MLS players set themselves for February lockout

MLS players are bracing themselves for a lockout at the start of February according to Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

MLS players are bracing themselves for a lockout at the start of February according to Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

The league and the players have not yet come close in regards to a new collective bargaining agreement with the current agreement set to finish at the end of this year and Keller said the players have been braced by their union to prepare for a lockout.

"Negotiations have been under way between the players union and MLS for some time now. I wish I could report that we were close to signing an agreement, but that doesn’t seem to be the case,'' Keller said on his blog kaseyslastline.com. "As players we have been told of a probable lockout date of Feb. 1st.

"What’s most disappointing to me is, this isn’t a negotiation for a bunch of players wanting 8 million a year instead of 7 million a year. The main points revolve around us being given the same rights under FIFA as the rest of the players around the world.

"As an MLS player you have to sign away your FIFA rights before you are allowed to sign your contract. We would like a moderate rise in the salary cap, but the major points for the players are: guaranteed contracts, free agency, and the right to negotiate with other MLS teams. These are some of the basic rights the players in all the other leagues around the world have that we have to sign away.

"With the huge strides MLS has made since the last CBA this seems very reasonable. I would hate to see anything get in the way of the great success of the Sounders had this year, and the respect we earned in our first year as a franchise. I would think that MLS and US Soccer would be proud to announce that the sport has developed so greatly in the last few years that we are ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the world.''