Atlanta United’s Guzan on the importance of charter flights

Atlanta United players didn’t complain on social media about flying commercial from Portland to Atlanta on Monday. It was a trip that from PDX to ATL took seven hours.

They would be forgiven if they did.

Others have.

Wayne Rooney was the latest to take to Twitter to complain after D.C. United flew back from Vancouver, a trip that Rooney said took 12 hours but would have only taken 6 had the team used a charter.


Charter flights for every games are something that the MLS Players Association is pushing for in its ongoing negotiations with the league in its the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current one expires in 2020 and allows for a maximum of four charter segments (one, one-way flight) per team per season. Atlanta United this season played league games at Vancouver, at Seattle, at Portland and at LAFC.

“It’s not good enough,” Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan said. “It’s not about people feeling sorry. It’s not about poor us. We are trying to progress the sport in this country and make it a real league.  Something needs to change.”

MLS Commissioner Don Garber didn’t seem as enthusiastic about the charter flights as Guzan, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Walker Zimmerman were when discussing the subject during the MLS All-Star week in late July in Orlando.

Asked if the players see the money that is coming in expansion fees — St. Louis was announced as the next team on Tuesday for a fee of $200 million — Guzan said everybody sees it and underscores why the next CBA is so important.

“It’s important that as the expansion teams come in and the league grows that things within the league continue to push forward and within our league push for a competitive atmosphere and competitive product on the field,” he said.