Jones move to MLS hits snag

Jermaine Jones


Jermaine Jones wants to come to Major League Soccer, and even has a contract in place he is ready to agree to, but a snag in negotiations is threatening to kill a deal that has been in the works for the past month.

I am reporting on that talks to bring Jones to MLS have hit a snag due to MLS’ unwillingness to guarantee Jones which team he will be joining when he signs his contract. Jones has agreed to a deal with the Chicago Fire, but MLS can’ t commit to ensuring that he goes to Chicago, and not the New England Revolution.

Jones is open to joining the Revs, but only at a greater salary than the one he agreed to for a move to Chicago, something MLS is so far unwilling to do.

So MLS wants to sign Jones, but doesn’t want to commit to letting him know which team he will join before he signs. That’s an arrangement that no Designated Player of U.S. Men’s National Team starter has ever had to agree to in order to sign with MLS.

While he didn’t confirm the details of my story, Jones did take to Twitter late on Wednesday evening to confirm that he has not signed a contract with MLS, which refutes some reports which surfaced late on Wednesday.

Give my story a read and let me know what you think of this mess. Where would you like to see him wind up? Does anything regarding MLS transactions surprise you anymore?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, MLS- Chicago Fire, MLS- New England Revolution. Bookmark the permalink.

100 Responses to Jones move to MLS hits snag

  1. USMNT Fan says:

    Let him play where he wants! MLS makes rules as they go along so why not allow this?!

    • DanO says:

      It’s time for MLS to become more transparent with their player “allocation” process. I don’t think anyone has a firm handle on how players move into or within the league. There are like 5 or 6 different types of players (designated player, drafted player, homegrown player, returning USMNT player, US youth player, etc) all with a different set of rules for how they get to a team. The league bylaws and/or collective bargaining agreement must be a mess to read…

      As a Revs fan, Jones would solve a lot of our problems, but I also think if he wants to play in Chicago, get him to Chicago.

      • T P says:

        I just don’t understand how –

        “That’s an arrangement that no Designated Player of U.S. Men’s National Team starter has ever had to agree to in order to sign with MLS.”

        can be happening here with Jones. I’ve been following this Jones thing fairly closely and thus far we’ve heard about the normal allocation order, the super secret DP allocation order, the secret contract threshold that supersedes the super secret DP allocation order and now the “we won’t let you know who you will play with just cause” allocation lottery – none of which seemed to be needed for Dempsey and Bradley.

        • FulhamDC says:

          They weren’t needed with Dempsey or Bradley because they were at least open to the possibility of playing for a couple of teams. Through his words and deeds, Jones has made it clear he wants to play in LA, and only LA, and even MLS is having a hard time coming up with the “well, he really, really wants to play in LA, so they get 4 DP’s now” allocation.

          • JoeW says:

            Not quite accurate. Jones wants to play in LA. But he’s also open to playing in Chicago (and has a handshake agreement with them). He’s also open to playing in NE but not for the same amount of money as he’d get in Chicago.

            Frankly, Jones is being less restrictive than Donovan (who insisted that he play for a California team–either SJ or LA) as a condition of signing. Jones is willing to play with any number of MLS teams but not the same amount of money for each team.

            • FulhamDC says:

              If he’s so open, then why hasn’t he signed a deal yet? Having a different price for each team isn’t really “open” is it?

              • fifawitz1313 says:

                Yes it is.

              • The Imperative Voice says:

                I’ve said that he wants to turn this into a de facto transfer, but one aspect of this that you get at in a way, is that there is only one entity on the other end of the contract, regardless of where you sign:


                So, he’s acting like he’s signing with x or y and demanding a price accordingly. But he signs a league deal not a team deal. So it’s a league price not a team price.

                Like I’ve said below, I think the answer is, give him the higher demand, but tell him it’s a league deal and he plays where the teams decide. If he wants to ensure a destination, the teams need to get together and work it out. If not, the Revs dictate his fate.

                If he doesn’t want this uncertainty, he can sign somewhere short term and wait out the allocation order.

                And if he really doesn’t want NE, this is the time to say so.

          • bryan says:

            dude, Bradley straight up rejected SKC despite them offering the same. Bradley and Dempsey had 1-2 teams they would play for. Jones started as only LA, which is 2 teams, and then opened himself up to more.

