SundayPaper.com did an interview with Arthur Blank and Mr. Blank had this to say when asked if the cause of the failed MLS bid was due to the inability to get a group of partners together.
That wasn’t the reason. When you do a deal with MLS, it’s a very complex deal. And the general thinking in Major League Soccer today is that you need a soccer-specific stadium in order to be successful and offer the product in the right kind of environment for fans that are coming and supporting it, in addition to providing a financial model that makes sense for all parties concerned. Traditionally, those have been a public/private kind of partnership. In today’s economy, in this world we’re living in right now in 2009, maybe even 2010, that possibility is not real, and it’s kind of inappropriate to be thinking about those things right now, in my view. So I just think it’s a matter of timing in terms of when we’ll be able to bring that franchise to Atlanta. It had nothing to do with other people being willing to invest, it had to do really with the timing in the marketplace.
It is disappointing to see the opportunity pass but at the same time it’s difficult to argue his point need a soccer-specific stadium in order to be successful and offer the product in the right kind of environment for fans that are coming and supporting it, in addition to providing a financial model that makes sense for all parties concerned. Traditionally, those have been a public/private kind of partnership. In today’s economy, in this world we’re living in right now in 2009, maybe even 2010, that with the current state of the economy. Arthur Blank didn’t become the successful business man he is by making bad decisions. This bid will require a combination of public and private funds and though this project will have a significant economic impact the dividends will be down the road. The initial cost that would be required over the next two years would be steep and with the current budget cutbacks the decision would be inappropriate, as Mr. Blank said.
I guess we’ve waited this long, what’s a few more years. Hopefully we can bring MLS to Atlanta and the economy and league will be on better footing then they are today.
Well the draft is over and the trades are continuing as teams look to fill out their rosters for the upcoming season. Preseason training will start shortly and before you know it will be in the midst of another MLS season. It’s rare that a rookie can come in and have an on field impact in the first year or two. There’s usually two or three players that shine and a few that see some time on the pitch due to starters going down to injury but it’s more of the exception then the norm. However, there have been several people that believe this particular draft has some depth. Only time will tell.
Since MLS owns players contracts and not individual teams several top players have already come to terms on contracts. Nine top prospects have signed Generation Adidas contracts this year. GA contracts encourages early entry into the league for top youth prospects. These contracts don’t count against a clubs salary cap and guarantee players funding to finish their college education if they choose to do so down the road. That may be an oversimplification but that’s what it is in essence.
The last Generation Adidas player that hailed from Georgia was Ricardo Clark of the Houston Dynamo’s back in 2003. There were two Georgia representatives this year that were invited to the MLS Player Combine. Otto Loewy from Lawrenceville who played for Winthorp was a no show after a late season injury kept him from displaying his skills. Patrick Murray of Peachtree City was physically there but according to those who saw him play said his game didn’t make the trip. The Furman senior did little to help improve his stock. Neither of the two were selected in the four round draft the was completed earlier today.
It’s a sad day as the hope of seeing an MLS team come to Atlanta has taken a significant hit. Arthur Blank has told MLS that the Atlanta bid would be unable to have a stadium deal in place and begin play by 2011. Effectively dropping out of contingency for the current bidding for two franchises that are scheduled to begin play in 2011. The slumping economy, lack of traction on a stadium deal, and the local government officials concern of taxpayer backlash were the primary drivers that killed the bid. On the bright side the group did say they hadn’t rule out a bid for a team that could begin play in 2013. More details are available at AJC.com
New York Red Bulls have announced the signing of former Atlanta Silverbacks Forward Mac Kandji. Mac was loaned to NYRB late last season with the option to buy his rights. New York Red Bull’s agreed to terms of a transfer and Mac has officially signed with MLS & NYRB. Mac’s 2008 MLS salary had a base of $36,000 with a guarantee of $57,000. The terms of new contract will not be disclosed at this time per MLS policy.
NYRB Sporting Director Jeff Agoos had this to say of Mac.
“We liked what we saw from Mac during his time on loan with us,” “Mac has shown that he is capable of playing at a higher level and we look forward to his contribution in the future.”
Maybe this can provide some solace after the loss of our Silverbacks for 2009 (hopefully not forever). And congratulations to the 52% of you who were correct in the December Poll that the Big Mac Attack would indeed go to New York. For more details at the MLS site click here.
Macoumba (Mac) Kandji had quite a year. He led the Atlanta Silverbacks offense with 11 goals in the 21 games he played and finished the season for 3rd in overall points for the USL First Division. To add to his credentials Mac was awarded with a spot on the USL-1 All-League First Team. Not bad for someone who only played 70% of the possible games.
