MLSSoccer.com senior writer Jeff Bradley (nice hire, guys!) has a little bit about the retirement of Michael Owen and Major League Soccer’s pursuit of the English star.
League representative reached out to Owen in 2006 and 2009, but he wasn’t interested in coming over. The closest the pursuit ever got, however, seems to be in 2011 when the Vancouver Whitecaps were interested in the attacker as their debut DP.
“We considered him to be a very exciting player with a lot of marquee value,” Greg Anderson, Vancouver’s director of professional teams, tells Bradley. “So we reached out to his agent to see if there might be an interest. Unfortunately, it never materialized.”
Too bad. It would have been really interesting to see what type of impact Owen would have made. At that point, he was a step or two slower — he was, after all, just two years or so from announcing his retirement from the sport — but he would have certainly been good enough to play in MLS.
More importantly, he would have made a nice test case on the marketing side. He’s no David Beckham or Thierry Henry, but Owen was (and still is) a famous European face that the casual fan would likely know. He would have been more in the Tim Cahill role. (Yes, I know Cahill isn’t European, but he’s from an English-speaking country and has a similar Q Rating.) I wonder how Owen’s jersey would have sold, how many tickets his presence would have moved, how the Whitecaps fanbase would have rallied behind him. That, in turn, could have helped other franchises master the DP equation.
But alas, we’ll never know. Owen didn’t want to come, the Whitecaps went with Mustapha Jarju, which, obviously, didn’t work out on the field or off it. Now, Owen will play out the string at Stoke and the Whitecaps will try their luck with Kenny Miller. Owen, I suspect, would have had a bigger impact.