            • michael f. sbi mafia original says:

              why can’t the nyrb get him? oh right, they don’t get good players.

    • no logic says:

      Agree 100%

      I want to see this league succeed and support it but these type of business dealings make me cringe and lose hope and/or interest. Hate to use the term but Mickey Mouse comes to mind.

    • BK says:

      This is what I hate about MLS and American sport in general. Why can’t a player pick the team he wants to play for? If I was Jones I’d hold on strong for what he wants and walk away if he doesn’t get it.

  2. Fischer says:

    So basically the league wants Jones with the Revs?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      The easy solution is that they tell him to go where he’s told but pay him his Revs demand.

      • Fischer says:

        Either that or the MLS stops manipulating rosters, this type of stuff is one short step away from outright match fixing

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          I think you have it backwards. MLS is like Indycar, roughly “spec.” The teams show up with similar components and somebody wins the game on the field, not in the transfer shop before the season even starts.

          In contrast, other leagues are like F1. The title contenders are decided by spending. As a result, teams in certain European leagues look like they won the World Series just getting a twin against the Big Clubs there. Stacking certain teams doesn’t “fix” most of those matches? If we’re being fair, that’s a lot closer to stacking the deck in favor of certain results.

          I mean, isn’t the whole idea of the single table that certain teams should be able to impose dominance by outspending and/or outplaying everyone, without having to worry about some other team going on a tear and upsetting their victory parade? Half the advocates premise is the results are close to foreordained, “they deserve it,” and shouldn’t be denied by late season momentum shifts among more equal sides.

          FWIW UEFA fair play is actually a step in the direction of MLS business sanity. The consensus is trending our way for business sense and you want us to adopt their model?

          • Fischer says:

            If the MLS is going to have rules then apply them evenly. That is not what they’re doing here, they are clearly favoring NE and that goes far beyond trying to foster parity…that is favoring one team over others and once the league does that then they are the exact opposite of what you’ve just suggested they are and as a fan I now have to wonder if the MLS can be seen as an open, even and fair sporting competition or if it’s solely entertainment.

            I think a lot of the MLS rules are stupid but they have the right to make those rules, my only problem is the way the league selectively obeys their own rules and in my opinion that is the league attempting to fix long term outcomes and results and that makes me doubt whether the league is legit.

            One thing about FFP, if I were a cynic I might say that all FFP is is a play on the part of certain governing bodies which shall remain nameless to generate more merchandise sales in previously weaker markets thereby raking in more cash at the expense of others.

  3. Nick F says:

    This is like those commercials…

  4. Tom S says:

    This is the sort of highway robbery that MLS league rules sanctions. Sooner or later, Chicago will be forced to cough up some sorry of exorbitant compensation to NE for the right to sign Jones. SSDD.

  5. Iggy says:

    Total bs. Let the guy sign for Chicago and be done with it. In the next cab they need to wipe that rule out officially, not just when they feel they want to.

    • batwact says:

      Agree. Hope the new CBA raises the salary cap significantly and does away with the DP rules. MLS should stop trying to add teams and focus on improving the talent pool. Let that new TV contract money do some good. If we should take anything away from the World Cup, its that casual fans in this country will watch high quality soccer.

      Higher Salary Cap -> Better Quality -> More Viewership -> More $$ -> Expansion


      Expansion -> More Viewership -> More $$ -> Expansion -> More Viewership -> More $$ -> … That just leads to diluted quality.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        You’re saying spend money to make money and businesspeople would say that’s not guaranteed. I’d be interested if outside Beckham, how much ticket sales or merchandising actually rise for some of these big buys.

        In other words, if we spent more, would enough more people show up to offset the added cost?

        A controlled cap increase is probably appropriate because the teams seem to be able to afford more. But in terms of long term stability I think measured caps are superior. I think it’s smarter to move caps up in lockstep with outside interest than to spend the money and hope. As more and more fans show up, then we up the cap.

        • batwact says:

          Thanks for the comment.

          I’m not saying dump the cap. I agree that controlling costs is what allowed MLS to survive in the early days, but I don’t think survival should be the goal anymore, nor do I think it is. I think MLS’s goal is to increase viewership. They are primed for this by signing the new TV contract which will provide more access for viewers from outside local markets.

