MLS Player Of The Week: Lyle Yorks

Update: According to this report, the Feilhaber move came about in 72 hours. Wow. And, combine that with today’s learnings that Feilhaber’s salary this year is a single digit percentage premium ($375,000 to $374,000)  to his Aarhus salary and just a small raise (and only one added year) to $450,000 next year tells me the following:

Aarhus–likely–wasn’t re-upping at the same or comparable rate next year and no suitor was coming forward in the summer with a better deal.

Again, sure Feilhaber maybe wanted to play Stateside–I’m not sure I believe that since the exposure to European clubs diminishes–it still looks like MLS was negotiating against itself.

Once again, well done Mr. Yorks.


Give it up for Lyle Yorks as Benny Feilhaber should be doing right now.

Player Of The Week

Here’s what we know of the recent Americans abroad.

That Benny Feilhaber was out of contract at the end of this year.

That his team AGF Aarhus tried–multiple GM reports–to move him during the initial part of this season.

Being a World Cup veteran does not guarantee you a spot in Europe. Jay DeMerit elected to play out his final year at Watford in hopes that he could parlay his World Cup appearance into another enviable contract somewhere in Europe. Didn’t happen.

Edson Buddle took his World Cup resume and is now a part-time starter in Germany….for a Bundesliga II outfit trying desperately to avoid relegation to the third division.

World Cup occasional starter Jonathan Bornstein, now an occasional starter with Tigres in the Primera, likewise for World Cup roster cut Sacha Kljestan in Belgium with Anderlecht though his playing time is spotty.

Jozy Altidore? Seeking playing time after a somewhat impressive World Cup has found himself with a lateral move at best to the Turkish Superliga. back!

So that leads us to Benny Feilhaber.

US nationals are infinitely more marketable on the home shore and with Feilhaber out of contract at the end of the season, his agent, Yorks, did a smart thing by proactively moving Benny to MLS. Maybe it was Benny’s decision, who knows. One thing I do know is the I’m sure Yorks witnessed the DeMerit situation and thought, “I’m not losing the leverage for my player in the summer.”

Smart move. Could an MLS club had Benny for less in a few months? That would seem possible.

Moving about Europe is still a chore for an American player and one who is represented by an American agent. Don’t get me wrong, as far as I know, Yorks is one of the best in the business, but remember “Americans Abroad” in Europe–in abundance–is somewhat new as are the agent ties to various teams. Yorks’ agency has been around for ten years. By comparison, controversial player agent Paul Stretford (agent to Wayne Rooney) has been brokering players since 1987.

They, Americans abroad, represent an opportunity for teams (American fan dollars and media exposure), but there are also the limitations of homegrown rules and passports and there is the back-scratching for Euro agents that control even bigger players; agents that are more entrenched.

Feilhaber will do well in MLS. He’s a US national, a talented offender and a good looking guy to have on a campaign poster to boot. And it’s in MLS where that first quality–being a US national–holds the most value.

20 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by alexalex on 2011/04/20 at 10:54 AM

    A talented offender, eh? He certainly offends me!

    Jokes aside, Yorks probably got the best possible deal for his client at this juncture. One thing to keep in mind about US nationals playing in Europe is the passport issue. This can severely limit the quality of league these guys play in, and subsequently, their fees. If you are moving from Superliga or Juliper league rather than EPL or Serie A, then you are commanding a weaker fee, and those top league these days are a lot more stringent about non-EU players. Just something to keep in mind besides the homegrown rules.

    For Benny to command these wages and a transfer fee from the Danish second division is a credit to Yorks.


  2. Posted by matthewsf on 2011/04/20 at 11:30 AM

    Added the passport factor, though I believe that Feilhaber has an Austrian passport.


  3. Posted by Jared on 2011/04/20 at 11:31 AM

    Doesn’t this deal say more about MLS being incompetent than Yorks being good at his job? MLS could have him without a transfer fee in a few months. Yorks couldn’t move him when the club wanted to get rid of him so it’s not like there were a lot of options out there.

