With the change in MLS rules regarding designated players as explained in today’s column we can also cue the speculation over potential imports this summer (it’s widely accepted that with the deadline for MLS clubs to sign overseas players under contract with another team closing April 15, this summer will begin to see the arrival of new stars when the next registration window opens July 15, right after the World Cup).
Can the Galaxy, big proponents of adding more designated players, squeeze a third DP under the cap?
“I don’t mean to be coy, I just don’t know,” said Associate Galaxy Head Coach Dave Sarachan. “There’s a lot of things out there that may enable us to do it or may not, depending on David’s status. This may not be the year to do it. It may be a little bit more of a challenge. … We’ve demonstrated a willingness to push the envelope and it’s just another opportunity to do that.”
By the way, Sarachan, who played a handful of games with the Rochester Lancers of the NASL back in the mid 1970s, does not believe the loosening of the purse strings by MLS means an NASL-like spending blitz that could undermine its finances:
“I don’t see it quite like that because we have a mechanism in place to keep the checks and balances financially and that’s a salary cap. Back then there was none. So markets that were difficult markets to bring revenue in fell by the wayside. Here everyone is on an even playing field to a certain degree, so it’s a little bit apples and oranges (to compare) our league to the NASL.”
Will spending more persuade Eurosnobs who look down their noses at MLS to check the league out?
“I don’t have the magic answer of what would bring fans in the stands, but If we as a league can bring in players that have a pedigree and world name and people know them I think it makes our product better,” Sarachan said. “When the product gets better it does give us credibility because others around the world can see these players can still function in our league. And it’s not an easy league, so maybe in the big picture it helps our credibility because it makes our product better.”
I asked the Galaxy’s Chris Klein whether he thought David Beckham had been a bust or success as a DP given that by the end of this season he will have played an average of around 10 MLS games a year in the first four years of his five-year $6.5 million a year contract:
“I set him apart from every other player in the world. David is the only guy who can bring the notoriety and crossover appeal that he has. What he did for us on the field last year could not have been repeated (by another player). He was a huge reason why we made it to the (MLS Cup) final. A healthy David Beckham playing for the Galaxy makes him a successful DP.”
Lastly, a trivia question.
Being a DP doesn’t necessarily mean that player has a hugely recognizable name, however. Can you name the six designated players currently in MLS?
The first person who leaves the correct answer in the comment section gets a (gently used) copy of the 2010 U.S. Soccer media guide.