Major League Soccer with its partner AT&T have announced the All-Star ballot for 2011. There are some decent changes to the system, as now select media whittle the list down to 6 players from each team, and then fan voting will determine the First XI (not starting XI). Don Garber will pick two after that point, and then Hans Backe will fill out his gameday 18. Players will get to choose the remaining 32 players all of whom will receive bonuses per the CBA (between 14-19 players). It is a decent system, but did wind up with Carlos Ruiz on the ballot ignoring too many of the Philadelphia Union defenders. Of course players will get missed.
The Seattle Sounders 6 nominees are;
- Kasey Keller
- Jhon Kennedy Hurtado
- Osvaldo Alonso
- Brad Evans
- Alvaro Fernandez
- Fredy Montero
But there are some key likely All-Stars missing from the list of 100+ players. These All-Stars and MVPs give sign to larger issues facing the league than who gets a bonus to face Manchester United.
While Steve Zakuani is the key example missing here in Seattle. Branko Boskovic, Javier Morales and 2010 League MVP David Ferreira are also missing, this is due to during game harsh tackles, poor officiating and even worse "defending." Recently MLS sent out a fan survey to many season ticket holders around the league. Many fans will use that survey to try and let the League know about their desires for better officiating and higher quality of play overall.
The All-Star 2011 Ballot offers another opportunity, as the League says that one of the First XI will be picked via TEXT ONLY.
You may also vote via text by sending a player’s last name to 22442.
Player receiving most text votes earns a First XI spot
That's where you have an opportunity.
Text in League MVP David Ferreira to 22442 as a symbol to the League that losing these talented and creative players is an issue to fans. This is the opportunity for direct fan feedback on a league wide basis. Show the desire to have a league of players like Ferreira; a league of Zakuanis; a league of Morales. The system won't accept a "write-in" over the text system, and probably won't over their twitter system, and yet they've still lost several of their best players, and risk more as toughness/effort are still deemed more important than skill/technique.
Sure, MLS is a physical league now. It doesn't have to be.