Binks looking forward to MLS return
Binks looking forward to MLS return

Major League Soccer will restart in the USA on July 8th and that is great news for the solitary Kent player currently playing in the League.

Luis Binks from Gillingham recently returned to Canada to restart training with Impact Montreal. And this week we caught up with Luis as training was stepped up ahead of the “MLS is back” tournament which starts in a couple of weeks time…

Luis told us, “This week we started group training. So, we’re in groups of six, still no contact but it feels so much better to be back with everyone and training with each other.”

“Around us Montreal as a city is slowing returning to near normal day by day. Most of the shops are open now like your designer ones on the high street which is good and I’m seeing more “business” type people out day to day in suits, so business must be re-opening.”

When Luis first returned to Montreal, there was a dispute between the players and the League that could have stopped the restart before it started. Luis explained, “it was just that all parties couldn’t agree and as you probably can imagine when they are a few parties involved, it can take time to agree on certain things but that’s all over with now and I’m buzzing to get back playing and can’t wait!”

And that restart won’t be in Canada – it will be in Florida at Disney Land in the “MLS is back” tournament which will feature all 26 clubs playing in six groups with the two from each group – along with the best four third placed teams moving into the knock-out stages.

A twist to this format is that the groups are split into their Conferences which will mean that the group games will actually be played for League points and will be carried forward into the restarted MLS proper in August.

The draw made in Miami last week paired Luis’ Impact side with Toronto FC, New England Revolution and DC United – a draw which Luis was happy with. He told us, “the feelings are good. We know how good our squad is here and we know that if we go there with the right attitude and mentality there is no reason why we can’t win it.”

“It makes sense to do it in the format. America and Canada are such big countries and to get the league back under way as soon as possible it’s the only real way of getting things going again. We can’t fly everywhere every week so by going to Disney it makes sense!”

“Having league points at stake so however far you go it’ll contribute to the league. Also, the winner will get a place in next year’s CONCACAF champions league and there is prize money.”

“I played New England on my MLS debut and they are a very good well organised side with a top manager who knows the league inside out. I marked a player called Cristian Penilla (an Ecudorian international) in my debut who played right wing. This man was one of the quickest blokes I’ve seen and was very tricky, so he is definitely one to watch out for.”

“Also, Toronto have a few players known to the English game such as Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley so that’ll be a good challenge too!”

“I honestly believe we can go all the way in the tournament. The squad here is as best as I’ve seen in the MLS and I’m sure we will go there with the correct mentality and be looking to go all the way.”

“It’s very important we hit the ground running when the League restarts in August. Hopefully by then there will be some normality back and maybe some fans which will be brilliant and also I can’t wait to play in our home ground for the first time.”

This week also saw many players up and down this country learning their fates about new contacts for next season – something that Luis knows all about as he told us, “it’s a horrible time of year when players find out what’s going on but even more so at this time as everyone’s unsure as to if another club will pay their wages, They don’t know when can they go on trial again. There’s a lot to think about and a lot of worries.” 

“With the Gills list, Mark Byrne is a very, very good midfield player in League One and it’s good he’ll have a chance to get a new contract but if he parts ways after pre-season, I’m sure there will be a lot of clubs sniffing around trying to tie him down.”

“The squad must be very frustrated that they couldn’t finish the season. All year you work so hard to try and get promoted and make the season worthwhile and for it to be cut short is horrible. The players must feel as though they could literally touch it but I also feel for teams such as Peterborough and Sunderland who were one point off the play offs and especially Sunderland as a massive club like that needs to get back to where they belong sooner rather than later and their fans must be feeling so unfortunate yet again.”

Stay with KSN throughout the MLS season as we keep in touch with Luis after each game of his Canadian adventure…