Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

TIM HOWARD: Soccer in the United States has only five years to cash in on Lionel Messi and globe-trotting Inter Miami… MLS must loosen its finances NOW to allow more super clubs to grow<!-- wp:html --><div> <p class="mol-para-with-font">In sports, I like the hunted versus the hunters. The dynasties. There is something special about the Premier League’s Big Six.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">People would say parity is funny because, year after year, you don’t know what you’re going to get. But ultimately, we like villains and heroes. Those who have and those who do not have.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Is there a way to bring that to Major League Soccer? Have two, three or four Super Teams all playing simultaneously? Outstanding teams, with the best players, who are capable of attracting former teammates to come. Inter Miami has done it with Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and now Luis Suárez. I think that’s the way.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">I started playing in Major League Soccer in 1998 and back then it would have been difficult to imagine the scenes a couple of weeks ago in El Salvador, where the Miami bus was mobbed at the start of its month-long world tour.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">When David Beckham arrived in 2007, all eyes were on the LA Galaxy, and they traveled. But this is huge. During the preseason, Miami will accumulate 23,000 miles with more friendlies in Saudi Arabia, Japan and Hong Kong.</p> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Lionel Messi and Inter Miami will travel 23,000 miles for matches in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere</p> </div> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Messi brought his former teammates Jordi Alba, Luis Suárez and Sergio Busquets to Florida</p> </div> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">DailyMail.com sports columnist Tim Howard wants MLS to help clubs become global brands</p> </div> <div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS sport"> <h3 class="mol-factbox-title">MLS SALARY RULES: A BRIEF EXPLANATION</h3> <div class="ins cleared mol-factbox-body"> <p class="mol-para-with-font">MLS clubs are subject to a<a target="_blank" class="class" href="https://www.mlssoccer.com/news/2023-mls-roster-rules-and-regulations" rel="noopener"> complex matrix of rules</a> around player salaries. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Here is a brief summary:</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">A team’s “active roster” consists of no more than 30 players. Up to 20 of these count against a $5.47 million salary budget for 2024, and no player is allowed to use more than $683,750.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">However, clubs can pay players more using other levers, including a league-wide allocation fund ($2.58 million per club).</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The salaries of players in the bottom 10 spots on your roster do not count toward the cap. Some of them must be homegrown.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Each club can also have up to three ‘Designated Players’ – such as Lionel Messi – who are not subject to the spending rules.</p> </div> </div> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Yes, it was a terrible look last Monday, when Messi and company faced FC Dallas in front of almost empty stands. There’s no way around that. This highlights how much further we have to go.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">But Miami can drag the rest of MLS up: the league will flourish thanks to Messi, commercial success and branding. As long as you have that, you just need to drill it from all sides.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">But Messi is 36 years old. If he leaves in a couple of years and Busquets, Alba and Suárez leave with him, what’s next? We have to strike while the iron is hot. We have Messi, then the 2026 World Cup and then the consequences. We are talking about a five-year period in which you can really take advantage.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">You will have the best people in the world, the biggest television rights, the biggest sponsors, the best players, all in the United States. Then, after that, a chance to get the three or four best players in the world. That has to be the next objective. And that means loosening the salary cap. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">For the 2024 season, the budget of MLS clubs is planned at $5.47 million, with the average player earning no more than $683,750 per year. Cristiano Ronaldo almost did it in one DAY in Saudi Arabia. $220 a year… it’s crazy. And in England, Premier League champion Manchester City spent more than $500 million on player salaries last season.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">If I own an MLS team and I’m involved in it for $500 million, I should be able to spend money creating a superpower. Chicago, New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle – there are major cities with everything you need.</p> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">It was a terrible sight when Messi and company faced FC Dallas in front of almost empty stands. </p> </div> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Dallas’ Cotton Bowl was virtually empty during Inter Miami’s 1-0 preseason friendly loss</p> </div> <p class="mol-para-with-font">When I started playing, there were huge financial restrictions. They had to protect the structure of the league or they would go bankrupt. I totally understand it. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">But now the United States is in a battle with Saudi Arabia to be the next big destination outside of Europe. The Saudi Pro League has done some really good things: big names have left and many are flourishing. If MLS teams are going to compete, they need to be allowed to sign bigger and better players. More money, more eyes.