          MLS is trying to augment this by adding to the total number of local markets represented. The drawback to this strategy is the dilution of talent. My contention is that a better strategy with the new TV contract is to increase the quality of play and roster depth. That is not to say expansion isn’t a good thing, but it has to be done when the conditions are right.

          Right now, the salary cap is $3.1 million (ignoring DP $). That breaks down to $58.9 million (again, ignoring DP $) the league wants to spend on talent in 2014. When you average in the additional DP $ (an additional $40 million), you get a more realistic cap of $5.2 million. Instead of spending the next 10 years adding 6-10 clubs, spending at least an additional $32 million/year to fill out these new teams, the league could raise the cap to $10 million (expansion savings + new TV $) and do away with the DP rules. This would not jeopardize the fiscal stability of the league as the increase salary cap $ is accounted for, and the league is currently profitable.

          The only team that currently spends more than $10 million is Toronto, and that is because of the new Bradley and Defoe contracts.

          I think the new TV contract is huge for growing MLS. Huge. If a new CBA that promotes increased quality and depth allows these teams to compete at a higher level week to week, while also winning in Champions League and other international tournaments, MLS could become the premier league in the Americas.

  6. Reid says:

    Just when you think MLS is heading in the right direction, they pull this crap. For a league that wants to be in the top tier this looks really mickey mouse.

    • Zocklo says:

      MLS seems to have some sort of arbitrary star system in place. Players they deem as “top” such as Lampard, Bradley, Dempsey basically get to got to teams they want to play for. The MLS has put Jones in a lower category where his wishes are less of a concern.

      It makes the MLS come of as a petty, control-freak league that lacks class.

    • JTX says:

      I understand that the league wants to have parity but I can’t think of any other league in the world in any sport where you agree to play for the league and not have the freedom to choose the team and the terms. How can MLS garner any respect for the league when they’re making Jones sign a contract and keeping it a secret where he’ll actually end up. That is so bizarre. Total bush league

      • fifawitz1313 says:

        NFL Draft, NBA Draft, NHL Draft, any draft really. They all restrict where you can play. Most players you see signed from other leagues were already allocated to a certain team or were drafted by the team and then elected to play elsewhere for a few years. The drafting team still held their rights. Look at Ricky Rubio for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He got drafted by Minnesota, but didn’t want to play there so he went back to Spain. The NBA refused to let him sign with any other NBA team and now he is playing in Minnesota. It really isn’t that far fetched by the league. You can fairly complain about Bradley and Dempsey going to their teams of choice, but what the league is doing with Jones is actually more in line with the other major sports leagues in the U.S. The only exception is baseball, where players can sign with their team of choice.

        • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

          Dude youre talking about rookies. Totally different. Bad analogy.

          A better example would an MLB team sigining a player from the Japan leauge. In those cases the players deals with the team directly. And teams can offer different salaries.
          Or an NBA team sigining a player from Europe.

          In either case the leagues dont make up stupid allocation rules.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      The “mickey mouse” rules are designed to try to avoid the tiered systems of the big boy leagues you think we should imitate. Maybe 5 teams a season have a chance in the EPL. Most of the teams are playing out a season or trying to survive the drop. MLS should control freak. If you got rid of the rules then everyone would want to go to NY or LA. MLS has decided in favor of the slow build instead of trying to buy success (as the risk of financial implosion) like its predecessor NASL. If you occasionally lose a Jones I don’t think it’s so bad.

      There are easy ways out of this under the rules. Pay Jones NE money and then let NE and Chicago sort out between each other who really wants him. If NE’s real goal is blocking, Chicago has to come up with something. If NE wants Jones, they sign him.

      • Weston John says:

        In this situation, the rule isn’t protecting a small market team from the LAs, Seattles and New Yorks. If Chicago and NE both want him, let JJ pick which offer is best for him. Let’s get this done.

      • Brain Guy says:

        I strongly disagree. With a salary cap (even as relaxed by the DP rule), rich clubs can’t stockpile all the top players. Exhibit 1 is RBNY’s ongoing struggles to improve the roster while remaining under the cap. Opposition to these rules is NOT the same as support for an EPL-style oligopoly. I can understand concerns about parity and competition, but here the cure is way worse than the illness.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Except there is a designated player rule that some teams use to buy three million-plus players, some teams use to buy players merely exceeding the DP charge, and some teams don’t use much or at all. There are whole teams making less than Bradley by himself.

