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Why did D.C. United get Albright?

(Thursday, July 22, 1999) -- Readers sound off about powerful D.C. United acquiring top American prospect Chris Albright, as discussed in "MLS scores big with Albright signing."

MLS didn't have a choice

John Elway did the same thing to the National Football League when he came out. He had a contract available to him with the New York Yankees and would only sign with the NFL as long as he didn't have to play for the last place team in the league (the Baltimore Colts who naturally had the first pick in the draft). It doesn't appear that MLS has any choice.

(MLS has) to compete with Europe and with the few dollars available for a rookie contract they don't have any other options. I can't imagine this will become a huge problem however. The U.S. is just not producing the number of young talents for this situation to occur all that often, although with the amount of competition MLS faces from its global counterparts, it will happen more often than in the other pro sports leagues. And in regard to parity, if you look again at the other pro sports in America it is clear that a superstar in college doesn't guarantee a superstar in the pros. For every Michael Jordan there is a Sam Perkins. For every Shawn Bradley there is a Scottie Pippen or a Charles Barkley.

As the quality of play in MLS improves, the impact of one or two college superstars will lessen. Chris Albright may cause controversy today but similar situations in the future will simply be a mundane matter of business in operating a company in a free market global environment.

Kevin M. Heald

P.S.: Your colleague, Bob Wagman, can't get excited about Rochester beating the defending MLS Champs in the U.S. Open Cup. I can understand a muted reaction to Staten Island beating the Metros. I am fairly convinced that the Metros were legitimately undermatched. But the defending MLS Champs?

I am used to reading the results of the FA Cup in the NY Times. Here we can't get any news (other than a box score) of the U.S. Open Cup, even on the internet (in that I mean you can usually get a game description of anything on the internet). Doesn't an upset of the defending MLS Champs warrant an article or a comment or anything? I'd even settle for renewed calls to designate Rochester the next MLS expansion city.

MLS held hostage

The MLS is a joke. It's stupid. The whole arrangement is ridiculous. Why should a college kid hold a whole league hostage?

Peter Bockman

Confused about Albright

I am confused. It has to do with the recent signing of Chris Albright to the MLS Project-40 ranks. Most of the columnists seen on these and ESPN's pages have told me over and over that the better play is in Europe and that the MLS leaves a lot to be desired, including the current Project-40 program. Yet, everyone seems to be very happy that Albright, a hot pro prospect, is leaving college early and signing with the MLS. All this despite the fact that he's had offers or near offers overseas. And despite the fact that columnists rank the MLS on the level of the bottom end of the Premier League table at best. And despite the fact that whenever a U. S. men's international match is discussed, the discussion centers around the availability of the European-based players and despite Arena's success with MLS-based players.

I am not so confused over the fact that Albright is leaving college early to go to the professional ranks despite the current debate in the NBA or even the MLB or even the age thing in tennis and skating. The lure of the pro ranks is extremely strong. Besides, they're going to give him $7,500 a year as a college fund. That ought to pay for room and board for one semester or almost all the tuition at a top rate school.

Your columnists have repeatedly told me college soccer isn't worth it. That the European method of player development is the best. That it is "too late" by the time players are 15 years old, let alone a college graduate's age. That we need to be looking in the Barrio for our future, not the soft college ranks. My college soccer player son doesn't like to hear it but it must be true since it's printed here. He just has to learn to live with it. But, on the other hand, I am confused a bit that the two de facto farm clubs for the MLS and U.S. national men's team are a college in Virginia and another in California. I believe in one game alone it must have been mentioned two dozen times the percentage of these players on the field and the fact that they were the only ones, seemingly, producing.

I am confused because I would think that we, as a country, would expect this young man to go abroad and not stay here with the, at best, so-so college players and end-of-career foreign players of the MLS. It is his duty to go abroad. It seems he has failed us already. Or am I just confused?

John Lee

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