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La Liga Sets A New Record In Summer Transfer Window

La Liga Santander teams have rarely shown much appetite to spend in the summer market, yet as the fiscal gap between the Spanish top flight and Premier League has closed ever so slightly, teams have been prepared to gamble on new players.

Miami, Fla. (Monday September 9, 2019) – Photos: KE Russo

LA LIGA: Looking At The Summer Transfer Window

On September 2, 2019, the summer transfer window closed for Spanish club’s. This report highlights some facts and figures from the transfer ñwindow involving Spanish top flight clubs. Statistics about fees is sources from Transfermarkt. This is not always exact due to the fact that the reporting of transfers by the media is not consistent and even the clubs involved will quote different figures depending on how a deal is structured. Disclaimers aside, it is a good source of information.

The Numbers:

Total Euros Spent by La Liga Clubs – €1,319,620,000

On the purchasing side, over one billion Euros was a new record for La Liga in one transfer window. Real Madrid were the highest spenders, and the amount spent was also aided by the Antoine Griezmann and João Félix deals.

Coverage of the transfer market in the media. Source: La Marca, September 7, 2019.

The record spending would have been even higher, probably in excess of €1.5 billion, if a couple of rumoured transfers had actually been completed, such as Neymar returning to FC Barcelona, or Paul Pogba and/or Tottenham’s Danish forward Christian Eriksen to Real Madrid.

The Big Three’s Impact On The Numbers

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid disbursed a massive €806m in this transfer window. In third place was Atlético de Madrid, where the bulk of their spending, €126 million, was paid to Sport Lisboa e Benfica for João Félix, making the young Portuguese striker the most expensive Atlético signing of all time, and the most expensive Portuguese player signing ever. (You heard that right, Cristiano fans.) The big three clubs’ combined spending amounted to 61% of the money spent by La Liga clubs, with the other 17 sides spending just under €514m.

The fourth place spender was Sevilla Football Club, who accounted for a good portion of that €514m by spending almost €159m on new players.

Top Four Widen Their Margin

Including Sevilla FC along with the top three results in the combined percentage of the total spent being increased to 72.8 %, going back to an older theme of larger polarisation. All of the top spenders broke their respective club records.

Total Money Recouped by La Liga Clubs – €1,026,720,000

On the selling side of the market, Spanish top flight clubs also recouped over €1 billion during this transfer window, meaning that the total net spend is less than €300m, which averages out to under €15m per club. Take out Barcelona and Real Madrid and that total net spend for the league reduces to just €17m (less than €1m per club on average). Compared to the Premier League, where mid-table and bottom half sides are capable of spending large sums on individual players, the same cannot be said for mid-table La Liga clubs. Though the smaller clubs are packing a bit more of a finncial punch these days, it is at a lower spending level than the Premier League.

Biggest Spenders –

Rank (Spain) Club Rank in Europe

  1. Real Madrid (€307.5m) 1st
  2. Fútbol Club Barcelona (€255) 2nd
  3. Atlético de Madrid (€243.5) 3rd
  4. Sevilla Football Club (€158) 7th

Real Madrid were the biggest spenders in this transfer window with Barcelona (€255m) and Atletico Madrid (€243.5m) close behind. Los Blancos were quick to open their coffers with deals to obtain Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Éder Militão and Ferland Mendy, who combined for a bill of over €40m.

Lowest Spenders – Athletic Club Bilbao (€0m)

Athletic Club were the only club who didn’t spend any money this summer with the club’s famous ‘Basque only’ policy always affecting their dealings. Iñaki Williams signed a nine-year contract (practically unheard of anymore) which allowed Athletic to at least not lose their biggest player. The next lowest spenders were Real Valladolid who only signed one player on a permanent deal – Pablo Hervias for €1m from Eibar.

Most Money Received from Sales – Atletico Madrid (€313.1m)

The keys to Atlético de Madrid’s revenue from sales were the transfers of Antoine Griezman (€120) to Barcelona, Rodri (€70m) to Manchester City, Lucas Hernández (€80m) to Bayern München, and Portuguese winger Gelson Martins (€30) to Monaco. Combined these four sales generated €300m in cash to reinvest in the club. This helped to offset Atlético Madrid’s refusal to offer new longer term contracts to their ageing defenders, which resulted in Diego Godín, Filipe Luis and Juanfran all leaving for free.

Barcelona were next in this category with €156.4m coming in as Jasper Cillessen, Malcom Oliveira, Andre Gomes, Paco Alcacer and Denis Suárez all departed, while they also received an €8.5m loan fee from Bayern for Philippe Coutinho.

Most Expensive Signing – João Félix (€126m)

As mentioned, at €126m, João Félix was the most expensive signing by a La Liga club in this transfer window. However there were a couple of others that came close, with Antoine Griezmann moving to Barcelona for €120m and Eden Hazard arriving at the Bernabeu from Chelsea for €100m. Again, the exact figures may ultimately vary depending on add-ons and the success the players have at their new clubs. Those three deals were also the most expensive anywhere in Europe this summer, with Harry Maguire’s transfer to Manchester United the next highest.

Most Signings – Mallorca & Leganes (14)

Mallorca and Leganes top the list for most signings with 14. This does not include players who have been bought and then sold or bought and immediately loaned out. Thus the actual number of ‘new’ arrivals those is much lower given that both clubs have been very active re-signing players who they had on loan last season. In terms of the highest turnover of players, Sevilla come out clearly on top with 13 new signings, none of whom were at the club last season.

Biggest Net Spenders – Real Madrid (€177.5m)

Not surprisingly, Real Madrid were the biggest net spenders. While Mateo Kovacic, Marcos Llorente, Raul de Tomás, Theo Hernández and Keylor Navas all left for €15m+ fees, they failed to find a buyer for Gareth Bale or James Rodriguez, two of their biggest earners. As a result, it was difficult for the club to finance any move for Paul Pogba or Neymar. While writers may say it was a “so-so” window for Los Blancos, the proof will ultimately come with results on the pitch. Barcelona finished with a net spend of €98.6m while Sevilla also spent over €50m more than they recouped.

