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After World Cup Performances, MLS Tries To Hold Onto Stars While Marketing Them
Published July 7, 2014
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BESLER EYEING A MOVE, TOO? Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman said there is a "strong possibility" that D Matt Besler could pursue a transfer to an overseas club after his performance at the World Cup. Besler's agent, Libero Sports' Eddie Rock, said that his client "is weighing options that include offers" from EPL and Bundesliga clubs. In K.C., Sam McDowell notes if Besler "finds an acceptable landing spot with an overseas club, that team would be required to negotiate a transfer fee" with Sporting KC and MLS. Sporting KC Manager and Technical Dir Peter Vermes and Heineman "have made it clear they will not block a player’s aspirations to follow other opportunities -- but they first plan to make a pitch of their own to Besler" (K.C. STAR, 7/7). Besler and Yedlin on Friday appeared together live in studio for CBS' "CBS This Morning." Yedlin said the U.S. team "showed the world that this is turning into a soccer country." He added, "Hopefully, we've given people more reason to watch not just U.S. soccer, but also MLS." Besler said of potentially leaving MLS, "I hope I get to stay. We'll see what happens. Right now, I'm extremely happy here in the U.S." ("CBS This Morning," 7/4).
GAUGING GROWTH: U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati said of whether it is possible for MLS to become one of the world's best leagues by '22, “Yes. But it’s going to take a lot of effort and additional investments. I think we’ve hit so many of the benchmarks we’ve set along the way -- and some we haven’t hit and some we’ve changed -- that I would think it’s possible. At this point, in terms of the players and compensation levels around the world, there’s one league and then you get some tax situations." He added, "MLS is going to continue to grow. I can’t put a percentage on that, does it take five or 10 percent improvement on the field? We can’t measure it that way. Clearly the economics of MLS are getting better, which means they can afford to retain top players and try to go out and get more top players. That’s the only way you’re going to get to that level" (SI.com, 7/3). Meanwhile, in Orlando, Paul Tenorio writes to look at the World Cup as a "light switch that will forever turn" the U.S. on to soccer "misses the point." No soccer fan "expects a night-and-day changeover." MLS' progression "has been going on for 20 years, and there is still plenty more work left ahead." MLS ratings "fall well short of the NFL, but so does every other sport in the U.S." There "has been progress when it comes to soccer's media impact," and one can "point simply at the investment that media companies are pouring into MLS" as an example of this. ESPN "isn't apt to throw money at something it doesn't believe is going to pay off down the road" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 7/7).