Sunday, January 19, 2014

Roster Compliance Date, Whitecaps, Cosmos

Among the many (many) interesting MLS things that came out last week, the one that might have been missed is that the league's roster compliance deadline remains March 1st.

This is an important date to Crew fans to mark on their calendars because Gregg Berhalter and team will have to have their roster at 30 by then.

Going into the start of preseason training the Crew are already at 30 players. Most MLS teams are carrying a group between 30-35 players from now, through February. I would expect the Columbus Crew to have between that many this year.


I was reminded of the roster deadline when I was reading about a player named Andre Lewis, who was selected 7th in the MLS college draft by the Vancouver Whitecaps.

About a day after the draft reported that Lewis was already under contract with NASL side the NY Cosmos. It became a big US soccer story very quickly.

I'm fairly certain that none at MLS HQ knew anything about the situation with Lewis (or if they did, didn't care) - and almost 100% certain no one in Vancouver did which is why league followers are getting treated to steady stream of message controlling articles.

MLS can try and spin it anyway they want but doesn't change that it's an embarrassing oversight by a league that has more and more as it expands.

What's next? MLS is trying to save face either way. One outcome has the Whitecaps not signing him and the Cosmos will get him. MLS will say he wasn't good enough to play in the league.

Since the NY Cosmos returned last year they have signed a few former MLS players but what most don't know is that they actually signed away one player from the Columbus Crew last year in Carlos Mendes.

Mendes was lined up to play for the Crew in 2013 after a pretty solid year in 2012. Former director Brian Bliss (now with Chicago) wanted Mendes back and were surprised when he left for NY a little over a year ago.

Mendes was one of my highest rated players in 2012 (despite a nagging injury that slowed him). He ended up being one of the cornerstones for the Cosmos this past fall.

Expect to see an increase of issues and problems like this from Major League Soccer as they continue to try to expand. Their single entity structure cannot sustain a very big league in a global market, especially in a country the size (population and money) of the US.

Vancouver / MLS trotted Carl Robinson out to talk to the press about both the Lewis and Camilo situations, interview here. It's the Welshman's first year as a head coach. Guy just started. Welcome to the admin side of MLS, which is about 99% of it.

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