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    Default "The Don" Speaks to NY Times Soccer Blogster


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    Good interview with many great questions.

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    So Portland is considered part of the league?

    Q: So many of the new stadiums in the league are what you call public/private partnerships. But isn’t that pool of public money even more questionable in these economic times?
    A: In the short term, with some buildings under construction, those are not an issue. Kansas City has work to do. But there’s been positive feedback. Portland is a new market that requires additional commitments that probably won’t come till the first part of ’09.

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    He comes across as a short-sighted, cliquey U.S. sports executive. He can't understand why there's so much opposition to the playoffs when a team with an SSS can't even sell out the western final? When the die-hard fans who are the only reason MLS is even still surviving have lengthy discussiosn on why they won't watch the post season.

    Above all, it's just arrogant American hubris, as usual. His best argument seems to be "compelling stories!", but that won't mean shit in Columbus if they lose to a team that only won 10 games. Has it even remotely occured to Don Garber that the huge base of international soccer fans in the U.S. who don't even follow MLS never will, unless it in some way resembles the game they love? They figured this out with shootouts a few years back, and, kicking and screaming, it'll be another decade before they figure this out.

    It's not about making the sport something Americans will like. It's about demonstrating to Americans why they should like the sport for what it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    Has it even remotely occured to Don Garber that the huge base of international soccer fans in the U.S. who don't even follow MLS never will, unless it in some way resembles the game they love? They figured this out with shootouts a few years back, and, kicking and screaming, it'll be another decade before they figure this out.
    Time for a lesson in MLS history.

    It was Doug Logan, the league's first Commish that put in the stupid rules (based on the NASL's Americanized rules). It was Don Garber that removed most of that stuff -- he gets it, but do the Owner//Operators (who make the ultimate decisions) get it?
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 11-18-2008 at 07:14 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Time for a lesson in MLS history.

    It was Doug Logan, the league's first Commish that put in the stupid rules (based on the NASL's Americanized rules). It was Don Garber that removed most of that stuff -- he gets it, but do the Owner//Operators (who make the ultimate decisions) get it?
    Gee, thanks for the condecension, but I don't see it suggested anywhere in my post that Garber was to blame for those issues. So? He gets it, but he rejects numerous facets of the game as its played elsewhere, including promotion/relegation and playoffs as a title decider?

    On what basis do you suggest he "gets it." We just had an (exceedingly optimistic) playoff final for the western conference in which the club couldn't muster more than 14,000 fans (and based on those attending it was more like 11,000).

    In fact, let's look at what Garber apparently "gets":
    • Contrary to popular opinion, officials had a good year
    • A supporter's group is a supporter's group (he lumps TFC in with columbus?!? as examples of success)
    • $40M is fair-market value when established franchises (Houston) sell for less and when only three teams in the league (dallas, Toronto and LA) actually make money on paper.
    • The league would die financially if it had to play mosts of its dates on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
    • America isn't bleeding its best players to other leagues;
    • The quality of play is good, because Beckham and Cappello have said so and we should just accept that.
    • Fans of teams in champions league shouldn't be upset that their teams don't take it seriously because MLS has "no control" over it and the CCC is "not as big for us" as for USL
    • "Things in Columbus, attendance, the supporters groups, have been really fantastic,"he says, four months after a newspaper expose showed they have attendances below 10,000 routinely.
    • "If just ending the season after the last game was the perfect model for sports every American sports league would do it". Again, everyone else apparently has it wrong. We should be copying football, baseball, hockey! I know, let's add cheerleaders!
    • The league can't afford a major change in salary budgets.
    • He wants at least $10 million for Landon Donavan because he should have more worth in Garber's eyes that a 20-year-old kid.
    • They might look at a single table, but he can't see the point right now.

    In other words, he is entirely full of shit, and simply parroting corporate lines with no discernable concner for the diehard fans who are makign the sport succeed in north America. This was essentially a "fuck you" checklist for every knowledgeable fan they've got.