Biggest Net Profit – Atletico Madrid (€69.6

Surprisingly, given Atlético de Madrid smashed their transfer record on João Félix, the third most expensive player of all time, they still managed to end up with the largest overall transfer profit of any club in La Liga. Villarreal and Espanyol also clocked up net transfer profits of over €40m. In the case of the Yellow Submarine, there was perhaps some need to be profitable after a well below par season deprived them of the revenue the Europa or Champions League will bring. However Espanyol are in the Europa League for the first time in 13 year, although they suffered losses during the summer with Borja Iglesias following coach Rubi to Real Betis, and Mario Hermoso going to Atlético. On the incoming side, Argentine left winger Matías Vargas arrived from Vélez Sarsfield (€10.5m) and central defender Fernando Calero (€8.0m) from Valladolid were the main additions Given early results like a 3-0 drubbing at home by newcomers Granada CF on September 1, they could have used more help.

Club Net Transfer Spend (€m)

Real Madrid -177.5 Barcelona -98.6 Sevilla -57.6 Valencia -30 Real Betis -26.3 Leganes -19.5 Osasuna -13.5 Real Sociedad -11.8 Levante -8.8 Mallorca -7 Granada -7 Getafe -6.8 Celta Vigo -3.3 Athletic Club 0 Real Valladolid +7 Alaves +7.2 Eibar +9.9 Villarreal +40.2 Espanyol +40.5 Atletico Madrid +69.6

How do La Liga Figures compare to the Premier League & Serie A?

Speculation was that La Liga could possibly out spend the Premier League this summer. However, with European windows now shut, that ultimately was not the case. Premier League clubs total spent a total of €1.55bn, over €200m more than the equivalent figures in La Liga. Regarding net spending the gap is wider, with Premier League clubs spending €732m more than they recouped compared to a net spend of less than €300m in La Liga. Even if Real Madrid had pulled off a late mega-deal for Paul Pogba and Barcelona had signed Neymar, it still likely would not have been enough to catch the Premier League. A closer comparison is between that of La Liga and Serie A. Italian top flight clubs paid out €1.18bn on new signings, marginally less than Spanish clubs. However their net spend was in fact greater (€328m), due to Serie A clubs recouping less money from player sales. Thus, as was the case last season, La Liga’s net transfer spending this summer was only the third highest in Europe, again behind the Premier League and Serie A.

Here is an excellent graphic found in Transfermarkt that compares the transfer balances around the world’s leagues:

Transfermarkt.com – Transfer Balances – Season 2019

The European Transfer Market for this summer was also a topic discussed at SoccerEx Europe 2019, which took place last week in the Lisbon suburb of Oeiras. Further insights are included in a new release of the Football Transfer Review 2019 by Prime Time Sport. The report was presented by Esteve Calzada, CEO of Prime Time Sport.

Esteve Calzada, CEO, Prime Time Sports 📷 SoccerEx
Chart Showing Amounts Spent On Player Acquisitions In The Top 5 European Leagues.
Continue reading La Liga Sets A New Record In Summer Transfer Window

September 5, 2018: The Day “Fútbol Miami” Became Inter Miami CF

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami Revealed On This Day in 2018.

Miami, Fla. (Thursday, September 5, 2019) – Russo Soccer –

Inter Miami Hoy: Today, we look back at the day a global brand was born.

One year ago today in the early morning hours of September 5, 2018, Miami’s Major League Soccer team, which had until then only been known as “Fútbol Miami,” finally revealed its official name and colours in an elaborate and unique way. After months of polls, debates and suggestions, a brand had been born, one which does Miami proud.

Read more about this historic milestone on how Fútbol Miami became Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami on the Russo Soccer webpage by clicking this link: The Day A Brand Was Born. Nameday.

Villarreal – Atlético In Miami ? The Latest

The round 16 game would be the first regular season match of LaLiga Santander to be presented outside of Spain.

MIAMI, Fla. (October 17, 2019) —

LaLiga is continuing its attempts to stage an official league game in the United States by proposing that the Villarreal-Atletico Madrid match scheduled for the weekend of December 7-8 be played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

Having previously attempted to arrange a game in Miami last season between Barcelona and Girona, LaLiga seem determined to make the event happen.

Spanish newspaper El Confidencial first reported that an agreement is already in place between LaLiga and both clubs to play the match in Miami, which would be a designated home game for Villarreal:

Tal y como hiciera la temporada pasada, aunque finalmente sin éxito, LaLiga estudia llevarse un partido de Primera División fuera de España, y más concretamente a Estados Unidos. Tras el fiasco del Girona-Barça del curso anterior que tanta polémica suscitó, el presidente de la patronal, Javier Tebas, no ceja en su empeño de expandir “la industria del fútbol español” a otros continentes, especialmente el norteamericano.

Support From Both Clubs

Today, LaLiga Santander confirmed that both Atlético de Madrid and Villarreal have agreed to play their December 6 meeting in the United States. The game is set for Friday, December 6 at 22:00 CET (16:00 EST), but there is also talk of playing the match on Sunday, December 8, 2019, which from the standpoint of ticket sales in Miami makes more sense. They now hope that the Spanish FA, among other governing bodies, consents.

“Atletico Madrid work every season to promote our brand across all continents.”

Miguel Angel Gil, CEO, Atlético de Madrid
Miguel Angel Gil, CEO, Club Atlético de Madrid Photo: RTVE

“A match in the US would allow us to continue working on it,” Gil added. “Additionally, we’d bring Spanish football to fans outside our country. It’d be a great game that would mark the future.”

Villarreal president Fernando Roig joined with the sentiments. “Everything about exporting football and Spanish sport is good for everyone,” he said. “And, of course, for Villarreal. The US is a very important country where we have official club academies. It would be very special for us to play there.”

“It would be positive for everyone.” Fernando Roig, President, Villareal C.F.

The Villareal President went on to say: “I hope this time it comes to fruition. We’re starting to see if Villarreal-Atleti can be played in Miami,” Villarreal president Fernando Roig told El Transistor. “Both us and Atleti have agreed to play in Miami, but I would like this to be a consensual agreement from everyone. I would like there to be a consensual agreement because I think that taking LaLiga abroad would be good for everyone.”

The club also said it would work out a plan to reimburse ticket holders who would not be able to see the game played at the Estadio de la Cerámica, although the precise nature of the reimbursement has not yet been revealed.

Sanctioning Process

The next step in the process to bring the Round 16 match to Hard Rock Stadium is for LaLiga to make a formal application to the Real Federación Espanola de Fútbol (RFEF) which is the licensing body of spanish football. LaLiga intends to file this application today, October 17. The league has also informed the players on both sides prior to announcing the plan. In addition to the RFEF, LaLiga will once again seek the approval of UEFA, and the United States Soccer Federation.

