MLS front offices

Champions League: How Much is it Worth to an MLS Club? by Drew Olsen

The major talking point concerning the CONCACAF Champions League, and gaining entry into the tournament, is the payroll increase that MLS affords a club that qualifies. Now, this isn't the sizable increase for a club that we see for a team in Europe, but it has the potential to be a game-changer in MLS, depending on the team and its ownership. Most figures concerning team salary/payroll are generally guarded for obvious reasons. However, rather than using official numbers, I went through the data generously provided by the Players Union and calculated the accrued difference in pay between when the team won entry and the following year after the increase.

Now, as it happens, the Union only has data posted as far back as 2007, that's okay. Since the tournament underwent changes, adapting to it's current format back in 2008.

ChampionsLeagueIncrease

Obviously, this is still a small sample size, but it gives you a rough figure on how this could help DC United and the other Champion-League-bound clubs this season.  A big caveat to using the Unions' data is that its just a snap shot at a given point in the season. Not necessarily what they paid out in dues for the entire campaign.

An obvious tip-off to that is Seattle dropping payroll from 2009 to 2010. They didn't cut funds, but because late in the season they traded away Freddie Ljungberg to Chicago, his cost was associated with their club despite Seattle playing the majority of his contract for the season.

This is just one example among 20 unique situations. No season is the same. The LA Galaxy and their 16% cut in 2011 largely came from David Beckham's greatly reduced fee. 2013 comes and that fee is entirely off the book with his trip to PSG and the Galaxy not replacing his huge contract with another high paid designated player. Instead they signed Omar Gonzalez.

Still a team gaining access to the Champions League enjoys a nice 9% raise in their annual spending, and as is the case in other leagues, dollars spent correlate to points and position in the table to some degree.

The General Manager Position in MLS by Drew Olsen

During tonight's podcast we will be talking a bit about the constructs of MLS offices. It's easy to question the thinking behind transactions and player dealings. Each person has a specific idea behind the move and their own end game and plan that they wish to execute.  Personnel decision making is an important skill. We can find out more about some of the these skills if we actually know the individuals behind the desk of their respective clubs. This list is far from exhaustive. The effort is to give a single point of reference for front office types in each MLS club. The problem behind this little pilot study is that not all them are singularly responsible for the decision making as there are others: CEOs, CFOs, Presidents and a myriad of others that help influence these decisions.

That said this is a good start to getting an idea as to who is pulling some of the strings when it comes to putting together the 30-man roster and dealing with the salary cap. The list is sorted according to the current (9/4) Supporter Shield standings.

LA Galaxy - Jovan Kirovski, Technical Director
Seattle Sounders - Adrian Hanauer, General Manager
Impact - Nick De Santis, Sporting Director/General Manager
NYRB - Andy Roxburgh, Sporting Director
Sporting KC - Peter Vermes, Team Manager & Technical Director
Philadelphia Union - Rob Vartughian, Coach & Technical Director
Colorado Rapids - Paul Bravo, Technical Director
Timbers - Gavin Wilkinson, General Manager
Whitecaps - Bob Lenarduzzi, General Manager & Team President
New Endgland Revs - Michael Burns, General Manager
Houston Dynamo - Nick Kowba, Director of Soccer Operations
FC Dallas - Fernando Clavijo, Technical Director
Chicago Fire - Javier Leon, President Soccer Operations
San Jose - John Doyle, General Manager of Soccer Operations
Columbus Crew - Brian Bliss, Technical Director
Chivas USA - Juan Francisco Palencia, Technical Director
Toronto - (formerly) Kevin Payne, General Manager & Team President 
DC United - Dave Kasper. General Manager
Personally, the three names that stand out to me are (maybe, unsurprisingly) Adrian HanauerRob Vartughian and Javier Leon (though admittedly there isn't much on him). The three men are the only three to not have played professionally at any level. Something to think about and consider with these hirings.