          If this was a strict cap league, your point would be apt, but we allow exceptions that in practice can be as big as other teams’ budgets. So one team spends the cap, and another has the cap plus 10 million in DP overage spread across 3 players.

          • Brain Guy says:

            MLS has gone way too far in the other direction. To compensate for DP-related disparities — and sometimes even to exacerbate them (see Dempsey, Clint) — th league guides and steers players all over the place. And rgardless of those DP-related disparities, I still don’t believe that three DPs on a roster is any guarantee of dominance.

      • bryan says:

        you don’t have to get rid of all the rules, but this type of thing is dumb. LA, and any team with 3 DPs, has no way of signing Jones. so it’s not like giving teams more freedom to control their own players will absolutely result in everyone going to NY or LA. still have to work within the cap and the DP limit.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          I think you have to have some type of system so that it’s not just everyone signs for LA or NY.

          Do we want to be Scotland, where the last time a non Old Firm team won (and these days it’s only Celtic) was 30 years ago when Sir Alex coached Aberdeen?

          Or England, where it’s basically a rotation among the London big boys (CFC and Arsenal) and the Manchester elites (City and United)? The last time someone outside those four won was Blackburn 20 years ago. Before that Liverpool won most of them for about 15 years.

          I also don’t think people — particularly pro/rel types — understand that the key to long term success is that fans in places other than Seattle or LA can watch a competitive team play and retain their interest.

          All due respect but for competitive purposes I think the Fire and Revs are teams needing protection. They are lower attendance teams that don’t spend as much as some others.

          • Weston John says:

            I think we can all agree that this particular process isn’t protecting NE and Chicago from any big market team. The league is trying to stop the 2 teams from bidding against each other.

          • bryan says:

            i understand that. everyone understands that. but you don’t have to have, “Designated players, allocated players, designated players who are eligible for allocation (or not), discovery claim players, discovery claim players who may be designated players, young designated players, half season designated players, amortized transfer payment designated players below the DP payment threshold, league acquisition players,” in order to get that done.

            that’s what I, and many others, are asking. i understand why MLS does it, MLS has said they make up stuff as they go (2013 State of), etc. but it’s time to take the training wheels off. if that means moving to a tricycle for the time being, fine. but these training wheels are creating net negatives.

            with Mix we have a guy who was ready to sign with the Crew but something, and you can bet it was related to MLS rules, had Mix back out.

            with Kljestan we have a guy who was up for Dallas or LA, potentially, but “league forces” prevented a move.

            with Jones, we have a guy who was not going to be able to go to LA due to positive MLS rules in place, so he settled on the thought of playing outside of LA. he chose Chicago but because NE wants to get in on it, now Jones would have to sign with MLS and not know which team he would end up with. so he may end up on neither the Revs or the Fire. neither of which are marquee markets.

            • bryan says:

              i should clarify the “net negative” comment. i don’t mean as a whole, MLS is clearly in a very positive trend.

              i mean certain rules that were supposed to be positives have now become negatives.

  7. KFRZ says:

    There’s got to be more to this. Doesn’t make sense.

  8. John says:

    Can Baltter come out and say that Jones is a modern day Slave?

  9. Cash IN! says:

    he can sign with MLS and let NE know that he will not play with them. I dobt that NE would take on a DP salary knowing that A) he will not play B) huge cap hit C) most likely will need something in return.

    If NE is smart, they should look at Chicago’s roster and pick Larentowitz, Ianni and a draft pick for Jones

    • bryan says:

      but then, if i’m Chicago, i’m asking why i have to give anything to NE. why do they have “dibs”?

  10. Aero says:

    This situation is completely absurd. I have no problem with salary caps or exceptions in the form of DP’s. But this process makes Rube Goldberg look like the model of efficiency.

