New England Soccer Today

Nguyen Feels ‘Disrespected, Undervalued’ w/ Deal

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Following an MVP-caliber season, midfielder Lee Nguyen hoped to renegotiate a new contract with the Revolution. But after the club was unwilling to budge, the midfielder took matters into his own hands.

To express his displeasure with a deal that he believed was unfair, Nguyen sat out the first two days of training last week, even though he knew it could cost him his spot in the lineup.

“I was obviously unhappy with the contract situation,” Nguyen said prior to training on Wednesday. “It’s just frustrating, and I just feel a little disrespected.”

Nguyen signed a two-year deal worth $175,000 in base salary annually, with club options for a third- and fourth-year in January 2014. That deal, which also included a $40,000 signing bonus, was signed with years left on his previous deal, which paid him a base salary of $73,600 in 2013.

But when he compared his current salary against those of his fellow teammates earlier this year, what he discovered unsettled him.

Coming off a year in which he set the single-season scoring record in MLS for pure midfielders with 18 goals and spurred the Revolution to their first MLS Cup appearance in seven years, Nguyen found out that his salary wasn’t among the top-five on the squad.

“Despite what I’ve done for the club and not even being the (fifth)-highest paid player on the club,” Nguyen said. “I just feel a little undervalued.”

The MLS Players Union hasn’t yet released the 2015 salary list, though a source confirmed with New England Soccer Today that Nguyen’s salary ranks eighth on the team.

Prior to training on Wednesday, Revolution coach Jay Heaps spoke about Nguyen’s importance to the squad.

“Lee’s a great player for us,” Heaps said. “He’s someone that when we play, we really like building through him and using him in what we do, and he just adds to the attacking flow that we have.”

Although Heaps dropped him from the lineup in Saturday’s win over the Red Bulls, Nguyen understood the reasoning the behind the decision.

“I wasn’t training for the first two days,” Nguyen said. “It wouldn’t have been fair to the players if I was included, so Jay had to do what he had to, and I was fine with it.”

Nguyen hopes that a resolution on his contract dispute comes sooner rather than later, of course. In the meantime, he reiterated his commitment to the club’s efforts to secure a championship after falling just short last year.

“I love this team,” Nguyen said. “I love the fans here, and I’m going to try to do my best to bring a home a (MLS) Cup for them.”

5 Comments

  1. Jared

    May 6, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    Everyone including the coaching staff knows Lee is one of the team’s best players. Won 2 of the last 3 team MVP’s. Was almost MLS MVP. Is now a regular in the USMNT camps. You have to keep your stars happy.

  2. pauloblitzz

    May 7, 2015 at 9:42 am

    I know people always said with the player in these situations and think the FO should just pay up but I’m not so sure. Lee Nguyen was nobody before he came here, we got him off waivers when Vancouver threw him out like trash. We’ve built a great team around him that enabled his potentially one hit wonder type season last year. He could have sat out from the beginning of the year which would have made more sense but he didn’t for whatever reason. Now its a mess and a distraction even more so. He started out last year much like this year with an inability to put his mark on the game and yes he’s been in USMNT camps but he hasn’t been used much there. He pretty low on J.K. list apparently. I think the best situation here would be for the team to throw him a bone and give him a slight raise for this season and the next despite already more than doubling his salary. I believe all his success last season got to his head a bit but he still signed the deal and should honor it for at least this season IMO.

    • Tom

      May 7, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      I’d like to treat you exactly the way you proposed!

  3. Robert

    May 7, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Oh boy. Just when the team gets on a roll!

  4. Peter

    May 7, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    You gotta pay your stars. He was voted team MVP a few years ago even though his stats weren’t outstanding. Everyone knows his quality and importance. The responsibility also lies on his agent for not getting a better deal last time though.

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