Q&A with the SA Editors: Oct. 29, 1999
Are there any plans in the works for the MLS teams to start their own youth programs? Ultimately, I feel that this is the long-term answer to developing players. What do you think?
Ridge Mahoney: Kevin, it's the best way to develop players, but until more MLS teams can generate significant revenues, or unless some big sponsor comes in to underwrite such a program, the league have to rely on the current system. (Project-40, which is a combination U.S. Soccer Federation-MLS program that so far has signed 36 young players over 3 1/2 years. They are placed with MLS clubs and also see A-League time on the Pro-40 Select team.)
One idea I like is for MLS rosters to be expanded to 25 players, with the additional five slots designed for young players (under 21 or something similar). They would receive full-time professional coaching and training, but the catch would be how they would play in enough games.
(If you have a question for a Soccer America Magazine editor, click "Q&A with SA Editors" in the left column of the home page under "Interactive.")
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