player, because the Graham Zusi I saw, played good in his first ever World Cup. He assisted one what should have been the game winning Portugal goal, he also assisted on the Ghana goal and you all complain about him saying he cant serve a ball in the box is crazy. I could see him playing in Belgium, Scottish EPL or a Divison 2 German Bundesliga side. I knew when I saw him score the game winning goal for Maryland he was going to be on the US mens Nats team. He as well and Yedlin did good against top quality European talent.

    • Manny F says:

      He was garbage to me because he was to be a Donovan type of player. But I never have expected anything from a poor man Donovan. He was crap the whole World Cup and I don’t have memorable memories of Zusi.

  13. Juan Villatoro says:

    Conformists but then again don’t expect then to wear the red white and blue for 2018…but thats none of my business

  14. AcidBurn says:

    Ghana’s got a cr@pload of players in Europe with wonking pedigrees. Didn’t help them from only scoring one goal and losing to the US. Too bad Besler didn’t go to Sunderland to sit on the bench so all of you could cry week in and week out about how he needs playing time, only for him to start one game and get ragged on incessantly by the Dunderland fans.

    Besler isn’t going to learn how to defend Lukaku by sitting on the bench. We all know that those bids were not for him as a starter. Playing time, playing time, playing time.

    • Maykol says:

      So you dont think Besler is good enough to start for a relegation threatened English team?

    • GW says:

      Acid Burn,

      Besler got tons of playing time at SKC. How well did that prep him for Lukaku?

      • Clover362 says:

        It prepared him well, don’t know too many defenders in the world that wouldn’t get beat by that guy coming on fresh after 90+minutes and 3 games in Brazilian heat.

  15. FRANK says:


  16. 7 says:

    ZUSI is 27. dude could have gotten on with a club in Belgium or France. Small relegation fodder club but so what

  17. Alexandria says:

    I think this is great for the league and for SKC. Besler is 27 he doesn’t need to go challenge himself especially not at Sunderland or Fulham clear steps down from SKC. We don’t need 20 yrs to become a top league you’re watching the transformation before your eyes enjoy it.

    • Del Griffin says:

      In what world is Sunderland a step down from mls. Mls can’t beat liga lx teams, now they are better than the epl.

    • Maykol says:

      A step down? Sunderland would have the best and deepest squad if they were an MLS team

      • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

        Ah yes… this deep and talented Sunderland side that would dominate MLS… please tell me how many players they own who were at the World Cup? Jozy and….? Who cares.

        Sunderland is the Island of Misfit Trash and a poor excuse for an EPL side, a fact that has not changed a drop over the course of 5 or more years. Outside of a couple loanees, it is a motley assortment of deeply flawed former prospects, career losers and Man Utd passengers. Adam Johnson? Lee Cattermole? They’d implode and win nothing in USL, let alone MLS. Ugly, ugly team… once we find a way to extract Jozy they should be disbanded and never spoken of again.

    • beto says:

      +1 Sunderland sucks and is depressing football.

      Some players need the development of playing in the EPL others need consistant quality/winning soccer. Zusi or Besler on the bench/sub for a terrible epl team wouldn’t help anyone

  18. CSD says:

    I am happy for these two guys. They earned it and deserved to do what makes them the happiest. They don’t play soccer for me.

  19. ga1atic0 says:

    I’m thinking there maybe a DP rule change in the near future. For KC to invest two DP slots may mean they know some changes are coming.

    • Torvald Coolguy says:

      This occurred to me as well. The only other interpretation is that SKC believes that they will have a hard time attracting foreign DPs worth the money and are better off using it extending their own guys.

      • Jim says:

        No…you just don’t understand the club culture and style. Older DPs out of Europe won’t put in the work Peter demands. Benny didn’t at first, but since the last part of the last season on he has been fantastic. The ownership prides itself on employing local talent when possible and Matt will be the “George Brett” of soccer in this town from now on. Sorry if you don’t like their way of running the club, but they keep on winning and keep filling the stadium.