Prior Plan Scrapped

In August 2018, LaLiga announced that it would play at least one match per season overseas as part of a new 15-year partnership with Relevent Sports Group to promote the league in North America. But a proposed game between FC Barcelona and Girona at Hard Rock Stadium for January 2019 was shelved after Barcelona’s board of directors backed out of the match, citing “a lack of consensus” among stakeholders.

While the Barça board cited a lack of consensus, the real reason was that the RFEF, along with UEFA, FIFA and the United States Soccer Federation, had not approved the game.

The fallout from the failure of these bodies to approve last season’s match continues. In September, LaLiga’s North American partner Relevent Sports Group filed an antitrust lawsuit against the USSF (ÜS Soccer”) in the United States District Court For The Southern District of New York, alleging that Us Soccer conspired with global governing body FIFA and Soccer United Marketing, the commercial arm of Major League Soccer, to block official matches from foreign clubs being held in the U.S. There is also a similar lawsuit between LaLiga and the RFEF over the right to stage games overseas.

Economic Benefit To Both Clubs

Both Atlético de Madrid and Villareal CF are looking to increase their presence in the North American market, Atletico Madrid toured the U.S. this summer, including participating in the MLS All-Star Game. Having a regular season match in Miami would be a boost to the marketing of both clubs.

Miami is the leading choice for holding LaLiga games in the United States, given the league is in a fifteen-year agreement with Relevant Sports, which is tied in to the ownership group of Hard Rock Stadium and the Miami Dolphins NFL franchise. Hard Rock Stadium, originally opened in 1987 and known as Joe Robbie Stadium, has undergone extensive upgrades in recent years, and is perfectly suited to host soccer matches. It even has the look of a modern European football arena. On top of that, Miami traditionally has among the highest support for soccer of any city in North America, given its large percentage of the population with ties to Latin America, and, to a lesser extent, Europe.

Photo: Hard Rock Stadium

Recapítulo En Castellano:

  • El organismo presidido por Javier Tebas cuenta con la aprobación de ambos clubes, que ven la propuesta como una oportunidad histórica. El encuentro se disputaría el domingo 8 de diciembre.
  • Por segundo año consecutivo, LaLiga estudia seriamente la posibilidad de llevarse un partido de la Primera División española a tierras estadounidenses.
  • Javier Tebas no ceja en su empeño de expandir más el mercado del fútbol nacional a otros continentes, especialmente el americano.
  • Ambos clubes implicados están de acuerdo con la iniciativa, asi lo aseguró Fernando Roig, presidente de Villarreal, más tarde en declaraciones al programa ‘El Transistor’ de Onda Cero: “Es bueno para que exportemos LaLiga a un país tan importante. No hay problemas por parte del Atleti. Esperamos que todo siga su curso”.
  • LaLiga presente que el enfrentamiento entre castellonenses y madrileños se juegue en Miami (Florida) en el Hard Rock Stadium, junto a la misma empresa promotora, Relevent.
  • Este pasado martes José Manuel Llaneza, vicepresidente del club amarillo, se reunió en Madrid con miembros de LaLiga para comprobar algunos detalles y dar su visto bueno a la operación.
  • El Villarreal compensará a sus aficionados, los grandes damnificados por esta medida, de alguna manera que todavía no se ha concretado. No se descarta que el club sufrage vuelos chárter para sus socios con la esperanza de que ningún abonado se quede sin disfrutar de un hecho que la junta directiva considera histórico. “Es posible. Estamos estudiando y viendo alternativas diferentes. No habrá problemas”, indicó Roig.
  • En su momento, la Federación (RFEF) se opuso por completo a que los partidos del campenato doméstico se celebraran fuera del país, pero se desconoce qué postura defenderá ahora una vez que ha maniobrado para organizar la próxima edición de la Supercopa de España en Arabia Saudí (del 8 al 12 de enero). Fue en septiembre de 2018 cuando la RFEF presidida por Luis Rubiales rechazó por completo la idea de un partido en Florida, que tampoco convenció a la FIFA ni a la AFE.

MLS Executives: There Is “No One Specific Way” To The Front Office

As The League Has Developed, The Range of Jobs Has Expanded And Continues To Provide New Career Opportunities.

MIAMI, Fla. (October 11, 2019) —

Today’s Major League Soccer clubs are a far cry from what they were in the beginning days of the league.

Teams are now managing full academies and some have USL squads (Inter Miami and New England are the two latest to announce USL teams for next season). With all of these additional components to an MLS team, millions of dollars in investment is required to run operations. Scouting has gone global as well. In addition to the financial undertaking, a full soccer operations staff is needed in order to do the job effectively.

The rapid expansion of Major League Soccer has increased the demand for employees to fill the various roles. With each new team, there is a full slate of front office jobs to fill, and that demand for talent has increased exponentially.

The list of positions in front offices across MLS includes work in team administration, salary cap management, analytics, scouting, team operations, stadium operations, ticketing and sales, marketing, legal, sponsorships, communications, digital and media, community engagement, and more. The staff includes many different titles, for example, president, chief commercial officer, sporting director (or general manager) (usually charged with running scouting, player selection and other soccer operations) and team administrator (who handles things like travel and players’ adjustment to teams and cities, including housing, banking and other life needs). Generally speaking, job functions within a front office can be divided into two sides: Soccer Operations and Commercial.

“It’s a natural evolution,” said Dave Kasper, who is the general manager (since 2004) of D.C. United. “You’re expanding where there’s multiple departments on the soccer side, and we’re starting to see that because our league is growing so fast and there is more money being pumped in.”

Dave Kasper, General Manager, D.C. United

“When you think about everything a front office entails, it’s player development, it’s scouting, domestic and international, and it’s team administration,” said Will Kuntz, Vice-President of Soccer Operations at LAFC, “There is so much you have to touch and it’s so global in a way that few other sports are. You look at front offices in other sports, pick your sport, they have a whole number of people in a number of roles. It underscores the importance of myriad people in the job.”

The ability to scout and identify international talent is absolutely essential in today’s MLS, which has only increased since the introduction of targeted allocation money (TAM). This year’s example of how not to build a club was provided by FC Cincinnati. The team used a large portion of its TAM on trades to build its roster instead of bringing in more talented players and using the TAM to buy down their salaries. This was due to Cincinnati’s lack of having someone, a general manager or sporting director, in the office during the roster-building stages. They eventually added Gerard Nijkamp, who formerly led PEC Zwolle in the Netherlands, as GM.

