Everyone dreams of going to Europe, right? The competition for places! The passion of supporters! Every game matters! Marco Pablo Pappa Ponce dreamed that dream once - dreamed it while wearing the Chicago Fire badge, dreamed it and let it drive him to work harder, to refine his game, to make his mark.
His work as a member of the Fire (and as a Guatemalan international) won him the transfer he sought. In August 2012, his mind clearly elsewhere, the Fire accepted a small transfer fee to let Pappa go to Heerenveen of the Dutch Eredivisie, and off he went to make his dreams come true.
Of course, the reality can be something different - if the football starts to falter, everything can go sideways. The food is weird. The air tastes funny. Everything slants the wrong way. And so it seems for Pappa, who was today released by Heerenveen completely, a mere 18 months into what was to be a four-year contract. The winger made only 12 appearances for Heerenveen in that time, including an astonishing one minute (ONE MINUTE!) of playing time this season.
Clearly, it has all gone wrong for Marco in Holland, but judging from his Twitter account, he is sanguine about his chances for further employment. Which brings me to the point: Should the Fire make a run at acquiring Pappa? We will likely have to trade for the allocation order to get him; that small transfer fee the club pocketed in 2012 severed our control of his rights. If you would like to see Pappa brought in, what should the club be prepared to give up to get him?
[EDIT: I'm not 100% certain what mechanisms would lead to Pappa's return. Is it a simple matter of filing a Discovery claim, since he's now a foreign free-agent? Or does his green card complicate matters, making him go through some sort of allocation process? I'd love any answers anyone can proffer, as I'm out of time!]
[SECOND EDIT: Jeff Crandall of the Chicago Fire sends this:
The Fire are unable to directly pursue Pappa as a transfer fee was paid for him to go to Heerenveen. According to the MLS Roster Rules Section 2, Category A he would be subject to the allocation process.
“(A) ALLOCATION RANKING
The allocation ranking is the mechanism used to determine which MLS club has first priority to acquire a U.S. National Team player who signs with MLS after playing abroad, or a former MLS player who returns to the League after having gone to a club abroad for a transfer fee. The allocation rankings may also be used in the event two or more clubs file a request for the same player on the same day when the discovery period opens in December. The allocations will be ranked in reverse order of finish for the 2012 season, taking playoff performance into account.”]