Following the decision of David Beckham to play out his days in Los Angeles so many years ago, the MLS has become a haven of sorts for aging European stars. There’s no shame on behalf of U.S. soccer in admitting why this is the case: when such players can’t quite compete at the level they’re used to overseas, they sometimes find they can make a greater impact in the weaker U.S. league. And the result of this realization across the board has led to a lot of really big names migrating to the MLS. Since Beckham (and primarily in the last two years), we’ve seen the likes of Frank Lampard, David Villa, Didier Drogba, Andrea Pirlo, and Kaka make the move to the United States, with only Kaka under the age of 35 at the point of doing so.
The moves have had a dual effect in raising attention for the MLS. Players of this caliber have fans all over the world who now have reason to tune in to American soccer. Also, plenty of American soccer fans who still follow the European game more than the MLS can now enjoy a glimpse of world-class players at home. It’s a trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, and in recent months it’s been suggested that long-time Chelsea star John Terry may consider a similar move. The 35-year-old captain’s contract with Chelsea expires this coming summer.
Still a productive player on the field, Terry could conceivably ink a new short-term deal with the Blues and play out his days at Stamford Bridge. However, he indicated earlier this season that he’d prefer to spend the twilight of his career on the field rather than in a bench role (saying so specifically after José Mourinho subbed him out of a match against Manchester City). And that’s essentially the preference that’s led past stars straight to the MLS.
Terry would likely have no shortage of suitors if he made it known that he was definitely seeking employment in the MLS. Always keen to make a splash, the LA Galaxy and both New York clubs would likely seek out his services, and they’d probably pay hefty fees to do so. Terry would stand to immediately inherit a starting role and, if he were to sign in a big city, some nice opportunities to expand his personal brand despite being past his prime.
It’s not a done deal yet, though. Terry has done a little more than hint that he might continue his career in the MLS, but Bwin is reporting that he may actually be destined to play out his days in China. Like the U.S., China has been determined to establish itself as a competitive nation in pro soccer. However, the headline acquisitions by Chinese clubs so far have been almost exclusively on the attacking end (Alex Teixeira, Gervinho, and a few others). A player like Terry would help to begin balancing this out while still bringing a huge name to China. There may indeed be a very competitive offer coming from the Far East.
But there’s one more interesting scenario to consider: Terry helping to launch former teammate David Beckham’s Miami team when it debuts (possibly in 2018). This may or may not be a realistic option, but don’t be too surprised if Terry signs a one-year deal somewhere this summer with the hopes of joining Miami the following year.