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Blue Notes: Macias to SKC Update, KC Current Departures, MLS Next Pro Rules, NWSL CBA

Plus an SKC II departure and arrival, Plus one of our own talks Marinos Tzionis with a Cyprus podcast. And finally, new signing Robert Voloder has arrived!

Chivas v FC Juarez - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX Photo by Oscar Meza/Jam Media/Getty Images

It’s been a busy few days around American soccer. I forgive you if you haven’t kept up, let’s get right to it.

JJ Macias Still Heading to Sporting?

The big news last week was that Sporting Kansas City were rumored to be receiving Chivas striker Jose Juan Macias on loan for the 2022 season. It was described as, “almost a fact.” It hasn’t happened yet, but we’ve got a bit of an update.

Macias’ loan to Getafe in La Liga (Spain) has been terminated and Chivas registered him for the upcoming Clausura season. That doesn’t mean much since they were always likely to roster him over letting him not even potentially be available for the Spring season.

Additionally, ESPN Deportes is reporting Macias was waiting in Europe to see if a deal got done before the transfer deadline in many of the big leagues. Apparently he “has offers from clubs in Europe” but also he has three Liga MX teams interested. Additionally, ESPN says the “MLS offer remains in effect.”

So the window is open for a loan to Kansas City and as of this writing, he didn’t transfer to any of those European clubs. There are still lots of open transfer windows out there, including the MLS primary window being yet to open officially.

For more on the Macias hype, let’s look back to 2020 when ESPN FC did a segment on him and all the huge clubs he was tied to.

Two More KC Current Departures

Kansas City made the rumored departure of Jessica Silva to Portugal official and shocked many when they also announced recently re-signed team captain, Rachel Corsie, was headed to West Ham United. Both players were under contract for 2022 and Corsie had just re-signed through 2023 earlier in the offseason.

Silva didn’t get much time to impress, but Corsie, a Scottish National Team player, was a bright spot on a fairly dim 2021 season. The news came as a shock to her, as she detailed in a column she writes for The Press and Journal. It’s a curious move for a team that has been nothing but players first by all other indications.

NWSL Agree to Historic First CBA

There were rumors the 2022 NWSL preseason may not start on time, but that’s no longer an issue. Players are expected to report tomorrow, February 1st. Here are some of the details straight from the NWSL Players Association.

Compensation:

- 160% increase in minimum salary to $35k, with 4% year over year increases

- Step-ladder increases in 2022 salaries to protect players above the minimum in 2021 401K plan with matching contributions from League commencing in 2023 Minimum standards for housing stipends

Free Agency:

- Free Agency starting in 2023 (6 Service Years)

- Free Agency starting in 2024 (5 Service Years)

- Restricted Free Agency starting in 2024 (3 Service Years)

- 4 weeks severance pay + 30 days housing & health insurance for waived players

Player Safety:

- Robust workers comp coverage

- Up to 6 months paid mental health leave

- 8 weeks paid parental leave (birth or adoption)

- Clean, private nursing facilities for parents

- Professional minimum staffing standards for healthcare professionals

- No more playing on fields that require substantial conversion to the dimensions of a soccer field

Some of this may feel small, but I would call these huge gains for the players. Much bigger and much faster than the MLS players were able to accomplish. There is still lots of room to grow, but NWSL should try to make their league the premier place for Women’s football in the world and do what they can to bring and keep the world’s best players in the United States.

Robert Voloder Arrives in KC

20-year-old German center back signing (with a rumored large transfer fee attached), Robert Voloder, arrived in Kansas City and is set to hop back on a plane and head to Arizona. He’ll join fellow international signing Logan Ndenbe, who arrived last week.

Sporting KC II Add One and Lose One

First, the bad news. The move for Isaiah LeFlore away from SKC II (and the SKC Academy, since he was on an amateur deal) is official. He’s arrived at Braga in Portugal. It’s a one year deal with three option years. It’s an interesting move as we know he was offered a second team deal, but it’s unclear if a Homegrown offer was ever on the table (I’ve reached out to the team for comment based on LeFlore’s quote below). Sporting Kansas City would likely earn training compensation or solidarity payments, but this hasn’t been confirmed.

“I’m looking forward to starting to play,” said Leflore. “It was always a dream to play in Europe. This is the perfect opportunity. I had the opportunity to continue at Sporting Kansas City but I chose that project that I thought was best for me and I am looking forward to getting started.”

In a brighter move, the team made it official that the previously rumored Spencer Glass signing has gone through. Our own Thad Bell had reported this a while back, but the league just unveiled their rules, so now I’d expect a flurry of moves.

Glass is listed as a left back and that’s exactly where he lined up for the first team in the preseason match against the Colorado Rapids this past weekend. This signing brings the roster up to just three players.

MLS Next Pro Rules Released

After most of the rules were leaked earlier in the offseason, the league made them official today. Unlike regular MLS rules, they are a quick and easy read. No allocation money or complex roster designations.

The only new thing I saw that The Athletic didn’t report first was the existence of an injured list. If a player is placed on it, they can be replaced on the roster but must miss at least five games. Here are a few other highlights:

  • Up to 24 pro players can be signed, including loans
  • 11 roster spots are for amateur players, like Academy players (for a max of 35 rostered players)
  • There is no salary cap, or salary minimums or maximums (this seems like a chance to stash some quality, but higher priced players on your second team to see if they fit the system)
  • Contracts are with teams and not the league, unlike MLS’ single entity structure
  • Teams get seven international slots
  • Teams can trade international slots, but they revert to the original team after the season

The story also happens to mention a late March 2022 start time for the first season.

TBT Talks Marinos Tzionis on the NOCHOFTES Podcast

Our new friend Stel, who alerted us to the news that Sporting KC were likely to sign Cypriot winger Tzionis, had our own Thad Bell on to discuss the move. The front end of the podcast is heavily about SKC (and it sounds like the Cyprus fans will be ardent SKC supporters now), but they get to Tzionis and his fit later on.

More News

  • Venezia tried to add another USMNT player in Jordan Pefok, but it ultimately fell through.
  • I haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but another SKC podcast has joined the fray as “Home and Away” has put out a few episodes in the last couple weeks.
  • Not to be outdone, yet another SKC podcast debuted this past week, “Oh When the Wiz.” I haven’t found the time, but if you do, write a review in the comments on either of these. There are so many podcasts now. TBT’s own, Shades of Blue, No Other Pod (with one of our writers), The Sporting KC Show, 1 Sporting Way and these two. Not to mention other ones that tangentially cover Sporting as well. David, is there still room for us??
  • There have been a bunch of signings around MLS. Too many to keep up with, but .com has them.