  11. Wood chip zip says:

    I find it hard to believe MLS would make Jones agree to something when he doesn’t know what he is agreeing to. Yes, they’ve been less than transparent with the allocation process but this is completely different. MLS probably just won’t agree to the money Jones wants to go to the Revs. They think he is worth what he is worth. Frankly, I couldn’t care less. He already turned down a $2.5 so this deal is likely way more than he is worth. He had one good tournament for the US and perhaps a game here and there. Otherwise, he was arguably a liability to the US and often a trouble maker at his clubs. Him getting a multi million $ contract in MLS while Demarcus Beasley makes $780,000 is a complete joke

    • Wood chip zip says:

      million after that $2.5

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Beasley was OK with going to Houston. He didn’t insist on a destination. By trying to turn this into a more traditional transfer — I pick my destination and the destination team offers terms — he’s effectively short cutting the system in place, and placing it in stark relief when MLS insists on its rules. If you play along with the game, or some cute trade is worked out behind the scenes to get you where you’d like, you never see the gears working. Jones’ stubbornness forces this to be more public.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I also feel like reminding people that the relative emphasis on the rules now — give or take a little — is a big change from the first years when the league used to place players and move them on, without any transparency, in ways other teams might find unfair. After the antitrust lawsuit you could see salaries, we know the cap, and it’s a lot more transparent. There are still head scratchers but it’s not just let’s move Valderrama whereever he wants.

    • danny says:

      First you say he had one good tournament- yea the World Cup where he was the U.S’s best field playe. Then you say he is “arguably a liability to the US”. That doesn’t make sense. Also, look at Jones resume- it is very impressive and he looks like he still has a lot in the tank. His demands are reasonable.

  12. David says:

    I thought DPs got to pick their team whether they are USMNT team or not?

  13. Ivan says:

    The single entity system at work.

    I am not sure if this is sad, funny, or outrageous!

    “The League wants Jones HERE as opposed to THERE”. It sounds like a bad futuristic sci-fi movie, starring The Don as the Evil Emperor. Only The Don knows what’s best for The League and he is never wrong.

    Single entity-good.
    All Star Game-good.
    Artifical turf stadiums-good.
    Promotion-relegation-bad (coming from feeble-minded rebels).
    Single table-bad.
    Salary cap-bad.

    Get rid of the single entity system, it is destroying the league.

    • curmudgeon says:

      Single-entity is the only reason the league still exists.

      • no logic says:


        However we are past that stage and to take the next step its time to evolve.

        • whoop-whoop says:

          It’s a business. An upstart business. Do the most successful corporations get to the top by attempting to become exact duplicates of their competitors, or… do they look at a gap in the market, consider the distinct set of conditions and circumstances in the environment they operate in and come up with unique, creative solutions to meet them? Certainly a lot can be learned from those that go before you, but blind, rote imitation while feeling safe and comfortable is suicide. Top leagues on the other side of the world were formed ages ago in much different cultural and economic conditions. MLS will never be the EPL… in the long run, this could well turn out to be a huge advantage if they EMBRACE the distinct cultural and economic conditions that exist in this country. It’s definitely a work in progress, but rather than pining for “EPL Light” I look forward to seeing how a truly American, top notch soccer league shapes up. Cheers.

  14. Section133 says:

    Doesn’t playing for Chicago OR New England open up all sorts of Amnesty International type stuff.

  15. bryan says:

    this is so dumb. MLS is amateur hour right now. if he doesn’t want to play for the Revs, then he shouldn’t have to play for them. and frankly, they shouldn’t be forcing it. if he only wants to go there for a bigger salary, then they can reject the deal or accept it.

    just another reason the CBA needs to bring pretty extensive changes. this is out of hand. how would MLS even decide which team he goes to?! they just making up a new rule at the moment? can’t wait to hear the explanation…

  16. Brain Guy says:

    “[T]alks to bring Jones to MLS have hit a snag due to MLS’ unwillingness to guarantee Jones which team he will be joining when he signs his contract. Jones has agreed to a deal with the Chicago Fire, but MLS can’ t commit to ensuring that he goes to Chicago, and not the New England Revolution.”

    Can you imagine reading this about any other league in the US, or any other soccer league in the world? They’re treating Jones like he was a college kid entering the draft, but making him sign his contract first. What’s worse is that instead of throwing out the whole ridiculous system, MLS will once again find a way to break its own rules to get the result it wants. Player allocation in MLS: a perfect storm of stupid and corrupt.

  17. beto says:

    LOL wow MLS shoots its self in the foot again!!!

    Iv said it too many times; this is the dumbest rule in a league full of dumb rules. Time to decentralize MLS!!

