By Ryan Fleming
The MLS has been through great lengths since their inaugural year in 1993, rules have been altered and changes have been made to try and change the league for the good. In 2007 the league implemented a rule that would bring a player from abroad whose skills were better than those he would play with in the MLS, and his paycheck would certainly reflect it.
The so-called Beckham Rule, as it is called now, allowed one player from international competition to be brought into the league whose salary wouldn’t be part of the team’s “normal” salary cap.
In 2007, the year David Beckham came to the MLS, the league paid $400,000 of his salary while the Galaxy paid for the rest. Each team was designated only one spot for this special player. The slot, though, could be traded, giving one team two spots; the maximum.
Now, again, in 2010, the DP rule is a bit different and I’m here to explain it.
The rule now gives teams two slots for DP’s with the option of buying a third slot for $250,000. The league made an adjustment to the rule and allocates only $415,000 of that player’s salary to be counted toward the cap. The new DP rule states that if a team uses either one or both of the slots, the amount will be reduced to $335,000. If a player joins midseason the amount with further be reduced to $167,500. A neat feature to the 2010 version will share the price for the third slot, $250,000, between each team that does not have three slots.
The new DP rule comes following the new collective bargaining agreement where the salary cap of the league rose more than $200,000 to $2.55 million.
Now, when Beckham arrived in 2007 in LA, the event was surrounded with much fanfare and publicity. Since then “Beckham Experiment,” as Grant Wahl calls the title of his book, put the MLS on the map, but personally, his success in the league has been limited. Beckham’s stay was tainted with injuries almost immediately following his arrival in America, with teammates calling out his professionalism and the sight of a empty trophy case that certainly sits somewhere in The Home Depot Center. Oh, Beckham will also miss the entire 2010 MLS season and the World Cup due to a torn left Achilles tendon.
In the world of soccer there are endless rumors. Most of which promise a player who can turn the tide of a team – getting supporters hopes up, only to not happen. For the MLS the new DP rule gives the league a chance for teams to obtain talent that wouldn’t be able to play in the league otherwise.
The next “Beckham-like” star to be linked to the league? Thierry Henry, an ex-Gunner and French international.
But with this new DP rule in place, the MLS has a chance to build itself into a league that can eventually draw in fans, bring in money and have a chance to be mentioned when the subject of soccer is brought up, albeit where you are.
Ryan Fleming is an editor and contributing writer for The Soccer Guys. If you’re interested in writing for The Soccer Guys, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.