January 9, 2007
This quote from Steven Goff's article on the $33 million sale of DC United really got me thinking:
The group is more interested in a proposed 27,000-seat soccer stadium at Poplar Point in Southeast and the mixed-use development that would surround it than it is in the team, said the sources, who refused to be identified because they did not want to upstage the official announcement at a news conference scheduled for Monday.
Is the increasing interest in MLS for non-soccer reasons good for the league long term?
Red Bulls bought the Metrostars more for the marketing opportunity that they believe it afforded themselves.
Chivas bought an expansion team to try and expand their brand into the US more.
And now this group is buying DC United more for the real estate development opportunity it provides them and less for an actual love of the game of soccer.
On the one hand, getting more owners into the league, especially really deep pocketed ones, is a very good thing for the stability of the league as a whole. I just question the commitment of some of the owners when they are buying into the league with an eye towards non-soccer opportunities as opposed to truly growing the game in the US.
Reyna to NY closer to reality?
It appears that Claudio Reyna to MLS in general and the NY Red Bulls in particular is growing more and more likely by the day.
Personally, I'd rather see MLS go after players like Reyna with their Designated Player slots as opposed to foreign players that aren't likely to take playing in MLS seriously or unknown foreigners that may make an impact on the field, but generate next to no buzz initially.
Plus, I believe that teams would be wise to not go crazy with the money that they throw at some of the names that have been rumored like Beckham, Ronaldo, and Figo, and instead use caution and sign players like Reyna that won't demand crazy money and can be expected to have some name recognition amongst US fans right away.
The biggest risk with signing Reyna is can he stay healthy? Or, will he be John O'Brien v2.0? Last season, John O'Brien saw a whopping 5 minutes (that is not a typo) of playing time all season for Chivas USA. Personally, it's a risk worth taking.
Drama in the desert keeps on rolling
So when can we expect the Real Salt Lake to Rochester rumors to start up again?
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.