  18. beto says:

    Is this 2 USMNT CM’s in the same summer blocked by Don..?! What a joke

  19. Rob says:

    Mickey Mouse cartoons make more sense than MLS transfer rules.

  20. Ian says:

    MLS’ esoteric rules have no place in soccer. It’s the world’s game. Teams should be allowed to negotiate with players on their own terms.

  21. beto says:

    didn’t Brian McBride circumvent the system by requiring in his contract that he be traded to Chicago upon returning to MLS?

    i wonder if they could just write his contract like that .. then again league hq is the one negotiating this deal..

  22. Nico C. says:

    Chicago doesn’t have the Hollywood or celebrity glamor that LA or NY does, but our summers are amazing. He will love Chicago. He could always live in LA during the off season.

    Seriously, I’m just throwing my hands in the air and saying f*ck-it. I don’t understand these MLS rules anymore. As soon as I thought I was getting a full grasp on allocation order and the DP rule, it ends up raising more questions. I just don’t understand.

  23. Ivan says:

    The League knows what’s best for you!

    You shall not question The League!

    The League will pick a team for you!

    The League shall feed you and take care of you and your family!

    The League shall tell your fans when to cheer, how loud to cheer and who to cheer for!

    You shall not think for yourself!

    The League will tell you what to think!

    Do we live in an alternate universe here? How is this ok with any soccer fans? The single entity is disgusting and has got to go!

  24. slowleftarm says:

    Jones is supposed to sign his contract but the identity of the club he plays for is a surprise? Come on MLS, get it together please.

  25. Dave says:

    Waah waah waah.

    The only reason MLS is growing is that they have a salary cap. The salary cap mandates single payer due to court rulings. The salary cap enforces parity, which works for the NFL, the most successful sports league in the world. If the salary cap grows with the league (which is seems to be) then everyone makes money. Isn’t the profit line in MLS about 50%? Salaries can’t rise faster than revenue.

    To make this reasonable, MLS needs to one make allocation before the contract signing and make a sufficiently large DP (say 1 million) contract not subject to allocation.

    • Del Griffin says:

      Could you expand on that court rulings thing? NFL has a salary cap and no single payer.

    • bryan says:

      court ruling? the NFL had to switch away from single entity because of a court ruling…

      you can have a cap, DP limits, etc. in place along with no single entity. heck, you can still be single entity and give teams a bit more control in contracts. they just have to do it. and hopefully they are.

      • Dave says:

        The NFL is not and has never been single entity, each team is a separate corporation. However, they then fall into monopoly considerations if they collude to keep salaries low (i.e. salary cap)
        Because MLS is a single corporation, it is allowed to set salary rules for each division, just like my company sets overall HR rules for each site. LAG and NYRB are not separate companies in this way, they are different divisions of the same company.
        The NFL can set a salary cap with the agreement of their union, but the union threatens to decertify and sue at every contract renegotiation.
        It also seems silly for MLS players to accuse the MLS of being a monopoly when they routinely field offers from other leagues, but that is a different thread.

        MLS players are paid 20% of league revenue, with 75% going to infrastructure costs
        link to
        MLS salaries will rise for two reasons. Revenues are growing and infrastructure is being paid off (can you say Arsenal?)
        The TV deal is going from $18 M to $90 M. So, even a constant slice of the pie, the salary cap will rise $600K. As infrastructure costs are fairly fixed, it will probably go up more sharply.

        • bryan says:

          link to

          this is what i’m referring to. after this ruling, the Supreme Court ruled the NFL is not single-entity. was this whole case strictly on whether the NFL is a single entity for antitrust purposes? either way, after that opine, there was no more question of if the NFL could claim to be single entity or not.

          anyway, nothing you said is relevant to what i thought we were discussing. i am fully aware of how MLS works, the money that will come in from TV, etc.

          if MLS stays single entity, which makes sense, the idea i was trying to get across is to at least give clubs broader powers in salary negotiations. MLS still owns the contracts, but allows a bit more negotiating from club teams (divisions, are you put it). sure, that could result in bidding wars, so MLS will have to maintain overall leadership/limits, but if the Revs are willing to up their offer for Jones, i think that’s totally reasonable assuming they don’t offer something completely outrageous. it’s MLS that is not interested in doing that, reportedly.

          everyone keeps trying to explain what single entity is and why it’s important when, at least for me, that is all understood but not the question i’m asking. i want to discuss what MLS can do to maintain their current structure but to clean up some of the messes that are being created as a result of these contract negotiations. lets assume for a minute we are MLS HQ and we get directed to explore ways to allow more negotiating power for our clubs. how could that get done without breaking the system?