    • Collin Braden says:

      Also our third DP is on his way out I can almost guarantee it, so one DP spot will be opened after this year

  20. beachbum says:

    good for them. good for MLS. and contrary to belief, good for USMNT.

    here’s an article on Besler that helps understand his decision I think
    link to cjonline.com

  21. 7 says:

    MLS must raise the salary cap to 5 million by 2020.

    Or better yet 5 million by 2015. Start splurging with cash. SOCCER IS HERE TO STAY SAME WITH MLS. No need to shirk or be nervous. Our league is growing.

    But minimum pay needs to be 100 K. Guys coming out of college or going to academies need to know they can earn a living wage playing the sport of their dreams. it’s either

    MLS or playing in Europe

    • JayAre says:

      A lot of these teams have stadiums bringing in revenue now. They can afford it to keep players now. Especially if they are being offered a petty $6M for a player

  22. beto says:

    Wow great for SKC!! Did not think they could keep them both! but great team, great fans, great organization, great owners and it should be great for them.

    Of course I would have enjoied see them sign in a big European team but the reality is they would have only gone to a mid/lower table team where their supporting cast is not much better than their skc group. Now they will make MLS more competitive and a stronger league. Think about what this will do for guys like EPB and Ellis!

  23. Iggy says:

    Hopefully Juergen suggested they get loan clauses put in these. We contracts- get them a short taste of eu play and intensity, but let them do their thing here where they are most comfortable.

    • beto says:

      Loans are a waste of time except for young prospects who need to see how deep the ocean is. Zusi & Besler know what they gotta do. Its not like big euro teams spray magic dust on their players making them “world class”

      • PD in Philly says:

        Nope. no magic involved at all. Playing matches every four days for about 9 months out of the year and competing for a roster spot every week does that. No magic there. MLS just doesn’t have that system yet.

  24. Byob el paso tx says:

    all I gotta say, mls better raise the salary cap and add 2 dps, either make 2 american dps spots or something because these 3 dp spots ain’t working in mls.
    mls needs 5 dp spots, and zusi and besler are playing reverse psychology with mls and europe. If skc win mls cup or make semifinals, other teams will pay more.
    but seriously, zusi and besler are busting a lebron and if they don’t win mls cup or even champions, they will be a total fail.
    look at sounders, they got real dps except for alonzo and they will be better than skc. look at nycfc, if they get lampard and xavi, good luck skc.
    then you have orlando city, and galaxy, plus miami.
    skc is playing with fire and mls looks cheaper now.

    • beto says:

      First off, what isn’t working?

      Id say Add a US/CAN DP and/or double the cap. Last thing MLS needs is a couple clubs with 5 dps next to 25 min wage players playing against a team with no dps and all min wage.

      Build a system where quality players start low but have the opportunity to move up in salary as warranted… Not based on if their club has available dp spots or the league decides it fits their marketing plan.

      • Lost in Space says:

        IMO the best way to improve the league would be to raise the salary cap and expand the roster. MLS teams just don’t have the depth to contend with teams in other leagues while competing in MLS and the Open Cup.
        Raise the Min Salary to 70K….added 5 roster spots….and raise the cap by 2-3 Mil. Teams can then retain talent, grow young players, and import a handful of players from abroad.

    • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

      Fisrt off …Miami doesnt even have a real team.. With that being said, MLS needs to really loosen up the training wheels.

      The leauge has real potential but their biggest down fall is TV ratings. Quality of product can improve that i think.

      Better players is the key.

    • GW says:

      MLS is 21 years old.

      It is younger the immortal Fred Adu, younger than every member of the 2014 WC USMNT except for Green,and Brooks and Yedlin who are both 21.

      It is the most successful North American League ever and has outlasted the NASL by 5 years.

      As far as I can tell this league has reached a respectable competitive level. It is only going to get bigger and better, an astounding achievement when placed in it’s proper context..

      Yet if you only read these posts on SBI you’d think the league is about to fold.

