Sounders FC offers these reactions on the new MLS collective bargaining agreement from coach Sigi Schmid and player rep Taylor Graham:
SCHMIDOn the news: “I think it’s great news. I think it’s great news for the league. I think it’s great news for the players because hopefully they have gained some of the things they were looking to gain as well. But more importantly, I think it’s great news for the fans, for soccer in this country because I think us old guys know history and we know that the last strike didn’t work too well and didn’t help sustain the leagues. By us coming to an agreement, it shows that everybody is still willing to make the game of soccer continue to grow and develop in this country and I think we get more and more fans who are committed to the game and behind the game and we will continue to move into stronger and stronger positions.”
On the effect of CBA news on players at today’s training: “I think everybody is relieved that it is over, that you don’t have to worry about, ‘Are we playing next Thursday? Are we not playing?’ I know they still have to ratify the agreement. The players do. They still need to look at it and hopefully they will be pleased with some of the things that are in there which is now important as well. I think having it behind us, even though we didn’t focus on it, it’s always like a little ache that is always there. Not something that keeps you from doing what you’re doing but you know it’s there. So that ache is gone now.”
GRAHAMOn the news: “I was on a flight this morning but I think that they announced that the Players Union [MLSPU] and the league [MLS] have come to an agreement on terms for a five year CBA. The last two days were long and productive and emotional at times but with both sides coming in the middle and trying to do what both sides feel is right for the league in terms of continuing to grow a league that is headed in the right direction.”On reaction from teammates: “I think everyone is excited to play Thursday so because of that, it kind of takes a little bit of the pressure off of their shoulders about the uncertainty. Knowing that the league and union have come to terms is a big relief. They don’t really know any of the issues right now. Guys are kind of picking and choosing ones apply to them and I’m trying to explain to them, ‘I’ve got numbers coming out of my ears right now.’ For the most part, I think everyone is going to be satisfied.”
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His message to fans: “The message is we want to play on Thursday. We want to play in front of you. We want the season to continue. We want the league to continue to grow and we want the players to get some increases in some of those rights that we didn’t have in the past. It’s a positive step in the future and we look forward to doing that together as a city, embracing soccer in Seattle.”