    • Fischer says:

      I don’t think the NFL example is a good one. There is no alternative to the NFL, if you’re watching pro football you’re watching the NFL…parity or not.

      For arguments sake take two leagues, let’s say the English Premiership and La Liga. Both leagues have large, successful clubs who are known globally. Keep one of the leagues as is with the big clubs doing business as usual and water the other league down so everyone sucks equally bad. I’d be willing to bet that the only people who would still follow the “parity” league would be those who have a local interest in it but that league would kiss it’s non-local interest goodbye.

      Leagues succeed and gain visibility because of the big successful clubs not in spite of them.

  26. SBI TroII says:

    What a way to treat a World Cup hero. This is some Mickey Mouse bull**** MLS is pulling.

    • MiamiAl says:

      +1. The best American player can’t find a team in America?

    • beto says:

      if he played for Germany he wouldn’t have to deal with these rules.. he would just sign a dp deal with his club ..

      i really can not think of reason why this rule still exists

    • Joamiq says:

      Seriously, I am embarrassed for MLS. As a Red Bull fan I don’t have any desire to see either Chicago or NE get better, but this is just a shameful way for the league to act.

  27. Mike R says:

    They told him only the Galaxy are allowed to circumvent rules,

  28. John says:

    Why don’t they just make the rule that allocation for returning US players only applies to US internationals who played in MLS before?

  29. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    MLS SmH….

  30. ChrisPr says:

    Diskerud was ready to sign for the Timbers (and play for Caleb Porter who he had been with before as a U-23er) before the ’13 season. I believe a contract was ready to be signed, but MLS wouldn’t guarantee that he would end up in Portland so he stayed in Europe. Same problem here.

    The thing I hate is Portland couldn’t get Diskerud and now Columbus wants him. Great, Columbus is on top of the returning USMNT order, just like Portland was when Dempsey came back. However, the league paid for his $7M transfer and then created a new rule on the fly so that he’d go to Seattle without compensation to Portland.

    Sorry to beat an old horse, but until MLS clarifies its rules and stops making new rules up to give favor to certain franchises, most MLS fans are going to rant about this problem.

    • RAMONE says:

      Agreed, they are just totally making it up case by case. We had Seattle fans trying to justify the Dempsey signing as a “free market DP deal” which therefore wasn’t subject to any of the other published rules.

      In the end MLS allocated Dempsey to Seattle as a DP. If it was really a totally independent deal then Jones, Mix, etc. should have had zero problem signing DP deals with the team of their choice. MLS seems to let some teams do what they want but limits others and while that once may have protected teams from themselves (say 10 years ago), it is time to simplify significantly.

      I can still see a role for a college draft for dispersal (for players willing to enter … if not, then they are a free agent – something that is risky if their demands outstrip their skill or their strengths are not what their desired team wants/needs). I guess I can see a role for a re-entry draft (something the players actually want as a quick way to get picked up by another team if cut) but it is a fairly useless system for any players of significance. Beyond that, the league really should keep their hands off with no “discovery” lists (HA!), allocation order, lotteries, etc. etc. etc. and just let teams sign players they want and who can fit within their cap. All of these things have outlived their usefullness by about 5 (maybe more) years. That is the best road to transparency.

  31. Quit Whining About Soccer in the US says:

    Huge, huge, huge fan of parity. I went to every game in 1983…I know what no-parity looks like.
    ( and I don’t care to debate it with some guy half my age that thinks pro/rel would have worked in the 70s )

    Huge, huge, huge fan of US Soccer and MLS.

    And I completely understand the need for flexible rules….in the past.

    MLS needs to have the rules outlined and no flexiblity.
    They are at that point. And by at that point, I don’t mean MLS hater trolls trying to get their agenda in place by ripping on MLS on a blog site. I mean, players want to come here, they want to come here for a reason. Dempsey is already heere, as is Bradley and Jones soon will be.

