A few rumors, an update from now former KC Current player Lynn Williams, a little NWSL salary insight and more. Let’s get to the news!
Ferro Rumor Update
All offseason the talk has been if Sporting KC will or won’t sign a center back. One of the more recent rumors is tied to Portugal’s Francisco Ferro. A Bola is reporting that Sporting Kansas City and “two other clubs in the MLS” are interested in signing him but as of the 29th of January, there was “no agreement.”
They also mention Panathinaikos from Greece and Hibernian from Scotland. Both of their transfer windows closed at the end of January, so seemingly he didn’t sign unless it happened and just hasn’t been announced.
A Bola is also confirming earlier reports that Vitesse will terminate his loan and he’ll return to Benfica. Despite the transfer windows being closed in Scotland, Greece, Portugal and the Netherlands, this move can still happen to MLS. Loans can be terminated whenever and players can be transferred out of country, as long as the window is open where they are headed.
Something I failed to mention in my initial Ferro rumor story is that his replacement at Vitesse appears to be Nicholas Isimat-Mirin, who has already appeared for his new club, and you will all remember as a SKC CB the last two seasons.
Lynn Williams: “It was a shock.”
On draft night for the Kansas City Current and the NWSL, we weren’t the only ones surprised by the sudden departure of USWNT forward Lynn Williams. She was not expecting it either. According to an exclusive interview with Equalizer Soccer (behind paywall), Williams just found out two hours before the trade.
“I found out that the trade was a possibility two hours before it happened, and then I found out I was traded in real time. It was a shock, it wasn’t on my radar. I’m in New Zealand at my first camp and it just kind of threw me for a second,” Williams said. “In this world, in soccer, you have to be able to compartmentalize. That’s exactly what I did at the time. I was with the national team, so I focused on the national team. Now that camp is over, I’m putting all my energy into Gotham. At the end of the day you want to be somewhere where a team wants you, and I want to be at Gotham because they want me.”
Sadly, this is the business of pro sports. I’m glad to hear she was at least given a warning, even if it was minimal. It seems far too often these days that players are finding out via social media. In other American sports leagues, where the players make millions and millions of dollars, I think trades go down a bit easier. It’s still an uprooting of a player’s life, but it’s also a part of the career they’ve chosen.
However, this is a relatively American concept as many leagues around the world this doesn’t happen. For the players in the National Women Soccer League, where pay is getting better, but is still not very good, it’s probably a little tougher to swallow. Hopefully Williams is compensated better as a regular USWNT player, but I can’t help but wonder if her leaving had something to do with Sam Mewis choosing to rehab at home (from her second surgery) versus having her best friend around to help her through that process in Kansas City, like in 2022.
The Athletic has more from Lynn. “There’s definitely a human side to things, and Gotham so far has gone above and beyond to not only get Lynn, the soccer player, but Lynn, the human, here as well,” said Williams. She added, “after the initial shock wore off, I was able to just take a step back and say, ‘You know what? I think this is actually going to be a good thing.’ A new start with a new hamstring tendon, and I’m excited for 2023.”
NWSL Salary Insight
A story out of Sweden may give us a glimpse into the salaries of the National Women’s Soccer League. At least for a new international signing. According to that story, which included an interview with new KC Current signing Mimmi Larsson, she is quintupling her salary. Her prior salary was SEK 500,000, which converts to about $48,054 USD.
That would mean she would make $240,270 this season in the NWSL. The cap is climbing to $1.375 million in 2023 and teams get an additional $600,000 in allocation money. So, all told, the real cap is around $2 million. Spending nearly an eighth of it on one player is really something. That definitely raises the expectations on Larsson who I personally wasn’t sure would even be a starter.
Now it’s possible something got lost in translation as the article was converted from Swedish to English by Google Translate. I’ll think of it as possibly correct information, instead of definitive.
Mejia Signing with SKC II?
What’s interesting is the story, which again is translated, goes on to say that “the coach of Dutch origin, the American Peter Vermes” (he’s from Hungarian origins) has promised Mejia he can move freely between the second and first team. That’s simply not the case though in MLS Next Pro, so something is getting lost in translation (or rules are changing, and no one told anybody).
