We’ve heard about Major League Soccer’s absurdly, luxuriously long break. It is “absurdly” and “luxuriously” lengthy according to a few key figures, that is.
But even the advocates of a shorter off-season would probably concede that this player/loan calculus resides on a sliding scale. What bothers the most of the domestic game’s leaders is how a longer break affects player development. As Jurgen Klinsmann, chief engineer of the Shorter Break Express, says, “We aren’t getting better by doing less.” And fair enough.
But what seems like a good idea for an Omar Gonzalez or a Matt Besler or even a Clint Dempsey may not seem like the best fit for a veteran like Tim Cahill, someone approaching the winter of his career.
News is out today that Cahill might consider a loan to Australia’s A-League. And someone will have to explain to me how this makes sense for the Red Bulls’ midfielder/forward.
Cahill is 33, and he has a World Cup coming up for Australia, which means that much of his personal training and preparation in 2014 will point toward events of June in Brazil. Once he’s back into MLS action (probably after a short break), his work is just getting started; the Red Bulls will be plowing into the business end of the league schedule, plus dealing with Champions League matches for the first time.
His most recent season did not exactly end with the Red Bulls’ playoff elimination two weeks ago; he’s in Sydney right now, training with the Aussies for this week’s friendly against Costa Rica. Then consider that New York will be back on the training ground by mid-January, with friendlies and exhibitions set to begin late that month or on the earliest days of 2014.
So the man’s break is really just a little more than six weeks. At 23, maybe he would want to fill the gap, to learn more, be more, do more, etc. At 33 … ? Maybe all of that is not so critical. Maybe the R & R ahead of a very busy season is more important than a loan that wouldn’t last more than a few weeks anyway.