Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Reserve Division to be revived
by Ridge Mahoney, November 16th, 2010 4:59PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS] After a two-year hiatus, MLS is bringing back its Reserve Division.

The Reserve Division was terminated after four seasons of operation (2005-08), and its rebirth is designed to offer competitive opportunities for players scratching for spots on a regular game-day lineup sheet.

There will more of them in 2011, as MLS has also expanded rosters to a maximum of 30 players, which represents six additional slots to the 24-player limit in force this season.

The league has also removed restrictions on the number of homegrown players that each team can sign each season. In increasing the roster limit to 30 players, the league has mandated the six additional slots are restricted to players 24 and younger. Salaries of those players will not count against the team’s salary budget, which under terms of the collective bargaining agreement negotiated in March will be $2.67 million per team next season.

In a teleconference call Tuesday, Commissioner Don Garber outlined the Reserve Division setup: The 18 teams (Portland and Vancouver are to be added for 2011) will be split into three groups of six teams, with each team playing each group opponent twice. The top eight teams will advance to playoffs and a Reserve Division champion will be crowned. Teams are also free to schedule games independently against lower-division teams from USL-Pro and NASL, as well as foreign teams.

Flawed though it was, the previous incarnation of the Reserve Division provided playing opportunities that dozens of players utilized to launch their pro careers.

Garber cited several examples, including Best XI selections Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake) and Chris Wondolowski (San Jose’s Golden Boot winner) and Colorado star Omar Cummings as examples of successful reserve-team products. A few years ago, a young striker named Herculez Gomez used Galaxy reserve games to start his climb into the first team and from there to the U.S. national team.

“Since it began I’ve been a strong supporter of the Reserve Division and I think now the need is greater than ever,” said Kansas City technical director and head coach Peter Vermes last week, before the official announcement. “Our younger players, our rookies, and our academy players need games in a competitive environment, with standings and pressure to get points and everything else that goes with it.”

Since mandating each team field U-16 and U-18 academy teams, the league office has been besieged by requests from coaches, general managers, and other team executives to provide those players -- as well as first-team backups – meaningful playing opportunities. Changes in NCAA eligibility restrictions will allow teams to field academy players bound for college.

With rosters of 30 players, plus perhaps academy players, the days of teams scrambling to fill a reserve-game roster with local amateurs or a right back working in the team’s sales department are over. “These matches can only have players who are on the club’s roster or are on trial with the club or are members of the club’s academy,” Garber said.

Garber confirmed last month the league is considering realigning into three divisions for the 2011 regular season, along with other alignments. He did not outline the composition of the three divisions for reserve play.

Based on geography, the divisional setups could look like this:

WESTERN: Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, San Jose, Chivas USA, Los Angeles.

CENTRAL: Colorado, Real Salt Lake, Kansas City, FC Dallas, Houston, Chicago.

EASTERN: Toronto FC, New York, New England, Columbus, Philadelphia, D.C. United.

Might this, or something similar, be the league’s lay of the land in 2011? That won’t be known for a few more days, at least, yet still MLS has reshaped its future landscape.



0 comments
  1. JAMES SIEDLISKI
    commented on: November 17, 2010 at 10:41 a.m.
    www.BigEastSoccer.com
  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: November 17, 2010 at 8:49 p.m.
    This is a sign of real progress. I like the fact that MLS is seeking to develop players orgaically. The reserve team players will be hungry, both literally (low salaries) and figuretively. If a player has potential, the desire, and receives good coaching, he will have an opportunity possibly move up to the 'big show."

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Sneak Peak: Ready or not, Red Bulls open early    
The New York Red Bulls, first in the Eastern Conference during the regular season for the ...
Video Pick: Coach tackles player, gets ejected    
During the Super Clasico, Club America coach Ricardo La Volpe stepped on the field and tackled ...
What They're Saying: Mike Piazza    
"I remember, as a player, complaining if we had a small plane, 'We couldn't get a ...
What They're Saying: Danny Cowley    
"It's life-changing for us. It's game-changing for the profile of our club. Football at our level ...
MLS Camp Chatter: Villa sees red on review    
In the last weekend before the first MLS teams play official competition -- three will play ...
MLS Moves: Glad and Allen ink fresh deals with RSL    
Two highly regarded Homegrown products have been rewarded with new contracts. Real Salt Lake has announced ...
MLS: Marsch gives loanee Murillo good marks on first day    
Panamanian right back Michael Amir Murillo, acquired by the Red Bulls on loan over the weekend ...
Video Pick: Cristiano Ronaldo's amazing nutmeg     
Cristian Ronaldo beat defender Espanyol David Lopez by turning an elastico move -- feinting swiftly to ...
Results: Concacaf U-20 World Cup Qualifying    
Honduras beat Antigua & Barbuda on Monday as Group A at the Concacaf U-20 Championship entered ...
What They're Saying: Dwight Yorke    
"I couldn't quite believe what was happening. I have lost count of the number of times ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives