We have all heard about the USA finally falling in love with football during and after the World Cup. Because of this, Major League Soccer should be reaping the benefits of this new found love for the sport. One way for the MLS to gain more fans is to bring over great talent and so far this summer David Villa, Frank Lampard, Kaka, and potentially the likes of Robinho, have all made the trek here on Designated Player Contracts.
What is a Designated Player Contract, also known as a ‘DP’? It’s how the MLS got David Beckham to sign with the league many moons ago. The league has a salary cap, but each club can buy, sign, and pay three players outside of that salary cap. It’s really the MLS paying for the DP’s since the league owns the teams, but we won’t get into those minor rules.
So who are the players who can, or should, or will come to the MLS? Here’s a list of potential recruits that could follow suit and move to America:
Brad Friedel – He’s not quite an American legend but he’s a well known player who has ties to the the US National Team and the MLS. He’s not getting minutes at Spurs, and they keep signing players ahead of him. Send him back to Columbus, where he came through. Goalkeepers as DP’s are very risky, but Brad would do well and he’d potentially be keen on a return home.
Petr Cech – Many feel Cech is past his best, however, I disagree. He’s still got a lot to offer for club and country. Chelsea have a massive following here in the States and fitting him in at any club would be a great step, plus the amount of exposure it would generate would be ideal. Perhaps it’s a tad unlikely though but Cech might fancy a change of scenery and a step away from the rigours of playing for a European giant.
Timmy Chandler – USA player who doesn’t feature as much as he probably should do for the national team. He does play a lot in Germany for Frankfurt but a move back home could not only reignite his international career but also cause a bit of excitement after Chandler being part of our excellent World Cup squad.
Philipp Lahm – Many German legends have ended their careers in the States, or have played in the lower leagues under other names. With Lahm’s talent, name, and being a Bayern Munich player he would be an instant hero over here, a bit like ex-Cosmos player Franz Beckenbauer. Perhaps it wouldn’t be on the cards anytime soon but he’s a possible candidate for the near future.
Steven Gerrard – Should Gerrard ever fancy a move away from his beloved Liverpool, a move to America might appeal. He’s a one club man though and wants to manage Liverpool but he could end his career here for a team like the New England Revolution or Chicago Fire for a couple years and then return to Anfield.
Freddy Adu – Face it, someone is going to bring him back over to the States for the third time and see if he ever reaches that potential we all heard so much about. The new Atlanta team, Miami, or whoever is the next team after Orlando might take a shot. Freddy has never really improved as a player but it would be a talking point for a new club and could generate interest here and abroad as many are wondering what’s happened to Adu.
Julian Green – He’s the next phenomenon in the USA soccer establishment, but he gets little playing time at Bayern Munich and really needs to leave if he’s to progress further. While loaning him to a European club might benefit him, the MLS would be better option. He needs games and is arguably only guaranteed that playing in the MLS. Green would get a consistent run in any side and improve in a setting where he’d be adored.
Mix Diskerud – He’s probably going to end up playing for Celtic, but there has been an attempt by the MLS to bring him over. The Portland Timbers tried hard to get him in. He’s stalled in Norway like Josh Gatt pre-injury, so he needs a new challenge. Putting him somewhere like Real Salt Lake would be fun and he’d provide a lift to any team.
Didier Drogba – The Ivorian has recently signed a one-year deal at Chelsea but when that comes to an end a move to America could appeal. The Seattle Sounders have been linked and could reignite their interest next summer. He’s a huge name who’d create a huge buzz.
Miroslav Klose – World Cup winner Klose has already turned down offers from the States, he says. He’s arguably on his last legs but he could still do a job in the MLS. Any side in the league would want him, perhaps as a player/coach?
Javier Hernandez – He was actually offered to Chivas USA but the owner at the time didn’t want him, apparently. Now Hernandez is stuck in limbo at Manchester United and reportedly wants a move, perhaps an MLS side will show interest. He’s a Mexican national team player, and would have a huge following here if he came over. A move closer to home might also appeal.
We are embarking on a new, exciting time in American soccer. The masses are finally embracing the sport. To continue the upsurge in attention for soccer, big name signings are one step forward. With some impressive additions of late, perhaps some of the names above, or others, will fancy joining an up and coming league here in America.
By Stephen Brandt – Liverpool fan – @