Steven Appiah Gives MLS a Reality Check

M KavehContributor IDecember 27, 2008

The European view of the MLS is quite simple: The league is a retirement home for footballers at the end of their career. Now that view seems to be shared by the players being tempted by American riches.

Out-of-contract star Steven Appiah, had been linked with a move to DC United and FC Dallas in the new year, but the Ghana captain laughed the potential transfers off.

"I have been linked to all the clubs in the world but this one makes me laugh very loud, I am 28 today and I have a lot to offer for top European clubs and that's where I will plan to continue my career." 

The very fact that an out-of-contract footballer, who has been without a club since last June, is able to launch a scathing and blunt criticism of the MLS, will do its reputation no good whatsoever.

Of course players like Beckham, Robert, Ljungberg, Reyna, and Angel have made the jump across the Atlantic. But all of them, apart from Beckham, were resounding failures at their clubs before a move to the USA. 

This only adds weight to Steve Appiah's "laugh out loud" statement. 

Why would a talented player with skill and passion to burn swap a potential move to AC Milan for a couple of million in America? 

It's a question the MLS has to ask itself and then face if it wishes to progress as a league. There is no point bringing in the foreign players, making them your designated players, and having them fail. Then you're a couple of million out of hand and back to square one.

Surely the league could back and promote its own talent without signing the dregs of Europe. When the league finally decides it is above having to acquire European failures, then the league will rise in Europe's estimation.

But until then, consider Steven Appiah's statement: not an insult, but the cold hard truth.