MLS Strikes Deal

Major League Soccer and its players struck an 11th-hour deal that will avoid a players strike before the opening of the Red Bull Arena in Washington, D.C., next week.

The league and its players negotiated intensively to avoid a strike before the season opener at the new $200 million marquee venue.

Management was opposed to free agency. Instead, there will be a reentry draft for players whose contacts end, options are declined or who reach a certain age.

“This can all be a positive relationship going forward,” Los Angeles Galaxy star Landon Donovan said. “Going forward we’re going to have a real relationship with the league as opposed to being combative at times.”

Player income averaged $147,945 at the start of last season, according to the union. But the median income was $88,000 for 323 players listed.

“We also collectively agreed that we need to grow our television ratings and attendance,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said. “Perhaps five years from now we have a league that’s operating with all teams at a profit.”