On today’s Community Corner, we tackle a topic that has been debated among Major League Soccer circles over the past few years. For a while now, MLS has started to attract some world class talent from outside the United States. With the influx of money that MLS franchises have poured into bringing better players into the league, through the designated player rule, Targeted Allocation Money, General Allocation Money, and other loopholes and workarounds to the salary cap. Recently, there has been a greater emphasis on youth development through the team academies and adding young designated players to rosters from Central and South America.
The recent wave of young players have led to teams looking to bring on young players in the hopes they can later sell those players for high transfer fees to further fund their academies and scouting systems. Miguel Almiron, Paul Arriola, Josef Martinez, Diego Rossi, Ezequiel Barco, and Andre Horta are recent examples of young players signed by teams to designated player contracts. Still, there are teams whose focus is on buying big-name players to court casual fans and increase their ticket base. Wayne Rooney, Giovani Dos Santos, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, David Villa, Carlos Vela, and Bastian Schweinsteiger are some recent examples of big-name international players that have been purchased at high prices to come to MLS.
The same debate extends to American talent as well. Some teams are buying some of the veterans from the United States Men’s National Team to boost attendance numbers and hopefully team play. Michael Bradley, Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Jozy Altidore, and Clint Dempsey are players that have been recently brought home for top dollar. Others are looking to the next generation or finding them within their academies. Tyler Adams, Zack Steffen, Kellyn Acosta, Jordan Morris, and Cristian Roldan are players who have emerged or are trying to break through with the USMNT that got their start either within the academy structure or by breaking out at an early age.
There are pros and cons to MLS being a buying league or a selling league. If it’s a buying league, it could bring in big names to attract more fans and interest to their team. However, the fees spent on such players could take resources away from other parts of the club, including youth development. On the flip side, a selling league could mean more money directed towards the development of young players so they can ply their trade abroad. But, it could risk losing fans by constantly selling young stars to foreign clubs, leaving clubs constantly looking for the next player that will excite their fan base.
So, today’s question is a poll, but as always, come with your thoughts on why: should MLS be a buyer’s league or a seller’s league? Fill out the poll, hit the comments and tell us what you think!
Should MLS be a buying league or a selling league?
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