Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Goldmine Under Their Feet, MLS USL PRO

Maybe it's just a convoluted dream but MLS and USL have some sort of agreement in terms to start doing something like playing a couple 'reserve' games against each other and / or MLS club's loaning up to four players to an (as of yet) annexed USL team. Okay, got that?

The details of this clunky partnership don't really address the issue of roster size (or the prohibitive salary cap).

On Roster size: Currently MLS clubs can carry 30 players. That's basically a Senior Team size yet MLS squeezes a 'reserve team' in there too. As a result, and as things stand, you see some reserve games played by unused subs from the previous day's game, some that actually did play the day before or in some cases just cancelled.

Allowing MLS teams to 'loan' players to a USL team only weakens the first team right now. It also seemingly leaves more players in a strange limbo of not being valuable enough for a loan (where they will face off against a MLS 'reserve' team of mostly 1st team players twice a year?) or just being way down the pecking order shagging balls kicked into Columbus Motor Speedway behind the training facility.

On one side you have MLS who wants better players and to gain a few fans on different areas of the country and on the other you have USL Pro who wants to grab hold of some of Major League Soccer's success. Neither seem to want to spend money to achieve their wants.

What still baffles me is that the US (and Canada. Ok, North America) are sitting on an absolute goldmine. There is a near unlimited supply of athletes in this country. The more you can get trained up and to professional level the more money is to be made by selling said athletes. Or, just keeping them and winning things (I prefer the latter). The fact that there isn't an organized plan to tap into this is kinda dumb (for lack of a better word).

It's an odd first step by both leagues but is one that needs to be taken to improve the game in this country.

Link to MLS press release.

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