With J Hutcherson — Back on the Ronaldinho beat, since he's a player still under contract that could become Major League Soccer's worst nightmare. Not only would they actually have to pay a transfer fee for his services, but a big one. With the Thierry Henry scenario, the League followed it's normal operating procedure. The player went to his club, got released from his current contract, and signed with MLS on a free transfer.
Instead, AC Milan have reportedly offered Ronaldinho an extension that would keep him with the club through the 2012-13 season. If he leaves early, it would seem to mean a transfer fee would be paid. How much? Reports have it at around $13 million. Flamengo is the other club alongside the LA Galaxy linked with Ronaldinho, and it's a very good question as to whether any MLS club would be able to negotiate a deal with that kind of transfer fee.
As it stands, MLS simply doesn't go for the seven-figure or higher transfers unless they;re the ones selling the player. As one-sided as their dealings in the transfer market have been, it would seem an unlikely first step to drop $13 million on anybody. Then again, this is the LA Galaxy and the link to Ronaldinho was started by an MLS investor-operator.
Maybe MLS has decided to reinterpret their role in the global transfer market as a buying league alongside a selling one, upping the stakes for all involved. Then again, this remains a League with a low regular salary cap, a history of paying only nominal transfer fees, and finding a way for signings to join on free transfers.
Moving on, the Bob Bradley to Fulham rumor took a hit today with reports that former Spurs and current Ajax coach martin Jol will be getting the Fulham job. That's no knock against Bradley. Someone like Jol makes more sense right now, and part of that is the UEFA Pro license.
You might remember a few years ago when multiple English Premier League managers were risking not being able to be on the sideline in European competition because they lacked the appropriate license. UEFA established a temporary workaround while stressing the ideal that every high level coach must have the Pro license.
For a team with European ambition like Fulham, signing a manager without that license would mean that person would need to go through a year-long process that includes classes, mentoring, and a week of school.
So far, the Premier League workaround is consent from all the other clubs to allow a manager without the license to continue on past the 12-week caretaker stage. In certain circumstances, UEFA has given a manager already working for a club two years to get the Pro license. In all of these scenarios, it means additional time to get the necessary certification. Combine that with the need for a work permit for most US coaches to manage in England and you see the problem.
Regardless of how good or qualified an American coach might be, there's significant upside for going with an already established coach with appropriate license in hand. The other two coaches listed alongside Bradley hold the Pro license.
Considering the rising standard of US coaching, what's needed is a system to get these coaches the certifications they need to make the move to Europe easier. That means working with UEFA to figure out a development system that works for American soccer as well as European soccer. As it stands, the Pro license is a hindrance that needs a workaround.
This is similar to what England faced in the early 2000's when they had multiple coaches that would've ended up unqualified under the new Pro license rules. Alongside granting a manager diploma to anyone with 10-years of English coaching experience, the English Football Association had to put multiple managers through the UEFA Pro coursework while they were running professional clubs. The other major UEFA countries didn't have this problem because they'd already adopted a standard similar to what was needed for the Pro license.
Some American coaches have already done the work for a UEFA A license, but that's the top of the standard coaching pyramid just like the US Soccer Federation A license required to coach pro teams in this country. The UEFA Pro license is distinct because it focuses on managing a professional club. Since an MLS coach or a National Team coach isn't doing the same job as the coach of a Premier League team, there's no direct comparison.
Right now, the lack of a clear way for an American coach to get the UEFA Pro license is blocking the next step for US coaches. For these coaches to have the best chance at a European job, it's something that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
Comments, questions, solutions to problems that have yet to present themselves. Please, tell me all about it.