Rising Number Of Int'l Players Influencing MLSPA Strategies
An increasing number of international players in the MLS are "changing the dynamic in the the MLS Players Association, as the group increases its efforts to engage with foreign-born players before it fully dives into collective bargaining negotiations with the league in the coming months," according to Sam Stejskal of THE ATHLETIC. For what is believed to be the first time in MLS history, players born outside of the U.S. and Canada "now outnumber their domestic counterparts," as a little more than 50% of players currently signed to MLS contracts "were born abroad." Minnesota United MF and MLSPA exec board member Ethan Finlay said, "It’s a diverse league with a lot of different cultures, and that’s extremely important and should be represented." Stejskal noted there were "historically quite a few barriers to foreign-born players becoming involved in MLS labor discussions." Most international players "enter MLS with little to no understanding of the league’s unique, confusing rules," and the MLSPA in the past "wasn’t a big operation." All seven members of the current MLSPA exec board and the player reps from all 24 teams "are American, but a lot of those other limiting factors have changed since the last CBA was signed" in '15. The MLSPA now has "two full-time employees dedicated to interfacing with international players in their native language" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/10).