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skangles
DC
Post #61
Monday March 9, 2015 9:50pm

Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts: 5,412
Personally I think the MLS should look to our neighbor to the south for inspiration on what the league should be. Love or hate Liga MX, they are comfortable in their own skin and have a solid model in place.

When Liga MX players get called into the Mexican National Team there isn't panic that they "only" play in the domestic league. Liga MX excels at pumping out a pipeline of potential talent for the national team and like the MLS there is relative parity amongst Liga MX sides compared to European leagues.

Mexican clubs are still subject to having talent poached by bigger European sides (see Raul Jimenez) but teams like America, Cruz Azul, etc garner a respect that isnt there for MLS clubs. In my opinion a lot of this comes from Copa Libertadores performances and to a lesser extent the CCL. The CCL matters...A LOT for MLS sides as its the only international competition at the moment.

Liga MX salaries are more than MLS so the salary argument is valid but all this other talk about becoming a Top 10 league is just noise to me. We're misguided if think the barometer for success is Europe instead of Mexico.

mmee
Culver City, CA
Post #62
Monday March 9, 2015 10:11pm

Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts: 2,147
Well, they make quite a bit more than MLS clubs, and they spend quite a bit more on the average salary for the XI plus a few subs.

dolcem
Post #63
Thursday March 12, 2015 9:28pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,805
Original post from 2tone

Wait 2022 is 7 years away not 4.

And the American player has jumped leaps and bounds since the last CBA in 2010.

7 years is a long time considering the talent the US has coming up through the youth ranks from 15 to 21 years old.


There is no way you can argue that in the past five years "the American player has jumped leaps and bounds." This is five years we are talking about. Did the bulk of the MLS players and coaches from 2010 that are still in the league magically turn into a different set of players and coaches? The DP's are much better now than they were five years ago but the rank and file of the league isn't that much different.

If you meant that the young players are getting better, that may be (but it's far too small a sample size and I don't think the U-17s, or any of youth teams, are actually showing that to be the case quite yet), but let's not get ahead of ourselves. The MLS is making huge strides but soccer is a very unique sport and it will take generations to get to where the top leagues are. The sport just is not played among youth the way it is in other countries (in the US, it's recreationally from the age of six; in other countries, it's religious from the age of two) and the youth coaching is nowhere near what it is elsewhere, either. But that's to be expected considering our domestic league isn't even twenty years old. We are currently entering the golden age of US soccer: post 2014, it is a sport that is widely watched and taken seriously by the general population. The young kids now that grow up watching and playing the sport will become great coaches some day, and the kids they coach will grow up to be the greatest generation of players this country has ever seen. I do believe that in 50-60 years we will be as good as any nation in the world. But that's about as long as we'll have to wait.
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dolcem
Post #64
Thursday March 12, 2015 10:04pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,805
Original post from skangles

Personally I think the MLS should look to our neighbor to the south for inspiration on what the league should be. Love or hate Liga MX, they are comfortable in their own skin and have a solid model in place.

When Liga MX players get called into the Mexican National Team there isn't panic that they "only" play in the domestic league. Liga MX excels at pumping out a pipeline of potential talent for the national team and like the MLS there is relative parity amongst Liga MX sides compared to European leagues.

Mexican clubs are still subject to having talent poached by bigger European sides (see Raul Jimenez) but teams like America, Cruz Azul, etc garner a respect that isnt there for MLS clubs. In my opinion a lot of this comes from Copa Libertadores performances and to a lesser extent the CCL. The CCL matters...A LOT for MLS sides as its the only international competition at the moment.

Liga MX salaries are more than MLS so the salary argument is valid but all this other talk about becoming a Top 10 league is just noise to me. We're misguided if think the barometer for success is Europe instead of Mexico.


I'm going to have to go ahead and sort of disagree with you on that one.

The high salaries of Liga MX are actually detrimental to the Mexican NT. Thanks to the size of Mexico and its TV and sponsorship deals, Liga MX players have hugely inflated salaries. In terms of quality, they aren't that great, since paying the same players more doesn't make them any better. And these high salaries prevent them from making the jump abroad: they make more money by staying at home. Because of the big gap between Liga MX and the top European leagues in terms of quality and style, very rarely will a Liga MX player get an offer from a top European club. He will most likely have to go to a mid-level European club first, say in the Eredevisie or Liga Sagres, where he can develop more as a player before making that leap. But his salary will likely be lower at this mid-level European club and so Liga MX players usually prefer to stay at home, where they cannot develop into world class players.