On September 15th, 2008 Mac got his shot and went on loan with New York Red Bulls for the remainder of the season. The transfer fee was undisclosed but believed to be in the ballpark of $25K for the remainder of 2008 with an option to make the loan permanent by December 15th. If NYRB pick up the option it would cost them between $125K & $175K over the next two years.
In the 5 regular season games he played with NYRB he scored 1 goal and had 2 assist in 270 minutes played. During the playoffs he only had 2 cameos totaling 14 minutes.
If NYRB doesn’t pick up the option we know where Mac won’t be playing in 2009. The Atlanta Silverback’s announced in early November that the men’s team would “sit out the 2009 season”. And it was reported by SBI that…
“In a rather shrewd bit of business, Atlanta Silverbacks owner Boris Jerkunica has orchestrated the transfer of Kandji’s rights from Atlanta to the USL Carolina Railhawks, which he also has an ownership stake in. The move means that if the Red Bulls exercise the option to buy Kandji’s rights, the Railhawks would be paid. If the move had not been made, Kandji could have been in a position to become a free agent.”
With Atlanta still in the running for an expansion team when I see news like this I can’t help but get excited about the possibilities. The following is an exert from Sportsnet Ontario.
“However, commissioner Don Garber did tell me something that changes everything. He admitted that announcing two teams for 2011 and two more for a later date all at the same time is a possibility. That’s an indication to me that there are several strong bids.”
With six cities contending for 3-4 spots I think that greatly increases Atlanta’s chances. I personally think they would only select three, leaving room for NY2 to join MLS, unless they plan on exceeding 20 teams in the not so distant future.
My top 3 are:
All three give you something unique. Starting with Atlanta I think the Corporate Sponsorship and attractiveness of strong ownership, in the form of Arthur Blank, is great. Miami can bring some legitamacy to the league and produce a great product behind FC Barcelona. St. Louis has an incredible fanbase and would change the dynamics on the rivalry front with those midwest teams like KC & Chicago.
Congratulations to the well deserving Columbus Crew. They’re a great team that showed their class and capped a brilliant season with another quality victory. Regardless of the circumstances under which the New York Red Bull’s arrived they made a valiant effort and showed a lot of heart. Both teams represented the league well and put on the type of performance you like to have with the national audience.
I wish I could say the same for the crowd at the Home Depot center. It may have been a sellout on paper but the crowd was sparse in several spots. The playoffs had several great games but throughout the playoffs attendance was lacking. The league is considering holding future championship games at the site of the highest ranked team. However, that wouldn’t begin until the 2010 season at the earliest.
How long will it be before we see an Atlanta MLS team lifting the trophy? It took Columbus 13 years, hopefully we can better that number.
The commissioner of MLS, Don Garber, gave his state of the league address on Friday night. In that address he discussed changes to 3 major areas: Rosters, Scheduling, and Competitions. I would go into details but instead of rehashing something that is detailed at MLSnet.com or other mainstream blogs I’ll just want to go over a few thoughts and how they may pertain to Atlanta Soccer.
On Rosters the changes are going to reduce the overall rosters size but increase the number of senior roster spots. Basically they’re putting the money towards less but better players. This is good news for the product on the field but reduces the money being spent on development.
The Schedule was changed to begin on March 21st, a week earlier then this past season. I think one thing Atlanta brings to the table is giving the league the ability to start the season earlier &/or end later. If you look at the footprint of MLS the majority of the teams are hit hard by winter. Atlanta would give them the ability to load up home games in the beginning of the season and near the end where the temperature is more favorable. While at the same time giving us some relief in the heat of the summer.
On the competitions front the way teams are determined for International Competitions, such as Superliga and CONCACAF champions league, will keep teams from competiting in both so as to not be confronted with the fixture congestion that some teams experienced in 2008.
The other significant announcement made was that Montreal will not be participating in this round of expansion. During the meeting Don Garber said they withdrew themselves from the list but there have reports since then that indicate there may be more to the story. Basically to Atlanta that means one team down and 5 to go.
The Men’s US National Team finished up this round of qualifying with a solid 2- 0 win against Guatemala at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Colorado. With the majority of the team comprised of MLS players whose teams aren’t in the MLS Cup game we got to see some new faces. There have been several individuals in the Media and supporters of US Soccer that have asked to see Kenny Cooper don the Red, White, & Blue. Not only did he start but he had a clinical finish to score the games first goal off a great piece of setup work by Villarreal’s Jozy Altidore.
With Players like Kenny Cooper, Jozy Altidore, and Freddie Adu coming onto the scene it is going to get more difficult for coach Bob Bradley to pick his starting 11. It’s an exciting time in US Soccer but we still have a ways to go before we earn the right to sit at the big people’s table. More to come on the next steps for the US in World Cup Qualifying and our next opportunity to prove we belong.