The story also says Sporting KC are out of international roster spots, and frankly we just don’t know what they have (though Peter said it’s a non-issue). We do know they traded a presumably excess spot to the Columbus Crew last week.
The story also says that the team is in possession of “the legal papers” for Marinos Tzionis to not count as an international. The confusing part is they said in six months Mejia would be moved to the first team, but international spots are solidified before the roster compliance date which will happen before first kick on February 25th.
Finally, the story says the only negative is the salary, though MLS Next Pro has no salary rules, so I don’t see why they couldn’t just pay him an MLS wage to be on the second team.
I’m going to chalk a lot of this up to Diez not understanding MLS rules (heck, we cover it every day and it’s freaking confusing). I’m intrigued to see if he lands on the first or second team, though I suspect it is the second with only two first team roster spots left. Maybe the team anticipates some movement and he’ll get signed to a first team deal later. He’s 25-years-old so it’s now or never likely.
For his part, Mejia did confirm on social media he’s leaving his other club, Real Espana, so he’s definitely coming to MLS or MLS Next Pro.
MLS Season Pass is Out Now
MLS Season Pass is out and for sale. Season ticket members should be getting emails today if you haven’t already.
If you need to subscribe (which is anyone that wants access to every game and not just the six a week in front of the paywall), I’ve got a little hack for you. I had Apple TV+ for some $1.99/month promo (and I’ve seen others with a free subscription they picked up here or there) and it allowed me to purchase the $79.99/year subscriber discount. So, you can save a few bucks.
The Blue Testament community member Farmhand wrote an initial write-up on if it’s “worth it.” I recommend giving that a read still and factor in this new hack in the numbers.
With ESPN+ raising their subscription to $9.99/month or $99.99/year, it’s getting closer to being a better deal with Apple TV+ if you are out of market. But everyone’s circumstances are different. I still carry ESPN for other content (and I live in market, so that’s not how I got SKC anyways).
And some people already paid for cable/satellite, so if you had that and are adding this on top, it’s hard to see it as a deal. It’s really going to come down to your specific situation if it’s a better deal or not.
- In a related MLS Season Pass note, the entire broadcast staffs haven’t been announced, but former SKC commentator Callum Williams will be calling games. That’ll be cool to hear. We know Aly won’t be on the sidelines as Apple isn’t going that route but no word yet on Nate Bukaty.
- SKC II signed former Academy, Notre Dame and University of Pittsburg CB, Mo Abualnadi. He had been on trial with the first team in preseason.
- Speaking of preseason, SKC II signing Pau Vidal joined Sporting Kansas City in Arizona. There were days that only Willy Agada was healthy on the roster at center forward, so that no doubt had an impact (the team added trialist Shaun Joash to help fill that void and he scored last weekend). Khiry Shelton, Ozzie Cisneros and of course Alan Pulido missed time (Pulido is still rehabbing from surgery, but expected to be ready on or around the start of the season).
- Visit Saudi Arabia is sponsoring the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia. Those countries aren’t pleased, which is understandable with the Saudi government's stance on women’s rights. Good one FIFA. Women couldn’t even watch football/soccer in Saudi Arabia until 2018.
- The LA Galaxy’s Julian Araujo was sold to FC Barcelona but the paperwork was filed one minute late. It’ll be wild if he can’t go because of that. A decision is coming Wednesday.
Decision on Julián Araujo transfer to Barcelona will be made on Wednesday morning. Depends on MLS after deal signed few seconds after Deadline #FCB— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 1, 2023
Deal fully agreed with LA Galaxy on €4m fee package, contract until June 2026. pic.twitter.com/QtKshZVLPe
- The San Jose Earthquakes brought Carlos Gruezo back to MLS (former FC Dallas man) on a $3 million fee. It’s a club record fee for SJ, which I was going to make fun of, but not that long ago (pre-Pulido and Kinda), SKC had about $4 million in total transfer fees paid... ever.
- LAFC are selling Chicho Arango to Pachuca (Liga MX). He has 30 goals in 51 appearances! It’s hard to imagine that won’t make LAFC worse.
- USMNT forward Matthew Hoppe is headed out to the previously mentioned Hibernian on loan from Middlesborough. He only has six substitute appearances this season.
- It’s not US Open Cup, but the Canadian Championship bracket is out with the Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC getting byes into the second round.