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Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by PhillyMLS, Dec 18, 2012.
Out of curiosity, how credible is the source? I'm gonna pump the breaks before I get excited.
My point exactly.
MLS reserve teams in the third division is about as likely as what keeps us from having pro-rel as my marriage is what keeps me an Alex Morgan from hooking up.
Thanks for explaining the joke to the pro/rel fans.
I can confirm that it is almost 100% certain that at the VERY LEAST, this season MLS Reserve teams will play in the USLPro.. Whether they work through enough of the agreement for integration of the leagues fully (mls team partnerships/affiliates, etc etc), only time will tell.
Actually, the academy kids may gain the most out of this, if they are allowed to keep their amateur status.
However, who are your 18-22 year olds?
The top Gen Ad types are few and far in between and most 18-22 YO prospects will be playing for a college team. You might get an occasional talent who's not scholastically sufficient but chances are the USL rosters will be stocked with the low-tier Superdraft and Supplemental Draft picks with zero to two years of pro experience.
Across the globe, the lower divisions are a combination of the up-n-comers, the over-the-hillers and the never-wases. Given the presumably meager pay in USL, you won't get many in group two while your up-n-comers are still in college. So what you get is a bunch of never-wases playing against each other and that doesn't lead to much development or improvement.
It may be better than nothing but by how much ...
Apologies if it has been mentioned before, but how does this leave teams playing in the US open cup? Surely there could be a conflict of interest where the reserves play their first team or even a USLpro team containing 5 of your reserve players.
It can theoretically happen in some European leagues. In general, it's not much different than playing against the team that has sent you out on loan.
Where the USA has gotten it wrong in the past, when it had baseball-style minor-league affiliation: A player goes to the "affiliate" on a short-term (like, one game) assignment, scores a winning goal in the Open Cup, then never plays for that team again. Not really fair, is it?
Back near the start of MLS, I was following the LI team in whatever the 2nd division was called back then. I recall that the MetroStars sent Jim Rooney down to a rival team, the Staten Island Vipers, for a two week period that covered his MLS Red Card suspension and the All-Star Break. I hope they ban that sort of thing. But what about a player recovering from an injury? Can he play 2 weeks in USL Pro?
All in all, it is not a terrible system. It is actually quite revolutionary and seems to be fairly working well for the NBA. I could not even find the link if I tried, but I remember reading that the NFL has been studying the NBADL as a potential model should they opt to start a minor league. As a start up model, it seems more plausible scenario than the MLB/NHL systems which utilized leagues that had been in existence for considerable time.
Though, the utilization of USLPro with partial allocations and some non-affiliated teams (speculation) closely mirrors the way the NHL interacted with the various minor leagues (including the AHL and IHL) in the 90s.
My understanding is that they have to remain a division below the first team. So if the first team gets relegated to the second division, then the reserve team cannot be higher than third division regardless of their performance (ie winning the third division or being current second division members).
I just can't see how MLS teams could stock a USL roster with reserves unless they can use high school academy kids or if they introduced some sort of reserve contract where guys were making $15k again so that you could basically have semi-professional guys filling out the roster. (This would, I suppose, reduce the number of homegrown signgings being cut after 1-2 years.)
The problem I have always seen with utilizing USL for more loans for development is the generally unprofessional nature of a lot of the minor league teams. They're playing on turf, in high schools, etc. with lesser medical facilities and not necessarily top coaches for development. I think MLS teams would rather they be training and being coached despite the lack of PT in MLS as opposed to playing and being coached in a D3 environment.
I think that you have accurately categorized the status & quality of USL/Pro. The problems that you have pointed out make this move by MLS seem like grabbing at straws. Although, the players will be better on average & the rules should conform with those of the professional games, the coaching, the facilities, the support, etc. will be no better than the colleges.
Unless, MLS truly absorbs all local teams, provides coaching and all professional services and expands their rosters by 10 players or so the result will be a fiasco! Rosters complete with non-professionals and academy players is no answer to the development issues. Playing against lesser players, against lesser coaches in lesser facilities is no way to develop young players!!!
And what exactly would the cost be for something like that? Do you think the BoG would approve that? Why don't we walk a little before we start running?
Neither the USL-Pro or the NASL(which seems out in the cold now) are ideal places to develop players, but that is all we have right now. It is not the perfect solution, but establishing a minor league affiliation system is the best solution for now.
The EPL has lots of money (new TV contracts) maybe they could buy MLS and set up academy teams to develop their young players here in the USA, they can rebrand all teams to say Chicago Stoke city for example, that way they can develop players and market their league in the USA.