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    Sorry, I got the impression that you were blaming Garber for the things you mentioned, hence a bit of history.

    Garber actually deserves a lot of credit for saving the league in it's darkest days, but I actually agree that it may be getting to be time for him to move on.

    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post

    In other words, he is entirely full of shit, and simply parroting corporate lines with no discernable concner for the diehard fans who are makign the sport succeed in north America. This was essentially a "fuck you" checklist for every knowledgeable fan they've got.
    Of course he is parroting corporate lines. That's his job. He is the "public face" of the owner/operators. However, the real stupidity is with many of the Owner/Operators, with their kiddie agendas aimed at soccer moms with minivans.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Of course he is parroting corporate lines. That's his job. He is the "public face" of the owner/operators. However, the real stupidity is with many of the Owner/Operators, with their kiddie agendas aimed at soccer moms with minivans.
    It seems unlikely they can think that far ahead, but if they were after the kids in the minivans, someday it could pay off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    Gee, thanks for the condecension, but I don't see it suggested anywhere in my post that Garber was to blame for those issues. So? He gets it, but he rejects numerous facets of the game as its played elsewhere, including promotion/relegation and playoffs as a title decider?

    On what basis do you suggest he "gets it." We just had an (exceedingly optimistic) playoff final for the western conference in which the club couldn't muster more than 14,000 fans (and based on those attending it was more like 11,000).

    In fact, let's look at what Garber apparently "gets":
    • Contrary to popular opinion, officials had a good year
    • A supporter's group is a supporter's group (he lumps TFC in with columbus?!? as examples of success)
    • $40M is fair-market value when established franchises (Houston) sell for less and when only three teams in the league (dallas, Toronto and LA) actually make money on paper.
    • The league would die financially if it had to play mosts of its dates on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
    • America isn't bleeding its best players to other leagues;
    • The quality of play is good, because Beckham and Cappello have said so and we should just accept that.
    • Fans of teams in champions league shouldn't be upset that their teams don't take it seriously because MLS has "no control" over it and the CCC is "not as big for us" as for USL
    • "Things in Columbus, attendance, the supporters groups, have been really fantastic,"he says, four months after a newspaper expose showed they have attendances below 10,000 routinely.
    • "If just ending the season after the last game was the perfect model for sports every American sports league would do it". Again, everyone else apparently has it wrong. We should be copying football, baseball, hockey! I know, let's add cheerleaders!
    • The league can't afford a major change in salary budgets.
    • He wants at least $10 million for Landon Donavan because he should have more worth in Garber's eyes that a 20-year-old kid.
    • They might look at a single table, but he can't see the point right now.

    In other words, he is entirely full of shit, and simply parroting corporate lines with no discernable concner for the diehard fans who are makign the sport succeed in north America. This was essentially a "fuck you" checklist for every knowledgeable fan they've got.
    I officially have a deep love for you....

    I've been SCREAMING!!! about this since the beginning of last year... This shows that consistent rhetoric can work!! Jump aboard!!

    Rudi!! Hey Rudi!! Where are you???

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    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    Gee, thanks for the condecension, but I don't see it suggested anywhere in my post that Garber was to blame for those issues. So? He gets it, but he rejects numerous facets of the game as its played elsewhere, including promotion/relegation and playoffs as a title decider?

    On what basis do you suggest he "gets it." We just had an (exceedingly optimistic) playoff final for the western conference in which the club couldn't muster more than 14,000 fans (and based on those attending it was more like 11,000).