The Cincinnati example should be a lesson for all future MLS teams; a properly staffed soccer operations staff will likely include one or more people with expertise on the league’s intricacies. MLS’s centralised, single-entity status and league-controlled salary cap mechanisms essentially have created a niche skill set that is vital to success.

Knowledge of the international market is very important. MLS front offices need to have an active presence internationally as MLS becomes both a buyer and a seller in the global football market.

As the dollar amount goes up, acquisitions become even more critical,” said U.S. men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter, who was considered one of the top chief soccer officers in the league when he worked as coach/technical director with the Columbus Crew. “And as we realize that we can’t always be a buying league, we also need to be a selling league, the way we structure our clubs and the way we work to both bring players in and sell players is extremely important. Clubs are realizing that. So they’re putting more resources into scouting, which they should. They are putting more resources into player personnel; once you get the player here how do we integrate them into the team and how do we integrate them into the society? And then I think teams are now also putting more resources into…how do we export these players? What do the contacts look like?”

What Kind of Backgrounds Fit In?

“I do think as the league grows we all need to grow in the support staff. There is going to be a combination in every front office and it comes down to the individuals and their skill sets and where they can add value.

It may be a former player, it may not. It may be someone who has (a) law background or was an agent. It comes down to relationships, being able to work with the coaching staff and different people in the club and being able to manage up. Some is specific to personalities and some is understanding MLS and the landscape of U.S. Soccer, and that can be learned. I don’t think there is one specific way.”

Chris Henderson, Sporting Director, Seattle Sounders FC

Some of those hired by clubs have experience in the MLS office itself. Take Chicago Fire Senior Vice-President of Communications Sean Dennison, as one example. A graduate of prestigious McGill University in Montreal, he worked for fourteen years at MLS headquarters, the last two of which he served as Vice-President of Communications for the league, before joining Chicago in 2018. Other examples include general managers Ali Curtis of Toronto Football Club, Nelson Rodriguez of the Chicago Fire SC, the aforementioned Will Kuntz and Sporting Kansas City’s Assistant Director Of Player Personnel, Meghan Cameron, all of whom had previous experience in the league office.

Others have worked for other leagues or confederations. Inter Miami CF’s Chief Business Officer Jurgen Mainka, for example, served as the director of marketing and communications, and later the Deputy General Secretary and Chief Commercial Officer at Concacaf prior to being hired by the Inter Miami ownership group. Looking at the personnel across MLS teams also shows that not all front office employees even have prior experience in soccer, or even in sports in general.

Chris Henderson’s Insights On Front Offices

Seattle Sounders FC sporting director Chris Henderson Photo: (Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Chris Henderson is currently the sporting director of the Seattle Sounders. A former midfielder, he gave coaching a try post-career but thereafter transitioned into being a technical director. Henderson was hired by the Sounders as technical director in 2008. He has spent the last decade learning “on-the-job” and also interacting with foreign clubs when he travels the globe scouting for players.

“The ownership groups have their own companies and are used to running businesses and used to having people with a certain profile to run their business,” Henderson said. “Somebody with extensive soccer knowledge (can help) because in the position you are going to be in you have to have an understanding with the head coach and the coaching staff.”

While the hires around the league follow different strategies and come from different backgrounds, a common theme is also there: the investment teams are willing to make in order to be competitive. This is only going to increase, and the teams that do it best will continue to have the most success.

“Nobody knows if (a hire) is right or wrong until you look at it later,” Henderson said. “I do think as the league grows we all need to grow in the support staff. There is going to be a combination in every front office and it comes down to the individuals and their skillsets and where they can add value. It may be a former player, it may not. It may be someone who has (a) law background or was an agent. It comes down to relationships, being able to work with the coaching staff and different people in the club and being able to manage up. Some is specific to personalities and some is understanding MLS and the landscape of U.S. Soccer, and that can be learned. I don’t think there is one specific way.”

With regard to those with legal backgrounds, they have found places both within the league office and with its clubs. When asked about the changing roles of the legal department at Major League Soccer, for example, Dimitrios Efstathiou, Vice-President, Legal, said that the legal team today is being considered as more than just ‘scribes’ and ‘drafters.’ “We’re at the table, with our counterparts within the media department or the corporate partnerships department or the licensed products department. We are sitting down and helping drafting a strategy to approach a deal and issue spot early on so we’re viewed as, again, a business affairs member as opposed to the lawyer.”

Another example is Darren Eales, President of Atlanta United, who had played soccer while attending West Virginia University and Brown University, later returning to his native England and earning a law degree from Cambridge. After working as in-house counsel at West Bromwich Albion, he moved on to Tottenham in 2010, where his work touched on all major aspects of soccer operations. He helped to negotiate and execute player transfers, including playing a key role in the 2013 world record transfer fee sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid. Eales was the first person hired for the Atlanta team by owner Arthur Blank, co-founder of Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons.

Darren Eales and Atlanta United Owner Arthur Blank. Photo: Atlanta United FC

Lawyers are thus particularly good candidates for MLS front offices. Beyond the ‘obvious’ role of serving as an in-house counsel, someone with a legal background has a skill set that can be valuable in any business agenda. For example, most lawyers are very skilled at written and oral communications. Even with all the advances in technology, business is still won and lost based on personal relationships. People do business with whom they trust, with whom they find commonality and with whom they like. And these relationships are built on clear communication, exchanges of ideas and getting to know each other, skills that most lawyers have. Additionally, given the extensive use of contracts, from sponsorship agreements to media rights distribution to player contracts, having legal skills can assist with issue spotting and avoiding vagueness that often leads to disputes. Finally, despite the stories that make the news, most lawyers adhere to a high degree of ethical standards and can bring added professionalism to a business setting.

With new MLS teams beginning in Miami, Nashville, Austin, Saint Louis and at least one other city in the near future, there will be a need for many competent candidates to carry out the myriad of job functions in the front office. Some of these people may have a soccer background, while others may have other useful skills like foreign languages or an aptitude to work in an international environment. Whatever their skills and talent, they will also need passion and energy. Teams that have an open-minded approach to hiring and can assemble a front office with the right combination of talent, experience and dedication will be the winners.


