I’ve said it before… if you’re a young, talented player with a future, don’t sign a long-term contract with MLS. It just isn’t worth it.

Twellman Vents About Preston Approach” via Goff’s blog.

Taylor Twellman is upset because the league (which owns all player contracts), has refused an offer of $2.5 million for Twellman. They originally offered about $1.5 million which was rejected.

Twellman, to say the least, is not happy.

“I want to go. It’s perfect timing. It’s the right club and, being 27, it’s the right time to go to Europe.”

Who rejected the offer?

“When I ask MLS, they say the Revs rejected it. When I ask the Revs, they said it was MLS. Look, you’re not going to get more than that for a guy like me, who is not always with the national team. It’s a good offer. Anytime a team wants you that bad, of course you want to go.”

Twellman puts it right on the money (pun intended) when he says “…you’re not going to get more than that for a guy like me, who is not always with the national team. It’s a good offer…” How much is MLS expecting to get for him?

Twellman joins an ever increasing list of players frustrated by the league not selling them off to Europe for a “fair” price. Yes, I know that what constitutes “fair” is up for debate. But is the league really expecting someone to throw tens of millions at them for one of their players?

OK, I get it that the league doesn’t want to seem like a “cheap” league and they are trying to set the bar regarding transfer fees. But if your price is always too high, and you never sell anyone, then foreign teams just plain don’t want to deal with you. And frankly, there is no player in the US pool that is worth some massive amount of $$$ that a team like Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea, etc might throw at them.

So here’s what happens… (note the numbers below are illustrative only)

A young player comes to MLS out of college, signs some standard contract for probably about 4 years (some combination of guaranteed/option years), plays well enough to be called up to the national team and garner interest from overseas clubs. If he was really good coming out of college, he might get a senior minimum contract worth from $30k-$60k/year. More likely, he’ll get a developmental contract worth about $15k/year.

By the time he makes his impact he’ll be approaching the end of his first MLS contract, at which point MLS will try to “lock him in” at a higher salary, between $75k-$150k/year. Also at this time, he’ll start hearing rumors of interest from overseas where he can easily make double the amount of money MLS is offering. But he doesn’t have anything concrete overseas (just rumors) so he’ll sign with MLS with the understanding that if a “fair” offer comes along, MLS will transfer them.


Players who got tired of it all and let their contracts expire then went on a free transfer: Carlos Bocanegra (starter for Fulham FC), Ryan Nelson (starter for Blackburn Rovers), Zack Thornton (???). DC United’s own Bobby Boswell has refused to sign a new contract with MLS so that he doesn’t get caught. Clint Dempsey had to throw a fit and flat out refuse to sign a new contract (MLS was trying to extend his contract) before he was transferred for a record $4M. MLS was offered $1.3M, $2M, and then $3.2M for Demarcus Beasley which they didn’t take, and of course he later went for $2.5M. Beasley was particularly astonishing since Convey had just left the year before for about $1.5M. Brian McBride had a $1.8M offer from (ironically) Preston North End which MLS refused and later sold him to Fulham for $1.5M. Eddie Johnson had an offer on the table from (I think) Benfica for $5M!!!! which would have been a record, but MLS held out, Johnson hurt his foot and 3 years of mediocre play later he *might* go to the EPL for about $4M.

If MLS doesn’t change their way of thinking, they will find that soon all of the players with options overseas will not re-sign with MLS and instead all of them will leave on free transfers. This is bad for MLS since those clubs will no longer find any value in dealing with the league since they know they can just wait a year orso and get the player on a free transfer.