It's common for loan agreements in Europe to have a clause stating that the player cannot play against his parent club.
couple points from a Charleston Battery fan,
Last year we had DC United keeper Andrew Dykstra on loan for most the season (although it was always for a week or two at a time due to both our signed keepers having injuries)
Part of the loan agreement was he could play for the Battery in USOC matches. I can only guess that DC didn't want him cup tied in case they needed him.
Some USL teams already have affiliations with MLS clubs, Harrisburg with Philadelphia is official. The Battery seem to have an unofficial affiliation with Seattle (several players have moved between the teams) I guess once this is official we know how these affiliations will work.
Also several USL teams are quite professional, Rochester, Orlando, Charleston are all great run organizations with good facilities. The Battery even has a US Developmental Academy team. Charleston has hosted MLS teams training for preseason for the last ten years and have several English clubs based in Charleston to train for their preseason. While the stadium in Richmond is dated, the pitch is nice and well maintained and they have a large youth program. Pittsburgh has a great new stadium on the way. Wilmington have been readily accepted by the community and have had MLS players on loan this past season. Harrisburg relation with the Union has been established for a couple years. Dayton and Charlotte's have crappy stadiums but they do have large youth programs and academies.
Of course these clubs do not have the money MLS clubs do, but I feel most USL clubs would be a good place for players to mature.
one of useful things about mls reserve games is that trialists got a competitive match. i'm guess this is not happening in USL
I think that recent college graduates can still be considered up-n-comers, and there is some good talent among those supplemental draft picks. Gather together enough of those less highly regarded draft picks, and you will find some that exceed all expectations and end up contributing to the first team. For instance, Chris Wondolowski, Jeff Larentowicz, Dan Kennedy, and Dan Gargan were all drafted in the 8th round of the draft (4th supplemental round) in 2005. Normally such low draft picks would never be able to make an MLS roster, but in 2005 they were given a chance because roster sizes were increased by 4 that year. Now one of those players who seemed destined to be a "never-was" is the MLS MVP. Give all those supplemental drafts a chance to play in USL Pro, and you will see more of them emerging a diamonds in the rough.
I wouldn't worry at all about the quality of USL coaching or facilities being a problem. Loan moves to USL have worked wonders for guys like Justin Morrow and Bright Dike.
It was a joke for the poster... not necessarily pro-rel fans...
Jason Davis is very well respected.
I think this is another signal that MLS is starting to inch away from its reliance on college soccer. The weakness of the academy system now is that players that aren't good enough to turn pro at 18 have limited options outside of playing in NCAA. That limits a lot of things that could be done with the prospects as the clubs need to protect college eligibility.
The MLS academies should not really be in the business of producing college stars. They should be creating pro players, period.
If this goes through I think you'll see a lot more kids signing pro contracts as teenagers and then getting shipped to play a couple years of pro soccer instead of going off to college. The MLS teams will have more control over their development and there is simply no way that it won't be better for their professional development.
Will every kid that goes to the USL as a teenager make it? No, of course not. And, they won't have college eligibility left. I'm not sure MLS should care. Nothing would be stopping them from getting an education after (they just couldn't lay soccer while doing so) and they would be getting paid the equivalent (or more) of a full ride scholarship from the time they are 17-18 years old.
the devil will be in the details, but this sounds like a terrific plan. I would add two things to the discussion here. First, I'll bet this is part of the infamous 10 year plan. MLS has NO CHANCE of being a world top 8 league, let alone a top 4-5 league, without a "great leap forward" type improvement in the quality of the American player, and I'll bet this is a key part of the plan to do that. Not only will it get more games for young players, it will also provide a better platform for the transition from teenager to professional. It will give very young players a better place to go when right now they have to choose between the NCAA or an MLS bench. (I'm talking 18-19 year olds here.)
Second, the "nearby team," I'm guessing, is more about allowing these guys, who are making peanuts, to commute to their 2nd team. You can't ask a guy making what these guys are making to be with Chivas USA and have an apartment, AND have an apartment in Phoenix (not to pick on the guy who proposed this, just using that as an example.) DC and Richmond probably works, but not Chivas and Phoenix.
You need better fantasies. My marriage keeps me from having a three way with Scarlett Johanssen and Megan Fox.
Is it only me hoping for both this and a reserve team? Youth can get time at USL for sure. Reserve games keep the guys on the edge of starting XI from stagnating with only pratice.
A third thing that just occurred to me. If I were running an MLS team that was going to partner with an existing USL team, I'd "offer" a free coach. In addition to helping to develop players, this move will help to develop the American coaching pool, as well.