Featured / MLS

The new deal

OK, so we get a season. There’s a deal. Let’s dive right in and break down the basics on the collective bargaining agreement.

Soccer America has the most in-depth look at how the negotiations actually progressed.

Here are the basic details, courtesy of Soccer America:

  • The salary cap goes up to $2.55 million from $2.32 million.
  • Minimum salaries rise from $34,000 to $40,000 for non-developmental players, with a 5 percent annual increase planned.
  • Players aged 24 or older with 3+ years of MLS experience get guaranteed contracts beginning in their 4th year.
  • Unilateral options are cut for players at least 25 years old with four seasons of MLS experience.
  • Players out of a contract go into an allocation draft that will likely be similar to waiver systems in other American sports leagues, though the details still need to be worked out.

Who wins among the players?

Older MLS veterans remaining in the league. They get guaranteed contracts and limited freedom of movement.

Who loses?

Young MLS players who join the league as teenagers. For example, it looks like Philadelphia Union’s Jack McInerney could still go seven years before he gains any freedom of movement within the league or a guaranteed contract under these rules. (Naturally, there could be more details in the CBA, so that may prove untrue.)

Who won overall?

Management won big-time.

They avoided free agency.

They will still largely control where players play, because an allocation draft, no matter how you slice it, likely won’t give players the freedom to choose their new clubs.

The owners don’t lose much under the guaranteed contracts provision because it only guarantees the current season. That means they won’t be strangled by burdensome long-term contracts for players who prove to be busts, something that seriously hurts pro basketball and baseball teams, as well as soccer clubs in Europe.

But most importantly, we won here in Philadelphia. We actually get a team. We get games. We get a season. Sure, it comes with a bitter taste in our mouth, but this is Philly, a place where our most famous food export is made with fake cheese. We’re used to this kind of thing. We’ll get over it. Eventually.

Here are some more articles worth reading in today’s oddball all-CBA-all-the-time news roundup.

The Washington Post broke the news of a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement Saturday, and here’s the paper’s Sunday story breaking down what’s known about it.

Likewise, here’s the Philadelphia Daily News follow on it, with an eye toward Philadelphia Union’s reaction.

Landon Donovan and other Los Angeles Galaxy player reps talk about how quickly the deal came together once the deadline pressure turned on.

Goal.com’s Kyle McCarthy sees positives in the deal for all parties.

Now, maybe we can actually put this stuff behind us and actually look ahead to the Union’s first match on Thursday. About time, huh?

(Photo courtesy of PhiladelphiaUnion.com.)


  1. Tim Uhrich says:

    Dan, good summary. Also noteworthy is that the salary cap rises on a rough 5% growth scale over 5 years getting near to 3 million by 2014. Left out of the talk so far is the value of developmental contracts, something that was discussed a lot by pundits before and during the talks, but not necessarily by those involved. Hoping to see the whole thing when it comes out.

  2. Pete Mohan says:

    Gee Dan, cheer up.  The fans win!   Not sure why you keep tasting bitter; this is a very good thing for US soccer and the Philadelphia Union in particular.  They should benefit from the added media exposure leading into the opening match, and hopefully ride the momentum for an upset win.

  3. I think the bitter taste came from me consuming too much strike talk. I'm slowly working it out of my system… 

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