Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bryan Arguez

With the MLS Superdraft tomorrow, and the amount of players who may never make it in MLS, I thought about Bryan Arguez. Many will not know who I'm referring to as Arguez never played a competitive MLS match. He was selected 11th overall in the 2007 Superdraft by DC United. Arguez was a product of the IMG Soccer Academy in Brandenton, Florida, and featured at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels for the US national team. Most recently he played at the U-20 World Cup in 2009.

Arguez spent a season and a half with DC United before transferring to Hertha Berlin, who at the time where in the German top-flight. The fee was estimated at around $300,000 which was a great return for a player who had never featured for the first team. Agruez would play one match for Berlin and spend only a year and a half on the books for the club. This past year Arguez signed with Miami FC making seven appearances while also being loaned to Estoril Praia in the lower leagues of Portugal; but now he is without a club, and hopefully looking.

At only 21, it already seems that Arguez may not get another shot a top-flight soccer, even in the US. Arguez may have fallen out of favor with the clubs he has played for over various reasons, but Arguez's career could be in peril due to another reason. It appears his registration is owned by a third party, Traffic Sports, which is becoming  more and more common place in soccer throughout the world. Third party ownership has been in place in Central and South America for a while now. It is the practice of a sports agency signing a player to a contract and holding their registration, therefore, owning the players playing rights and not the club. The agency then loans the player out for a fee while looking to cash in on their investment by selling the player or continually loaning the player and receiving payments for every loan.

Traffic Sports has the right to advertise Arguez to whatever clubs they see fit as they look to make a profit by selling his registration to interested parties. It's basically a glorified pimp/prostitute relationship. Estoril Praia, who play in the lower leagues of Portugal, has a deal in place with Traffic in which they take Traffic "clients" on loan and basically shop them to teams in Europe. ]The most famous third party ownership deal, of recent time, was that of Carlos Tevez who was owned by Media Sports Investment. MSI had the power to loan Tevez to Manchester United during his time with the Red Devils, and it was MSI who sold Tevez to Manchester City and not Manchester United. MSI made a large profit off of the sale. Cashing in somewhere in over $60 million. Javier Masherano had a similar contract with MSI.

Currently, there are two other American players playing for Estoril Praia as Traffic "clients." One is Tony Taylor who has played well for Estoril since joining the club. The other American is 19-year old full-back Greg Garza.

I doubt Arguez will make a return to MLS, but I hope he gets a second chance in the league. He's a player that had a lot of promise when he was originally taken by DC United nearly five years ago. Unfortunately, his career has gone nowhere. Obviously, not getting on the pitch is down to the player; but a once promising 21-year old American youth international not having a club is down to his agents at Traffic. Who don't seem to have the players future in mind at the moment.

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