In the wake of the MLS’ new Collective Bargaining Agreement with its players, union representatives such as San Jose’s Joe Cannon and Philadelphia’s Danny Califf spoke about how the deal will assist the league’s middle class, in part by providing guaranteed contracts to players with the requisite age and experience.
But it appears there may be an unintended backlash to that new rule. And rather than being helped, veteran Earthquakes midfielder Simon Elliott paid the price for it.
Elliott was one of three players San Jose placed on waivers Monday in order to get under the league’s 24-man maximum roster limit. The Earthquakes also cut loose third goalkeeper Mike Grazcyk and midfielder Antonio Riberio -- moves that had been foreshadowed by general manager John Doyle last week in an interview with MLSsoccer.com.
Riberio was the odd man out in a crowded midfield and Grazcyk was superfluous given that starter Cannon has gone the distance in 58 of 60 matches since the Earthquakes were re-established in 2008.
Elliott, on the other hand, started 12 games for the Quakes last season and is expected to be on the New Zealand roster at the World Cup this summer. But at the age of 35, with eight years spent in Los Angeles, Columbus and San Jose, Elliott is easily in a class of players who will get their deals guaranteed for a full season under the new CBA. ESPN.com reported that players 24 or older with three years in the league will be guaranteed.
Since the Earthquakes have several options in the central midfield, giving guaranteed cash to someone who would most likely be a reserve would seem to be a poor use of funds under the salary cap.