[USL PRO] In an important addition to its development affiliation with MLS, USL PRO is expanding its roster sizes to allow teams to carry as many as five academy players on their rosters in USL PRO competition. MLS teams affiliated with USL PRO clubs will be able to use the academy player slots for their own academy players.
“This is another important step in our commitment to helping develop talent in North America,” USL Pro Leagues Operations Director David Wagner said. “Following our groundbreaking partnership with MLS, USL PRO wanted to continue to expand the opportunities for elite players to develop and we believe adding these academy player slots will give meaningful minutes to young players who can help teams compete for a USL PRO Championship.”
Players must meet several requirements in order to qualify for an academy player slot:
-- They must be younger than 21 at the start of the current season;
-- They can’t have competed collegiately;
-- They must never have signed as a professional.
Additionally, the player must either be from a club’s region, an affiliate youth team or from an MLS affiliate.
MLS clubs have used academy players in competitions like the Concacaf Champions League and MLS Reserve League and international friendlies without jeopardizing their college eligibility.