Related:

MLS also has annual awards for front offices. Here’s a list of who and which teams won awards following the 2018 season:

2018 MLS Club and Executive Award Winners:

  • Doug Hamilton Executive of the Year – Darren Eales
  • Ticket Sales Team of the Year – Atlanta United
  • Public Relations Team of the Year – Atlanta United
  • Club Retailer of the Year – Atlanta United
  • Digital Team of the Year – Atlanta United
  • Operations Staff of the Year – Atlanta United
  • Supporter Management Team of the Year – Atlanta United

Additional award winners

  • Sporting Executive of the Year – Peter Vermes, Sporting Kansas City
  • Corporate Partnerships Team of the Year – Los Angeles Football Club
  • Corporate Partnerships Executive of the Year – Justin Compton (Sporting Kansas City)
  • Ticket Sales Executive of the Year – Sean Sittnick (Minnesota United FC)
  • Marketing Executive of the Year – Rich Orosco (Los Angeles Football Club)
  • Expansion Club Recognition Award – Los Angeles Football Club
  • Ticketing Sales Impact Award presented by the National Sales Center powered by SeatGeek – Colorado Rapids (Sales Combine)
  • Marketing Team of the Year – New York City FC (24-hour game)
  • Marisa Colaiano Community Relations Department of the Year presented by MLS WORKS – Chicago Fire
  • Business Analytics Team of the Year – Los Angeles Football Club
  • Social Media Activation of the Year – LA Galaxy (#Galaxy Social / Malea Emma)
  • Digital Content Experience of the Year – Portland Timbers (The Rivalry)
  • Equipment Manager of the Year – Chris Maxwell (Houston Dynamo)
  • Security Staff of the Year – Seattle Sounders FC
  • eMLS Team of the Year – Philadelphia Union
  • Team Administrator of the Year – Spencer Childs (Portland Timbers)
  • Athletic Training Staff of the Year – Sporting Kansas City
  • Academy of the Year – Sporting Kansas City
more

How Is Inter Miami Shaping Up? Find Out From Jorge Mas and Paul McDonough

Managing Owner and Sporting Director were interviewed a few days ago on Planet Fútbol by Luis Miguel Echegaray.

MIAMI, Fla. (October 9, 2019) —

Inter Miami Managing Owner Jorge Mas and Sporting Director Paul McDonough were in New York City for last weekend’s MLS Expansion Priority Draft, out of which Inter Miami CF won the coin toss and subsequently elected to take the first pick in the Expansion Draft and also opted to take the first pick in the MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas. While they were in the City, they had a chance to sit down with Planet Fútbol’s Luis Miguel Echegary, who had some questions for them about how Inter Miami is shaping up as we get close in on the inaugural season beginning in March 2020.

The interview was a positive one but also served to underscore just how complicated it actually is to launch a new team. That is, if you want to have the kind of immediate impact that Miami is determined to have.

Jorge Mas Talks On:

The Academy’s Progress

Jorge Mas was asked about how the club stands right now, both in terms of a roster perspective, the academy, and how things are looking as the club is built.

Mas said, “It’s been for us an element of pride, an area where we’re going to put a significant investment to the talent and youth that exists in South Florida.“ He continued, “I’m very hopeful that with Paul’s leadership and our coaching that we’re going to be able to have the best Academy system in the MLS to give these young men an opportunity to live out their dreams to be part of an MLS team, but also to open their opportunities to worldwide football if possible.” 

The Team’s Player Search

“From a roster-building perspective, Paul and I have frequent flyer miles. We’ve been all over the world as we build a great roster,” Mas said. “Not only for great performance on the field, but to fit the style of Inter Miami. We want to be an aggressive offensive team. One that our community can be proud of. One that’s going to make a mark all over the world.”  

The stadium at Miami Freedom Park

Jorge was also asked about Miami Freedom Park and what its timeline might look like. 

“We had a referendum in Miami last November, where more than 60 percent gave us and the City of Miami a green light to go ahead and reach an agreement. We’re in the final stages of negotiating an agreement with the City of Miami,” he said. “I’m hopeful the next 45 to 60 days we’ll have that as a go.” 

“We’ve been working on the concept design of the stadium; it’s probably 80 percent done,” Mas explained, adding “It’s going to be a beautiful stadium, state-of-the-art, with cutting-edge technology. It’s going to be an entertainment destination, food and beverage, hotel, tech hub. It’s going to be a huge economic driver for Miami and South Florida.”

“It’s located adjacent to Miami International Airport. 51 million people come in and out of that airport,” said Mas. “It’s the first thing they’ll see when they land in Miami and the last thing they see. So, they’re going to see a beautiful stadium and it’s going to put Miami on the global map for fútbol and soccer.” 

The Manager Position And What The Club Is Looking For

Mas also touched on the club’s search for a coach and what the ownership group is looking for in potential candidates. 

“I’m a huge believer that leadership matters,” he said. “We want a coach who can lead, who can not only lead the first team, but can set the tone in the academy system. [A coach] who can put his fingerprints on developing young players for the future and really the whole organisation.” 

“Paul and I and David Beckham have been intimately involved in choosing a coach and interviewing potential coaches.”

“I think we’re very close to naming someone who is going to be an outstanding coach for Inter Miami and really is going to help us raise the game in America,” said Mas. “But the profile of the coach we want is that person who has international standing, who has coached at the highest levels, who has played at the highest levels, who hopefully has played in a World Cup, played in Champions League, coached at that level, coached academy teams, and been able to bring young great players and develop them to be great professionals because that’s what we want.

And also, from a personal aspect, that they’re going to fit in South Florida, that they’re going to be able to represent our team as we want, that they will be able to articulate our vision. We’re close and hopefully we will be announcing the coach in the next three or four weeks.” 

What Fans Should Know About Inter Miami

“Well first it’s going to be a club that is going to win,” said Mas. “It’s going to be a club that’s going to compete for championships. It’s going to be a club that is going to have among its roster and its ranks some of the most talented players in the world”,” Mas said. “We’re going to be the centre of fútbol in the United States.”

“We will be truly a global team. Miami is embraced by so many nationalities from so many backgrounds, it’s truly a melting pot and a cultural mosaic,” he added. “We’re going to be a reflection of our community.”

“Our Team Is The People’s Team.”


Paul McDonough Discusses:

Club ‘s Identity From a Player Perspective

Players Signed So Far

The Inter Miami CF Sporting Director was asked to talk about how the players signed by the club thus far shape the club’s identity.

“We wanted to bring in young, attacking players, players that could come here that, we could develop and then we can move on to Europe, very much like the Miguel Almiron’s of the world.

“I think it’s important to have young [players], but I think in our market we need to have some older players that can handle the pressure much more than the young ones can right away,” he added.   

Designated Players and Upcoming Signings

“We’re definitely going to have three DP’s,” McDonough said.