  25. PD in Philly says:

    The emotionally-driven, fantasy-based thinking on threads like this is astounding.

    It is possible to both support MLS and celebrate the progress being made and while also acknowledging the reality that there are LESS GAMES ON THE MLS SCHEDULE AGAINST LESS STIFF COMPETITION. There is parity in the league yes, but the teams that stand out here–Seattle, KC, and depending in the day LA and NY–cannot stand toe-to-toe with Juventus, Man City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, either in a league table to a tournament. THEY. JUST. CAN’T. This does not make someone a Eurosnob. It makes them a realist.

    Bottom line, we need our best national team pool players playing as much as possible against the best competition they can get access to. I understand that MLS also needs these kinds of players to stay home in order to further the caliber of play here and grow the fan base. I just don’t know if I like Besler and Bradley sacrificing their own progress as players to help incrementally move the league forward. I’d rather see players a little further long in their careers (like Dempsey, Beasely, Jones) or players that tried to but didn’t cut it in Europe (Feilhaber, Parkhurst). But there’s still so much upside to MB and MB for them to price themselves out of the market by taking big money here that leagues abroad will not bid against. This is as good as it’s gonna get for both of them, and again, it’s just not good enough when you compare the clubs that other top 20 national pool players are playing for.

    Individual players skipping steps to advance the league IS NOT progress for those players. It’s not snobbery to acknowledge that.

    My money is now on Ream and Books as the starting tandem in 2018 provided both stay healthy, and that sucks, cause I’m a big fan of Besler.

    • PD in Philly says:

      And to be clear, my thinking is based on one simple fact:

      Once the USA wins the World Cup, soccer will become the most popular sport in this country in terms of fans engaged and money and players coming into the league. Money will pour into the MLS and teams will be talking about salary caps and DPs on a whole different level then they are now.

      In my mind, we should continue to grow the domestic league as quickly as we can and build the development foundation as soundly as we can, but what it will take to dethrone the NFL, to get top form international players bidding to come here, and foreign clubs getting into bidding wars for our up and coming domestic players, is winning a World Cup or at the least getting to the semis a few cycles in a row.

      That is what will catapult the sport to supremacy in the US culture, open the floodgates for money and investment that can make MLS a top 4 league worldwide. The way we do that is by getting our world cup players playing with or against the top clubs in the world, wherever they are in the world. So, my “snobbery” is actually about playing a long game to get the MLS to a place where it is legitimately and objectively one one the best leagues in the world, not just “really good” according to some chest pounding wishful thinking xenophobes who think that things that aren’t invented in america can’t possibly really truly be better.

      • GW says:

        PD in Philly,

        The founding fathers, the people who wrote the Constitution and signed the Declaration of Independence were not Americans. Many of the good things invented in American were invented by foreigners. America has always been about taking good things from wherever and making them work.

        Besler may yet be one of the starting CB’s for the USMNT in the 2018 qualifying campaign. Hopefully they qualify. He is 27 and while I’m sure he would have gotten better if he had moved to , for example, a top flight Bundesliga team, his improvement would not be as dramatic as it would be for a guy like DeAndre. He got offers but maybe they were not from the right kind of team or situation and if so, he is better off staying where he is playing for Vermes.

        Not all MLS situations are equal and SKC has proven to be one of the best. If Besler played for Chivas USA then I’d be saying something else.

        To win the World Cup you are talking about however many pre- qualifiers they play, ten games for the Hex and then seven games in Russia, assuming we haven’t gone to war with Russia by then.

        In addition to that the USMNT has the Gold Cup, the very prestigious Copa America, the Olympics ( for the kids) and hopefully, the Confederations Cup.

        This gives the USMNT more seriously competitive games than they had leading up to 2014 in which to evaluate players, tactics, formations , etc. Remember that JK did not have the full 4 years to install his program before the 2014 World Cup.

        The point is Besler, Gonzo, Brooks and Cameron will be seriously tested by the lead up and by the incoming candidates.

        Besler may not make it to 2018 but if so then whoever does will be better than him, which is all that matters.