    In fact, let's look at what Garber apparently "gets":
    • Contrary to popular opinion, officials had a good year
    • A supporter's group is a supporter's group (he lumps TFC in with columbus?!? as examples of success)
    • $40M is fair-market value when established franchises (Houston) sell for less and when only three teams in the league (dallas, Toronto and LA) actually make money on paper.
    • The league would die financially if it had to play mosts of its dates on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
    • America isn't bleeding its best players to other leagues;
    • The quality of play is good, because Beckham and Cappello have said so and we should just accept that.
    • Fans of teams in champions league shouldn't be upset that their teams don't take it seriously because MLS has "no control" over it and the CCC is "not as big for us" as for USL
    • "Things in Columbus, attendance, the supporters groups, have been really fantastic,"he says, four months after a newspaper expose showed they have attendances below 10,000 routinely.
    • "If just ending the season after the last game was the perfect model for sports every American sports league would do it". Again, everyone else apparently has it wrong. We should be copying football, baseball, hockey! I know, let's add cheerleaders!
    • The league can't afford a major change in salary budgets.
    • He wants at least $10 million for Landon Donavan because he should have more worth in Garber's eyes that a 20-year-old kid.
    • They might look at a single table, but he can't see the point right now.

    In other words, he is entirely full of shit, and simply parroting corporate lines with no discernable concner for the diehard fans who are makign the sport succeed in north America. This was essentially a "fuck you" checklist for every knowledgeable fan they've got.
    What a post! The Don shows us he wants to push the insular American model in this sport as well. All hail the world champion RedBulls/Crew!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    • $40M is fair-market value when established franchises (Houston) sell for less and when only three teams in the league (dallas, Toronto and LA) actually make money on paper.
    • The league would die financially if it had to play mosts of its dates on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
    • "If just ending the season after the last game was the perfect model for sports every American sports league would do it". Again, everyone else apparently has it wrong. We should be copying football, baseball, hockey! I know, let's add cheerleaders!
    • The league can't afford a major change in salary budgets.
    I agree with some of your points (and some of Garber's) but I disagree on these (and some of Garber's).

    1) the fair market value for an expansion is whatever candidates are willing to pay for that team; there is no "inherent" value of an MLS team. And if we were to come up with some formula that calculated that value, it would be made up of all kinds of values (future potential value, current revenue potential, scarcity of teams). So 40 million is fine, so is 100 million, so is 10 million... there's no "right" value for the team, and it's only too high if nobody wants to pay it. The value Garber has stipulated has not prevented any good candidates from applying... and I don't understand why we, as fans, should care what Portland pays to get in.

    2) the whole "only three teams make money on paper" thing is completely unproven and a total guess by Forbes. Teams don't reveal #s; it's always been a case in pro sports that NA teams massage finances with creative accounting. Lew Wolff, owners of San Jose, once said the great thing about MLS is the downside is almost nothing financially and the upside is huge.

    3) it's been proven that teams have much worse attendance on Wednesdays, particularly early in the season, so it would certainly be a problem to lose 30% of your attendance if you moved to wednesday games. My solution was that you schedule Wednesday games for teams that have high season ticket holder rates, so that game day sales are not hurt.

    4) Other leagues have playoffs other than MLS, like Mexico. Just because Europeans do it one way doesn't mean we have to follow their lead like sheep. Personally as someone who has grown up with playoffs, I like it. Europeans love playoffs too, but it functions as things like Champions League or World Cup quarters/semis etc. Same idea, slightly different formulation of teams.

    5) If you've been following Garber's comments relating to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, he implies the reason he doesn't want to raise the cap is not that the league can't afford it, but that he doesn't want to tip his hand to the players about the state of MLS finances.... seems smart to me that you don't gift the players $$$$ before you have to negotiate with them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocker View Post
    I agree with some of your points (and some of Garber's) but I disagree on these (and some of Garber's).

    1) the fair market value for an expansion is whatever candidates are willing to pay for that team; there is no "inherent" value of an MLS team. And if we were to come up with some formula that calculated that value, it would be made up of all kinds of values (future potential value, current revenue potential, scarcity of teams). So 40 million is fine, so is 100 million, so is 10 million... there's no "right" value for the team, and it's only too high if nobody wants to pay it. The value Garber has stipulated has not prevented any good candidates from applying... and I don't understand why we, as fans, should care what Portland pays to get in.