    Am I missing something as to why MLS would pay now rather than get him for free shortly?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/04/20 at 11:40 AM

      Well, like I wrote, don’t underestimate the “if you do this, I’ll do that” that goes on.

      I imagine that maybe we’ll see more MLS player movement to AGF Aarhus and other Danish teams and vice versa. In the past few years, many Americans have played up there, some out of MLS as well (Chris Rolfe.)

      Perhaps MLS had other motivations as well.


  4. Posted by euroman on 2011/04/20 at 12:33 PM

    It’s very difficult to get consistent starts and be an important player on a bigger European team and that’s why Bob Bradley gets 90% of the USMNT from there. It’s just a fact of life that those players are used to difficult circumstances and overcome them to suceed.
    Good luck to Benny but I still think waiting until the Summer transfer window would have been wise, MLS would have been there any time.


  5. Disappointed not to see a Houston move for Benny but I’m ok with not giving up what the Revs probably wanted (my guess is Cameron).


    • Posted by Kevin on 2011/04/20 at 6:48 PM

      I’d give Cameron for Feilhaber. I wouldn’t take Cameron for Feilhaber unless there is allocation money or another player involved. It would have been easier to make a trade with Chivas USA than it will be with NE. I’m pretty sure Canetti and company are over trying to get Feilhaber which is too bad. A player like him, with his playing style and all, is the missing piece for our attack. I agree with their choice though because it doesn’t surprise me that NE values him highly. Not to mention Nicol knows we are keen on trying to get him.


      • The story from the Houston Chronicle’s Dynamo reporter is that the Revs asked for Cameron AND Brad Davis. This exchange is stolen from Big Soccer but it’s too good not to share:

        Nicol: Hey Dom, we want Davis and Cameron.
        Dom: That’s funny. We’ll give you our allocation slot, Palmer, and Chabala.
        Nicol: No, we want Davis and Cameron.
        Dom: Call me back when you’re not high.


  6. Posted by Erik on 2011/04/20 at 2:54 PM

    That prompted at least one offer from the Houston Dynamo, and perhaps other teams as well. According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations, Houston manager Dominic Kinnear attempted to use a package of players to pry Feilhaber away from the Goats. But what Chivas really wanted was allocation money instead of players, the better for Fraser to restock his roster when the summer transfer window opens July 15. With no funds available, Houston was unable to meet Chivas’ criteria.


  7. Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/04/21 at 4:05 PM

    From ESPN

    Showing You The Money

    Player Club League Estimated salary
    Brad Friedel Aston Villa EPL $3.44 million
    Oguchi Onyewu Twente EREDIVISIE $3.36 million
    Clint Dempsey Fulham EPL $3.0 million
    Tim Howard Everton EPL $2.6 million
    Giuseppe Rossi Villarreal LA LIGA $2.6 million
    Jozy Altidore Bursaspor TURKEY $2.2 million
    Stuart Holden Bolton EPL $2.15 million
    Jermaine Jones Blackburn EPL $1.9 million
    Neven Subotic Borussia Dortmund BUND $1.872 million
    Jonathan Spector West Ham EPL $1.7 million
    Brad Guzan Aston Villa EPL $1.7 million
    Steve Cherundolo Hannover BUND $1.583 million
    Maurice Edu Rangers SCOT $1.38 million
    Marcus Hahnemann Wolverhampton EPL $1.38 million
    Michael Bradley Aston Villa EPL $1.24 million
    Carlos Bocanegra Saint-Étienne LIGUE 1 $1.21 million
    Freddy Adu Rizespor TURKEY $875,000
    Eddie Johnson Preston ENG CHAMP $861,000
    Zak Whitbread Norwich ENG CHAMP $775,000
    Sacha Kljestan Anderlecht BELGIUM $729,500
    Clarence Goodson Brondby DENMARK $729,500
    Ricardo Clark Eintracht Frankfurt BUND $728,000
    Robbie Findley Nottingham Forest ENG CHAMP $603,000
    Dominic Cervi Celtic SCOT $517,000
    David Yelldell MSV Duisburg BUND2 $438,000
    Alejandro Bedoya Orebro SWEDEN $432,172
    Mike Grella Leeds ENG CHAMP $388,000
    Benny Feilhaber Aarhus DENMARK $374,000
    Eric Lichaj Leeds ENG CHAMP $300,000
    Frank Simek Carlisle ENG LG 1 $293,000
    Edson Buddle Ingolstadt 04 BUND2 $288,000 (half season)
    Anton Peterlin Plymouth ENG LG 1 $276,000
    Timothy Chandler Nurnberg BUND $219,000
    Bobby Wood 1860 Munich BUND2 $73,000

