View Full Version : LA Times article on Carver - May 21

05-24-2008, 09:47 AM
I'm a little behind in e-mails, this one from a friend in Los Angeles

"The league's officials appear to be attempting to stifle the emotion and intensity he brings to the sport, but that is just what is needed.

Grahame L. Jones, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

May 21, 2008

Three cheers for Toronto FC Coach John Carver, and three more if he sticks to his guns.

Carver will be on the sideline again Wednesday night, when Toronto tries to extend its record unbeaten streak to six games while handing D.C. United a fifth consecutive road loss.

But that's not the story.

The story is whether Major League Soccer's suits, in their infinite wisdom, will allow Carver to coach the way he knows how to coach or whether they will again try to stifle the emotion and intensity he brings to the sport.

The MLS product is all too often a drab one. The quality of the play isn't what the league would like you to believe, just as the attendance is nowhere near what the teams want their sponsors to believe. Anything that adds color to MLS games should be embraced with open arms, not squashed.

Carver adds color. So do Toronto's singing, dancing, streamer-throwing fans, who have packed BMO Field for every game in the club's brief history. That's every game.

But over this last weekend, when Toronto and the Columbus Crew were playing out a 0-0 tie, Carver had a run-in with the match officials.

It was the second game in a row this happened. Carver, new to MLS this season after having coached Newcastle United in the English Premier League, is an emotional coach. He reacts to what is happening on the field.

But MLS doesn't like that, and that's where the league and the coach are butting heads. Listen to what Carver said after the Columbus game:

"They want me to sit down in the chair in the dugout with me arms folded and me legs crossed. Be a nice little boy and get a suntan," Carver said during the postgame news conference.

"Well, no. If that's what they want, I'll get on a plane and just fly home again. I'm a passionate guy. When we miss a shot, I put my arms up on my head. When we don't get a free kick, I put my hands on my head. They don't want that.

"They don't want passionate people. Well I'm like that. Every day. I'm like that on the training ground.

"If this is taken a way from me, then it's not worth my while being here and being part of this."

Yet MLS apparently does not want coaches who show a human side, coaches who get wrapped up in the game, who stalk around the coaching box and yell at players and at referees, coaches who, in short, care.

What MLS wants are compliant coaches who toe the line. If they speak out and criticize match officials, as many have, they get fined or suspended or both.

If the men who are molding the MLS product can't speak out about the deplorable state of officiating in this country, who can? The refereeing is as bad now as it was in 1996.

Perhaps the league might be better off ditching all its current referees and importing a few dozen.

The league could also perhaps find a head of "on-field competition" whose passion is soccer, not NASCAR.

Instead, MLS recently sent out a DVD to its referees in which it documented what it considered inappropriate behavior on the sideline by coaches. Carver figured prominently.

And so, in the Columbus match, Carver and Mauricio Navarro, the game's fourth official, got into a spat.

"Because of the DVD, the fourth official was quite aggressive toward me, and I did nothing today to merit that," Carver said. "He disrespected me. He pointed his finger in my face. If I did that to him, I'm in trouble, and rightly so."

If MLS drives Carver out of the league, it will be yet another step backward for an organization and a sport that, generally speaking, is moving forward in this part of the world.

The league wonders why it seldom makes the front page of sports sections across the U.S. and Canada, and infrequently sees video clips of its players and coaches on network television.

Here's a hint: Bland doesn't sell, controversy does.

"Apparently, they don't want people who love the game and wear their heart on their sleeve," Carver said.

It is now up to Commissioner Don Garber and the rest of the MLS hierarchy to prove him wrong."


For comments or questions on soccer, e-mail: grahame.jones@latimes.com (grahame.jones@latimes.com)

full article here:

TFC Via Buffalo
05-24-2008, 11:07 AM

Here's my question for MLS, do you see ANY other team sports telling their officials to just sit and be quiet? Outside of total belligerence, a fiery coach is respected.

05-24-2008, 12:13 PM
One of the things that makes football so great, is the passion. Every sport has their controversial figures, let MLS have their own.

05-24-2008, 12:18 PM
Well said, well done. Nice to see us featured prominently in LA. Hopefully, more media picks this up and the powers that be in the MLS take notice.

05-24-2008, 12:37 PM
Passion is what the MLS needs in spades!! Great to see that the LA Times realizes' this as well!!!!

05-24-2008, 12:48 PM
Wow, that's a raving endorsment of Carver's stance over this issue. I imagine an item like this in a high profile publication is what prompted Garbers response in his most recent blog. I can't imagine that it was mere bloggers and Canadian press that would have done so.

Way to go LA Times.

Canadian Blue
05-24-2008, 02:24 PM
Carver is pure class, his passion is only surpassed bu his obvious understanding of the game......the MLS hierarchy can kiss the collective ass of Toronto FC and all its supporters!!!!