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Gazidis on World Cup success translating into players leaving MLS for Europe

“I don’t have any ambivalent feelings about the World Cup. I have one feeling about the World Cup and that is that I want the team and every one of our players to perform the absolute best that they can. To have them not show what they can do on the world stage is not going to be good for anybody. We have to hope that the team is as successful as it can be and that that success is built on the backs of Major League Soccer players. The issues that come out of that are the things that we have to deal with. I would rather have teams knock on our door because “our players are so good,” than to have no interest in our players because they’re not performing well on the world stage. Those are good problems to have rather than bad problems. How we deal with them is going to be the next step. We believe we will be able to put a plan together to keep these players in Major League Soccer, even if they are attracting the top-level teams around the world. I think it would be unrealistic to think that we will keep our top players in this League forever. Every league has that problem.”

Gazidis on what MLS could offer to keep players in the United States

“Different offers have different components. Obviously there are financial concerns. That is not the be all and end all of what a young player considers when making decisions. You see that when you look at the younger levels in the United States. We see that already with our U-17, U-20 and U-23s and how much attention those players receive. Why are they so consistently choosing MLS as a viable option rather than going overseas? Some players’ ambition is to play in the highest leagues in Europe. Nobody is under the illusion that we are the equivalent playing level of the English Premier League, Serie A, or the Argentinians or the Brazilians.”

“There is another ambition out there and that is to help build the game here in the United States. Someone like Clint Mathis, who is still in the developing part of his career, has a number of things he is going to think about. One thing is to take his play to the highest level in Europe and the attraction of that. But he is also very conscious of his ability to help us raise the level of the game, raise the level of the League and raise the level of awareness of this League and be part of something special in building soccer in the United States. You can’t do that in other countries because it is already built. Here we are still in a developing process. Clint could be very influential and play a very big part in that. Outside of the financial considerations which are always there, there are a lot of individual considerations that a player goes through. Landon was looking at his personal development as a player. Clearly he made the right decision from that standpoint. Financially, he would have made a lot more money for Leverkusen. He made a decision to play here in the United States and to be a part of what was going on here and he felt it was good for his development. Clint will be faced with some very good decisions after the World Cup. We hope to be one of those choices.”

(MLS Deputy Commissioner - Ivan Gazidis )


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Thanks for the post. It is nice to read something that is thoughtful. Gazidis addresses many of the points I raised on the Mathis-City thread. Good to see that I'm not way off base.


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