        • PD in Philly says:

          It all depends on the view you are taking.

          Near-term there is nothing wrong with what you are saying. But it does not change the fact that MLS can’t compete in terms of matches played and caliber of competition, even with those other matches included, our players are still behind gemans, dutchies argies, spaniards, ghanaians, etc. who play in FIFA sanctioned events plus what their club obligations demand. It’s not a coincidence that four of the most influential (not just hanging on for dear life) and top-performing players on the US squad in Brazil (Jones, Johnson, Beasely and Howard) were folks who have spent either the majority or an appreciable part of their career outside of the MLS. The other players that influenced? Besler and Yedlin–and only one of the three is heading overseas. Maybe. To me, that’s discouraging.

          Being a contender for the World Cup begins with having a starting 11 plus subs that has a comparable amount of match level hours in their legs from day 1 of their pro careers compared to CL level players and it also means having a starting 11 plus a few subs playing on or against clubs that rival the best in the world. Plain and simple. All the progress in MLS in the world cannot make it the market that UEFA-affiliated pro leagues currently are. Not for at least another decade.

          I for one want to see us get caught up as quickly as possible, and I think that an event that supercharges that progress happens in a decade is a WC championship or regular appearances in the semis. That happens with soccer powers (US soccer and MLS) doing everything in their power to get our current and soon to be top performers developing their game and playing against the current top performers in the world, even if it’s “only” at a mid table overseas team that goes up against the top clubs several times a year. Until MLS is on par with the EPL, Serie A, La Liga, and Bundesliga, anything else is skipping steps, no matter how much we might wish otherwise. We can agree on whether it’s in an individuals’s best interest or sense of well being to stay in the US, but I don’t think we need to disagree over the reality that European, Mexican, and South American leagues provide more matches and more stiff competition for starting roles than MLS.

          Once MLS sides start winning CONCACAF champions league tournaments with regularity and have a season schedules that guarantees players will see at least the number of matches that they would south of the border or across the atlantic, then I think we can put this argument to rest once and for all. Until then, I’m not above thinking the best option to make our players competitive is by sending them abroad.

          • Cylo says:

            You pretty much hit it nailed on. For now I just want a team full of starters from the top 4 leagues (England, GErmany, Spain and Italy). Champions league is just way too far down the road

          • GW says:

            Mr. Cheesesteak,

            I don’t disagree with the idea that playing more games at a higher level makes for better players.

            However, the reality is of the players on the 2014 WC squad only Beckerman, Besler, Yedlin, and maybe Gonzo and maybe Zusi were/are going to draw serious interest from abroad.

            And only Yedlin and perhaps Gonzo stand to make a significant improvement.

            At their advanced age, Besler and Zusi are pretty much as good as they will get w/o a move abroad and even then it is debatable how much better such a move would make them.

            Cameron moved to Stoke at about the same age and he’s probably better than when he was at Dynamo but is he a quantum level better?

            Or is that just because he is a regular at Stoke and a regular with the USMNT?. I would say Cameron gave a C+ performance in Brazil while Besler gave a B- performance, so how much did the USMNT really benefit from Cameron going to the EPL?

            As far as I’m concerned MLS lifers Beckerman, Gonzo and Besler outperformed MLS refugee/EPL mercenary Cameron.

            Maybe if he had not gone JK would have taken a closer look at Ream or Edu or someone else.

            Basically, I’m giving up on Besler and Zusi anyway because of their age and their impending mediocrity.

            I don’t expect either to be a starter in 2018 in any event.

            I strongly suspect the 2018 USMNT will go to the World Cup (assuming they qualify) with fewer MLS players than the 2014 edition had.

