Wednesday, November 23, 2011

MLS House of Ill Repute

Josh Gardner was chosen by Impact Montreal during the 10 round MLS expansion draft.

It's weird for me right now. I'm fidgeting.

Quite a few words have been deleted before leaving this. The format for the Major League Soccer draft is imprudent. An archaic hold over from a league that can't shed old/bad habits. The reason the Expansion Draft feels dirty is because it IS dirty.

Too similar to the world's oldest profession, the MLS Expansion Draft is.

Columbus is the only city in our domestic soccer league to have lost a player in each of the expansion drafts since the league's founding.

What MLS doesn't seem to get is that it isn't the NFL or the NBA. You can't have your 'superstars' starting each game. Soccer as a sport, is the superstar. The very arbitrary nature of the 'protect 11 players' suggests that there may be fundamental problems in the minds of the stewards of the league.

MLS is a league of clubs fighting to build a foundation of talent. Reserves. Part-time college players, etc. To have a draft system that undermines that grassroots work boggles my mind.

And no, the argument stating that it is only 10 people, max one player from each team doesn't work. Did they monitor player comments? Tweets? Fan/Supporter feelings towards it? These are things that keep the league from gaining respect of fans and major news outlets.

The format also suggests that pulling from other teams is the only way to get expansion teams competitive, faster. What about players looking for a chance that aren't currently with a club? Loads of players that have played in MLS looking to get back in. How about NASL players or USL players? Foreign players looking for a change? Just south of here holds some of the best talent pools in the world. Hell, one of the writers for this blog could most definitively help Montreal.

I'm still fidgeting over this. Last year was frustrating, but now that I know more about the league I realize that this draft process hurts the league more then it helps Montreal. In fact it hurts soccer as a whole in North America.

I ordered the only MLS licensed video game ever to be published. MLS Extratime. It came out in 2001. Fun playing the game. Lapper is on there. McBride and Warzycha too. Crew Stadium! Fun to play, but dark days those were for Major League Soccer. This 'adoption draft' feels very much like a part of that time.

Josh Gardner had a great, great season with the Columbus Crew. I spent a spell, spinning a thread on one of his goals. It came during the Seattle thrashing. For me, reaction after the goal helped reaffirm why I am a fan of the Columbus Crew. Not only because they are my local team, or because of where it is located in the country, but because of the character of some of the players on the team and how they, and the club itself operate within the deus ex machina that is Major League Soccer.

Gardner was one of those guys you like having out there. A pro. Good luck up there in Montreal.

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