Where Do You Stand on MLS Labor Negotiations and Free Agency?

The 2015 Major League Soccer season is set to begin on March 6, but will it? Owners are refusing to grant the players union any sort of free agency, and players are determined to get it. Which side do you support? Graph your position below and share a few thoughts. To see what others have to say, click on any shaded cell.

February 11, 2015 1:46 PM
I side with the players
I back the owners
Free agency is essential single-entity must be maintained
With the TV deal tripling, the salary cap needs to go up significantly. So long as a cap stays in place, giving the players more control over which team they play for won't hurt the league (and is the right thing to do). — Pwyll
I believe in capitalism. — Natasha
single entity cant be maintained legally for much longer — aseomoc
This is the United States(and Canada). How can there not be free agency and transparency? — Matt
Free agency is the prize but it may not yet be reached — Watson
Single Entity and Free Agency CAN exist at the same time....jeez — Mason
MLS has the advantage of being in North America, which other rising leagues don't. Soccer is the multicultural game. That is how MLS can conquer America's sports market. To do so, they must treat their incumbents with dignity and move up the ladder. — PJ
free agency needs to happen. It'll grow the league and raise the quality level. — morsehorse
yup — juimm
The league will grow overnight. Players want to play in America. — Kevin
Fuck single entity — Sunil Gulati
I support the players 100%. If Garber wants MLS to be a top league by 2022, how can you NOT have free agency. Having a salary cap should be enough to prevent salaries from spinning out of control. — Andrew in NH
It's time to take aggressive moves to ensure competitive viability with the rest of the world. — clifford
Single Entity is bullshit, just like re-entry allocation super drafting. Destroy central planning. A group of "top men" will never be more fair or efficient as the marketplace at distributing players and paying them what they're worth. It's ironic that Euro socialists buy into this. — Wags
The league needs to start spending more on its players in order to raise its level of play. This, in theory, will attract more viewers and give the MLS and the owners the kind of revenue they want. — Matthew Russo
While I definitely respect and agree with the players' position that Free Agency is crucial and should be mandatory freedom, I do also feel that the single-entity model is necessary for the immediate livelihood of the league. I think overall salaries need to be substantially increased (probably all the way up to six figures for the lowest rung of athletes) in order to keep the evolution of the game growing here, with free agency the top issue at the next CBA after we can see what the health of the league looks like post-expansion. — Stephen Whiting
Agree. Substantially raising the salary cap should be the bigger priority. — John
Excellent point. Raise the "league minimum" and wait for another 5-ish years to see if it has helped grow the leagues financial viability for the owners to accept Free Agency — Lucas
I want the season to start on time goddammit — yeah hell yeah
hollla at cha boi — mike hunt
What is this the 60s?! Time to play ball in the 21st Century MLS. — Johnny Franz
Free agency now... And get rid of the Canadian teams. — ER
The owners can go to hell. — JaJuan Johnson
I think a quasi-free agency combined with substantial increase in salary cap and boost to minimum salaries is the best outcome. — Wendy
Its about time - these owners are paying millions of dollars to but new teams, the new Television deal, improved attendance. Up the number of DP to 5 per team and allow free agency! — Ronster
To the players, Free agency represents dignity. While increased wages and salary cap are critical going forward, free agency remains the nerve center of their threat to strike. — Kevin
I like the compromise as written by the lawyer in the recent ASN article. — rfry
There are 40,000 people in Montreal who are ready to give their MLS club a try. 60,000 in Orlando who want to join the club. If MLS clubs want them around forever, they've got to have a better run league. Down with single-entity! — Phil
In order to make the league more attractive to foreign players and investors, the relationship with the players must be strong. This is the only way to move the league forward — Evan
The league is growing at an unprecedented rate. MLS is either financially ready for free agency, or expanding far too fast. Either way, the league's messaging is hypocritical. If MLS wants to be a top league by 2022, they need to start acting like one. — Brent
The time for FA is now. — Dave T.
It's time. Keep a salary cap to protect owners from themselves, but you need to let players control their fates to some degree. Do it, Don! — JGodfrey
Players deserve free agency and collective bargaining rights. If MLS wants to be MAJOR LEAGUE they have to start acting like it. Free agency will also attract more Euro-based players — Jeremy
First, the low end of salaries must be increased. if you're paying millions to DPs, you can afford to have a minimum salary greater than $38K. Second, for the league to wring their hands over their inability to afford free agency is ridiculous. Salary caps protect every other league in the market and can do so for MLS. This is more about protecting their single-entity legal status. Get it done! — bob
A — A
Only way to get a "living wage" for players below the top 8-10 — Rico
So many players make truly working-class wages. They deserve free agency at the least. — nick
The players need to get a big bump in the salary cap that is hopefully linked to revenue. Some sort of mechanism for VETERAN players to pick their team when their contracts are done would be ideal. Call it the Veteran Choice and make it linked to service time. Pseudo free agency with another name. — C Tobin
I'd take a doubled salary cap, and a doubled minimum salary over free agency any day. Most players are making about $20 an hour, which is way too low. — Miguel
I understand both sides but I'll always side with workers over owners. I'm socialist like that. — Ben Richardson
Salaries can be ridiculously low and the league needs to enable some form of free player movement. Players should definitely be able to have at least some choice in where they want to play. — Jarrett
The players deserve at least a form of free agency. However, we need to ease into it so it won't cause more financial issues for the league — CroBro
Players should be able to play with any team after there contract has expired during the duration of the contract they can be trade per the needs of the team — Huey
$36,500 is not a living wage — Razdoh
Free agency, with a hard cap for cost control. Increase the salary cap and more importantly the minimum salary. — Michael J Carter
Free agency is the next step in the growth in MLS. — Greg
Should be more like other leagues — Erik
pay the players. — noses malone
About here — Ben
yep — JB
We want to be a league of choice? Then give players choice. — KG
