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USL Releases Players From Contracts for Minnesota, Carolina and Miami FC

2009 October 3
by Brian Quarstad

USL_at-a-crossroadsInside Minnesota Soccer had learned that United Soccer League President Tim Holt has released the players from USL-1 teams  Minnesota, Carolina and Miami FC from their contracts. In an email on Friday and addressed to all players from the 3 teams they were told that they were being released from their contracts. Minnesota Thunder executives Djorn Buchholz and Manny Lagos confirmed that their players had indeed been sent an email stating their release but refuted the league’s stance.

Minnesota Thunder President Manny Lagos said he did not want to make a statement at this time for concern of destabilizing an already tentative situation. He did confirm that the team had spent the better part of the day contacting players and informing them that the players are under contract with the team and not the USL and that they are still indeed under contract with the Minnesota Thunder.

*It has also been confirmed that Vancouver and Montreal, who are still supportive of the TOA, did not renew their contracts with the League for 2010 either but their players did not receive letters because their teams are still active in the USL-1 playoffs.

Holt told IMS last August that each team must renew their contract with the league each year or lose their franchise rights. “There’s no leave of absence clause,” stated Holt. “Each franchise must recommit annually and compete in every season.  If they do not, then they do not retain their franchise rights.”

Sources have told IMS that the Minnesota Thunder, Carolina RailHawks and Miami FC Blues have not renewed their contracts for the 2010 season. Those renewals were due September 1, and would now be over 30 days past due. Those same three teams have been leading the way for the TOA and their demands for more control of the league.

Inside Minnesota Soccer will continue to track these events and later today will be posting a copy of the letter sent from the USL front office to the players.

* This is correction from the earlier post that said the teams were signed with the league for 2010. Another source confirmed that this was not true and those two teams ARE NOT signed with the league yet for 2010.

14 Responses
  1. October 3, 2009

    Nice to see that the USL leadership doesn’t get it. The TOA’s main issue is that the club owners need more control over league affairs.

    So nice negotiating tactics for the USL office to pretend it is MLS and has the ability to void contracts that players have with individual clubs.

  2. October 3, 2009

    I look forward to following this on IMS, thanks bq. Peace and futbol.

  3. super rookie permalink
    October 3, 2009

    How can usl legally do this? Seems to me like usl is reaching as contracts are with teams not usl

  4. Fox Mulder permalink
    October 3, 2009

    Me thinks the USL has taken a page out of our own lovable state association’s play book…

  5. Inspector Gadget permalink
    October 3, 2009

    The Inspector tells it this way:

    Portland is staying with USL before joining MLS

    Vancouver & Montreal are also going to MLS and need a place to play ONLY for 2010

    The other 3 I keep reading that; the Railhawks lose money each year (ownership, fans location?) what is the reason? Miami attendance is dismal my younger brother was there for the Spring at school and went to most game and says our local PDL draws more! MInnesota didn’t insidemnsoccer report they owed money to a bunch of folks?

    The inspector feels let these three die as it appears they are dying anyway..merci killing 101. The Canadians will be back to USL for the year unless the just want to play each other for a year. I suspect our local PDL may take the plunge and bring the 1st division to St.Louis

  6. Jeff Wolter permalink
    October 4, 2009

    Do you just simply guess about things often?

    Vancouver and Montreal have stated they would like to be involved in development of players and are considering keeping more than one team. The problem with MLS is you don’t really own your team, your partners with MLS in operating your team which means you can’t have a development team where you build young players up to their potential and then sell them off for a profit. This is why their still interested in another league to be involved with.

    A pro team does not exists in a vacuum of just one team in this sport.

  7. October 4, 2009

    Jeff, I approved the link but not sure what your point is?

  8. nathan3e permalink
    October 4, 2009

    To paraphrase Roy Keane, calling USL management amateurs would be to give amateurs a bad name. One can say many bad things about Miami FC and most will be true, but USL partaking in this kind of witless buffoonery during their own playoffs is anti-marketing.

    I could just as well call some employees at a competing firm and tell them that they are fired.

  9. Robert Scorca permalink
    October 4, 2009

    If this is true,which I doubt then Tim Holt forgot he is not in the MLS. The MLS owns the players contracts not the teams. In the USL Miami FC and Traffic Sports own the players contracts. I think Minnesota, Carolina, Atlanta Silverbacks, Puerto Rico, Montreal, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Vancouver (who plan on having a T.O.A. team in addition to the MLS franschise) all would be surprised that the USL has the power to void contract they did not even sign.
    I have heard of owners and teams being charged with tampering but I have never heard of a league being guilty of tampering.

  10. October 4, 2009

    Robert, please see this latest post as to what Holt is actually saying.

  11. Aaron Frederickson permalink
    October 5, 2009

    I think that this issue is going to play out in a courtroom, and not on the soccer pitch!

  12. Jeff Wolter permalink
    October 5, 2009

    This is not about the contracts.
    Where are all the teams to steal the players away from the TOA going to come from?
    TOA does not even need to react.

    The players will play for, and be paid by the teams, owners, and fans that are currently paying them, no matter what the new league name is.
    Second league players have limited choices of paying teams to pick from at the moment. There is no MLS reserve league to move up to, and even less money if they move down to USL2. A few may be move across to other USL1 teams, but that would be a hard contract to sign in this changing unknown climate.

    It was just USL’s way of telling everyone that their wife has decided to leave them, in a face saving way. They’re in denial. They want to hurt the one they once loved and now have been rejected by.

    There is not property to split up, no future payments to be made… Nothing for anyone to gain in court.
    The divorce was a simple one between two poor starving artists.

  13. Chris permalink
    October 6, 2009

    I appreciate the updates on this situation and it looks as if USL 1 wants to become the A League (APSL) all over again. Without the USL the A League would have gone under and the bottom line is a break away league will not survive as much as these owners would like to think it is possible. The USL needs to revise its strategy and go back to a more regional league even at the professional level. It is not realistic to think that minor league pro teams can survive with limited fan bases and bloated travel budgets. In regard to the player contracts as a player I would be wanting out of my contract with Miami, Minnesota or Carolina since the chances of those franchises surviving are slim to none. Many of the players are only under contract through the season and some have multi year deals which typically only pay during the season. Hopefully the USL can get it together and reach back to its roots as a grass roots league under the new ownership. I think Francisco lost touch with his initial vision and hopefully history will not repeat itself whereby we lose another professional soccer league in the US.

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