    Seems to put Benny’s $400K in a different prospective. Also makes me feel sad for the MLS. Great to know how far they underpay the decent players


    • Posted by dth on 2011/04/21 at 4:42 PM

      Well, it’s not always about money. I’d imagine, for example, that Buddle could’ve gotten paid $288k with LA (and presumably at more favorable tax rates). Still, money talks.


    • Posted by Brian on 2011/04/22 at 1:25 AM

      Amazing to me how much money someone like Anton Peterlin makes. Or hell even Freddy Adu and Eddie Johnson. No wonder these dudes left (or in Peterlin’s case bypassed) MLS


  8. It’ll be interesting to see if Feilhaber in MLS shows himself to be quite as good a player as he’s sometimes reputed to be. It’s been my feeling for quite some time now that he’s failed to push on to the next level. His performances at the World Cup were disappointing and assessed as somewhat positive only relative to dire alternatives. Benny 2010 wasn’t the same player as Benny 2009.


  9. Posted by jack on 2011/04/22 at 9:09 AM

    what the salary list tells me is that friedel and hahnemann aren’t coming back to MLS anytime soon. neither is Bedoya, Grella, or Adu. Eddie Johnson might get offered, say, 300k tops to come back to MLS.

    I wonder what Damarcus Beasley is making for Hannover – has to be at least 800k – 1 mil if Ricardo Clark is making 730k.

    What about Conor Doyle at Derby? I’m guessing 200k vicinity.

    And wow, Spector is making bank at West Ham at 1.8 mil. No way his next contract offers him that much. He’s worth maybe 250k to an MLS team.

    And I’m happy to say that Edu does make more than Bradley – so for all you free market enthusiasts out there, the market “values” Edu as a better player. Not that that effects Bradley Sr., of course.


    • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/04/22 at 11:11 AM

      I think its important to remember that this years salary doesn’t match this years performance. For example Adu’s salary is still from the contract he signed with Benefica when he was the next big thing. No one pays him that much now.


    • Posted by dth on 2011/04/22 at 11:32 AM

      I wouldn’t be so quick to assume the market values Edu as a better player. The German league probably pays the worst wages of any of the big four leagues and ‘Gladbach, for all its history, is a careful club as regards expenditures. If Bradley transfers permanently this summer–any of the rumored destinations from January will do, really–he’ll be paid more than Edu. And Bradley has had many more rumors than Edu, who as far as I can tell has never been rumored to go anywhere but Rangers.

      If you take that measurement too literally, you’d be forced to conclude that Brad Friedel is our best player.


  10. […] A few months ago, TSG named Lyle Yorks, player agent to many Americans earning paychecks aboard, as “MLS Player of the Week.” […]


  11. […] A few months ago, TSG named Lyle Yorks, player agent to many Americans earning paychecks aboard, as “MLS Player of the Week.” […]


  12. […] Feilhaber–overpaid by the league upon his entrance many would say–hightails it westbound to Sporting KC where coach Peter Vermes will see if he […]


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