    2) the whole "only three teams make money on paper" thing is completely unproven and a total guess by Forbes. Teams don't reveal #s; it's always been a case in pro sports that NA teams massage finances with creative accounting. Lew Wolff, owners of San Jose, once said the great thing about MLS is the downside is almost nothing financially and the upside is huge.

    3) it's been proven that teams have much worse attendance on Wednesdays, particularly early in the season, so it would certainly be a problem to lose 30% of your attendance if you moved to wednesday games. My solution was that you schedule Wednesday games for teams that have high season ticket holder rates, so that game day sales are not hurt.

    4) Other leagues have playoffs other than MLS, like Mexico. Just because Europeans do it one way doesn't mean we have to follow their lead like sheep. Personally as someone who has grown up with playoffs, I like it. Europeans love playoffs too, but it functions as things like Champions League or World Cup quarters/semis etc. Same idea, slightly different formulation of teams.

    5) If you've been following Garber's comments relating to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, he implies the reason he doesn't want to raise the cap is not that the league can't afford it, but that he doesn't want to tip his hand to the players about the state of MLS finances.... seems smart to me that you don't gift the players $$$$ before you have to negotiate with them.
    1. Great point
    2. So we just trust the commish to say all the teams are healthy?
    3. league growth problem. Commit to 2 days of the week. Make them tradition and it'll grow, slowly. Move it all around and casuals lose interest.
    4.Disagree entirely but at least for your sake I'm a shrinking minority.
    5.Great point. We need to raise the $$$ without hurting the future of the league.

    Great post!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocker View Post
    I agree with some of your points (and some of Garber's) but I disagree on these (and some of Garber's).

    1) the fair market value for an expansion is whatever candidates are willing to pay for that team; there is no "inherent" value of an MLS team. And if we were to come up with some formula that calculated that value, it would be made up of all kinds of values (future potential value, current revenue potential, scarcity of teams). So 40 million is fine, so is 100 million, so is 10 million... there's no "right" value for the team, and it's only too high if nobody wants to pay it. The value Garber has stipulated has not prevented any good candidates from applying... and I don't understand why we, as fans, should care what Portland pays to get in.

    2) the whole "only three teams make money on paper" thing is completely unproven and a total guess by Forbes. Teams don't reveal #s; it's always been a case in pro sports that NA teams massage finances with creative accounting. Lew Wolff, owners of San Jose, once said the great thing about MLS is the downside is almost nothing financially and the upside is huge.

    3) it's been proven that teams have much worse attendance on Wednesdays, particularly early in the season, so it would certainly be a problem to lose 30% of your attendance if you moved to wednesday games. My solution was that you schedule Wednesday games for teams that have high season ticket holder rates, so that game day sales are not hurt.

    4) Other leagues have playoffs other than MLS, like Mexico. Just because Europeans do it one way doesn't mean we have to follow their lead like sheep. Personally as someone who has grown up with playoffs, I like it. Europeans love playoffs too, but it functions as things like Champions League or World Cup quarters/semis etc. Same idea, slightly different formulation of teams.

    5) If you've been following Garber's comments relating to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, he implies the reason he doesn't want to raise the cap is not that the league can't afford it, but that he doesn't want to tip his hand to the players about the state of MLS finances.... seems smart to me that you don't gift the players $$$$ before you have to negotiate with them.
    Good post rocker. Mostly valid arguments, although I disagree/worry about a few of these issues.

    1) I agree on your definition of fair market value. But as commodity traders and hedge fund operators will tell you, there are real economic dangers in artificially inflating a market's value to "what people are willing to pay" when there's no evidence the economics of the business model will, in the long-term, support it. It leads to inflationary pressures within the model....such as the expectation during CBA negotiations that commodity value should equal a greater reward for employees, leading to inflated operating costs. This was a MAJOR problem for the NASL, and they'd do well to keep in mind that attributing major-league values to a minor-league structure has been problematic in the past.