“We’ve definitely been linked with a lot of players because of our ownership group, the city, David’s [Beckham] reach is enormous, so we’re linked with a lot of players. Some are true and some are not. But it has been truly been amazing, the interest and the players that have contacted us wanting to play in Miami.”

Paul McDonough, Sporting Director

“We started with signing young players,” said McDonough. “Now we’ll add MLS experience to the group and we’re going to add some foreign international players to help bring these guys along and help us be successful from day one.”


Listen to the complete 12-minute interview:


Academy’s First Season Showing Immediate Results

MIAMI, Fla. (October 7, 2019) —

It is only two months into the Inter Miami CF Academy’s first season, and thus far it has been a fall season that has seen the various youth teams post impressive results. For example, this past weekend, Inter Miami CF Academy teams played nine matches, coming away with wins in eight of those nine, with the other result being a draw.

La Academia teams have already taken part in one international tournament, which also marked the first-ever time a team under the brand of Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami has taken the pitch.

Academy teams have also played in front of Inter Miami CF’s official supporters groups in their first home games in South Florida. The fully-funded youth academy is a member of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

Learn more about the Academy, its origins, missions, the initial selection process, its focus and more here: The Inter Miami CF Academy

Get to know the teams as well as the very talented and experienced technical staff of the Inter Miami CF Academy here: Academy Teams & Technical Staff


 

Inter Miami CF Academy Results – October 5-6, 2019

MIAMI, Fla. (October 7, 2019) —

Nine matches were on the slate this past weekend for the Inter Miami CF Academy’s teams. In total, Inter had eight wins and a draw.

U18/19s

The U-19s were also on the road. This time, the club was in Raleigh, NC, to play against North Carolina FC’s Academy side on Saturday, Oct. 5. Federico Tellez scored Inter Miami’s only goal in the 1-1 draw with North Carolina FC. 

U16/17s

Meanwhile, the U16/17s played the toughest matches of the weekend. Led by head coach Javier Morales, the Inter squad came out winning by the minimum result of 1-0 over the North Carolina Fusion U16/17s.

A first half goal by Inter Miami’s Oliver Pratt in the 21st minute was the only goal of the match.

On Saturday, Oct. 5, Inter Miami’s U16/17 team won 2-1 against North Carolina FC’s U-17. Goals from Logan Batiste and Alexander Lozano sealed the victory.

U15s

The U15s also travelled to Summit, North Carolina, outside of Greensboro, this past weekend for their games.

The Inter U15s faced the North Carolina Fusion U15s. The away side, coached by Abraham Bibas, notched a victory 3-0, earning goalkeeper Javier Barbosa a clean sheet in the process.

Goal Scorers for Inter Miami: Juan Hurtado (9′), Alejandro Vigil (33′) Pedro Faife (55′).

The Inter Miami U-15s also defeated North Carolina FC 2-1. Israel Boatwright and Juan Hurtado were the club’s goal scorers.

U14s

The U14s, managed by Philippe-Oliver Cineas, were also playing away to the West Florida Flames. Inter went away with a 4-2 win.

Inter Miami Goal Scorers: Juan Quevedo (5′, 73′), Nyle Waugh (34′, 71′).

U13s

The Inter Miami U13s were in action on the road in Brandon, Florida near Tampa, taking on the West Florida Flames. Pedro Cavalcanti’s side devastated the home side in a 14-1 away win.

Goal Scorers for Inter Miami CF: Mateo Pereyra (18′,57′,69′), Justin Hylton (21′), Daniel Pinter (24′), Justin Ellis (27′,29′,32′,50′), Dyllan Bustamante (30′), Cauã Scabin (37′), Keyshawn Pownall (47′, 55′), Vitorio Rivalta (66′).

U12s

U-12 White

The Inter Miami CF U-12 White team defeated the West Florida Flames U12s by a score of 3-0 on Saturday. Jacob Hin scored a goal while Guy Meneus had two goals in the victory.

U-12 Black

The Inter Miami CF U-12 Black team won by a score of 5-4, also against a West Florida Flames academy team. Inter’s goals came from Nash Dearmin and four by Leon Jacobs.

MLS Decision Day 2019 – Here’s What Is At Stake

MIAMI, Fla. (October 5, 2019) —

The last day of the MLS season is upon us. It’s called “Decision Day.” For most fans of soccer around the world, that means a final chance for some clubs to survive relegation, or for a club to seal the championship. For MLS, which follows the model of North American sports leagues, the final round of the season is a chance for some clubs to secure a place in the postseason tournament, known as MLS Cup.

For this season, MLS made some changes which definitely gives more emphasis to the regular season and rewards teams for better performances. The post season was revised to a single elimination format which involves single games at the home of the higher seed, rather than two legs that flattened the odds. This means teams are vying to finish high enough in the table to secure a very important home matches in MLS Cup.

All games kickoff Sunday, October 6 at 4 p.m. EDT.

Fixtures For Round 34

What’s at Stake? Here are the main 2019 MLS Decision Day Storylines:

  • In the Eastern Conference, three teams – D.C. United (4th place / 49 points), New York Red Bulls (5th / 48 points) and Toronto FC (6th / 47 points) – will be playing for the final spot available to host a playoff game.
  • In the Western Conference, four teams – Portland Timbers (46 points), FC Dallas (45 points), San Jose Earthquakes (44) and Colorado Rapids (42 points) – are competing for two playoff spots.
  • The Seattle Sounders FC and Minnesota United are tied for second in the table on 53 points. They play each other in Seattle at CenturyLink Field; the winner secures the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference.
  • The Los Angeles Galaxy can assure themselves of having a home game in the playoffs with a win over Houston. Last year, Houston’s win at Carson cost the Galaxy a spot in the playoffs. Zlatan and company are hoping to set the record straight this time.
  • Chasing the Golden Boot Award: LAFC’s Carlos Vela is tied for MLS’s most goals in a season record, set last year by Atlanta’s Josef Martínez, at 31 goals. If Vela scores Sunday, he gets the record. Currently at 29 goals for the season, LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is chasing Vela for 2019 top scorer and the record.

Probing 2019 MLS Decision Day Questions:

Eastern Conference: Should Teams Watch out for the Revolution?

With the Eastern Conference qualifiers already set in stone, Atlanta versus New England looks to be the most interesting match of Round 34 on this side of the league.

Atlanta can lock up the number 2 seed in the East with a win against New England combined with a Philadelphia loss or draw.