            • PD in Philly says:

              Fair points, all around. Beckerman was outstanding and Cameron was uneven. But if he stays healthy Cameron will probably be 3rd on the depth chart come 2018, if not pushing Brooks and Ream to start. CB and DMF are a little bit of an oddity in that players in that position tend to peak a little later, which is why I don’t necessarily think Besler or Bradley have reached their zenith, but I totally see your rationale for them saying they’ll stay. For instance, on another thread I advocated that Benny Feilhaber should do all he can to stay where he is because he’s playing the ball of his career right now and if he can do that of the rest of the season I believe he makes himself relevant to CONCACAF-based national call ups as a veteran that pups can learn from and maybe still pop off some highlight moments that i believe he’s still got in his bag of tricks. But he tried the Europe thing and either didn’t have his head right or couldn’t over come injury or whatever, so him coming back here and making the most of it makes total sense to me. Ditto for Zusi and Davis. I think we saw his ceiling and it just fell short. He’s very good, but not a world beater. But again, I’m thinking about the overall trend of MLS pricing folks who would otherwise be able to get 5 or 6 quality seasons in Europe out of the market because they offer comparable money here. Good for the league, but perhaps not the best for the player or the national side.

              • GW says:

                Mr. Hoagie Man,

                Benny and any other borderline guys should focus on the 2016 Copa America, the second toughest tournament the US will play in after the World Cup.

                I’ve followed Benny since he first paired up with Mikey in 2007. I thought those two would be the USMNT’s central midfield pair, the USMNT’s Ren and Stimpy, for a very long time.

                If he is having a renaissance at SKC it is because Vermes is probably the first manager to really get Benny to actually buckle down and work hard. That and maybe Benny finally realized that KC was his last chance saloon.

                The worst thing that ever happened to Benny was scoring that fantastic Golazo in the 2007 Gold Cup final vs. Mexico. He literally lived off of that one goal for years afterwards. He, and fellow tease Ferd Adu, are living examples of the power of intermittent reinforcement i.e. instead of giving someone positive reinforcement at regular intervals, you give it to them consistently but at irregular intervals. This allows you to lengthen out the time someone is willing to wait for that reinforcement.

                Those two throw out a good showing every once in a great while just to string everyone along a little longer.

                Hopefully, Benny will maintain his consistency at SKC and become the USMNT’s Wesley Sneidjer. The US has not had a guy like that since Tab Ramos, JOB, and Holden stopped playing.

                Holden was great at Houston but it was a big shock when he went to EPL and became a dominant player right off the bat. Who knows what he might have done if not for injury? I see all these after fact geniuses who tell you that they knew was going to do that but that is bulls88t. Stu surprised everyone.

                Stu is a better and has more magic than Benny but he might be done for so that means it’s up to Benny.

                The point is even today MLS produces enough raw US eligible talent so that with a little luck there is enough there to form a competitive team. To be truly competitive sooner, then yes, the kids, the Yedlins, the Arriolas, the Gils, the ONeills, probably need to go abroad to a good situation at least for a few years.

                But the best USMNT will probably always be a mix of foreign and domestic.

  26. Cylo says:

    Not surprise. Besler always hit me as someone who scared to not start in Europe. Its too bad cause I really think he would start over there.

  27. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Both were average or below average, in the World Cup. Both players didn’t have major : impact sell jerseys, TV ratings, in CONCACAF Champions League, or bringing new fans into MLS. I do believe these players deserve way better salary (at least 500k) without being DPs, and this was waste chance to improve the team for Champions League, and MLS has to change this “DP” rule, players deserve a better maxium salary (like 650k max with some bonuses), and less socialism salary cap. MLS has to be major in the region!

  28. Forever Orange says:

    I think signing these boys to new contracts is less important for them and more important for the 15 and 16 year olds coming through the SKC academy system who will now have the opportunity to watch, train with, and learn from some of the best players we have in the US pool. I think it’s a fantastic move by the ownership group who see this is a larger investment in the development of their youth and not just a pay raise for Zusi and Besler.

    I think we’ll see a 18/19 yr old SKC academy product who has trained along side World Cup caliber players like Zusi and Besler for three years be much more successful at top clubs in Europe than these two would, but partly because these two stuck around.

    I wish more clubs would do the same.

  29. FRANK says: