Donovan: MLS agreement came together quickly

The league and the union agreed on a new five-year collective bargaining agreement Saturday.

CARSON, California  _ Landon Donovan says negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement in Major League Soccer went quickly once the league’s officials understood the rationale behind the players’ positions.

“The overall tone was that if things were unfair, they made concessions immediately,” the Los Angeles Galaxy star said Sunday. “When we explained things or explained situations, and when they could see that they didn’t make sense or were unfair, they made concessions.

“When we saw that, we knew that there was going to be a deal done.”

Donovan, a member of the union’s executive board, attended the meetings in Washington, D.C. with the Galaxy’s two other player representatives, Chris Klein and Todd Dunivant.

The league and the union agreed on a new five-year collective bargaining agreement Saturday.

“He didn’t just come in at the end and save the day,” Dunivant said of Donovan. “He was part of the whole process. Even when he was in England, he was on all the conference calls. When he came back, it was a no-brainer that he was going to be there.”

Donovan had played on loan with Everton in England’s Premier League for 10 weeks. He went to Washington two days after returning to California.

“Having him at the table definitely helped because he brings a sense of credibility and he’s a guy to listen to,” Dunivant said. “He gives an authoritative presence to the table.”

Donovan downplayed his role.

“I think we had almost 30 guys there,” Donovan said of the other players’ representatives. “When the league sees at least one member from every team, I think (officials) realize how important everything was to us.”

Donovan also gave credit to MLS commissioner Don Garber for the settlement.

“He was right in the heart of it,” Donovan said. “It shows that he was dedicated. Without his presence there, it wouldn’t have gotten done, either.”

Being present at the negotiations taught Donovan more about football’s inner workings, he said.

“It’s important to see both sides,” he said. “While we want everything to be advantageous to the players, there are realities. When you hear the other side and why they do things a certain way, you realize that this is a business. They’re trying to make decisions in the best interest of everyone.”

The Galaxy ended preseason competition with a scoreless draw against CD Aguila, a finalist for El Salvador’s championship last year. Los Angeles will begin the season at home against the New England Revolution on March 27.

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