Ironically, despite winning a lot of matches in their three-year history, the Five Stripes still have not won on decision day. In 2017, Atlanta drew 2-2 with Toronto FC at home. The following season, they were crushed 4-1 at BMO Field. On Sunday they’ll face a dangerous New England Revolution side that come into Mercedes-Benz Stadium on a high.

New England has been looking like a time on the rise under Bruce Arena, riding some serious momentum. New England clinched the seventh and final playoff spot in the east with a 2-0 win over top-seed New York City FC, a team that recently defeated Atlanta United 4-1 in the Bronx.

Toronto FC currently sit sixth in the table, just one point behind the Red Bulls from New Jersey.

Atlanta United has not done well versus the Reds, while the team from New Jersey has won in Atlanta before. It’s reason enough for Atlanta to want to avoid playing either of these sides right away in the first round of the playoffs.

New England comes into Atlanta with nothing to lose. They are in the playoffs, something that looked impossible until Arena took the helm. The pressure sits squarely on Atlanta United. This is Arena’s first visit to Atlanta with the Revolution. The way he sets up New England today could tell us how he may approach a potential playoff rematch. Expect New England to stay compact and look for the counterattack. Columbus Crew used this trategy in Atlanta on September 14th and came away with a win. Frank de Boer’s team failed to find the necessary attacking solutions, and were subsequently punished in transition. How will De Boer adjust? It should be a study in tactics.  

Western Conference: Can Los Angeles Football Club Finish With The Most Points In History?

LAFC has been the dominant team this season, with only a couple of blips on the radar. They will likely use the final game of the season to remain focused. As the top seed, after this game they will have a first-round bye that will give them two-and-a-half weeks’ rest. With a win, LAFC have a chance to finish with the most points in a single season. Will they do it?

Can Colorado actually sneak in to the playoffs?

The Rapids had been building up momentum for months. After starting the season 0-9-2, they rallied under interim coach Conor Casey toward something resembling respectability. Robin Fraser took over as the Colorado Rapid’s head coach in late August, with his only previous managerial gig having been with Club Deportivo Chivas USA.

“By the end of the first session, I thought that not only were they a good team, that they have a really good spirit, and a lot of belief in themselves,” Fraser said. “That’s when I felt like this could be a really fun project.”

Now, on the last round of the season the Rapids have a chance, though admittedly a slim one, of making the playoffs. Can they do it? To reiterate, despite having started the season winless through 11 games the Rapids are still alive heading into the final round.

If Colorado upsets LAFC — the best team in the league, already owning the Supporters’ Shield and with the top playoff seed already clinched — and Dallas loses to Kansas City and San Jose loses to Portland, the Rapids are in. Even if the ‘Quakes draw with the Timbers, Colorado can still qualify through tiebreakers if they win by two goals or more. This ‘perfect storm’ isn’t exactly likely. LAFC is the top team, Dallas is at home, and Kansas City is playing only for pride. But wouldn’t it be a great story of overcoming odds?

Colorado has been scoring goals. Kei Kamara and Diego Rubio are both in the double digits (13 and 11, respectively), while Andre Shinyashiki and Jonathan Lewis have come on stronger. Fraser wants to inject a possession style of play but joining so far into the season has made that difficult. Yet he’s optîistic.

“I really admire the character of the team. They care about each other, and I think you see that in how they play, adds Fraser.”

No matter what happens on Sunday, that’s something to build on and carry over. And if they can get into the playoffs they will definitely be a team to watch.

Which club, the Portland Timbers or San Jose Earthquakes, will stumble into the playoffs?

Their game at Providence Park in Portland is the only semi-do-or-die matchup on the schedule in Round 34. Despite going a combined 1-7-3 in September, at least one of them will drag themselves into the playoffs on Sunday afternoon. Portland has played its last three games to a draw. Portland can lose this game and still get into the postseason torunament if Dallas also loses. The Earthquakes, who need a win, won the first meeting between the teams, 3-0.

There is a sense that both teams might be approaching unhappy endings.

This could very well be Diego Valeri’s last game as a Timber. Negotiations over a new contract have not gone well, and the two sides have different demands. Valeri has been the face of the Timbers since his arrival in 2013. He’s gone above and beyond — not just on the pitch, but as an ambassador in the community as well. Yet neither side looks likely to budge at the moment. This might be it.

Moving past Valeri’s situation, the Timbers have had a strange and trying year, summed up by Brian Fernandez’s goal drought and red card that has him suspended for this all-important finale.

San Jose sits just below the playoff line on 44 points. But if you had offered them this position at the beginning of the season — win one, final game and you’re in — surely they would have taken it. The club has done much better under head coach Matías Almeyda in his first year with the team, who has imparted an exciting style of play.

San Jose has slumped late, however. They have lost eight out of 10 since early August. Either opponents have figured them out or Almeyda’s physically demanding high press has ground them down. There are also rumours out of Mexico that Club de Fútbol Monterey are looking for a new manager, and, you guessed it, his name is Matías Almeyda.

Almeyda is a bigger name that most people realise, having been successful in his native Argentina and leading Chivas Guadalajara to the CONCACAF Champions League title just last year Earlier this week, he admitted that links with Monterrey and a return to Liga MX made him “happy.” How quickly the sand can shift in the world of soccer.

Is Seattle or Minnesota a real contender?

The victor of the Sounders-Loons game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle will lock up the No. 2 seed in the west, and home-field advantage all the way to the conference final. However, If Real Salt Lake wins in Vancouver and the LA Galaxy win in Houston, whichever side loses the match at CenturyLink Field would drop to fifth.

Seattle seems to feel rightly disappointed by this year’s performance: “I think anytime we don’t compete for the Supporters’ Shield, with the talent that we have, is a fail,” midfielder Cristian Roldan said this week.

“Maybe it’s more of a redemption-type game for us,” goalkeeper Stefan Frei said. “We’ve had so many opportunities to make a statement game, and we’ve squandered quite a few of them. … We’ve been very, very fortunate. Let’s be honest. I think our season has been not the best. It was nice to finally start on top, but the remainder of the year has been a struggle. At some point, we have to make that statement.”

Minnesota has qualified for the playoffs for the first time. Their highlight moment of the season was a 2-0 away win at LAFC, which is also LAFC’s only loss since El Tráfico on July 19th. Carlos Vela was absent that match. But with the MVP favourite reinstated last weekend at Allianz Field, Minnesota still ground out a 1-1 draw. The Loons formula against Los Angeles was to stay compact, give LAFC possession in less dangerous areas, and have a ruthless mentality on the counter.

The Loons are playing with confidence, no matter the opponent.

