For some reason it feels like it has been a couple years since Major League Soccer last saw this big wave of talent leaving the league all at once. Sure the last couple of years we’ve seen a player or three go during the international transfer windows.
But never before have we seen an outgoing list like this that has included more young talent. From one up and coming US National Team star to the league’s first Homegrown Player transfer. MLS has been turning out talent for years but it appears that clubs overseas are paying better attention to the talent within MLS these days more so than ever before.
We’ve heard the reports and rumors and now with the transfer window closing up today, MLS might be left with some big holes to fill across the board. But all of that is not a bad deal for several teams today. While D.C. United (Andy Najar), FC Dallas (Brek Shea), Sporting KC (Kei Kamara) and even to a lesser extent Seattle (Fredy Montero).
Two of those clubs – D.C. and Dallas – will be getting nice transfer fees to play with. Sporting KC will get some allocation to play with but could get more down the road if the deal for Kei Kamara works out.
I look at what the sale of Najar to Anderlecht means to that club. Normally a MLS club only gets two-thirds of any transfer fee but with Najar being a HGP, they’ll get a solid three-forths. That is huge. Selling a HGP is big for MLS as it proves to the rest of the world that the league is able to produce their own players from the academy systems on up. Before when MLS would sell a young player it was always a guy that a team had drafted out of college or signed early as a teenager. Now, it is about selling players that are brought up within the club’s system.
The move along with the Roger Espinoza deal from earlier this winter shows that shows Central Americans and even partly to some South Americans that they can go to MLS for a few years and then get their big ticket to Europe too. I think we’ll certainly see more Hondurans and players from Panama in MLS in the coming years because of players like Najar and Espinoza.
The Shea deal for Dallas is also a big one too for many reasons. They get close to $650k in allocation money, enough to pay down the salary cap hit of a Designated Player. Also, with Shea off the books the club is saving nearly $350k towards the cap. At the end of it all Dallas will have nearly a $1million to play with for this season. The two-thirds of the transfer fee Dallas will get to use on facilities, youth systems, stadium improvements, or whatever else they feel like that can improve their club (*it should be noted that two-thirds money can’t be used towards players).
In all, MLS is proving to the world that it has become a good feeder league. Teams are scouting our teams more heavily than ever before to find the next big thing. It isn’t a bad thing to be a feeder league either. MLS is still growing and their goal to be one of the top leagues in the next 10-15 years isn’t far off track in my opinion. Transfers like this are good for the league as a whole even though it means that fan favorites like Kamara and Shea are gone.
I’ve been told many times before by people way smarter than me that for MLS to get to the level that it wants to be at, they need to continue to be a feeder league. You can’t be a powerhouse or destination league for the big names in Europe until you’ve proven yourself as a feeder league.