Well this is just embarrassing:
The guy needs to stick to dancing with the ball. Particularly if he's headed to LA, the less of this kind of thing he does, the better.
Of course, Burlusconi is now saying that RONALDINHO IS NOT FOR SALE which is interesting in light of the fact that they've ALREADY PUT A PRICE TAG ON HIM
Is Burlusconi simply negotiating? Is this all just a bunch of Silly Season noise? (And how appropriate that while most other leagues have their "SS" during the off season, MLS has theirs while the league is up and running.)
However it all works out, there's one hurdle that any Ronaldinho to LA deal isn't likely to be able to clear, namely that it's MLS policy not to pay transfer fees.
In response to a couple of PM's this morning, no, I don't really mind PROVIDING THE WAPO WITH STORY LINES.
It seems odd though that the writer – whoever he is – and/or his interviewees didn't note the significant change in NCAA policy regarding out-of-season teams.
As first noted on these boards by the incomparable Stan Collins, beginning this August THE RULES THAT CONTAMINATE ANYONE WHO PLAYED ON A TEAM WITH A PROFESSIONAL are to be substantially eased.
Of course this is intended to clear up problems encountered with foreign players, whose pedigree and resume is often next to impossible to verify, but the effect on NCAA soccer could be dramatic.
Particularly in view of the Academy system, where players under MLS contracts cannot participate regardless of their age because it would taint the pure "amatuerism" of their teammates, this seems like a good thing for soccer development here.
As I noted a few days ago, whether we like it or not – and most of us don't much – soccer development for the foreseeable future is likely to remain a mixed system, and players are, by necessity, very very nervous about doing anything which might out their amatuer status, and thus their NCAA eligibility, in jeopardy.
I'm surprised that no one who was interviewed for the WaPo piece brought it up.
In somewhat related news, the US U20 team for the oddly named but highly respected Milk Cup was announced and as might be expected MLS-connected is well represented.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Samir Badr (F.C. Porto; Fairfax, Va.), Zac MacMath (Maryland; St. Petersburg, Fla.)
DEFENDERS (7): Gale Agbossoumonde (S.C. Braga; Syracuse, N.Y.), Bryan De La Fuente (Chivas USA; Bell, Calif.), Greg Garza (G.D. Estoril Praia; Grapevine, Texas), Sacir Hot (Boston College; Fair Lawn, N.J.), Perry Kitchen (Akron; Indianapolis, Ind.),
Zarek Valentin (Akron; Lancaster, Pa.), Ethan White (Maryland; Kensington, Md.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Fuad Ibrahim (Toronto FC; Richfield, Minn.), Francisco Navas Cobo (Houston Dynamo; Richmond, Texas), Alex Molano (NK Dinamo Zagreb; Grapevine, Texas), Ernest Nungaray (Monarcas Morelia; National City, Calif.),
Dillon Powers (Notre Dame; Plano, Texas), Conor Shanosky (D.C. United, Sterling, Va.)
FORWARDS (3): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls; Barnegat, N.Y.), Adrian Ruelas (Santos Laguna; Fontana, Calif.), Omar Salgado (Unattached; El Paso, Texas)
What's most significant is that not so long ago this list would have been overwhelmingly made up of NCAA Div I players.
Now, except for the four guys from two NCAA powerhouses (Maryland and Akron) and Dillon Powers of Notre Dame, fully half of the roster is made up of professionals.
Some would argue that this isn't necessarily the best possible collection of US U20's, but it's a long ways from run of the mill.
Bottom line, we can complain about the influence of the colleges all we want but nobody is locked into anything. High potential kids have lots of options.
All we can fairly ask of the soccer development system in the US is that it offer a full range of options.