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Monday, April 11, 2005

LA Galaxy this Wednesday, Updates and a Sad Story

So...having been away doing "other things" the timberlog has a lot to catch up on.

Probably most important is a reminder that the LA Galaxy of MLS visit PGE Park this Wednesday for a pre-season friendly against the Portland Timbers (KO 7pm) so all of you who think that somehow a visiting MLS team= automatic class should come out of the woodwork and (hopefully) see the Timbers + trialists put on such a good display that you will return for the whole of the Timbers regular season!

Supposedly a certain Mr Donovan will be in attendance, ensuring much ribaldry from the hordes!

Next in importance is surely the Timbers 2-1 win over Seattle on Saturday (meaningless pre-season scrimmage/friendly or not). Goals from Scot Thompson (shameless plug: read the timberlog interview with Scot here) and trialist Luc Harrington.

Other big news included the new Timbers sponsor, Toyota, who's logo now graces the front of the Timbers jerseys and who will be giving away a free Prius to all 2005 season ticket holders....OK not really. Quite a coup that and I'd love to know the story of how that came about.

Other news includes the re-signing of Lee Morrison and Scott Benedetti.

On a more serious note a situation that developed during the winter that has affected a Timbers player turns out to be another reason why some sort of organization that represents the players of the USL may be needed.

The following is a "blind" item unfortunately.

A source tells me that a Timbers player from last season signed a contract with another club in order to gain more experience ahead of a possible return to Portland for the 2005 season. The player, his agent and the GM of the other club entered into a verbal agreement that if the player was to return to Portland he would be released from his contract.

According to my source the GM of the other club went back on that verbal agreement and has refused to allow the player to rejoin Portland, even in some sort of sharing system whereby the player would rejoin the club if needed.

Obviously the Timbers couldn't keep a contract on the table and withdrew their offer leaving the player stranded .

It seems that between the clubs, the player's agent, the way that differing professional soccer leagues are organized and the reliance on a verbal agreement at least one US soccer professional has been left out in the cold.

According to my source, many similar situations arise in the USL and since the players have no union or collective body who represent them they are often prey to shady deals and unscrupulous team owners.

As a post script to this story I have to add that the player in question seems to be crushed that he will not be returning to Portland to play in front of the amazing fans here and regards Portland as THE place to play in the USL First Division.

Hopefully this particular situation has a happy ending and the player gets to play in the USL this season and that similar situations to this are prevented from happening in the future.

I'm guessing that only some cooperation between the MLS, USL, MISL and other leagues and a strong voice for the players who week-in week-out try their hardest in the always unstable world of US soccer is the long term answerr.

posted by the timberlog at 8:56 AM

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