    For example, let's assume Seattle continues to sell tons of seasons's tickets. Realizing the franchise has a massive starting debt position due to the franchise fee, the teamsets face value tickets at twice what they are in the rest of MLS, knowing the extras will be picked up anyway. All of a sudden, you have a fight between league owners, because smaller, less successful franchises can't afford to increase their revenue from the same base without losign fans.

    These are real issues even in a league "owned" by the teams, so it's not just as simple as "what the market will bear."

    2) It's not a "total guess" by Forbes. It's official information released by the league -- although you're right that American sports franchises have a long history of being write-down tools for other aspects of a corporate owner.

    3) I agree with the short-term pain issue, but a) they already have bad draws on ANY day other than Saturday and b) they have to schedule games on days other than Saturday. Ergo, it makes sense to have them on regular days, so that fans can make long-term schedule changes to accomodate them. Splitting games up between Thursday and Friday, with no consistency of any sort, makes no sense at all. Better to ahve Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday games and avoid as many conflicts with international play/other sports.

    4) Other leagues have playoffs, and I'm not necessarily against playoffs; my problem with Garber's perspective is that in his world, the playoffs write the ending to the story; in mine, the team that got the most points from the season should get that nod. You can still have playoffs without promotion/relegation; it's called a cup bracket. Make the playoff winner the "Cup"winner, as cups are often decided on one-off, do-or-die situations, and give the league title to the one who.....actually won the league. Not a huge leap in logic, after all.

    5) You're just wrong on this one (at least, in quoting Garber) although you're probably right if Garber was being honest. What he said was "And I don’t see any major changes to our rosters, in terms of size, or other elements of our financial structure, such as the salary budgte. We’re in the final year of our CBA and we’re going through some challenging times."

    "Challenging times" is a suggestion of financial restraint, not barganing finesse. So he didn't say leave any subtle hints on the floor here, he was just disingenuous (because you're right, there are going to be major changes in it.)

    I guess what bugs me more than anything is that in sticking with "the plan", as businesses tend to do, he's sending the message that he doesn't hear or discounts out of hand the concerns of the fanbase. That's very troubling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    He comes across as a short-sighted, cliquey U.S. sports executive. He can't understand why there's so much opposition to the playoffs when a team with an SSS can't even sell out the western final? When the die-hard fans who are the only reason MLS is even still surviving have lengthy discussiosn on why they won't watch the post season.

    Above all, it's just arrogant American hubris, as usual. His best argument seems to be "compelling stories!", but that won't mean shit in Columbus if they lose to a team that only won 10 games. Has it even remotely occured to Don Garber that the huge base of international soccer fans in the U.S. who don't even follow MLS never will, unless it in some way resembles the game they love? They figured this out with shootouts a few years back, and, kicking and screaming, it'll be another decade before they figure this out.

    It's not about making the sport something Americans will like. It's about demonstrating to Americans why they should like the sport for what it is.

    what he said!

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    This league is in need of new leadership!

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    yeah bring back the shot clock!

    But there are an astounding amount of people who will defend the leagues present state as a success and not as I see it a league with incredible potential with change.

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    If you're gonna make big business work, then you gotta show some balls!
    Garber is playing it safe with the MLS. He really needs to step up or step down!

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    Or step off a speeding Amtrak.
    KD

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    DG = DoucheGag.

    KD.

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    ^ dave's in the sauce
    ///\\\///\\\///\\\///\\\///\\\///\\\///\\\///\\\

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parkdale View Post
    ^ dave's in the sauce
    Yes. I just finished a great spaghetti dinner!
    KD.

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    From my impression of Garber, concerning his remarks about Miami, he seems to want to get markets that won't be around for selection next expansion round in the door. Ala St.Louis, Atlanta and Miami whereas Montreal, Portland and Vancouver will be options no matter what.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DigzTFC! View Post
    From my impression of Garber, concerning his remarks about Miami, he seems to want to get markets that won't be around for selection next expansion round in the door. Ala St.Louis, Atlanta and Miami whereas Montreal, Portland and Vancouver will be options no matter what.
    Yes sir.
    The MLS would love to have a bunch of mid to southern U.S. teams populate the league, but a little problem called Toronto came along and changed the equation.
    Now they have to deal with Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa.
    Miami?
    I know you would love a team there Parky but Miami is like Columbus on steroids!
    KD.