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Globally recognized teams are built from individuals. The face might change every five years, but you’re still drawn to the players. Miami is building that now. The question is: can you get more of those players? If you can, you start building that brand.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Take Barcelona as an example. If someone leaves, you’re not going to say, ‘I don’t look at them anymore.’ Because you already know what they will bring next. That is the only way to be recognized globally. Can Miami do that when Messi leaves? Because it won’t be long until he does. Can they already have a sustainable model in which they know who they are after? Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappé, someone in that area: the best option.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">MLS must find a way to allow its teams to become global powers. And they must do it now.</p> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Messi, now 36, is preparing for his first full season in Major League Soccer with Inter Miami </p> </div> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Messi collects his eighth Ballon d’Or alongside Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham in Paris</p> </div> <h2 class="mol-para-with-font mol-style-subhead">Don’t worry, Messi and Miami will not suffer jet lag</h2> <p class="mol-para-with-font">I would be surprised if Inter Miami wasn’t near the top of MLS this year.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">It is feared that the hangover from all these trips and all these matches will affect Messi and company. I think it’s a convenient excuse.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">I don’t think so because the preseason is to develop fitness and sports science is the beginning and the end of these clubs. They are monitoring every heartbeat of these players.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The preseason is hard, of course. It’s exhausting for your body, you’re away from your family. It is exhausting. While I was in the Premier League, I went to the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore. One year we were supposed to go to Australia but the promoter never paid the money. So we didn’t go and the players were delighted not to have to go around the world.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Managers are no different: they hate the commercial demands of touring, even if they appreciate the financial benefit these trips bring to their club.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">But spending more time together (having coffee in the hotel lobby, playing cards) is priceless. Trust has never been built on the field. It always builds from it. So the more time you spend together, the more trust you’ll build, the more you’ll support each other, and the more late goals you’ll score.</p> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Tata Martino’s Inter Miami will enter the 2024 MLS season as one of the favorites to win</p> </div> <h2 class="mol-para-with-font mol-style-subhead">Why I support FIFA’s elections for the World Cup </h2> <p class="mol-para-with-font">I was surprised to read that the 2026 World Cup final is likely to be held in Dallas. Like everyone else, I assumed it was going to be New York or Los Angeles; those are the biggest cities and that’s where the biggest games have always been.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">But I’ve played in Cowboys Stadium. It’s absolutely brilliant and they do it big in Dallas. They do it big in Texas. Then the world will appear, America will appear, Texas will appear. It’s a great choice. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">There have also been complaints about FIFA’s decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams. It’s amazing to see the minnows qualify, but some great football countries are missing from every World Cup. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">You could say: those are the breaks. But when Italy, Holland or Chile are left out, I want to see them there. I like the expansion because I am in favor of having as many of the best teams as possible in a World Cup.</p> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">AT&T Stadium in Texas to host 2026 World Cup final before MetLife Stadium</p> </div> <h2 class="mol-para-with-font mol-style-subhead">It would be catastrophic for Liverpool communities if Everton fell</h2> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Everton fans are a very proud bunch and the fact that my former team was never relegated from the Premier League is something they can hang their hat on. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Aston Villa, Newcastle and Leeds have all fallen, but this would be the biggest relegation in history: Everton are one of the few founding clubs to never leave the Premier League. They have not been out of the top flight since the 1950s. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Obviously, Evertonians don’t want to think about ending that streak, even as they face a possible second points deduction. Sean Dyche and his players have already recovered once from being deducted 10 points for violating financial rules. Another 10 would surely be fatal.</p> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Everton’s work around Goodison Park is unsurpassed in the Premier League</p> </div> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The decline would affect the people who work there. It would impact the outreach that can be done in the community, and Everton’s community program is unrivaled in the Premier League. It is such a supportive club. Every manager I had would say, ‘This is important. “You are going to do the work that Everton wants in the Community.”</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">But with the decline, budgets are cut, not cut. People lose jobs. That affects the entire ecosystem of the community, there is no doubt. We understand the financial windfalls of the Premier League and how it supports these communities.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">If Everton falls, it would be catastrophic.</p> </div><!-- /wp:html -->

