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Three MLS Teams Cleared to Sign Youth Players

Fourteen months have passed since Major League Soccer's mandate that teams develop talent through league-sanctioned youth programs, but Chivas USA, the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United were already ahead of the curve. The three teams have had operational programs for more than two years, which now makes them eligible to sign players developed through their youth systems, according to MLS technical director of player programs, Alfonso Mondelo. Each of these teams is free to sign as many as two players to their senior squad. However, once a team has filled their quota, an eligible second team whose quota has not been filled would be able to choose from the first team's remaining developmental players. Again, only D.C., NY and Chivas are eligible to participate thus far.
 
Soccer blogger Ives Galarcep says the New York Red Bulls, for example, might exercise their first option to sign promising midfielder Matt Kassel. "Obviously with Matt, you have a quality young player who we have seen closely and he's certainly someone we will consider," Jeff Agoos, the Bulls' technical director, told Galarcep, although he says that any action would likely be take closer to the start of the 2008 season.
 
Eight MLS teams have now set up league-approved player development programs. Toronto and New England are the only two teams left that have not launched programs, according to Galarcep, although these are set to be introduced them this year.

Read the whole story at Soccer By Ives »

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