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    Teams in the USL are spirited, usually small market towns where they show true support for the teams.
    Me and the NY roadtrippers were given the 'royal' tour of the Rochester facility on route to NY and on a game night too!
    Class all the way.
    Oh, did I mention?
    The Rhinos games cost
    $15/seat and include 3 beers!

    So now whatya think?
    KD.

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    Garber really has no understanding of the transfer market if he thinks that Landycakes would fetch anything close to what Altidore did
    “What the world needs is more geniuses with humility; there are so few of us left.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by ensco View Post
    Garber really has no understanding of the transfer market if he thinks that Landycakes would fetch anything close to what Altidore did
    Agreed. I read that and just shook my head because this man has ZERO understanding of the transfer market. His response is the same as half the morons on BS who think Landycakes is god's gift to soccer while being unable to admit his soccer resume doesn't warrant any fee over 5 million. A teenage phenom like Jozy is worth 10 million because he's proven himself as one of the brightest youngsters on the planet with limitless potential. Landycakes is a 26 year old "as is" purchase with a track record of failure at the highest level. What's so hard for the Yanks to understand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Canary Canuck View Post
    Agreed. I read that and just shook my head because this man has ZERO understanding of the transfer market. His response is the same as half the morons on BS who think Landycakes is god's gift to soccer while being unable to admit his soccer resume doesn't warrant any fee over 5 million. A teenage phenom like Jozy is worth 10 million because he's proven himself as one of the brightest youngsters on the planet with limitless potential. Landycakes is a 26 year old "as is" purchase with a track record of failure at the highest level. What's so hard for the Yanks to understand.
    Donavan MIGHT fetch $5-7 million but he's going to be 27 years old next year, which works against him and MLS in their efforts to get the max. possible in the transfer market.

    Any club who buys him now knows that there is basically ZERO sell-on value because he'll be over 30 at the end of his contract.

    If DeGuzman is only worth $3 million, I can't see Donavan worth more than $6million (and I'd be shocked if he could fetch even that much)

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    Quote Originally Posted by VPjr View Post
    Donavan MIGHT fetch $5-7 million but he's going to be 27 years old next year, which works against him and MLS in their efforts to get the max. possible in the transfer market.

    Any club who buys him now knows that there is basically ZERO sell-on value because he'll be over 30 at the end of his contract.

    If DeGuzman is only worth $3 million, I can't see Donavan worth more than $6million (and I'd be shocked if he could fetch even that much)
    jdg's value is low right now due to last year in contract. if he signs a new contract, expect his value to go up.

    also, strikers are generally valued higher than other players

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    A: We’re looking at some things that will really change our model and present the best competition for fans.
    One, potentially, would have M.L.S. Cup at the site of the team with best record remaining in the in playoffs. That would be a major change to our competitive format. Years ago that might not have been something I would have supported. But today I’m not sure that’s true. This would not be for next year, but it’s not inconceivable. We just want to show our fans and the media that we don’t have our heads in the sand, that we’re willing to look at things as an evolution.
    atleast that is somewhat positive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yohan View Post
    jdg's value is low right now due to last year in contract. if he signs a new contract, expect his value to go up.

    also, strikers are generally valued higher than other players
    Jules is 29 years old. If he had 2 years left on his contract, he'd still be worth barely $4 million. There is no sell on value and he's a holding mid. Clubs don't pay enormous money for 29 year old holding mids.

    The whole transfer fee market has changed alot over the years. People are paying huge fees for young players where there is a hope to sell them on. Older players can demand a sizeable fee too but usually that is only paid by huge clubs that are not worried about sell-on potential

 

 

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