Tuesday morning on my way to work I was listening to Paul Westcott on WTAG. I missed the beginning of his soccer talk in the United States with his producer (Danny Ferrantino). Danny, somewhat of a fan, thought that the MLS was not as popular mostly, because of the quality of play versus other leagues, like the English Premier League (EPL).
Do not worry, I am not about to go on a rant. It is true that the quality of play of the MLS is not as good as the EPL. I do not think that it it will ever be, and I am fine with that!! Why?
Most importantly, the MLS has rules on max salaries, but were allowed to have 1 designated player (DP), or the Beckham rule, now that number is at 3. This allows a team to pay 1 player, now 3, more then the maximum allowed.
Also soccer here in North/Central America doesn’t have the same quality, prestige as Europe does with the Champions League and Europa League, annual club competitions between European clubs. This does not mean, however, that the MLS is not worth watching.
The role of the MLS is to groom the next generation of USA national team players. At the samt time there will be a few lucky ones who will get the attention of European clubs, not just English based teams.
Take a look at the Portuguese league from my home country, whose top clubs don’t necessarily attract top talent. The top European clubs, however, are always scouting our young home grown players and young foreign players that we scouted and brought in, mostly South Americans that didn’t get the attention of Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan etc.
This past season a number of young players had break out seasons and are touted as the next generation who will play for Portugal 3-5 years from now. This scouting policy of buying cheap young and selling high has brought in over $400 million dollars of transfer fees for FC Porto since winning the European champions league in 2004.
In the end, I understand the quality of the MLS is not as good when compared to the other leagues, but the New England Revolution has alot of great young players to watch. Two highly rated college forwards were just drafted in the first round, Patrick Mullins and Steve Neumann, that we can watch become great players in other leagues and for their respective national teams.
Other Revs players to watch out for in the future include Diego Fagundez, Scott Caldwell, Kelyn Rowe, and Andrew Farrell. Recently Farrell has been mentioned for a future call up to the USA men’s national team. If you are a casual fan and want to at least follow and know who is who, these 4 players I mentioned are worth following.