Change Is Good: The Merry Go Around of the MLS

As Obama would say, it’s all about change. Switching soccer teams on the professional level is that big of a deal, really. It’s more common than one might think, especially in the MLS.

How many players have played for other MLS teams?  The better question would be, who hasn’t played for another MLS team.  But as  I was watching DC United versus Columbus the other night it caught my attention as two players in the game had played for the opposing teams.  And then, there’s another question, how many players have come into the league playing one position, and ended up playing another? For the question there’s not too many.

But let’s take a look at some of the key players who’ve changed allegiances or some of the more compelling examples of players who’ve switched teams.  This is especially true as the league expands and new teams come into the fold, players are left on the trading block and expansion teams are free to pick them up, new teams becoming a hodgepodge of the unwanted players of other teams.

The players who’ve made the most swaps are more often than not players who’ve been in the league the longest.  There are then those players who haven’t switched clubs, like Jamie Moreno, the player who really deserves a ton of credit. Moreno is someone who’s help build the league itself–a class player who’s consistently played skillful and clever soccer.

Then there are teams that seemed to have traded the most players to other teams. Teams like San Jose/Houston and DC United. Which I think says more about the quality of those clubs than anything else, since their players are sought after and stay in the league.

Changed Positions and Teams

  • Chris Albright went from being a forward to a defender and from LA Galaxy to New England (and to the U.S. national team to boot)

Changed Teams

  • Jesse Marsch from Chicago to Chivas (A player who has the best passing percentage in the league, joins back up with Ante Razov, who he got into a brawl with during practice while at Chicago)
  • Kevin Hartmann from LA to Kansas City
  • Ronnie O’Brien from Dallas to Toronto to San Jose (Think his knee injuries have take a toll and he’ll have a tough time getting back to his strong playing days with Dallas)
  • Ned Grabavoy from LA to San Jose
  • Kevin Hartmann from LA to Kansas City
  • Amado Guevara from New York to Chivas to Toronto
  • Freddy Adu from DC United to Salt Lake (They bailed out on the youngster)
  • Brian Carroll from DC to Columbus
  • Joe Cannon from San Jose to Colorado to LA to San Jose
  • Arturo Alvarez from San Jose to the Dallas Burn (this is one player that the first incarnation of San Jose probably wishes they held on to)
  • Ryan Cochrane from San Jose then to Houston as the team moved and then back to San Jose
  • Ante Razov has played for the LA Galaxy, Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, and now the Chivas of LA
  • Jovan Kirovski previously played for the LA Galaxy and now plays for the Colorado Rapids (Could have sworn he played for another MLS club too)
  • Jimmy Conrad from San Jose to Kansas City
  • Landon Donovan from San Jose to LA
  • Alecko Eskandarian from DC United to Toronto FC to Real Salt Lake to Chivas USA
  • Pablo Mastroeni from the Miami Fusion (defunct) to Colorado
  • Bobby Boswell from DC to Houston (poor deal for Houston I think)
  • Christian Gomez from DC to Colorado
  • Nick Garcia from Kansas City to San Jose

Players Who’ve Stayed with One Team

  • Jamie Moreno with DC United
  • Ben Olsen with DC United

Names: Best last name in the MLS: Pete Vagenas. Just sounds too similar to another name. Sort of like the Seinfeld Mulva versus Delores mixup.

It’s still amazing that Thierry Henry even played in the MLS. Isn’t it. What a special player.

With time running out, New York Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry, gets a cross in the box, serves the ball to himself with a beautiful flick, spins, and slots in the equalizer and his 13th of the season.