Thought Trails: Expectations, the Media and Moving to MLS
In one week, Toronto FC have managed to sign Jermain Defoe, one of England’s best strikers, and Michael Bradley, arguably America’s best player at the moment. It’s a coup for Toronto, a shock to many, and everyone has something to say.
Maxi: If you had asked me a few years ago how I felt about MLS offseasons, I would have raised an eyebrow and said something along the lines of, “…M..L..S…offseason..?” For as long as I can remember, MLS offseasons were a time period frequented only by devoted beat writers and the sort of committed fans who created Excel spreadsheets stockpiled with information on the most unknown college soccer player from Blackfoot, Idaho. As the league has grown, so too has interest in that painful period between seasons, and in the last week, we might have experienced one of the most significant periods in MLS history: both Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe, players of a recognized, international stature, are moving to MLS, and the implications are widespread.
Eric: Implications cause ripples. Implications create thousands of opinions. At this point, it might not even be possible to create an original thought about Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley’s big (or little, depending on your perspective) move. Major League Soccer has, once again, shaken up the generally accepted narrative of how things work in “the world of football”. Globally recognized footballers go to MLS when they want to retire… except, ugh, wait… something just doesn’t make sense. Sure, MLS may be getting better and dozens of world class players may be asking Thierry Henry and David Beckham what it’s like living in cosmopolitan cities and doing what they love for a living… But it can’t be that simple. You know what?
Jermain Defoe doesn’t know what Jermain Defoe is doing, according to me. I may know very, very little about Jermain Defoe’s personal thought process, yet thousands of people who also know very, very little about Jermain Defoe agree with me. As for playing in MLS? It seems like everyone who knows the league well likes this move; therefore, I need to trust the unbiased opinions of people who know very, very little about MLS. That must be the solution here, right?