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Grady is not the problem.

(Thursday, August 26, 1999) -- SoccerTimes readers weigh in on a variety of topics.

Grady shouldn’t take the rap

I read with great interest Jerry Langdon’s article on Rich Grady and the caution\ejection situation. While I agree with MLS that Rich is a little too much by the book and can sometimes toss around too many cards, I hope he doesn't turn into a villain because of this.

I went to college with Rich and I bet few if any people know that he started refing at 18 or 19 after bring cut from the Allegheny College team. By his junior or senior year, he was officiating collegiate games and was a rookie ref in MLS in his mid- to late 20s.

If I'm not mistaken,. Rich was the first USSF\MLS ref to work on the overseas exchange. I think he went to Spain last year. While I haven't spoken or seen Rich (except on TV) in about 10 years, I do keep an eye out for his name in the game summaries. Sure, he can be too overeager and there are few if any games that warrant that many cards. But this is a guy who has given a ton to soccer in his life and hopefully he won't be run out of the league because of it.

As a lifelong participant in the sport of wrestling, I know how hard it is to get young people to officiate. And often, officials get started too late to truly learn the lessons they need to be successful. Hopefully Rich's story can be pointed out in some way, at some time, to encourage people to take a look into officiating.

Thanks a lot for your time and keep up the good work.

Brian Shea
bshea@sun-link.com


I don't have a problem with too many yellows or reds either.

The defenders are horrible. They have no sense of jocking and disposing opponents of the ball by feet and skillfully regaining possession. The players are getting away with murder. Twenty-to-40 fouls a game does not make for fan interest. Particularly the pointy ball tackling by dragging people down.

The FIFA rule about persistent fouls is ignored. Guys are getting away with five or six of those so called tactical fouls without a caution. I say sock it to 'em and fine 'em.

Dan Roudebush
easybi@aloha.net


Matthaeus too expensive

I just wanted to chime in on the Lothar Matthaus issue. I think it's beyond absurd that (Major League Soccer) would spend such a large sum of money (not that we'd ever know exactly how much as such information is treated like a matter of national security by the group of amateurs running the league) on a 38-year-old player for a single year's contract.

I'll grant you that he was a good player in his time, but why wouldn't you spend the money on domestically developed talent such as Brian McBride or Stern John (please excuse my Crew bias)? It's an absolute joke that a league calls itself "major" when it can't demonstrate enough clout to keep its young stars here. Unmitigated, unadulterated, third-rate amateurism is the explanation.

The abject stupidity and incompetence of (MetroStars’ general manager) Charlie Stillitano is now flowing freely to the rest of the league we are being made to pay for it. It's bad enough that he's been allowed to ruin the team in the largest media market in the country, but in addition, his incompetence is being strapped around the rest of the league's necks like an enormous albatross. Why not spend the money bringing Jovan Kirovski back to the states? Why ask why?

So where is this wellspring of marketing and exposure we're supposed to be seeing from our new commissioner? I hope you get the chance to come to Columbus to see a game in the new stadium before the league folds and the stadium becomes the largest flea-market in Ohio. It really is a pretty nice facility.

Patrick J. Ward
pjward@osu.edu


A suggestion to MLS

I hope your columnist Jerry Langdon gets the opportunity to express his thoughts on the MLS TV scheduling for next year. MLS needs to show big games like D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire on national TV. Next week, D.C. plays the Colorado Rapids, the best two teams. Once again, MLS doesn't care to show this game on national TV.

MLS needs to be more consistent with it's TV programming: show more games on prime time hours especially during summertime and being able to make some changes to the TV scheduling during the season.

Barmal Gran
beesting@acun.com


Clash is clueless

I believe it is unfortunate that a mention was made referring to a possible impropriety in (the San Jose Clash) trading Jeff Baicher to the Revolution for an unheralded and unproven player. I have seen Jair play, and was not impressed. I have watched Jeff continue to improve since his first game with the Clash, and loved to watch his energy on the field. However, the journalist that suggested such an impropriety must be under the impression that the Clash management has a solid fundamental understanding of soccer.

I believe he has overlooked the other real possibility: the Clash management has very little idea of what they are doing and made another bonehead trade. I think in the long run this will be a great move for Jeff Baicher, and based on how others do after being traded, Jeff will be on the national team within the next six months.

I have be a clash season ticket holder since the start of MLS, and have seen it all with the Clash. Paul Bravo is doing wonderfully (with Colorado), Dominic Kinnear is captain of the Mutiny, Vincent Figueroa continues to improve with another team, etc., etc. Only Martin Vasquez continues to disappoint. No surprises here. This recent trade was great for Jeff, bad for the Clash.

Brian Pelton
bpelton@guidant.com


The Jeff Baicher trade was ridiculous and one-sided. The Clash and MLS lost a family of fans with this self-serving trade. It is clearly a conflict of interest. A league where three owners own (more than) 50 percent of the teams is nothing we care to watch.

Karen Sanderson and John Rossman
sandross@cruzio.com


I am one San Jose fan who is boycotting the remainder of the season. The trade was extremely one sided. It demonstrates that management has given up on the Clash for this year (if they ever had any expectations), and it is clearly a conflict of interest. Whether Jair ever ends up as a quality player is questionable, whereas Baicher clearly already is.

The Clash have a number of good young players, Richard Mulrooney, Matt Bower, Wade Barrett, Jamie Clark and I for one fail to see what Jair will bring today -- or tomorrow. The single-entity concept, quite frankly, is proving a failure and whether I attend any more Clash games in the future (I have attended in excess of 30 in their four seasons -- as well as games in Dallas, Kansas City and Washington, D.C.) will depend upon how the league tackles the question of conflict of interest.

As things stand today, I have no faith that the league operates with honor, or respect for the fans who have attended so far, and it will have a long way to go to become a factor in American sports consciousness. I am one person, who would advise someone considering attending an MLS game to save their money (and time) for a more above-board sport.

Dave Zuckerman
davez@pyramid.com

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