Who Will Win The Golden Boot?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is second in the goal-scoring race with 29 goals. In fron is Carlos Vela of LAFC, who has 31 goals, a mark which places him in a tie with Atlanta United Josef Martínez for the most goals in a single MLS season. Zlatan had this to say:

“I am trying to score goals every game, that is part of my responsibility, part of what I have to do to help my teammates,” I have 29 goals in 28 games. If I would have the same amount [of] games like the other ones, it would be different. But now I’m chasing someone that has more games than me. If we score we score, we’ll have to see what the end number will be. If there still is a possibility, we’ll try.”

Still, the LA Galaxy star insists the ultimate aim is to achieve team glory.

“I prefer the collective win, when we win that game, that is more important,” he said. “With the collective success the individual success comes with it. If I can do good for my team, with my team, I know I’m doing good. I’m not focusing on the individual bonuses, I always say it’s like a bonus. Without my teammates those things would not be possible. If I win, it’s my team that wins. Whoever wins the Golden Boot has to think it’s not because of him, it’s because of his teammates.”


Credit to The Athletic for providing inspiration and perspective.

Inter Miami Faces Nashville On Sunday To Determine First Pick In MLS Expansion Draft 2020

Inter Miami CF and Nashville Soccer Club are the two teams beginning play in 2020.

MIAMI, Fla. (September 19, 2019; updated October 4, 2019) –

The two newcomers to Major League Soccer, Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC, will face each other on Sunday, October 6. Except that it won’t be on the pitch.

Major League Soccer announced back on September 19th that the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft* will occur on November 19, 2019. It will be the thirteenth expansion draft in league history.

Decision Day Coin Toss

In order to decide which club will select first in that expansion draft, as well as the order for the various other means of acquiring players for their respective rosters, MLS has created an event called the “2019 MLS Expansion Priority Draft.” This will take place on October 6, prior to kick off of an intense final day of the regular season during MLSsoccer.com’s “Matchday Central: Decision Day presented by AT&T Pregame Show.”

You can watch live this Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. EDT from AT&T MLS Studios in New York City as part of the MLS Decision Day Pregame Show presented by AT&T. (MLSsoccer.com, the MLSappTwitterFacebook and YouTube).

At that time, Inter Miami CF Managing Owner & CEO Jorge Mas along with Sporting Director Paul McDonough, as well as Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre and General Manager Mike Jacobs, will flip a coin to determine which club receives the first pick in the five available player-acquisition methods. For example, the winner of the coin toss can elect which of the five player acquisition methods they want for their team, followed by the loser of the coin toss making an election. This process continues until all of the methods have been chosen.

Here’s what the two team’s executives have to choose from:

  1. No.1 pick in 2019 MLS Expansion Draft 
  2. No.1 pick in 2020 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas
  3. No.1 position in Allocation Ranking Order
  4. Penultimate position in MLS Re-Entry and End-of-Year Waiver Order
  5. Penultimate position in Discovery Player Ranking

What it boils down to is that the winner of the coin toss will receive two of the top three mechanisms. Having the first pick in the expansion draft is likely to be the most desired, although having the top choice in the allocation ranking order can also be a good way to acquire an experienced player. For example, it was used by Atlanta to acquire goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

It’s a complicated process to build a roster from scratch. “You’re trying to look at all the different mechanisms, your international spots, your roster positions, your money, your free agents, your expansion draft picks and you’re trying to see best how to build the deepest squad you can,” Sporting Director Paul McDonough said. “We’ve been preparing. Thinking on who could be available and how they would fit into our team. What would be a win for us is that we come out with a mix of players and assets that can help us continue to build the squad.”

Expansion Draft Take Home Points:

“We know we need MLS experience to be successful,” said McDonough. “It’s important for us to find those guys who can fill certain needs within the starting eleven or immediate depth of the squad as we look to build a competitive roster.”

How Many Players Can Be Selected?

The Expansion Draft provides an opportunity for Miami and Nashville to strengthen their MLS rosters by selecting up to five (5) current players from other MLS teams.

How Many Players Can Each Club Protect?

Each current MLS team may protect up to twelve (12) rostered players (previously 11 in years past) from inclusion on the eligible players list.

When will the list of unprotected players (eligible players) Be Released?

The complete list of players eligible for selection in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft will be released on Saturday, November 16.

Are Any Teams Exempt From The Expansion Draft?

Yes, as reported earlier on Russo Soccer, certain clubs are exempt. Exempt clubs with players selected by FC Cincinnati in the 2018 Expansion Draft are D.C. United, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, FC Dallas, the Houston Dynamo, and the New York Red Bulls.

Have Any Notable Players Been Acquired Via The Expansion Draft?

Yes, notable former Expansion Draft picks include two players chosen by Los Angeles Football Club in 2017: Latif Blessing and Tyler Miller. Blessing has six goals and five assists this season, alongside Miller’s nine clean sheets (shutouts) for the top-ranked club in the league standings. FC Cincinnati selected Darren Mattocks and Roland Lamah in 2018, and both became regular contributors for the club this season.


This is the first time since 2016 that two teams have had to flip a coin to determine the order of selection. The last time was in 2016, when Atlanta United and Minnesota United were entering the league.

Here is how that draft went. Atlanta won the coin toss, and the mechanisms were then split as seen below. After the type of selection, you can see what player was acquired and how.

  1. ATL:  No.1 pick in 2016 MLS Expansion Draft – (Selected Donny Toia, who was traded to Orlando City for the No. 8 pick in the 2017 SuperDraft, which was used to select Julian Gressel)
  2. MNUFC: No.1 pick in 2017 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas -(Selected Abu Danladi No. 1)
  3. ATL: No.1 position in Allocation Ranking Order – (Atlanta used the top spot to sign Brad Guzan)
  4. MNUFC: Priority on NASL/USL players should Atlanta United try to claim the same player in one of the other leagues in the U.S. – (no competing claim)
  5. ATL: Penultimate position in MLS Re-Entry and End-of-Year Waiver Order – (There were no players chosen by either team in either draft)
  6. MNUFC: Penultimate position in Discovery Player Ranking – (N/A)

The first three mechanisms are clearly more important than the others. But what is important to a team depends on how it plans to build its roster, i.e. is the plan to focus on established talent or unproven potential.

More Information on the expansion draft history and the rules is available on the MLs website:

MLS Expansion Draft History | MLS Expansion Draft Rules


* An expansion draft is a common practice in North American professional sports as a method to begin to stock the roster of a new franchise.