There seems to be this tendency to say we shouldn’t compare MLS to the EPL, or any other world league. It’s somehow bad form and that the US game, in order to appear American to Americans, is mystically different in some way. It isn’t. Soccer is football is soccer (as the English originally called it).
Talk of how much corporate sponsorship money is or is not available is just so much blah blah blah. To the men chasing the ball on the field, the money is the icing, not the whole cake. Pro players throughout the world reach that top level through passion for the game and an insane level of hard work. The motivating force is not money, it’s a passionate love of the game.
Money? Look at Leicester City, newly promoted and currently sitting 2nd half way through the current EPL season. Their entire 38 man squad cost around $38m, with 20 of those players coming to the club either on free transfers or through their youth system. The Manchester City squad (currently 3rd, a point behind Leicester in the EPL table) cost a staggering $454m, with a single Man City striker (Sergio Aguero) costing City’s owner, Arab Emirates oil billionaire Sheikh Mansour, $58.5. But more about that in a future article.
Watching a video of the goals Dawkins scored in the Earthquakes 2012 Supporters’ Shield-winning season, his movement both on and off the ball, his speed, the sheer audacious ferocity and accuracy of his goals, it’s clear that here is a player functioning at a level higher than the run of the mill MLS standard. Plus, let’s not forget that at just 28 years of age, Dawkins is no Euro-retirement player.
So welcome back Simon, welcome to you, your skill, and your understanding of the game played at the highest level following your seasons training and playing at Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa.
I have a feeling that everyone, from the fans, to the team, to the club, is going to benefit immensely from what Dawkins described to John Doyle as his "unfinished business in San Jose."