Friday, July 22, 2005

Eddie Johnson to stay with FC Dallas

Eddie Johnson has signed a multi-year deal that keeps him with FC Dallas.

This is great news to all the FC Dallas fans out there, but this is also a wonderful turn of things for the MLS in general. Eddie Johnson is one of the best US players on the pitch. The fact that MLS could keep him, even though the Portuguese side SL Benfica offered $5 million for his talent, shows that the MLS is not just a farm club system for their bigger European rivals. Eddie seems to agree:

"This announcement is proof that Major League Soccer can compete for top players with any league in the world. I want to play in Major League Soccer and specifically with FC Dallas."

One of the biggest complants I hear from non-soccer fans (also know as the overwhelming majority of Americans) about US soccer is that the players are not high-caliber and that if anyone good does come along, they will be snatched up by Europe. The fact that first Landon Donovan and now Eddie Johnson have both decided to stay in country and grow the league shows that the MLS is coming of age. Add to it that Bruce Arena is looking to the MLS for more of the national teams needs and suddenly America looks like a good place to call home.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure FC Dallas did not offer Eddie as much money as he could have got overseas, but they did offer him a chance to finally break the sport into the US mainstream. I'm sure that the new FC Dallas stadium and his promise of playing time made any move look foolish.

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