The Latest Requirement For MLS Clubs: Marquee Signings

Heat is turned up on the MLS dial with big name and young draftee signings for MLS clubs
by Katherine Rupp   |   Thursday, January 22, 2015

Major League Soccer (MLS) 2012 Season Preview

From U-20 CONCACAF Championship play to the MLS SuperDraft and clubs acquiring and trading players to rumors of the All Star game location and opponent, as well as the news that CONCACAF Olympic qualifying has been changed to the fall of 2015 and also that the MLS CBA talks are still ongoing, it seems as if there really isn’t much of an offseason – or down time – in MLS, and US Soccer, anymore, and that’s a good thing.

With Major League Soccer starting the 20th season on March 6th – that is, if the CBA is a go and everything ‘goes to plan’ – when reigning MLS Cup champs LA Galaxy host the Chicago Fire. More and more bigger and well-known names are joining MLS clubs, one of which won’t be in LA when the team starts another run at a seventh MLS Cup but that player will join the Galaxy during the summer, some guy a few people might know who plays at Liverpool right now, Steven Gerrard; and he’s just one of many seasoned soccer veterans – and newbie’s coming from college and the like – who will bring MLS into the next chapter of professional soccer in the United States.

Steven Gerrard is a name that most soccer fans will recognize and with his face as a marquee signing for the league, even with his older age – unlike a Michael Bradley who was 26 at the time of his signing to Toronto FC – at 34, the English midfielder can lure in more fans that may be skeptical of MLS. Additionally, not only is Gerrard joining the Galaxy, Italian-Americans can be happy with the signing of Sebastian Giovinco to Toronto FC. Although he’s not as well known to those who don’t follow Serie A, the midfielder/striker who has been at Italian giant Juventus since 2006, will add a certain technicality and precision to the Toronto attack, which will most certainly be welcomed. Not only are Gerrard and Giovinco coming to MLS, so are US national team members, Jozy Altidore and Mix Diskerud.

Not to be missed within the talk of adding new players is the release of some players – most recently Claudio Bieler from Sporting Kansas City – as well as the SuperDraft where many people are unsure of most names unless they are big college soccer fans. However, with the drafting of these young players, this will hopefully boost the ‘reserve’ teams of MLS clubs – which are now the USL-Pro affiliates. Although most of the players who have been drafted most likely won’t be playing next to Steven Gerrard, Diego Valeri, Frank Lampard, Kaka, or Frederico Higuain on a day-to-day basis, these players will bring up the quality and consistency of soccer from USL-Pro, NASL – if players decided to go that route, and MLS. Because the strength of players is rising in MLS, that will equate to a more capable and savvy pipeline of American soccer players.

There’s a lot to learn from in the offseason in MLS and there will most certainly be many more items to touch on and possible points of contention and even more soccer drama that football fans all know. But with all of the new MLS players coming into the league in its 20th season, whether the players are veterans from the US national team or from other prized international teams or Generation adidas, homegrown, or draftees from college, Major League Soccer and its 20 teams will experience a new growth for this coming year that will be able to be the foundation for many years to come.

Katherine RUPP

Drake University
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
Tottenham Hotspur
Unabashed Minnesotan by birth. Tried reliving the glory days of collegiate intramural soccer championships but an ACL tear dashed future hopes of adult recreational greatness. Covering a city’s team that’s too big for one state: SKC.