Skip to content

In 2010, Don Garber called FC Dallas and demanded Brek Shea play, be sold or be traded

Jul 18, 2012, 7:45 PM EDT

Chivas USA v FC Dallas Getty Images

Greg Howard writes a long piece on Brek Shea in the Dallas Observer (great to see the coverage), and it’s an excellent introduction to the player for people who might not be familiar with the charismatic, rising star. It also has some nuggets we didn’t know.

The most interesting bit is about Shea in 2010. He wasn’t getting playing time and was growing frustrated:

“I wanted to leave,” he says. But the MLS owns all of its teams and has the last say on player transactions. Shea already had hundreds of thousands of dollars invested into him through residency and MLS salary. He couldn’t sit.

So instead, Shea says, Hyndman got a call from the commissioner.

“The league told FC Dallas, ‘You have to either play him, sell him or trade him,” Shea says. “If I had never said anything, I would’ve never played.” ([coach Schellas] Hyndmann deflects questions about the incident, saying simply that Shea was a good player.)

You know what? Good on Shea, good on his agent, good on Don Garber, and good on Hyndmann. The kid deserved to play. Dallas might not have been the right fit — we imagine all parties concerned are glad it worked out — but it needed to be somewhere. Some might look down on Shea’s tactics or Garber’s heavy-handedness, but we’re alright with it (and not just because of the result).

(MORE: Did the conversation in question really take place? Hmmm)

Some other fun nuggets and good lines from Howard:

  • Howard: “He looks like the happy result of a science experiment, if the scientists were among the growing segment of Americans who wish their country were better at soccer and who broke into a genetics lab to do something about it.”
  • Howard: “He’s a salad bowl of stereotypes: surfer and skater and frat boy, and with his religious and motivational tattoos, like the verse from Phillipians 4:13 on his ribs and “Believe” on his calf, you can add badass and church boy, too. He’s a marketer’s wet dream.”
  • Howard: “He wasn’t a great student, so his father bought books on tape for him to listen to as they drove. He’d return around 11:30 at night. On weekend game days, his parents would wake up at 5 a.m. to see Shea fully dressed, standing in their dark room, staring at them expectantly.”
  • “I got a lot of crap from my coaches [when he decided to go to Bradenton], saying I wouldn’t go anywhere with soccer,” Shea says. “I could run track and get a scholarship or play football and get a scholarship. Soccer,” they told him, “wouldn’t get me anywhere.”
  • Eric Avila had to teach him how to cook an egg.
  • Shea has an albino rat named Vinny.
  • His favorite player is Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
  1. whordy - Jul 19, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    I’m not really the biggest fan of a commish telling a team who to play, but yeah I agree Shea needed to and overall it worked out fine.
    If anything all this does is make me want the MLS to get rid of the whole “MLS owns the players” nonsense. I know it made sense all those years ago and it really ingrained in the league, but really when you have the commish calling you up to demand a player have playing time, based mostly on the “investment” the league made, it’s probably time for a change.

  2. saulbarrera83 - Jul 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    I agree with whordy. I think the MLS is fortunate to have the antiquated rule of player ownership. if this rule/system were not in place, any player with any potential to be great would leave the MLS if they knew what was good for them. Soem of these players on starting elevens fromt he MLS make well under $100,000 annually. That is ridiculous.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Week 5: Top five Premier League goals