Transfer Madness

When I started this site back in 2009, I had expected the site to devote a significant amount of ink to the transfer market and the finances involved in buying and selling players.  Over time the focus has shifted to marketing, promotions, broadcast and other business issues facing soccer in the United States.  However, as the January transfer window comes to a close and a number of American players MLS teams made significant moves, it is worth noting some of the uniquely American aspects of the transfer market that were captured by the moves over the last few days.

We can start with Portland, where the Timbers announced the signing of all time Scottish Premier League leading scorer Kris Boyd.  What makes the transfer unique to MLS is that Boyd was actually the subject of a”discovery claim” by the Houston Dynamo.  Thus, Portland had to provide the Dynamo compensation in order to secure Boyd’s rights.  The discovery process allows teams to put claims on up to 10 players per year regardless of their country or pedigree.  For more on the signing, click here.

The Timbers followed that signing by bringing US Youth International Charles Renken to Portland.  The signing of Renken brought another uniquely MLS rule to the fore.  Portland was able to obtain Renken’s rights only after 18 other teams had passed on the opportunity to claim the player.  Renken was originally subject to the league’s allocation waiver draft.

Finally, we’ll conclude with the Timbers’ Cascadia cousins to the North in Vancouver, where the Whitecaps recently added former Philly forward Sebastien Le Toux.  What makes the transfer uniquely MLS, is the terms of the transfer, which included allocation funds.  The funds are a valuable commodity in the league, but are foreign to the rest of the soccer playing world.  The Union can now use those funds to bring additional players to PPL Park without regard to the salary cap.