Insight Into Reserve League and Academies

But also, just a solid reference for what is likely to happen in 2011 concerning overall rosters.

Just go HERE and read the whole thing. I'm going to quote some portions, but the whole interview is worth your time.

Essentially the Reserve League is the real deal for 2011. Sure, there are still details to come out, but there are some solid developments.

 First of all, the number of rostered players you can have will force the coach or the coaching staff or the organization to take it more seriously. You have a legitimate chance to compete and field a team every week in the reserve league when there’s a game because you should have the amount of bodies to participate. There were never enough bodies in your roster to compete.

We’re getting rid of guest players. In previous years you were allowed to sign Tom, Dick, and Harry in your local bar to fill out your roster on the weekend for a reserve game and that’s no longer going to be the case. You’re going to have to use players within your own system and you can use guest players but they have to be bona fide players who are making a living at the game of soccer. So a guest player has to be someone who has previously been a pro player who is maybe out of contract - it’s not going to be a retired player, it’s not going to be somebody from your front office who can’t play or somebody who played the game in college and now makes a living as a broadcaster – things like that - and that’s what was happening in the past to fill out rosters, that’s no longer going to be the case.

It isn't just about rosters, as several teams will be adding a coach. I'll place money that Seattle is one of those.

LE and Brian Bliss get into some great details. Reminding us of the roster increase, but also that some aspect of the Reserve League will also be to help the U-18 players get exposure to the professional environment (kind of screams June-August for a schedule doesn't it?).

The interview overall is one of the most complete in a print format (web/paper/etc) on the Reserve League and seriously deserves you full attention.

It also serves to remind us that the Byzantine roster rules of MLS are about to get even more convoluted. Because the Reserve League isn't just about Home Grown Players and Academy Players. There will be Reserve Players as well.

Here are the Roster Classifications of MLS with some estimates on salary numbers

20 on Senior Roster - This includes Designated Players (they are cap exempt after the first 335k$ for first two, unless allocation dollars are used), as well as players who are classified as Internationals (non-Green Card holders from outside the USA for American teams, from outside USA/Canada for Canadian teams). Internationals are capped at 8, but a team can trade these slots. Salary Cap for 2011 - just under 2.7 Million US $

4 on Protected Roster - The old "developmental" players. To the best of my knowledge these players no longer have an age limit. They also make the MLS minimum. 40k$ in 2010, probably with a 5% boost for 2011. A Generation Adidas player that was drafted would also be in this roster area as they do not count towards the Senior limit nor the salary cap.

2 Home Grown Players - Under 2010 rules this could be up to 4 on roster, with up to 6 signing in a year. These players' salaries do not count towards the Cap. Salaries can be from the team, possibly from Adidas, but can't be too much as they are subject to league approval. There is talk, yet unconfirmed that this may expand for 2011.

Those 20+4+2 are the 2010 roster limits (well + up to 4 on the Injured List).

Here's the new slot.

4 Reserve Players - these will be professionals. They will not be Home Grown from the Academies but pros who can help fill a roster, and I expect "character" guys who can help mentor the predominantly young Reserve team. The CBA conference call made mention that these players would make 33k$.

There has been mention that the HGPs will expand, and I will assume that means a team could have fewer Reserves or Protected Players.

In all there can be 10 non-DP salary cap exempt players next year. Plus a likely coach. In all these additions will add over a quarter million dollars to each teams' payroll. Or more, if several HGPs are added.

While there hasn't been much in the way of hard news regarding the Reserve League, one thing is certain. MLS seems willing to spend money to have a league of professionals who are still learning how to play. That professionalism won't pay off in 2011, probably not in 2012, but in a few years the fact that there are nearly 100 more professional soccer players in America should be good not just for MLS, but the sport at all levels.

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