Middle East
'We want to escape but we fear the sea': Exile in Eqypt

Clint Dempsey

How MLS low-ball offers to rookies can penalize players their whole careers

Cristian Roldan's first professional contract offer should have brought about an ending of sorts. Instead, it was just beginning. The behind-the-scenes negotiations pitted Roldan, then a freshman at Washington weighing his professional ambitions, against Major League Soccer, which wants to attract young talent at the lowest possible cost. Roldan, at least, had the business sense and support system to wait it out, staying at UW for his sophomore year before finally accepting an MLS offer. He's one of the lucky ones. Roldan's case highlights ongoing tension between the league and collegiate prospects. MLS wants to limit costs even at the point of entry and fill out the...