In sports, I like the hunted versus the hunters. The dynasties. There is something special about the Premier League’s Big Six.

People would say parity is funny because, year after year, you don’t know what you’re going to get. But ultimately, we like villains and heroes. Those who have and those who do not have.

Is there a way to bring that to Major League Soccer? Have two, three or four Super Teams all playing simultaneously? Outstanding teams, with the best players, who are capable of attracting former teammates to come. Inter Miami has done it with Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and now Luis Suárez. I think that’s the way.

I started playing in Major League Soccer in 1998 and back then it would have been difficult to imagine the scenes a couple of weeks ago in El Salvador, where the Miami bus was mobbed at the start of its month-long world tour.

When David Beckham arrived in 2007, all eyes were on the LA Galaxy, and they traveled. But this is huge. During the preseason, Miami will accumulate 23,000 miles with more friendlies in Saudi Arabia, Japan and Hong Kong.

Lionel Messi and Inter Miami will travel 23,000 miles for matches in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere

Messi brought his former teammates Jordi Alba, Luis Suárez and Sergio Busquets to Florida

DailyMail.com sports columnist Tim Howard wants MLS to help clubs become global brands

MLS SALARY RULES: A BRIEF EXPLANATION

MLS clubs are subject to a complex matrix of rules around player salaries.

Here is a brief summary:

A team’s “active roster” consists of no more than 30 players. Up to 20 of these count against a $5.47 million salary budget for 2024, and no player is allowed to use more than $683,750.

However, clubs can pay players more using other levers, including a league-wide allocation fund ($2.58 million per club).

The salaries of players in the bottom 10 spots on your roster do not count toward the cap. Some of them must be homegrown.

Each club can also have up to three ‘Designated Players’ – such as Lionel Messi – who are not subject to the spending rules.

Yes, it was a terrible look last Monday, when Messi and company faced FC Dallas in front of almost empty stands. There’s no way around that. This highlights how much further we have to go.

But Miami can drag the rest of MLS up: the league will flourish thanks to Messi, commercial success and branding. As long as you have that, you just need to drill it from all sides.

But Messi is 36 years old. If he leaves in a couple of years and Busquets, Alba and Suárez leave with him, what’s next? We have to strike while the iron is hot. We have Messi, then the 2026 World Cup and then the consequences. We are talking about a five-year period in which you can really take advantage.

You will have the best people in the world, the biggest television rights, the biggest sponsors, the best players, all in the United States. Then, after that, a chance to get the three or four best players in the world. That has to be the next objective. And that means loosening the salary cap.

For the 2024 season, the budget of MLS clubs is planned at $5.47 million, with the average player earning no more than $683,750 per year. Cristiano Ronaldo almost did it in one DAY in Saudi Arabia. $220 a year… it’s crazy. And in England, Premier League champion Manchester City spent more than $500 million on player salaries last season.

If I own an MLS team and I’m involved in it for $500 million, I should be able to spend money creating a superpower. Chicago, New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle – there are major cities with everything you need.

It was a terrible sight when Messi and company faced FC Dallas in front of almost empty stands.

Dallas’ Cotton Bowl was virtually empty during Inter Miami’s 1-0 preseason friendly loss

When I started playing, there were huge financial restrictions. They had to protect the structure of the league or they would go bankrupt. I totally understand it.

