Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Clubs look to add second teams
by Paul Kennedy, August 2nd, 2013 12:55AM

TAGS:  mls


[MLS SPOTLIGHT] As MLS clubs examine long-term player development issues, several may as soon as next season launch stand-alone teams that would play in USL PRO and serve as the homes for reserve players they now have to loan out, according to Todd Durbin, MLS's executive vice president for player relations. He also confirmed that MLS owners had approved and clubs were spending "retention funds" under what has been dubbed the "Zusi rule," to allow them to keep players who otherwise might leave the league at the end of their contracts.

Durbin told a gathering of reporters before Wednesday's All-Star Game that as many as 10 clubs could have affiliations with USL PRO clubs in 2014 and a few could have stand-alone teams. This year, four MLS teams had affiliations with USL PRO clubs.

"The strategic path," he said, "is to try to rotate away from the Reserve League such that we have players either participating in USL PRO through an affiliation or with a stand-alone team, hopefully by the end of 2015."

Those stand-alone teams could consist of a half a dozen or so reserve players not in the MLS club's game-day roster picture, plus homegrown players and other players signed to fill out the team.

"It gets them the experience to play against other professionals trying to win a championship and three points that really matter," said Durbin. "We think that will be a really crucial step."

The structure would be similar to pro reserve teams stocked with young players in Germany and France competing in the third or fourth divisions against older pros or semipros.

Durbin also confirmed that MLS owners had approved and clubs were spending "retention funds" under what has been dubbed the "Zusi rule," to allow them to keep players who otherwise might leave the league at the end of their contracts.

He said Sporting Kansas City's Graham Zusi was the perfect example of a player who was rewarded for his play with a new contract that effectively puts his salary in the range of a Designated Player. Each club is given a six-figure fund to spend on what the league terms "core players."

Durbin said MLS clubs were being criticized -- unfairly, he said -- for losing players to teams in Scandinavia. He did say the feedback the league was getting from technical staffs was that retaining young players with two or three years in starting lineups was critical to team stability.

Not all young players have re-signed with MLS. Omar Gonzalez of the LA Galaxy and Juan Agudelo of New England, whose contracts both expire at the end of the season, have both been linked with Stoke City, which already has three U.S. internationals under contract.

Core Player Deals:
Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake)
Matt Besler (Sporting KC)
Sam Cronin (San Jose)
Diego Fagundez (New England)
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Seattle)
George John (FC Dallas)
Juninho (LA Galaxy)
Gershon Koffie (Vancouver)
Dax McCarty (New York)
Drew Moor (Columbus)
Chris Pontius (D.C. United)
Chris Schuler (Real Salt Lake)
Marvell Wynne (Colorado)
Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)

No comments yet.

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



Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Jurgen Klinsmann    
"Watching the MLS playoffs has been tremendously exciting. The games in the first round with the ...
Klinsmann: Nagbe is a 'great fit' for national team    
One of the standouts in the MLS playoffs has been Darlington Nagbe, who has helped the ...
What They're Saying: Didier Drogba    
"It's a different challenge [in MLS]. People think it's easy to play there. Believe me, it's ...
What They're Saying: Stocksbridge Park Steels chairman Allen Bethel    
"I can't believe what I've been seeing on Saturday nights. He's always on his own. Why ...
MLS: Sporting KC continues talks with five free agents    
Sporting Kansas City re-signed 12 of the 13 players it had options on -- all but ...
MLS: Orlando City declines option on Hall    
Stemming from the roster moves announced Wednesday, Orlando City SC may not look radically different in ...
MLS: Revs re-sign Kobayashi, send three to Portugal    
New England announced Wednesday it has renewed the options on 14 players, signed midfielder Daigo Kobayashi ...
Sacramento wants to show it's ready to roll    
While efforts by David Beckham's group to find land for a soccer stadium in Miami appear ...
Johnson scores again in Champions League    
Fabian Johnson scored in his second straight game for Borussia Moenchengladbach in the UEFA Champions League ...
USA names 20 for U-20 Women's World Cup qualifying    
Eight collegians and 12 youth club players comprise Coach Michelle French's roster for the U-20 Women's ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives