Written by Will Parchman

MLS: Chicago Fire at Portland Timbers

The MLS Players Union went about its unorthodox business this week by pushing out its annual report on the league’s individual salary figures. Embedded within the report was a look at what the league pays its homegrowns. You can find that here.

I’d like to simultaneously point you in a different direction, toward England. On Friday, the Guardian’s Barney Ronay penned an economically wistful piece that pined for genuine player development instead of the shadowed outline of huge money and teams bought with its icy, impersonal thrust. You can find that here.

And here we are. A crossroads in the dampening American woods, or at least approaching one off in the distance.

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Written by Will Parchman

01.05.2007 Liverpool v Chelsea - CL Semi-Final;2nd leg; (1-1 agg, 4-2 pens)

In 1998, Manchester United was near the apex of its power in England. A year later, the Red Devils would win an unprecedented treble with the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League. As a handful of United’s brightest stars soon discovered, success breeds hatred, even within your own countrymen.

Before an international match in 1998 in the run-up to the World Cup at Wembley, Gary and Phil Neville trotted out to the field for a warm-up and were greeted with vociferous boos from the England fans. The chorus rained down: “Stand up if you hate Man U.”

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Written by Will Parchman

ATL

The sand ran out from my feet and into the ocean, and I walked over the coarse carpet toward a bonfire off in the distance. The emerald water hissed and sighed in the dark. This was away from Okaloosa Island’s quiet specter of hotel lights, many of them issuing from these oddly decorated seafoam pastel monuments. Tourists. There were always a strange amount of tourists in this broken town.

I was not in search of them. I was led down the beachfront by a friend I’d met during my time at the Northwest Florida Daily News, which introduced me to the darkened dens of Florida’s strangest coast. They called it the Redneck Riviera, but it always seemed like a unique kind of isolated beachhead to me. I often referred to it as Utah Beach in my head, but I never told anyone this.

The bonfire grew higher until finally we were upon it. There was a scuffed up red Ford pickup with a cracked tail light backed up to a group of about 15 huddled around this mass of light ripping through sea wood and Miller beer cases and a not insigificant amount of Florida football gear curling up in the heat. These were Georgia Bulldogs. All of them were wearing some scrap of camouflage. Even in the dark it made them stand out from the cool bed of sand spreading everywhere and I wondered what they were hiding from.

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Written by Will Parchman

LA_Galaxy_U-16_National_Championship

While it’s shrinking to the point of nonexistence, MLS’s academy structure is fragmented, allowing each club to create its own pay-for-play model to fit its market. This is a list of each club’s pay scale (or lack thereof) for DA entry for the 2013-2014 season.

This does not take into account scholarships, which most clubs dole out to qualified individuals. These numbers are based on the most recent annual metrics available, and these fees can change in either direction from one season to the next. In terms of the fee number, this is also restricted to the yearly costs required of players that includes facilities, travel, equipment, tournaments and more. This is culled only from the U14-U18 level, the range for eligibility in the Development Academy. Source articles have been provided where available.

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Written by Will Parchman

This is so very confusing.

During this past weekend’s 2-2 draw (during which Patrick Nyarko’s skinning of Christian was just the best thing) between the Fire and D.C., Jair Marrufo clattered into reigning MVP Mike Magee in just the weirdest way. Like he confused Magee for kid from Free Willy, and it was damn time to hop him and swim out to open waters.

Swim, Jair. Swim until the bad men can’t harm you anymore.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

macmath

The footsteps echoing behind Zac MacMath are those of Andre Blake, the No. 1 overall choice in the 2014 draft who’s languishing on the Philly Union bench. Blake was the most MLS-ready player in the 2014 draft, and unless MacMath suddenly gets very good or Blake is dealt (both unlikely consequences), Blake’s footsteps behind MacMath will only get louder as the year progresses.

How loud? He’s always there.

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Written by Will Parchman

A week ago, Matt Pickens was a gainfully employed MLS keeper for the Colorado Rapids. Today, Pickens is a member of the Tampa Bay Rowdies. What?

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Written by Will Parchman

A day after the Galaxy fell 4-2 at Tijuana, Sporting KC was thrashed 5-1 away to Cruz Azul. Turns out MLS is still largely cursed in Mexico. Within that 5-1 beating, Cruz Azul did something pretty crazy: they moved the ball roughly 30 yards by taking just two touches via foot. The third was the goal.

Not sure if you’ve ever seen a headed through ball, but here’s your chance.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

mls acadds

Grant Wahl’s annual MLS Ambition Rankings dropped on SI today, which you can read here. It ranks teams based on criteria like practice facilities, sponsorship and season ticket sales. As usual, specific figures within a league that zealously guards its books were hard to come by.

But there were a few particularly interesting nuggets on the youth development side. Six teams divulged how much they’ve spent on development. This from Grant’s article.

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Written by Will Parchman

cruzin

Camilo’s well-publicized decampment from Vancouver to Liga MX led to another round of scurrilous criticisms pointed toward the league that lost him. In some ways, it’s hard to begrudge them. Camilo, the league’s reigning scoring champion after bagging 22 goals last year, promptly left Canada for Mexico’s Queretaro on the doorstep of the 2014 season. And he did it in the most underhanded way imaginable.

The real disappointment lay in all that Camilo represented. MLS has had athleticism and straightaway speed for years, but the league’s growth now is measured more by its strides on the technical side of the game. Camilo was a totem for this growth, a player for the league’s new decade with shiny foot skills and unreal golazos. And now he’s gone.

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