But now the United States is in a battle with Saudi Arabia to be the next big destination outside of Europe. The Saudi Pro League has done some really good things: big names have left and many are flourishing. If MLS teams are going to compete, they need to be allowed to sign bigger and better players. More money, more eyes.

Globally recognized teams are built from individuals. The face might change every five years, but you’re still drawn to the players. Miami is building that now. The question is: can you get more of those players? If you can, you start building that brand.

Take Barcelona as an example. If someone leaves, you’re not going to say, ‘I don’t look at them anymore.’ Because you already know what they will bring next. That is the only way to be recognized globally. Can Miami do that when Messi leaves? Because it won’t be long until he does. Can they already have a sustainable model in which they know who they are after? Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappé, someone in that area: the best option.

MLS must find a way to allow its teams to become global powers. And they must do it now.

Messi, now 36, is preparing for his first full season in Major League Soccer with Inter Miami

Messi collects his eighth Ballon d’Or alongside Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham in Paris

Don’t worry, Messi and Miami will not suffer jet lag

I would be surprised if Inter Miami wasn’t near the top of MLS this year.

It is feared that the hangover from all these trips and all these matches will affect Messi and company. I think it’s a convenient excuse.

I don’t think so because the preseason is to develop fitness and sports science is the beginning and the end of these clubs. They are monitoring every heartbeat of these players.

The preseason is hard, of course. It’s exhausting for your body, you’re away from your family. It is exhausting. While I was in the Premier League, I went to the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore. One year we were supposed to go to Australia but the promoter never paid the money. So we didn’t go and the players were delighted not to have to go around the world.

Managers are no different: they hate the commercial demands of touring, even if they appreciate the financial benefit these trips bring to their club.

But spending more time together (having coffee in the hotel lobby, playing cards) is priceless. Trust has never been built on the field. It always builds from it. So the more time you spend together, the more trust you’ll build, the more you’ll support each other, and the more late goals you’ll score.

Tata Martino’s Inter Miami will enter the 2024 MLS season as one of the favorites to win

Why I support FIFA’s elections for the World Cup

I was surprised to read that the 2026 World Cup final is likely to be held in Dallas. Like everyone else, I assumed it was going to be New York or Los Angeles; those are the biggest cities and that’s where the biggest games have always been.

But I’ve played in Cowboys Stadium. It’s absolutely brilliant and they do it big in Dallas. They do it big in Texas. Then the world will appear, America will appear, Texas will appear. It’s a great choice.

There have also been complaints about FIFA’s decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams. It’s amazing to see the minnows qualify, but some great football countries are missing from every World Cup.

You could say: those are the breaks. But when Italy, Holland or Chile are left out, I want to see them there. I like the expansion because I am in favor of having as many of the best teams as possible in a World Cup.

AT&T Stadium in Texas to host 2026 World Cup final before MetLife Stadium

It would be catastrophic for Liverpool communities if Everton fell

Everton fans are a very proud bunch and the fact that my former team was never relegated from the Premier League is something they can hang their hat on.

Aston Villa, Newcastle and Leeds have all fallen, but this would be the biggest relegation in history: Everton are one of the few founding clubs to never leave the Premier League. They have not been out of the top flight since the 1950s.

Obviously, Evertonians don’t want to think about ending that streak, even as they face a possible second points deduction. Sean Dyche and his players have already recovered once from being deducted 10 points for violating financial rules. Another 10 would surely be fatal.

Everton’s work around Goodison Park is unsurpassed in the Premier League

The decline would affect the people who work there. It would impact the outreach that can be done in the community, and Everton’s community program is unrivaled in the Premier League. It is such a supportive club. Every manager I had would say, ‘This is important. “You are going to do the work that Everton wants in the Community.”

But with the decline, budgets are cut, not cut. People lose jobs. That affects the entire ecosystem of the community, there is no doubt. We understand the financial windfalls of the Premier League and how it supports these communities.

If Everton falls, it would be catastrophic.

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