USMNT/Foreign Player limit on MLS

Discussion in 'USA Men' started by SoccerKowboy, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. SoccerKowboy

    SoccerKowboy BigSoccer Supporter

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    So I've seen some arguments as to the need to limit the number of foreign players in MLS, and the deleterious effect on the USMNT that would result from not capping that number.

    I think it's clear that there are currently simply not enough talented American soccer players available to raise the level of league to that of some of the higher profile leagues in the world. On the other hand, the USMNT has surely benefited over the last decade from having a domestic league to feed the NT pool.

    My take is that there's a balance that you want to strike between quality of play in the league, and number of slots expressly set aside for Americans. I kind of look at it like this. Most people on BS would agree that American footballers that go abroad generally tend to grow as players, and tend to be more useful to the NT. Most people would also agree that foreign-born MLS players on average tend to be more talented than American MLS players. So the more foreign players in MLS, the higher the overall quality of play, and as a result, the more development potential for the American players in the league; i.e. in order to keep up with the level of competition in the league, the American players will need to adjust and get better. And this in turn helps the USMNT. Obviously, there's a cap at which point there are so few Americans in MLS that there are diminishing returns for the USMNT.

    So...... I would suggest that the USMNT would still flourish with a set quota of 5 or 6 American players per team. Say that even half of those players were good enough to play international football; that would still be a player pool of at least 30 players, just from MLS. And because the overall quality of the league would be higher due to better foreign players, this player pool would have more quality as well.

    Opinions?

    BTW, if this has been discussed before, please post a link to the thread.


  2. Kevin8833

    Kevin8833 Member

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    England is a great example, they have way to many foreign players, as far as how many should be allowed is tricky because if there are to many americans won't even see the field. I would say a maximum of 10 foreign players on each roster so the quality is raised but there are plenty of american players and a good number will see the field still.
  3. Chicago76

    Chicago76 Member

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    There are caps on foreign players.

    Also, England can't cap the number of foreign players. They must accept EU players otherwise they'd be in violation of EU law.
  4. SoccerKowboy

    SoccerKowboy BigSoccer Supporter

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    I understand that. The point I'm trying to make is that the cap is too low. (It's like max five foreign players per MLS team except Senior Internationals, or something like that, right?)


  5. Lothar is 1

    Lothar is 1 Member

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    Yeah... that's something they should've considered... back in 95... oh wait... THEY DID!!!
  6. SoccerKowboy

    SoccerKowboy BigSoccer Supporter

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    Actually, I believe they've even changed it since '96; initially wasn't the limit three foreign nationals max per team? Anyways, the league has evolved significantly since then. I think to take the league to the next level, the foreign player limit should me raised.
  7. Chicago76

    Chicago76 Member

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    I understand what you're getting at. The problem with adding more foreign players is twofold:

    1-If you really want to improve the quality by adding significantly better foreign players, then you'll end up having 1-3 Americans playing on the field at any given time, and lack of first team exposure will hurt American player development. This means fewer players going over to Europe as they get less exposure. Europe is where our best players go to learn more and become bigger contributors to the national team. National team performance, while not the biggest goal of MLS, is still an important one. World Cup appearances and performance are important marketing tools for the league. We also get money on transfers for developing US players. While the money is not big yet, it does help to subsidize the league.

    2-Where do you get these players from and how do they contribute to the bottom line? American players are relative bargains. To get a comparable European player, you'd need to find at least bit players from the Coca Cola Championship in England. These players are too expensive. Actually, any player marginally better than the standard MLS starter in Europe is too expensive. You'd need to look in Latin America. Most players who would be major upgrades from Latin America are either looking for the big move to Europe from Argentina/Brazil or they're comfortable making more money than MLS can provide in the Mexican League. We could grab more players from Central America or from some of the less developed soccer markets in South America. This is what we've done for much of the history of MLS. The problem with fielding a bunch of players from these parts of the world relates to marketing. The quality of play would go up a bit, but it would be offset by a worse marketing position. Most of these guys would not speak English. There's nothing wrong with that, but do we really want a team full of players who are only marginally better than the current league who can't communicate and relate to the fans? How would the league market itself?

    Breaking the bank on a guy like Blanco is fine. He barely speaks English, but his play speaks for itself as it is so much better than the league standard. Plus, he has a huge cult following among Mexicans.

    The only way we could afford to really step up the quality on the field is to break the bank NASL style. And we all know how that turned out.
  8. SoccerKowboy

    SoccerKowboy BigSoccer Supporter

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    Nice post. Pretty much covered all the bases.

    BTW, does anyone know what the current player caps and limitations are in MLS? I.e. number of foreign players, exceptions for senior internationals, etc? I suppose I should post this in the MLS forum.

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