Early candidate for blog post of the year goes to the DCenters, with this lengthy and incredibly well-written (we're talking Sports Illustrated material) piece on the club's role in developing American talent versus using any means necessary to pursue championships. I started writing this as a comment to D's post, and then just decided to move it here, because I stray from the main topic a bit. I guess the whole Super Tuesday thing is making me take this to a different level...
What I find most interesting, and possibly ironic, about this whole situation is the timeliness of the argument. DC United is not doing anything new this offseason. The acquisition of five new foreign players may be more than most years, but we have been identifying, pursuing, and signing foreign talent since the team's inception. Last year brought Fred and Emilio, without any complaints. And how many people were yelling about nationalism when Etcheverry, Moreno, and Diaz Arce brought home the MLS Cup in 1996 and 1997?
But the political arena was much different in 1996. Immigration was not a major issue in the presidential campaign of 1996, like it has been in 2008. We weren't building fences along our borders, or talking about bussing 4 million people back to Mexico, just because they were trying to make better lives for their families. And we also weren't worried about our white collar jobs being outsourced overseas.
Some of the immigration debate is spurred by racism, but most is not.
As we've discussed before, and as many others have suggested, one supposed problem with MLS is its inability to retain talented American players, due to the possibility of higher salaries in Europe. I don't know if that's a systematic flaw or not, but that's just the way it is, and it's not changing anytime soon. But regardless of that, most of those guys are getting good experience that will benefit them on the national level, whether they are playing in the MLS or not. The US doesn't need DC United to develop American talent: Europe is doing it for us.
Now put yourself in the shoes of a guy like Jose Carvallo. He comes to the US not specifically to make more money, because he might actually be able to make more if he stayed in South America. No, instead he comes here for a better way of life. And to try to get noticed by European clubs. He wants the chance to make the most of his opportunities. That's the freakin American Dream!!! The land of opportunity!
If your company hired a new tech support guy who just happened to be Indian, you would assume that they hired him not because of his race, but because he was the smartest, best candidate for the job. You wouldn't hold it against your company for not hiring a white guy who might not be as smart, would you? So when DC United signs, for example, Gonzalo Martinez, they are signing the best available center back, regardless of his race and nationality. DC United has no more obligation to hire Americans than any other company in the US. It's as simple as that.