Additionally, the amount of money in Mexican soccer deters Mexican clubs from focusing on developing youth players. They can afford to simply buy their way to success (and increasingly by poaching players and coaches from the superior footballistically but poorer financially Argentine league) rather than having to rely on the youth academy. Poorer clubs (from Brazil or Argentina, for example, or even La Liga in Europe) depend on developing young players and selling them to pay off their ever-increasing debts, and the proof is in the pudding. These leagues develop and export far better players than Liga MX because of these financial incentives. Managers are asked by owners (and ultimately the fans, who "get it") to play for more than the result and to identify and develop youth academy products at the senior level, even if it sometimes means discarding slightly better veteran players in the process or losing the odd game by playing too openly. Liga MX teams do not do so because generally it pays more to buy success in the short term. They have so much money that they don't need to rely heavily on their youth academies. Recently they have invested more of these windfalls on their youth academies, which is why they've seen progress at the youth national levels, but these issues are why this success hasn't translated to the senior level and why Mexico has never had a great World Cup run.

The MLS has a similar problem: there don't seem to be the financial incentives for owners to make a serious emphasis on developing youth academy products into senior team stars capable of playing at the highest levels. While academy players do count less against the cap, even if one develops into a star, he will ask for a bigger contract, which may have to be rejected due to cap reasons, at which point he could leave for free to Europe (this is one reason the MLS avoids free agency, and its something they have right that the fans don't get), leaving the team with zero return on its investment. The MLS has to approve transfers abroad, and since they are intent on holding on to all of their quality young players, the only way one of these stars will make it to Europe is as a free agent. The MLS isn't to the level yet where European teams are willing to shell out on its young players, so this will often be the case, and so the owners don't have the incentive to develop these young players. Even if a European team is willing to take a big risk and spend, say, 5 million bucks on a young MLS player, the team won't be able to reinvest that money on the squad because of the salary cap. It does nothing for their success in the league and it won't win over any fans, either.

It should be thus no surprise that many of these MLS youth academy gems see their development stall upon turning pro. MLS coaches don't adjust their teams to fit these players' needs; it is the young players that must adapt to the way the team already plays...and these coaches don't really seem to know much about youth development, anyway. They also NEVER play for anything more than the result, contrary to the philosophy and practice of most professional soccer teams (Gregg Berhalter's Columbus Crew is the only MLS team I can ever remember doing so; perhaps its's something he learned while playing in Europe, something few MLS coaches have done). This is not how you grow a 17 year old youth product into a polished player capable of succeeding in the top European leagues, and, surprise, despite the massive growth of soccer in this country the past decade or so, we haven't produced anyone as good as the stars from the '02 golden generation.

And now the increased financial clout of MLS teams means that even our top players, the ones that would play in Europe, either come back home or never make the jump in the first place. MLS Salaries for USNT players are now incredibly inflated and so they prefer to play in the MLS (look at how grossly overpaid MB90 and Jozy are), effectively halting their technical development. Most American fans don't see to understand the negative effects this has on the national team; but the impact is severe. Klinsmann is correct on this one: you have to play at the highest levels to develop into an elite player. Landon Donovan is the exception to the rule, and even then he is more of a German youth academy product than anything else. This isn't gridiron football; a soccer player's ceiling is determined by the players around him and the system in which he plays. It is impossible for someone playing in the MLS or Belgium, Turkey, Mexico, etc. to turn into a world class player there. It has never happened. And even for the ones that go abroad, turn into polished players, and then come back to the MLS, they will suffer from not playing at a high level at a high speed (look at how much MB90 sucked at the World Cup, for example). The inflated salaries of MLS stars will bring us to the point where our national team almost exclusively plays in the MLS and few decide to make the jump to Europe, and we will suffer for it. The only players with a shot at becoming world class players will be those that make the jump to a European youth academy at an early age and decide to play for glory instead of money.
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