    Set the rules, if we lose a guy, fine. Our league will be and is still great.

  32. 46_and_2 says:

    All these shenanigans are getting ridiculous. Jones initially held out for more money, okay, pretty common even if an aging player might not be worth it. There are other overpaid players in the league. Then all the convoluted transfer details of MLS come in.

    Yes, it’s a single entity league. But, the club is on the hook for the portion of the salary that the league does not pay, so the clubs do have a big say in DP contract negotiations and as such, so should the player in agreeing with a club. Allocation needs to be simplified and ultimately removed all together. If the team at the top of the order cannot agree terms, then move on to the next. Let the interested team offer allocation money. No league that wants to grow by signing better talent can refuse to give the player a say in the club he signs with. They have gotten around this in the past with McBride, Bradley, Dempsey, LD, etc. You can’t force it on Jones, nor can you make it a league practice. Every player, just like every professional in every career, has factors beyond simply a dollar figure when signing with a new team. There are location, quality of life considerations, the club’s level of play, the clubs direction and aspirations, etc., etc…

    The only way players that will make the league better will agree to that is if the salaries are artificially inflated, and that’s not a sustainable way to approach the player market either.

    • JB says:

      Salaries become artificially inflated when you mess with the market like MLS has done. Bradley, Defoe, Dempsey and Lampard are getting way more $ than they would from any other league. Why is this? Because in MLS you are really only allowed to spend the bulk of your wage budget on two or three players. Thus, Lampard gets the huge check because NYFC owners have the money but aren’t allowed to spread it out. They’ll just overpay for a “marque player” and get the headlines with the big bucks signing.

      The best way to make the league better is to join the rest of the soccer world by having free agency and competing in the global soccer marketplace. Otherwise you get DP talent playing alongside League 1 quality.

    • RAMONE says:

      I don’t believe the league pays everything over the DP threshold, you just get to only count $387,500 toward the cap (you still have to pay the player).

      Yes, the league acts as the bank for transfer fees. Yes, in the case of Dempsey the league acted as more than the bank (which was BS) … but that isn’t the case for most DPs.

      The only “funny money” that exists is Allocation Cash which is basically profit sharing / off books money to try to get weaker teams to go out and sign better players. I don’t see a problem with that either if MLS owners want to pool a little money that way for the betterment of the league as a whole.

      Ultimately transparency really means significant simplification of the rules. College draft (simple), re-entry draft (simple, but boring – benefits lower end journeyman players though so they don’t have to go find an agent and travel around to multiple tryouts) and really that should be it. Every other acquisition should be open market (yet limited by the salary cap rules).

  33. Alex H says:

    If the league were transparent and consistent then my LAG would not have so many championships so F*%! that!

  34. Fire says:

    Lifelong Fire fan here. I no longer have any interest in having JJ. It is clear that he really could care less about the Fire and only wants to play in LA. Hoping and praying that this deal doesn’t get done.

    • bryan says:

      Yallop said Jones has been excited to join. now they have a salary agreed upon, up to MLS to let it happen.

      this has nothing to do with LA and people need to stop saying it does.

  35. JB says:

    this is why single entity needs to go. Lets clubs be clubs and lets have free agency. You won’t see salaries go way up. This isn’t baseball where there are limited number of teams competing for an even more limited number of players. This is soccer where there is an abundance of clubs and an even more abundant number of players. Soccer has the least volatile wages than any sport. Especially outside the top five leagues.

    MLS clubs can survive fine without single entity. Owners are lying when they say they can’t.

    • RAMONE says:

      I don’t think single entity itself is so bad … it is just that state’s rights need to become stronger and the centralized league needs to just run the league with a much simplified and transparent player allocation system.

  36. John says:

    Perhaps this is off subject however I have a question that relates to MLS deals. What stops NYCFC from just having Man City sign a player they want. Then getting them to loan him to NYC for an amount under the salary cap?

  37. Joamiq says:

    This is so incredibly stupid.

  38. dan says:

    MLS really is an absolute joke in a lot of ways. You have to sign for a league and can’t chose a team? That is a disgrace, Garber needs to release the reigns and allow players to go to whichever club they want as long as they can afford them and agree on a contract.

    Jones should not come to MLS if this is the mickey mouse rules they are throwing around. MLS has killed so many deals already because they are clowns.