Don’t Sign Marta

11 11 2008
Brazilian Star Marta

Brazilian Star Marta

When you think about the players who made MLS successful, it wasn’t Roberto Donadoni, signed from AC Milan. It wasn’t the Hugo Sanchez or other big name they signed from somewhere. MLS was built, for the most part, by home grown talent. Top American talents like John Harkes, Brian McBride, Eddie Pope, Clint Mathis, DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan, Freddy Adu, Brad Guzan, Jozy Altidore, Sacha Kljestan. It was built even more so on the shoulders of good players like Cobi Jones, Steve Ralston, Ante Razov, Taylor Twellman, Joe Cannon, and Chris Armas, who dedicated many many years to playing for MLS.

If a lesson is to be learned from this, to WPS I say “build on home grown talent!”. Women’s Professional Soccer league cannot see past financial stability as its number one goal for the inaugural season. It has been rumored that the salary cap for WPS is in a range of 500k-1 million dollars. The foundation on which it will build its success must be the American players, particularly those 21 players allocated in October, such as Wambach, Hope, Tarpley, Kai, etc.

Word is coming from some sources, although who knows how reliable they are in the scarcely covered world of women’s soccer, that Marta is demanding somewhere between 500k to a million dollars for her services. On top of that, she would like to influence who is on her team. It is starting to sound more like a burden than a benefit to sign the Brazilian star. Marta seems to feel she is entitled to a bigger and much more lucrative deal than her fellow women players, like an Abby Wambach. It doesn’t sit well with me, who recalls great players such as Mia Hamm, a two time FIFA world player of the year, taking a salary cut to help the previous league survive.

The WPS should avoid falling into the trap of signing a player who would likely be an unnecessary risk for their first year of existance. In respect to foreign talents, I would rather see them focus that money on several very good players like a Kara Lang, Fabiana Vallejos, or Maribel Dominguez. They could be the Marco Etcheverry, Carlos Valderamma, or Mauricio Cienfuegos that MLS benefited from. The WPS shouldn’t have to beg Marta or any foreign star to come. They will be salivating to come play in the worlds best league in due time- if the WPS can first carefully build a sound and stable league.



One response

11 11 2008

Interesting thought, though the comparison with MLS is dubious. For all its virtues, MLS is a second-tier soccer league. The world’s best players play somewhere else. WPS, on the other hand, is trying to become the premier women’s soccer league in the world, and they’re never going to get there on home-grown talent alone. I agree that they should proceed cautiously, but if they’re too cautious, they’re going to relegate themselves to permanent second-tier status. Tough call.

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