I support some limited free agency. For players with >6 years MLS experience, and give the original team the right of first refusal. Not sure what the owners are making such a big stink; with the salary cap retained, costs will not go up. — Ron
The league needs some stability to ensure it does not collapse financially, but players need some control over where they ply their trade, or it makes for an extremely poor quality of life, regardless of salary. — Scott
A free market of players and independent, multiple entities of team owners will give us the best quality soccer in the long run. — Mike
If you can afford to pay Jozy Altidore $6 million, you can afford to give the rank and file free agency. — BLT
I'm ready for it. — Blake
It's time to happen. The salary cap is still in place to keep budgets in check. This will just require management to be smart about their acquisitions. — Kevin
I side with the players thinking they deserve more money. That's really all it comes down to. — Cheyne
Players deserve free agency but probably not unlimited — Derrek Studebaker
free agency should exist in some limited form after this CBA but the league needs to remain a single entity. — Alec
Single entity needs to go the way of the dodo. I'm a promotion & relegation guy. Players know what they are getting into, but in the future free agency with a cap seems very doable for all parties. — Zach Ward
I think free agency is something the league needs. At this point, the mls delegates where and when players must go, and I think that players should have a say so after playing in the league for a period of time. The fact is that the only players who have any say on where they would like to play is the DPs, and they don't get what they want a lot of the time as well. Free agency is key to the well being of the players, because as of now, the majority of them are lower-middle class athletes who work their asses off. — Patrick
I back the players! — @gonzojofc
If MLS wants to be a top 5 league like it professes, at some point it will need to move closer to other leagues with respect to the freedom of labor. Some sort of restricted free agency would go a long way in that regard. — Matt
free Agemcy is very important, but if it ends up costing the league on quality it should be limited. — DAF
the league is still growing — neal
I enjoy the drafts. It provides a very interesting aspect to sports by having people be drafted when their contract is up. With that in mind, we need to see MLS move away from this. I understand both sides. I think the players need to work with a minimum amount of years in MLS or international soccer to be the guideline of who is able to be excluded from the draft. It's time. Pay the players, and let's see what this bird can do. — B
I side with the players and I believe free agency is essential for the future. That being said, i respect the hesitation from owners.. but anything more than hesitation is just posturing. Soccer is too big of a sport.. you cant just lock out the players and sign a bunch of scrubs real quick.. fans are smarter than that. — scott
tough call — jc
Free agency and a salary cap to maintain control of budgets. — Sands
Players that have 5+ years of service in the league should have some say in terms of where they play. It's time to take off the training wheels. The "we're still a young league" argument has worn thin in year 20. — Mark Fishkin
RSL fan Would like some small market protection but permit players to have more say / mobility — ravi
SE must be maintained, but players of a certain level (whether it be years of service, playing time, etc.) should be allowed input on where they are playing in the league. — jefbal99
— jol
Why is MLS the only soccer league without free agency trying to act like the best leagues with free agency? Act as if. — Brian
MLS will not attract top players unless they can play at the clubs they desire. If we already let Dempsey, Bradley, and other "top" players pick, why can't any player pick where they want to play? — Mike
The MLS is a fledgling league that is growing. what they are doing is working, and I would hate to see it go the way of the USFL. I do think the veteran players should have a greater say in what teams they play for — Chess
linpere — jol
Free agency is the right way to go, but there should be a cap of some sort still in place. While we are continuing to build soccer up in the U.S. the last thing we need would be 5 teams completely separating themselves from the pack. — Derrick
A three-year plan must be developed, taking into consideration examples not only from the football leagues from around the world. FIFA is not the best example to follow. — LGR
asdf — asdf
I really don't know much about this but I sense the league isn't as profitable yet as everyone might think. — Jeff
Free agency shouldn't even be talked about: make it happen. But I'm with the owners on most league issues. — Matt
— Nick
The league's not going to allow unlimited free agency and undermine single entity status. I'm sure they'll raise the 21-30 roster spot off cap salary minimum and give proven veterans some limited free agency like the UC system example or something else. But if the league starts bleeding red again while franchise values go down, what impetus is there to build stadiums that cost 100-300 million or even join the league to begin with? For this type of infrastructure, the league needs stability and growth. Only MLS is building new structures of over 12k capacity, no one else. — Realist
International and minimum wage players are unaffected by this nonsense. Many of these American players would not have jobs if international slots were not limited. Owners continue to lose money and are a lot more patient than anybody should expect. TV money is minimal and in many local TV deals virtually non existent. I side with the owners. More money for salary cap, minimum salaries and better travel. Free agency when league is actually successful. Than I will not feel so thankful,for the owners we have. — Jeff
People have no patience these days. MLS will have free agency eventually, but it isn't ready now. — Steven Willis
Free agency will be the end of the soccer league. — Hector Perez
No free agency..because that will destroy the league. — Hector Perez
Alex said it perfectly. — Justin
As a US soccer fan that recalls the dark days when there was no pro league, I want a stable, healthy, growing league over the long term. This is possible ONLY to the extent that MLS, as a business, is healthy and attractive to potential investors. Even if the players "win" in this particular CBA negotiation by getting big raises and free agency, over the longer term players' salaries will only grow to the extent that the value of the business grows. First priority: build a healthy business. That's good for owners, players and fans alike. — Alex
I cannot be trusted to answer with any amount of knowledge. Pay me so I can revert back to being a junk ball player, practicing my step-overs and whining on twitter. — Eddie Johnson
I'm literally Hitler — Don Garber
LA GALAXY 4 LYFE — Landon Donovan
Until their fitness improves and they learn to play nasty, they must suffer. — Jurgen Klinsmann