The Fun Of Third-Party Ownership

The Fun Of Third-Party Ownership

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 17, 2010
  • Gale Agbossoumonde

I mentioned on Twitter earlier that I haven’t always been the biggest fan of ESPN’s Leander Schaerlaeckens, but this time the guy hit a story out of the park. If you’ve ever wondered about the NASL’s Miami owners Traffic Sports then you’ll want to read this piece on how they handle owning player rights to many South American players and one young American Gale Agbossoumonde.

For those who aren’t familiar with Agbossoumonde, he’s a 19-year old defender that has bounced around Europe after turning down what he called a lowball offer from MLS. He couldn’t sign on with anyone in Europe like he hoped and in stepped Traffic with an offer to help get him somewhere big in Europe.

It turns out that the way Traffic deals with their players isn’t always what it seems to be.

“I thought I would have better leverage if I signed with Traffic,” said Agbossoumonde. “They told me that all these teams were interested. I wasn’t even going to stay there. I was going to be signed with a team right after the World Cup.”

“I thought it was a one-year thing. I should have paid more attention,” Agbossoumonde said.

That one-year thing ended up being a four-year deal. Traffic continued to move Agbossoumonde around Europe for the last year and a half, promising to find him a club. But as the interview goes it doesn’t seem like Traffic is really trying to help Agbossoumonde. They’re out for money really, and as much of it as they can.

“I regret signing with [Traffic],” Agbossoumonde said. His voice sounded weary, punctuated by sighs, like air fleeing a flat tire.

“They own my rights, unfortunately,” he said. “I have to do what they say and I have to play for what team they say — whatever they work out. I pretty much don’t have a say in what my career is right now. They don’t give me straight answers. They just say, ‘Oh, we have teams here and teams here that are interested.’ They just aren’t honest, you know? I feel like I’m stuck right now. It sounds like I’m bad-mouthing them, which I really shouldn’t be doing, but pretty much I’m stuck.”

If you want more of the story I really suggest reading it all. I pulled these quotes out for my own discussion. You may also not know that there is another Traffic-owned player in MLS by the name of Paulo Junior with Real Salt Lake. Most RSL fans would love to see the young striker stay with the club and head coach Jason Kreis has mentioned several times that he is a priority to the team.

Sounds like if a team really wants one of Traffic’s players they’ll try to up the prices more than the team is willing to pay. I have to wonder if this will be the case with Paulo Jr. too. Its a shame that players like this get caught into a system that doesn’t allow them to go where they really want to go play like in the case of Agbossoumonde. It just comes to show that there is no perfect world for some players here. Maybe RSL will get lucky and will get Paulo Jr. without any real issue from Traffic. Guess we’ll have to wait and see though.