MLS Level Of Play
|A collection of quotes from foreign players, or those who have played abroad. If you have any more good ones, post a link in the comments.|
3/20/2007 - Carl Robinson
"It is much more focussed towards keeping the ball rather than the end-to-end hurly-burly of the Championship and that suits me down to the ground. It's more like international football."
"My first worry was what the standard would be like but I've been to the States and Canada on pre-season tours with Sunderland and both times we got thumped by teams below MLS level."
3/13/2007 - Terry Cooke
As for the standard, Cooke estimates that it is mid-Coca Cola Championship with the emphasis on graft. “I was a bit naive when I first came over and thought I would find it easy,” he said. “But it is physically demanding. They never stop running even if it is 90 per cent humidity in Dallas or over 5,000ft high like it is in Denver.
“On the technical side, they are catching up, just like they are with everything else. Take the facilities. Even in my two years here, lots of clubs have built their own dedicated soccer grounds. Now they are talking about starting new teams in Philadelphia and Seattle.”
3/1/2007 - Juan Francisco Palencia
In Palencia’s view, a lot of people have remained unaware of how much MLS has improved since the league started. “It’s good, because the standard of play has risen a lot there,” explained Palencia. “When I returned to Mexico, I did so at a good level, and that’s why I was called in to the national team,” Palencia stated. “I have MLS to thank for part of that, because it kept me in good shape physically and technically.”
11/10/2006 - Paul Dalglish
"It's hard to compare the standard with that at home. It's a much more European style of play, partly because of the heat. It's more possession football, there are no long balls from front to back and the pace is slower until play gets into the final third. That's when it speeds up to score goals, which suits me."
8/10/2006 - Dave van den Bergh
Q: So what about MLS?
"It’s different. If I have to compare it I would say it’s like the English league." Like the English game it’s physical and players are very fit and that’s why British coaches do well here I think.
Q: Do you think that the players are as advanced technically. I hear a lot that the speed of thought of the average player is not the same.
"The play is faster in Europe and that makes you want to think really fast or else you don’t make it at that level and fall off. But a lot of American players have done well in Europe. Look at DaMarcus Beasley as a recent example. He went to the Champion League semi final in his first year."
6/8/2006 - Aitor Karanka
Q: So you don’t notice any differences in the style of soccer?
"Yes. Here there’s more rhythm to the play, because there are more alternatives in a game. Back there, it’s very difficult – when you try to move up front, it’s complicated, because the whole team sets itself to defend. Here, whether you’re losing or winning, there are chances on both ends. That’s good, and it keeps the flow of the game moving, so the rhythm is at a higher level here."
10/31/2005 - Brian West
Q: Brian, How would you compare the overall caliber of play in the Norwegian league with that of MLS?
"The overall level of play is very similar to that of the MLS, although I would say that there is more individual flair in MLS. The two leagues are so hard to compare, because they are structured so differently. There are no salary caps here so organizations can build a team that stays together for five or six years. Major League Soccer teams are constantly having to reinvent themselves to comply with the salary cap restraints. Scouts from all the big leagues are constantly at the games here. So I would say that if you are not a mainstay on the US National Team, that this is a better stepping stone to bigger leagues in Europe than the MLS."
3/12/2005 - Ryan Nelsen
On the main difference between the English Premier League and MLS
"For me, the biggest thing is the pressure and passion. The pressure is so intense. The fans – being in a club like Blackburn and the situation we are in, points are like gold. It’s amazing, the atmosphere. The pace of the game is non-stop. It’s 100 mph for 90 minutes. Pretty much, one mistake, you have cost your team three points. It’s pretty cut throat."
On whether MLS prepared him for the EPL challenge
"I think MLS definitely prepared me for it. MLS is very underestimated over here. Coming across some of the strikers MLS has really prepared me for over here in terms of athleticism and technical ability that the majority of strikers have in MLS. The strikers here are very smart. They are physically very strong. They use their body well. In terms of athleticism, MLS strikers are right up there with any one. In that case, it got me prepared very well. "
12/8/2004 - Christian Gomez
"And as far as soccer, there’s a lot of running and pressing, but in a few years, the league will at the same level as Europe."
7/24/2002 - Ian Bishop
"There are some decent individuals but no great teams.
"There was a lad called Onandi Lowe who scored quite a few goals for Kansas City and is now playing for Rushden. That tells you something about the standard."
And he added: "Overall, maybe it's a similar standard to the English Second Division, but slower in pace."
(Three years later, this quote came from Terry Cooke. I guess part of it was due to being bitter over contraction. Either that, or he hates Cooke.)
Cooke was looking for a fresh start after playing his entire career in England, and MLS got a thumbs-up from former teammate Ian Bishop, an all-star as a member of the now-defunct Miami Fusion.
"He had great things to say about the (MLS) game," Cooke said.