In his customary appearance on Sports Radio 810 WHB this morning, Sporting Kansas City captain Matt Besler provided fascinating insight on Major League Soccer’s developing plans to bring all 26 clubs to Orlando, Florida, for a closed-door summer tournament at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World.
The proposal is far from finalized, Besler said, but multiple stakeholders continue to partake in active dialogues every day as the league eyes a return to competitive action.
“It’s a real proposal, and as of now it seems to be the best proposal or option that we have as a group to return to playing games,” Besler said. “The tough thing is how do we make it work? We’re on calls right now with the (MLS players) union and the league on a daily basis, just trying to figure out ways to make it work. We’re voicing our opinion on how we feel about it, what the conditions are going to be like, how long the tournament’s gonna be.
“Usually the MLS commissioner (Don Garber) is on the phone, and he’ll relay the proposal or the idea to the player reps who are all on a conference call together. After the information is received from the player reps, usually what happens is we take that information and I hop on a call with Tim (Melia) or Graham (Zusi) or Roger (Espinoza)—some of our veteran leadership. We kind of digest that information and we say, ‘Alright, here’s what we heard, how do we want to present it to our guys?’”
From there, Besler and Sporting’s veteran leaders gather opinions from the rest of the players on the roster and convey those sentiments to the MLS players union. The union then relays that feedback to MLS in a process that Besler said can take up to five days.
“It is a constant process,” he said. “We are constantly on calls trying to figure it out. For me personally, I think everyone wants to try and play games. If going down to Orlando in a tournament situation is the best option, then I think most players would be for it. What we’re trying to figure out right now is how can we make that environment as player-friendly as possible.”
A driving force behind Major League Soccer’s return to play has been Sporting Manager Peter Vermes, who crafted the individual workout protocol that all MLS clubs have adopted. Vermes has since taken further steps as a key voice in the league’s quest to resume full team training and competitive matches.
“He’s got a little bit of everything that you’d want in a coach and someone who is leading your team,” Besler said of Vermes. “His intensity and work ethic is unmatched—his preparation, his passion. He’s always the first guy to fully immerse himself in a situation, whether it’s good or bad or he doesn’t know anything about it. He’ll just jump in, start digging through it and figure out a solution.”