MLS labour negotiations down to wire

STEVEN SANDOR, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

The Major League Soccer players' union has offered the owners an olive branch, but will the owners accept it?

Even though the two sides still are far apart on a new labour deal, the Washington Post reported that the union has advised its membership to report to training camps, despite the fact the current CBA expires Jan. 31.

"The MLS players union is in ongoing discussions with the league," the statement said. "We have advised our players to report to camp as planned. In the meantime, we will continue to meet with the league to determine if an agreement can be reached. As of this date, however, we have no agreement on a new CBA."

But, while the league maintains that pre-season plans are going full speed ahead, it won't officially have a position on the players' offer until more rounds of negotiations are complete. The union won't strike, but the league has yet to guarantee that it won't lock players out.

"The league and club owners are in active discussions with the MLS players union and we are hopeful that a mutually beneficial solution will be reached," MLS spokesman Dan Courtemanche said in an e-mail.

TRAINING CAMP

"We are moving forward with the 2010 season as planned as many MLS clubs begin pre-season training this week."

TFC's front office won't comment on the CBA process.

Toronto FC begins medicals on Feb. 1 -- after the expiry of the current CBA -- and is scheduled to continue camp in Toronto until Feb. 7. The team then will leave for its winter training base in Bradenton, Fla.

The major issues on the table are the players' bids for more guaranteed contracts and the right to free agency. The union continues to challenge the MLS structure, which centrally controls players' contracts.

Last week, established veterans Kasey Keller and Landon Donovan, in a release issued through global players' union FIFpro --warned that owners were preparing to lock out the players on Feb. 1.

TFC acquires Peterson

Toronto FC acquired promising young midfielder Jacob Peterson from the Colorado Rapids in exchange for allocation money.

Peterson was a second-round pick in the 2006 MLS Superdraft and went on to become the team's rookie of the year that same season. He has won two NCAA titles with Indiana University and was a semifinalist for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy, soccer's version of the Heisman.

Peterson, 23, has represented the United States at the under-23, under-20 and under-17 level.

"This is a player that (new TFC coach) Preki has been wanting for some time," said director of soccer Mo Johnston in a release. "We're looking forward to bringing him into camp and getting him working with the rest of the players."

Peterson is an offensive-minded midfield player who has yet to realize his potential at the professional level. He scored twice and added two assists in 23 MLS games last season.


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